High On Xenomorphs
Review by Anthony Cleveland
I'm on a pretty big xenomorph high after watching Alien: Covenant. I've got a massive facehugger afterglow that I don't want to shake. That all said, Covenant still didn't crack my list of top 3 Alien films.
That may change with repeated viewings, but I'll need to check my fan goggles at the door next time I watch it...which might even be in the theater again.
Let's start at the top. I don't remember how the film begins, because there is a scene that follows that is so brutal and heart-wrenching -- and works as a great intro to the crew of the Covenant, which is on a colonization mission to a planet similar to Earth. The crew is composed entirely of married couples since the mission is to populate the planet. This is a very interesting dynamic especially considering this is an Alien film, so you know lots of spouses will be lost.
We meet our Ripley-like character, known only as Daniels, after the loss of her husband. There's nothing before that. She's grieving and vulnerable when we meet her, but she still tries to push forward with her duties. Very easy character for the audience to latch on to.
I've accepted that the franchise will always choose to follow a strong female lead -- it's expected and part of the formula. I don't think Daniels is trying to replace or reboot the Ripley character, it's just a dynamic fans are familiar with.
It was great to see how that character dynamic connects with younger audiences as well. While in line there were several young teenage girls with Weyland-Yutani and Alien t-shirts. The other friends in the group were wearing "track and field shirts" from their high school. It was great to see that this franchise can connect to any group especially from the younger generation.
If those kids I saw in line were coming for scares only, then this film delivered. There were a handful of extremely tense scenes like the confined "backburster" that was featured in the trailer.
However, pulsing beneath the gore and suspense, the questions from Prometheus were still there, only now they largely remained with David. He's seen the Engineers produce the humans and he's seen the humans create synthetic life. All three are flawed in one way. There has never been "the perfect organism" and David takes it upon himself to create.
That's all I'll say there.
There's still tons of unanswered questions from Prometheus, so don't go into it expecting answers. This film doesn't raise any questions that I can remember besides: "What will happen next?"
One criticism I have is the second act drags. I caught myself out of the immersed experience and was asking "whats next?" When the film drags they toss back in a creature to kill someone and resume with "whats next?"
Overall Covenant was a great cocktail of Alien and Prometheus. Not a lot of anything too new, but an overall very enjoyable experience-- especially if you're a fan boy or girl.
Rating: 4 facehugs out of 5.
What did you think of the film? Did it scare the hell out of you? Did it totally disappoint? Did it make you want to revisit the past films? Share your thoughts and feelings in the comment section below, and, as always, remember to viddy well!