Alien: Covenant is certainly a departure from Prometheus and harkens back to Ridley Scott’s older movies in the franchise. Even though much of the plot follows the typical Alien formula, Scott proves he still has the skills for this type of science fiction. There are enough moments to keep me entertained and enough aliens on display to hold my interest, but much of the film is predictable. Though many questions still go unanswered throughout the movie, fortunately, the audience learns more about the origin of those disgustingly terrifying alien creatures. I love Katherine Waterston’s realistic heroine lead and Michael Fassbender excellently plays the synthetics. Covenant showcases the aliens and their many forms closely. This is the movie you are going to want to watch if Prometheus disappointed due to its departure from the original films.
Quick points of review:
- The plot is linear and reminiscent of the older movies.
- At times the movie seems too formulaic which ends up making it too predictable.
- Waterston and Fassbender are excellent, but the rest of the cast is given very little screen time.
- The aliens are magnificently on display and steal the show.
- There are some really great memorable scenes with hints of familiarity of the older movies.
- Covenant reveals the aliens’ origin and leaves enough unanswered for potential future movies.
*Spoiler Alert! If you are avoiding spoilers, do not read further. You’ve been warned.*
The movie begins when David (Michael Fassbender), a human-made synthetic being, meets his creator, Peter Wayland (Guy Pearce). David decides to name himself after Michelangelo’s statue. Wayland tells David they will search for those that created humans together. The scene finishes with David pouring Wayland a cup of tea.
A group of colonists on a ship called the Covenant come out of their stasis pods after neutrino bursts damage the ship while they are on their way to the planet Origae-6 in 2104. Another synthetic that is an upgraded version of David, Walter (Michael Fassbender), is forced to wake them up due to the event. The event kills some of the colonists and the ship’s captain.
Oram (Billy Crudup) becomes the new captain. While repairing the ship, they receive a transmission from a nearby planet that seems to be very similar to earth. Oram decides since most of the colonists do not want to go back into the stasis pods they should investigate the planet to find out if it might potentially be inhabitable by the group. Daniels (Katherine Waterston) protests against the decision because they have no knowledge of the location and it seems too good to be true.
A group of the colonists lands onto the planet in a small ship while the Covenant remains in space. Two teams split up to investigate while Maggie (Amy Seimetz) stays back with the smaller ship. While Karine (Carmen Ejogo) is looking for samples for research, Ledward (Benjamin Rigby) goes off for a break and sits to have a smoke. Ledward is unknowingly infected by alien spores through his ear. He starts to get sick shortly after.
The larger team finds an old ship as the source of the transmission received on the Covenant. The ship is located on top of a large hill. As the team is investigating the environment, Hallett (Nathaniel Dean) is infected by foreign spores. Meanwhile, Karine sends them a message over the radio that she has to take Ledward back to the ship because he has become very ill.
Karine gets Ledward to the ship. He vomits blood and can barely stand. Karine yells for help from Maggie as she takes Ledward to the medical bay. Maggie is hesitant to help and while putting on latex gloves to help Karine with Ledward, Ledward starts to bleed even more. Maggie leaves the bay in a panic and locks the door. Karine is forced to stay in the room with Ledward as a neomorph bursts out of the man. Karine pleads with Maggie to let her out but the creature kills her. Maggie comes back into the room but is attacked by the creature. She accidentally shoots the gas tank and the lander bursts into flames.
The larger group headed by Oram goes back to the ship as Hallett becomes sicker. Oram runs to the ship when it explodes and is distraught due to the death of his wife, Karine. A creature then bursts from Hallett and kills him. The two aliens begin to attack the crew. The creatures are able to kill another crew member until a man in a hood appears and orders them to follow him.
The man brings them back to a large shelter surrounded by corpses and introduces himself as David. David reveals how he and Elizabeth Shaw arrived on the planet. David also tells them they accidentally released a virus, killed the population, and Shaw died in the impact afterward. David tells the group to make themselves at home and shows the colonists where they can attempt to radio the Covenant even though the storm is making it difficult to reach anyone.
Walter speaks with David to learn more about him and their creator, Wayland. While Rosenthal (Tess Haubrich) goes off to wash up after the attack, a neomorph finds her alone and kills her. David stands face to face with the creature to earn its trust but Oram kills it. This upsets David and Oram threatens David to tell him about what he’s really doing on the planet. David admits to experimenting to create new aliens to Oram and leads Oram to a nest with eggs. Oram is attacked by a face-hugging creature and implanted with an embryo. David wakes up Oram right before a new creature rips out of Oram and is born.
Walter confronts David about his purposeful release of the virus. David attempts to bring Walter to his side but when Walter resists David strikes him down causing Walter to be inoperable. David then captures Daniels and admits to Shaw’s murder. Walter throws David off of Daniels and tells her to get away. The two synthetics fight while Walter admits to upgrades since David has been away.
The Covenant adopts a closer orbit to the planet in violation of security protocols in order to regain radio contact. The ships cargo transporter sled is used to rescue Daniels, Lope (Demian Bichir), and Walter. Before they can make a getaway Daniels is forced to go outside on the ship to kill a xenomorph with the help of a claw attached to the ship. After the creature’s death, the ship is able to make it back into space. The crew begins to relax while in space after the whole incident is believed to be behind them until Walter wakes up the crew about an alien aboard the ship.
Lope had been implanted with an alien which bursts out of his chest and kills Ricks (Jussie Smollett) and Upworth (Callie Hernandez). Daniels and Tennessee (Danny McBride) corner the creature with Walter’s help into the ship’s airlock. They release vehicles from the ship and knock the xenomorph out into space as Daniels jumps out of the way at the last second.
The Covenant continues its voyage to Origae-6. Daniels puts Tennessee to rest in the stasis pod. Then Walter puts Daniels into the stasis pod. Daniels realizes Walter is David when she asks if he will help her build her home right before she falls asleep. David places alien embryos into storage with human embryos and records that all the crew members except for Daniels and Tennessee were killed in the neutrino blast.
Geeky Talk’s Reaction to the Movie
If you’re looking for a movie in the similar vein of science fiction as the older Alien movies, Alien: Covenant does not disappoint. Ridley Scott still has the skills to create the same scary and gory science fiction fans have come to love. The plot in Covenant is fairly linear but is somewhat reminiscent of the older movies. Strong female role who takes on a job others seem too incompetent to handle? Check. Scary alien creatures with lots of gory moments? Check. People being really stupid and splitting off only to get killed? Check. The movie really does stick with the formula and at times I found myself annoyed with the predictability, but those xenomorphs, neomorphs, and face huggers still grossed me out and made me jump. Those creepy creatures still give me nightmares and the film benefits from it.
Michael Fassbender does an excellent job playing the roles of both synthetics, David and Walter. In fact, the film seems to be more about him and the aliens than anyone else due to the lack of character building. Fassbender does an excellent job portraying two synthetic beings that lack emotion yet differ from one another. David constantly keeps the audience guessing what dark deeds he has up his sleeve next while Walter lacks the need for creativity but keeps the crew safe from harm as his duty.
Fassbender’s talent makes up for the predictable moment in the plot when the audience discovers Walter is really David. When the camera cuts away from the David and Walter fight scene and then David comes running onto the Covenant in a different scene dressed as Walter, it’s no surprise when Daniels discovers his identity at the end of the film. To be honest, I’m annoyed Daniels just trusted it was Walter for so long. Why girl?! Why?! At least you’re not poor stupid Oram who is smart enough to know not to trust David but too stupid to not go near the creepy looking eggs. But I digress.
Katherine Waterston does a superb job as Daniels when she takes over as captain after the nervous and religious Oram played by Billy Crudup dies when he is inseminated with an alien. Waterston portrays a realistic heroine. She knows she has to step up and take charge and you can see the fear on her face at the same time. This is exactly how I expect a real human in such a terrifying situation that has to survive and be a leader to react. Unfortunately, there is very little background story when it comes to Waterston’s character other than she is married to the original captain of the Covenant until he dies in the stasis pod at the beginning of the movie. The rest of the cast receive very little screen time. Alien: Covenant is mostly centered on David and the aliens rather than the colonists.
The aliens are showcased front and center throughout the movie in many different forms. From the creatures bursting out of bodies, the different growth stages, face huggers, embryos, and even the huge sleek looking xenomorphs, Covenant made sure the fans had their fill of the scary creatures. For those disappointed in Prometheus due to the lack of these horrible creatures, Covenant makes up for it with lots of aliens creating a bloody gory mess almost in perfect homage to the older movies. Ridley Scott can still make the audience jump with the grotesque aliens.
There are some memorable scenes in Alien: Covenant and some are even reminiscent of the older movies. I really enjoyed the scene when Daniels must kill a xenomorph that has hitched a ride on the ship after their rescue. Daniels uses the claw to trap and kill the creature. Another memorable scene near the end of the film when Daniels and Tennessee trap the xenomorph in the ship’s airlock and release a truck to knock it out into space is very familiar. When Daniels jumps down at the last second avoiding the vehicle, it definitely took me back to the past movies. Both the scenes are my personal favorite in Covenant and I appreciated the nod to the past films.
Alien: Covenant does a decent job linking Prometheus to Alien. In Prometheus, the audience is only at the tip of the iceberg about the origins of the aliens fans love being terrified by. Covenant provided more background to the franchise’s creatures and their link with David. While Prometheus might have been a disappointment to some due to its departure from all the gore and horror in the past movies, Covenant makes up for the loss. I personally enjoy Prometheus as a movie, but it did leave me with lots of questions. Covenant successfully answers a few questions while also leaving enough unanswered for potential future movies.
Alien: Covenant is still in theaters so you better go see it before it’s gone. It’s worth watching if you’re a fan of the movies and are still completely confused about Prometheus. If you lost faith in the Alien franchise after Prometheus, Covenant just might win you back. Overall it’s a solid watch even if predictable at times.
Have you seen Alien: Covenant yet? What did you think? Put your Geeky Talk in the comments below and may all your movies be worthy of your geekiness!