The first reviews for Ridley Scott‘s Alien: Covenant are in. Based on the trailers, Scott seems to have returned the series to the atmospheric and bloody horror roots of the original classic but does he manage to capture what made Alien special with this new batch of truckers in space?
It’s going to be up to you to decide. While the consensus is that is that Scott has created an entertaining slaughter fest in space once again, the film fails in its attempt to blend the best of both Alien and Prometheus as the film is both a prequel to the former and a sequel to the latter. You can check out the reviews below.
Entertainment Weekly’s Kevin P. Sullivan:
“Covenant is an Alien movie made for 2017. It doesn’t have the original’s restraint or eerie quietness. There’s probably more footage of the xenomorph in the trailer for Covenant than in entire ’79 Alien. But the update also speeds things up. The movie understands that the audience knows exactly where the story is going, so it gets there quickly. It’s not going to slow down to give Crewmember #4’s demise some (or any) dramatic weight.”
TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde:
“Boiled down to the basics, the Alien movies are monster movie/slasher movie hybrids. Over the years, we’ve seen variations on this theme — the 1979 original is a moody, sterling example of both genres, Aliens plays up the action elements, and Prometheus noodles out some philosophical ruminations on life, the universe, man’s need for deities, and who put the bomp in the bomp-she-bomp — but these films all boil down to terrified, hauntingly-lit human beings having gross encounters with those deadly, acid-blooded beasties. Alien: Covenant almost completely gives itself over to the scary stuff; director Ridley Scott dredges up a little of the Prometheus balloon juice (this film is a direct follow-up to that prequel), but he’s more interested in an interstellar version of Friday the 13th, with a respectable ensemble of actors as the camp counselors and various fanged slimeballs filling in for Jason Voorhees.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy:
“Scott and the writers have achieved an outstanding balance in Alien: Covenant among numerous different elements: Intelligent speculation and textbook sci-fi presumptions, startlingly inventive action and audience-pleasing old standbys, philosophical considerations and inescapable genre conventions, intense visual splendor and gore at its most grisly. The drama flows gorgeously and, unlike in many other franchises in which entries keep getting longer every time out, this one is served up without an ounce of fat. It provides all the tension and action the mainstream audience could want, along with a good deal more.”
Variety’s Peter Debruge:
“In an effort to appease Alien fans, Scott has returned the series to its horror-movie roots, unleashing a sequence of gory death scenes as four aliens body-snatch and otherwise terrorize the crew. By now, though, audiences are so familiar with how this species reproduces that there’s not much surprise between the point of infection (whether by microscopic spores or old-fashioned face hugging) and the moment that an alien embryo bursts out of the host’s chest. If anything, an impatience sets in, much as it does with zombie movies in which characters aren’t up to speed on the genre rules: In the world of Alien, humans don’t recover from these close encounters; once someone catches the virus, he or she is already a goner.”
Collider’s Haleigh Fouch:
Ultimately, Alien: Covenant is a very messy movie and your mileage may vary. Those who enjoyed Prometheus will likely warm to David’s frustrating side-tangents, and those found Prometheus’ mythological lilt too obtuse will find the same flaws in Covenant. Whether you want a Prometheus sequel or an Alien movie, you want a movie that feels cohesive, and there’s no denying Covenant is a structurally challenged film that feels more like two movies slapped together in the name of audience appeal. But, and this is no small thing, it is a new Alien movie and, for all its faults, it’s not a bad one. It’s won’t be your favorite Alien movie, but it’ll probably make you want to watch it again. Perhaps I am blinded by my love of the franchise and too easily seduced by the stunning beauty of Scott’s images, but even the ramshackle hybrid narrative and disappointing treatment of compelling characters can’t keep me from finding a lot to love in the frustrating film.
Empire’s Ian Freer:
An upgrade from Prometheus, Alien: Covenant amps up the thrills but doesn’t deliver a memorable crew member or the full-on onslaught of the series at its height.
IGN’s Daniel Krupa
Alien: Covenant strikes a more favorable balance between the unwieldy philosophical ideas of Prometheus and the classic horror and suspense of the 1979 original film. Despite continuing Prometheus’ questionable line of inquiry into the xenomorphs’ origins and occasionally adopting its histrionic tone for entire scenes, Covenant’s framework and exciting action put enough new spins on the series’ most reliable touchstones that the cast is able to carry it through to a satisfying end.
Joblo’s Paul Shirey:
So, is ALIEN: COVENANT a great ALIEN film or redemption for those who hated PROMETHEUS? That’s a tough call and one that I think will ultimately fall to the audience, as it’s every bit a film that begs to be discussed in great detail as the ideas presented and history-changing nature of it are a fascinating look into the ALIEN franchise as a whole. As a standalone watch, it’s an intense and fun ride, but as a piece of the overall series it’s very much a piece of a puzzle. I’m sure some people will walk away disappointed, while others will be excited and buzzing about where this series goes next, given the events that transpire and where that leaves it. Love it or hate it, I think it’s a film that will be discussed at length and many folks will head straight home and pop in PROMETHEUS to connect the dots. For me, I love the doors it opens, the questions it answers, the villain it creates and the direction it’s headed, even if it misses some beats along the way.
The Playlist’s Rodrigo Perez:
Somehow, Scott manages to balance it all: meditations on being made in God’s own image, the fan service of “Alien Origins: Xenomorphs,” and feminist agency. Balance doesn’t necessarily mean great execution, though. There’s friction with all these ideas fighting for airtime. “Prometheus” wasn’t subtle in its presentational ideas of man stealing fire and being punished for it, and ‘Covenant’ wrestles with the notions of breaking the pact with God. It’s like the flame on the end of a match burning the tips of your fingers. For maximum enjoyment, the trick is not minding it hurts. [B/B+]
HeyUGuys‘ Stefan Pape:
Waterston’s Daniels is as close as we come, but she isn’t a well-rounded enough character, underwritten for the most part (she’s no Ripley, anyway). This proves detrimental to proceedings, for the stakes are not particularly high enough. If you take the recently released Life, for instance, though an inferior film, the whole of planet Earth was at risk, but in this instance the only futures that truly seem in peril are those of the crew members, and given the distinct lack of back story to any one in particular, we simply don’t care quite enough. Given the entire film is built around their longing to survive, this proves to be something of an issue.
So what do you think? Will you still be heading to the theater later this month to see it for yourself? Let us know in the comments below.
The film stars Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Danny McBride, Noomi Rapace, Demian Bichir, Jussie Smollett, Carmen Ejogo, Billy Crudup and Amy Seimetz. Here’s the official synopsis: