Alien: Covenant ⭐⭐⭐½

On one level, this is an effective film with a few good scares and decent gory moments which even manage to invert and nod at the classic scene in the first Alien; but it is also a Ridley Scott film and so while it is technically and visually stunning as always, one also expects more than simply the retread that we have here. As slick and well made as it is, what’s lacking is originality, as the narrative follows a far too familiar plotting and pacing in which anyone who has seen the Alien films or any of the subsequent knock-offs (the recent Life for example) will see the twist and turns coming a mile away. While it doesn’t mean it isn’t scary when the inevitable gruesomeness happens, it just doesn’t have the same shocking effect. It doesn’t help that the new batch of characters are fairly disposable, underwritten and often also irritating. As for Michael Fassbender, doing double duty here as androids David and Walter, his cold and creepy portrayals are perfect, with a few nuances thrown in to differentiate between the two; but he is lumbered with ponderous and borderline pretentious dialogue when perhaps less is more (and more effective – as the more the film explains, the less convincing it seems to be).  All the God/creator talk mumble-jumble ultimately feels like the film-makers trying too hard to justify these prequels’ existence. Contrivances and inconsistencies (and random plot-driven alien gestation periods) aside, I did enjoy the film but I want to like it more, and in the end, I find myself faced with reviewing 2 films here: a mainstream space-horror-slasher film that does the job and a Ridley Scott film that doesn’t fare as well.


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