Main cast: Michael Fassbender (Walter/David), Katherine Waterston (Daniels), Billy Crudup (Christopher Oram), Danny McBride (Tennessee), Demián Bichir (Sgt Lope), Carmen Ejogo (Karine Oram), Amy Seimetz (Maggie Faris), Jussie Smollett (Ricks), Callie Hernandez (Upworth), Nathaniel Dean (Sgt Hallett), Alexander England (Ankor), and Benjamin Rigby (Ledward)
Director: Ridley Scott
Alien: Covenant isn’t a soft reboot as much as it is a sequel to Prometheus, which continues to shift the impression of those chest-bursting aliens called the xenomorphs into mere biological weapons genetic engineered by megalomaniacs. This one stands alone quite well, though, so there is no need to rush and watch the previous movie if you haven’t – both movies suffer from a lack of fun factor and way too much idiocy.
The Covenant is a large spaceship carrying colonists and embryos to a planet called Origae-6. It’s a long journey, so the synthetic Walter helps to maintain the ship and take care of everyone while the crew and the colonists do their space stasis thing. When the movie begins, a neutrino shockwave damages the ship, killing the captain and a few crew members while forcing the rest to come awake. Christopher Oram, a first mate who lacks the confidence and charisma to lead the rest of the crew, finds himself thrust into the limelight as the new captain, while the previous captain’s widow, Daniels, is now the first mate. While the ship is being repaired, they find what seems to be a stray transmission of what seems to be a woman singing John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads. Goodness, are there actual humans out there? Further analysis reveals that the transmission comes from a planet that is pretty near, and this planet matches the conditions of Earth almost perfectly. In other words, they can colonize that planet if they want to.
So, Oram decides that they will check out that planet. Daniels objects, but she’s the only one, as everyone else in the crew is not keen on going back to stasis – not when there may be a perfect alternative to Origae-6 nearby. As you can guess, there are scary and deadly dangers there, awaiting our crew…
Oh wait, let me rephrase that. There will be only two aliens here, and they start out as babies. Gore is minimal, often fake looking in a “too much CGI” way, and the biggest threat to the gang here is, in fact, their own stupidity. Let me count the ways:
- Scouting a strange planet with only a skeleton crew armed with mere guns.
- Splitting up into even smaller teams.
- Not wearing any biohazard suit or other forms of protective gear while they are at it.
- No good source of light is brought along.
- Insisting on checking out a strange planet when there is a huge thunderstorm that disrupts communication with the main team on board the Covenant.
- The team left behind on the Covenant do not have medical or engineering personnel among them – so if the ones doing the scouting thing below die, well, good luck everyone else.
- A spectacularly idiotic woman manages to blow up the entire ship by firing blindly all over the place, leaving the others stranded.
- Speaking of idiots, none of these “pioneers of a new frontier” seem to be able have even halfway decent aim or field training.
- And why are they checking out a new planet without authorization from their superiors? What, they are going to say, “Surprise! We’ve just docked 22,000 colonists on some planet nobody knows of until now, because we don’t feel like going back to stasis!” and the bosses will just smile and give them a bonus?
- After knowing that there are monsters out there, the first thing you want to do is to head off alone to some dark corner away from the others, so that you can take a bath. Genius.
- See that creepy alien pod thing? It’s perfectly safe to touch it and shove your head inside it, because a creepy fellow you have no reason to trust says that it’s perfectly fine, so go ahead. So what if they are aware that there are monsters out there wanting to kill them – this strange creepy pod-thing looks fun!
I can go on and on, but you get the drift, I’m sure. The only people with at least half a working brain are Walter and David, who showed up in Prometheus first, and if you have watched that movie, you will know that he is not a nice robot dude, as well as Daniels. And Daniels is smart mostly by default, as everyone else in the crew is such an imbecile. Oh, and she’s the heroine, which isn’t hard to guess, as she’s the only character aside from Oram to have even a little bit of personality. And Oram is an idiot, plus the captain, and you know captains tend not to live long in Alien movies, so it’s not hard to guess that Daniels is the Ripley-wannabe here.
Oh, and because they paid a lot of money to have Michael Fassbender here, the movie people just have to slap some unoriginal “Who am I? Robot… or a robot with manly feelings?” arc for Walter, because even when everyone is getting killed, the robot still wants to do that “I’m not a thing! Love me back!” angst. Since Mr Fassbender is fully clothed in those moments, no, I don’t really care too much about that clichéd arc. Also, I suppose we can’t help that David looks older and different here, despite synthetics never aging, because while robots don’t age, handsome actors with a tendency to star in bad tent pole movies however do.
Oh, and, Walter can go choke on some screws; David is so much more fun. And I will forever resent this movie for not capitalizing on the innuendo-laden scene of David teaching Walter how to blow on the recorder and giving me some hot David-Walter twin-synthetic sex.
Alien: Covenant has minimal scares and chills, continuing the shift of the franchise from space survival horror to more conventional space opera, and doesn’t have a good story or compelling characters to make up for the lack. As a result, this is one movie that is really lacking in entertainment value.