Balancing Act

Thoughts on ALIEN: Covenant (mini review)

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Minor spoiler on ALIEN: Covenant ahead.

ALIEN: Covenant royally took a massive dookie on the whole Alien lore, mythos and mystique surrounding the Space Jockey and Xenomorphs we've grown to admire and that which have spawned over three decades of wonder, fantastical imagination, arts, creativity, fictions, comics and graphic novels from fans across the globe.

I am not sure how I feel about the underlying "the creation supplanting its creator" theme or the origin story of the Xenomorph (which basically boils down to a decade of iterative cross breeding and genetic engineering of the common parasitic apocrita with the impetus of Agent A0-3959X.91 – 15 by the hands of a hubristic robotic Victor Frankenstein).

I was hoping for more screen time of the Engineers' society (or Engineer-like humanoid inhabitants of Paradise?) and Shaw, but Covenant is without a doubt the result of Scott reading way too much into the criticism of Prometheus and selling out to a bunch of ALIEN fanboys and fangirls because it practically washed its hands clean of all things Prometheus by the 3rd act; literally every idea and mystery set up in Prometheus, gone - sans David. The fate of Shaw? Holy hell. I can’t even. Especially after the recently released short prologue to Covenant, "The Crossing."

That's disappointingly unfortunate because the Prometheus-David/Shaw-Engineers story arc could've been an expansive, grandiose and profound universe to explore.

Instead, Covenant is reduced to a routine hide and seek fan service for the aforementioned fanboys and fangirls with an insatiable appetite for blood lust and cheap thrills. Covenant doesn't live up to the 1979 ALIEN nor, dare I say, 2012 Prometheus. It cheapens the enigma surrounding the Xenomorph and the film is as predictable as a 90's episode of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. The visuals and soundtrack are superb and pays deference to the original ALIEN (which fans of the original will instantly recognize). There are a handful of astounding cinematic moments (e.g. flawless duality performance by Fassbender and the necropolis scene), but Cameron should probably take the helm on the next pre/sequels.

Got this coo AMC promotional facehugger pin to keep my chest warm despite leaving the theater deflated.

AMC Theaters ALIEN: Covenant promotional Facehugger pin

AMC Theaters ALIEN: Covenant promotional Facehugger pin

Definitely looking forward to receiving my copy of the The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant art book next week to accompany my Prometheus: The Art of the Film art book and to enjoy the concept arts, creatures & world design, exposition on the (former) inhabitants of Paradise and plot (hole[s]) device xenosplainin'.

TLDR; Entertaining movie on its own merits for some predictably cheap scare and thrill. Disappointing if you're expecting deeper continuity of the Alien mythology.

2 / 5 stars

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