Review: Alien Covenant

Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: John Logan, Dante Harper, Jack Pagan, Michael Green
Starring: Katherine Waterson, Michael Fassbender, Danny McBride, Billy Crudup, Damian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo
Genre: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Rated: R
Not only does Ridley Scott bring audiences to the series’ original science-fiction horror, but it also brings answers to questions audience member have had since 2012’s prequel Prometheus, giving it a somewhat-satisfying taste. While some questions still remain to be answered, the film is overall entertaining and thought-provoking for those who can stomach it.

Content Guide

Violence/Scary Images: Aliens hatching out of bodies, puking up blood, surgically cut up bodies, and Alien blood that burns quickly through just about anything, including human skin. As with the original Alien film, the violence is high and should be noted before walking into the theater.
Language/Crude Humor: F-words are thrown around nearly throughout the film along with other curse words, especially during scenes of suspense. Again, this should be noted before walking in.
Spiritual Content: A lot can be surprisingly found in this in regards to the classic question of humanity, “Where do we come from?” While that was more of a detailed topic in Prometheus, it can be found in this sequel as secrets and discoveries are found after the groups’ landing.
Sexual Content: There is a short scene of a couple having sex in the shower. Specific body parts are shown including a breast. This is quickly over after the Alien attacks them which turns into a bloody mess.
Drug/Alcohol References: After the death of the first crew member, the team drinks to a toast.
Other Negative Content: Other than the graphic gory violence and language, I cannot really think of anything else to add.
Positive Content: Though the group becomes easily startled and worried about what is going on, they do their best to ban together to get off the planet.


Premiering in 1979, Ridley Scott’s Alien became a smash hit with the resources it had for its time and proved nearly better a second time around in the 1986 sequel Aliens. After the franchise’s struggle with the flops of the Alien3 (1992) and Alien Resurrection (1997) along with the spin-off (that we never speak about) Alien vs. Predator 1 & 2 (2004 & 2007), the series needed new structure to redeem itself by revisiting its origins…literally. In Ridley Scott’s 2012 prequel film Prometheus, the story covered about a crew going out to find its creators a decade before Alien Covenant took place. Events take a turn for the worst when they come into contact with the Engineers, the race whom they believe created them, who attacks the group. After Elizabeth Shaw and David survive, they go on to find the Engineer’s home planet, not knowing that a Xenamorph hatched out of the dead Engineer’s body. And that is where the Alien Covenant comes into play.
Overall, the cast worked well as they banned together for survival. Only in small moments did certain team members become annoying in their decision making, but for the film as a whole, the team worked well with the circumstances they got themselves in. What has become a difficulty with prequels has been in fact the lead, Elizabeth in Prometheus and Daniels (Katherine Waterson) in Covenant. Unlike Ripley in the original series, the emotional connection for the character was very small. Only in small moments did they become interesting and worth noting. This does not take away anything significant from the film as actress Katherine Waterson played the part well. The writing for her however was something that indeed needed more effort.
Alongside her is Walter (Michael Fassbender), the artificial intelligence creation from Peter Weyland (Guy Pierce). For those that saw Prometheus, Walter is an improvement from David, Fassbender’s previous character in the prequel. As a human creation, Fassbender’s character not only is an improvement, but Fassbender himself as he constantly pushes himself to new heights in the film that will surprise audiences. Another character that stood out to me was Captain Oram (Billy Crudup). As seen in the film, Oram is not really seen as the best fit for the captain, which is why his character became interesting. He is forced into a position he didn’t ask for though his decisions were catastrophic, one tends to feel somewhat sympathetic for him. While audiences may not agree with this statement, it was one I found to be quite interesting.

As previously mentioned, this film does address and bridge gaps between Prometheus and the Alien franchise and even reveals moments and references to the original series as well. In a number of areas, this may push audiences to rewatch Prometheus to gain a better understanding of the connections to the series as a whole. That being said, other areas of Prometheus were not only not addressed, but glossed over with little to no significance. Furthermore, significant moments in Prometheus were even made obsolete as Covenant goes in different directions than what fans suspected and rumored. It is possible that these areas may get answered in other installments due to the fact that Director Scott has announced four more Alien films, the next one titled Alien Awakening.
The trailer comes off as very horrific with a significant amount of action between the humans and the Xenamorph. In the film, however, this action between the two does not take place significantly until the three-quarters into the film. This is not to say that the movie is a drag. It just takes its time and focuses on other areas of sci-fi horror and plot details and reveals about Prometheus and the Alien franchise as a whole.
By the time the second act roles in, one can easily find the film too predictable as to how it will end. In a way, it does not come off as surprising, though I was hoping for more. What gives this film a pass is the fact that more installments are on the way as announced by Ridley Scott. If it had not been for this fact, then this prediction would have been more of a problem than an exception.
The film definitely answers questions in the previous installment and sets up for a new sequel as promised. Though the film takes its time, it is one that honestly came off as enjoyable. If you walk in expecting a similar feel to the original series, you may walk out feeling disappointment to certain extents. Was it entertaining? Yes. Did it have gaps? Yes. Will those be answered in the next sequel? Hopefully.



The Bottom Line


Trey Soto

Trey Soto holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Biola University, emphasis in Interpersonal/Rhetorical Theory. He has been a Film Critic/Analysis for over a year at Geeks Under Grace and other websites such as Temple of Geek. In his spare time, he enjoys comic book literature, screenwriting, production assistant freelancing, photography, cosplay, and hosting his own film podcast T.V. Trey on Podbean and iTunes.

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