Review: “Alien: Covenant”

By: Ashton Newton
Entertainment Editor

“Alien: Covenant” is a horror movie. That’s completely clear from every promotion and based on the movies that came before it, but “Alien: Covenant” doesn’t wear the mask of a horror movie. The film appears to be an epic adventure film with an ensemble cast and a rich backstory, but there’s a lot more going on.

The diversity of settings helps to give “Alien: Covenant” an adventure-movie feeling. Jumping from location to location, the film explores some intriguing locations and forces viewers to be on their feet, nowhere is ever safe.

It takes a long time for any horror movie tropes to pop up in the film. Setting the stage as an action and adventure movie, the main focus is put on the characters and the experiences and trials that they’re going through.

The events of 2012’s “Prometheus” played directly into the movie. Michael Fassbender reprised his role as the antagonist. “Alien: Covenant” helped to make some of the confusing parts of “Prometheus” more clear, without serving as a direct sequel.

Where “Alien: Covenant” shines the most is in its characters. The crew of The Covenant are an entertaining group of people who are easy to get attached to right away. On their way to a planet for a colonization mission, the crew is composed of couples, which makes the characters more emotion-driven. Even the smallest side character has something dear to them, which makes all the tragedy and triumph in the film much more personal.

Having 15 crew members highlighted in the film, not everyone gets a lot of screen time. When a very small character with hardly any lines makes an extremely dumb choice or an avoidable error, it really stands out and is distracting. This happens multiple times in the film, characters who don’t really add to the plot will make an unrealistic choice that jeopardizes things for everyone. It’s noticeably lazy writing, and “Alien: Covenant” relies on it at times.

These characters are brought to life by stunning performances all around. Michael Fassbender plays two, very different androids and is able to set their character traits apart very well. Katherine Waterston gave an incredible performance as the film’s protagonist, Daniels, as she struggled through loss, survival and lots of aliens.

The aliens were the most disappointing part of the film. Not only were the special effects low quality, but the aliens weren’t even the central threat in the film. “Alien: Covenant” felt more like a movie talking about the dangers of artificial intelligence than a horror movie about aliens. Michael Fassbender gave a fantastic performance as the film’s antagonist, but so much so that the actual aliens feel like less of a threat.

Rather than relying on jump-scares, “Alien: Covenant” follows the footsteps of its predecessors with intense, horrifying scenes of violence and gore. These scenes are necessary for the plot and for the “Alien” franchise, but they’re definitely not for weak stomachs.

“Alien: Covenant” is an intense film with great performances, but the focus on Michael Fassbender’s antagonist takes away from the horror aspect of the film and that lowers the quality considerably.

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+ Interesting characters
– Disappointing aliens