Is that all you got, Ridley Scott?
Let me tell you a story and you tell me if it sounds like something that would interest you.
A ship carrying a crew of explorers and mercenaries is traveling to a certain location to start a new habitat and possibly a colony for humans to find refuge from Earth on. Instead of going there, they decide to chase down a mysterious signal from a place they have no idea about. Why? Because these are the movies and characters do stupid things that get them killed. Once they get to the mysterious place, bad things happen quick. Remember, it’s an Alien movie.
While entertaining in spurts and carrying a fine lead performance from Katherine Watson (wearing the Ripley hat and haircut here), Alien: Covenant doesn’t bring anything new to the franchise that Scott started back in 1979. Prometheus wasn’t universally loved, but it threw a few new twists and quirks in the pot that made the final dish taste a little newer and original.
Michael Fassbender returns in dual capacity, bringing back the sinister David from Prometheus and also introducing a new protagonist in Walter, who is assisting the team on their mission. The cast is made up of B-list actors who you’ll start taking dibs on in your head about who dies first and last. Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, and Carmen Ejogo. You get the drift quickly here.
Scott’s directing touch hasn’t lost a lot of mph on its fastball, but he’s merely going through the motions here. There’s nothing striking about this film that stuck in my memory like Noomi Rapace’s alien extraction sequence in the 2012 film that this story follows.
Prometheus tried cutting to the core of the origin of the Aliens tale-and while it didn’t present anything entirely new, there were thrills, chills, and some genuine eye opening moments. Here, there’s an assembly line of bad news recipients with an ending that leaves the door open for Scott to come back with new toys and play with in a few years.
Scott intends on making another Alien film-and I can only hope it’s better and more inventive than this one. Don’t just give me a low value shock exercise; give me something that reminds me why the franchise had teeth to begin with.
The creatures show up, do their thing, and the humans react accordingly. If you have low expectations, please ahead and pay the piper. Or you can pay a little homage to the late Bill Paxton and watch the 1986 film directed by James Cameron, which is the best film of the franchise in my opinion. Private Hudson did all this and did it better 30 years ago. The cast here is picking up the scraps out of a half-cool freezer.
When I saw the poster and trailer for Alien: Covenant and didn’t see Rapace’s Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in a lead role, I immediately asked myself a simple question: Why go another round without extending the story of a character who the audience really cared for? Why start from scratch with new characters?
My answer upon seeing this film was the one I expected. Alien: Covenant is a franchise retread; recycled goods produced by the guy who kicked open the door to the madness in the first place. Scott has gone on record saying he didn’t like David Fincher’s Alien 3.
Well, Ridley, I have news for you-it was better than this regurgitated round.