Alien Covenant Review- Spoilers included

 

Welcome to my Alien Covenant Review. This review contains spoilers, the review will be broken into opinions of what happened in the film and finally what could happen next in the franchise. Below this picture of a bird will be tons of spoilers so proceed at your own risk.

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James Franco

A major disappointment in the film is the lack of screen time that was afforded to James Franco. Apart from the promotional material he doesn’t get to speak a single line and only contribution is becoming the first victim of the film horrifyingly burnt to death.

This turns out to be an important part in the film with regards to the ending of the film and Daniels discovering that Walter is in fact David, but it was a major waste. James Franco could have provided much-needed additional depth and given us more reason to get behind Daniels had he been afforded more screen time or a different fate perhaps at the hands of David.

First Victims & the Neomorphs

The deaths of the first crew members were fantastic. We were treated to an homage of the greatest moments of Alien. Firstly, we have the brutal backburster that is slowly born. Upon its birth we see that this new species of Alien is unlike the original Xenomorph. Rather than taking a measured approach and stalking it pray it viciously attacks another crew member slashing and biting them to death. This neomorph is living life in the fast line and provides no respite for the crew as it hunts them down.

In the ensuing fight where Tennessee’s wife attempts to shoot the neomorph she blows up the ship but not before the creature escapes. As the ship blows up we have the second neomorph enter the film exiting out of a crew members mouth and throat and immediately running into the wheat/long grass that surrounds the landing site.

Whilst the crew try to recover and regain their composure the neomorphs attack again running through the environment and growing exponentially fast. Only the arrival of David and flares spares Daniels and other crew members a brutal fate.

Following the slow build at the start of the film this section of the film is fantastic and unrelenting. The neomorphs are a fantastic addition to the universe and provide a much different feel that to the original Xenomorphs with their speed and ferociousness.

The Remants of the Engineers

David after rescuing the crew leads them to the remains of the Engineers civilisation. It is quickly apparent that something terrible has happened. Broken and twisted unrecognisable bodies line the impressive setting.

Daniels is immediately suspicious of David and his story of accidentally releasing the Black goo on the engineers and asks Walter to investigate. The crew break off into separate groups. The first victim is ambushed by a now fully grown and bipedal Neomorph. Again unlike the Xenomorph this Alien does not have the mouth inside a mouth but just brutally decapitated tits victim

David happens upon the Neomorph and is immediately fascinated and has a strong paternal/maternal bond with Alien that he quickly calms by blowing on its nose. However, Oram who happens upon the body of his crew member, David and the Alien quickly kills the Neomorph to the horror of David. After been threatened by Oram, David leads him to his house of horrors. Here we find that he has been cross breeding and experimenting the effect the black goo has on the local wildlife. He then leads Oram to a familiar looking egg which quickly opens and Oram meets the infamous facehugger.

Unlike previous Alien films the chestburster erupts out of Oram’s chest upon him waking up and a fully formed miniature Alien appears.

David, Walter & Daniels.

As Walter investigates David’s home he finds the remains of Elizabeth Shaw. Her chest has been opened up with all her internal organs on show. Walter confronts David who confirms that he released the black goo intentionally as he was not born to serve and he has created the perfect organism and disables Walter.

As Daniels searches for Oram she discovering a room full of drawings where she finds images of Shaw that horrify her. David confronts her and confirms he will do to her what he did to Shaw and kisses her. This scene is especially creepy. Not only does David show his true intention but after kissing Daniels asks if that is how it is done with a sick smile. This makes for rather uncomfortable viewing with overtures to rape and the forcible impregnation of Daniels with his perfect creation.

Daniels is saved by Walter who reactives at the last second and begins to fight with David.

Xenomorph is back

As Walter and David fight two other crew members find the remains of Oram. One is quickly attacked by the facehugger only to be saved by a crew member cutting the facehugger. This results in his face been ate away be the acid. As he looks up though he sees a familiar black biomechanical creature. this lunges and kills one of the crew members. The alien like the neomorph shows incredible agility and speed. It’s attack like the neomorph and not like the way we have become accustomed too. instead it slashes with its tail and claws as well as biting/eating the crew member. Daniels and the other crew member manage to make it to the ship that Tennessee pilots to rescue them with Walter appearing at the last second.

However, the Xenomorph is in hot pursuit. We get a fantastic sequence on the ship with Daniels desperately trying to kill the Alien and it managing to have near misses time after time before eventually its eagerness to lunge and attack Daniels leads it to be crushed and killed.

The Ending and the horrors have only just begun

Once the Daniels, Tennessee, Walter and the other crew member make it safely to the Covenant we get a moment’s respite in the film that allows us to see Daniels and co try to return to normal.

However, this does not last long. A crew member that was attacked briefly by the facehugger is killed by a chestburster. Unlike previous films the facehugger only needs a couple of seconds to deposits its eggs in your chest.

This then leads to fantastic sequence where two crew members in the shower are killed by the fully grown xenomorph. Once again Daniels and Tennessee manage to survive and killed the Alien by using its eagerness to lunge at its prey against it.

Whilst been put back into cryosleep by Walter, Daniels the last awake crew member asks Walter to help with the cabin on the lake as they discussed at the start of the film. Here we discover that it is in fact David is onboard and whispers “Don’t let the bed bugs bite”. Again this sequence showcases the fantastic acting of Katherine Waterston and Michael Fassbender.

We then see David regurgitate two facehugger embryo’s as he surveys all his potential victims.

Thoughts on the film and what I hope will happen next:

Firstly, this film will not satisfy all fans. It does not answer the big questions that Prometheus asked and it is equally not following the same trend of Alien and Aliens with its feel and atmosphere. The film can really be broker into two parts. The first half is a fantastic opening that builds suspense and tension before unleashing the horrors we have been waiting for since Aliens. The second half is not as strong as the opening half of the film. Here poor pacing (it feels very rushed) and not building any tension or suspense leaves you feeling a bit left down after a spectacular first hour. I stand by my initial review of 4/5 stars, however after seeing the film twice it is frustrating that the second half does not deliver on the promise and build of the first half.

Did David Create the Xenomorph and is this Xenomorph the same as the Original Alien

Yes, David create the Xenomorph. However, I feel despite fans not been happy with this, they are overlooking key sequences and dialogue from both Prometheus and Covenant. Firstly, in the Prometheus we see a mural with an Alien like creature and secondly, whilst discussing his creations with Oram, David confirms that the black goo either destroys its host or uses the host as an incubator for a new creature.

I believe that the black goo reacts with different creatures in different ways which results in alternate versions of the Alien, be it insects, humans or Engineers. What David is doing is refining the new creature to create his perfect organism which results in the Xenomorph. However, very close relations and similar creatures are created by the black goo so it is entirely possible that a Xenomorph could be created by chance with the black goo.

The xenomorph in this film is not same as the one we have known and loved for nearly 30 years. The alien in this film is less mechanical in its features and like the neomorph, is incredibly animatistic in its nature. It has not developed the traditional xenomorph’s intelligence in hiding in plain sight to launch surprise attacks. It also lacks the ultimate aim of creating new Aliens that has always been a feature of the Xenomorph. Upon killing crew members it does not drag them to be cocooned in secretions to be potentially transformed into an Alien or be attacked by a facehugger. I firmly believe that David has still yet to perfect his design which is why the Xenomorph in this films acts so differently to all the other films we have seen it appear in.

Future of the franchise

I hope we see more of Katherine Waterston in the next Alien. She was absolutely fantastic in her role as Daniels and has such chemistry with Michael Fassbender. I also feel her duel with David has so much more to give.

Moving forward I also we see more questions that Prometheus raised answered such as did the Engineers create the black goo and why did they intend to return to Earth and possibly destroy us. I expect that we will see more of David’s experiments as we get closer and closer to the traditional Xenomorph returning. One thing never shown in Alien Covenant was what laid the eggs. I hope that Ridley Scott uses the Alien queen that was introduced the Aliens film.

Finally, I believe that we will see more of Weyland Industries plans unveiled. It is abundantly clear that the planet the Covenant ended up visiting was not mapped on purpose. Whether this is due the company not wanting other companies to stumble across the planet with its synthetic person on board or as not to alert the crew of the Covenant as what to expect when they arrive.

Final Thought

This film gets 4/5 stars for the brilliant acting by Fassbender and Waterston and due to it’s incredible first hour balancing out its poorer second half.

I also believe this film shows that Hollywood can look elsewhere for top actors and actresses. Katherine Waterston is fantastic as Daniels and Callie Hernandez, Billy Crudup & Danny McBride provide a marvelous supporting cast that is an improvement on the supporting cast of Prometheus.

I preferred Prometheus as a film as it felt like it’s own concept and stayed on that theme. This film seems to be trying to be a mix of Prometheus, Alien & Aliens so although many areas of the film are an improvement of Prometheus it feels a far more confused finished product. Ridley Scott though appears to be bridging the gap between Prometheus and Alien and I have extremly high hopes that the next film will provide a more complete less confused film. It is a great addition to the franchise and we are one step closer to having a complete franchise.

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