‘Alien Covenant:’ The Good, The Bad and the BLOODY!

Published 11:05 am Saturday, June 10, 2017

by Lauren Bradshaw

Although nowhere near as great as “Alien,” “Aliens” or “Prometheus,” “Alien Covenant” is another entertaining chapter of the franchise that will leave fans wanting more, and by more I mean Sigourney Weaver in the next film.

The Good

•“Alien” franchise

Regardless of my snooty film critic observations in the “bad” section of this review, let’s be real — when push comes to shove “Alien Covenant” is still a fun and thrilling chapter in the “Alien” franchise. At its heart, even the most :ahem: disappointing “Alien” films are still entertaining … whether that means screaming “Get away from her” along with Ripley, cheering as an Alien bursts through the chest of a Predator, or stressing during Dr. Elizabeth Shaw’s Alien c-section.

In the days since seeing “Covenant,” I have gotten over some initial feelings of disappointment to revel in the classic, exhilarating elements the film evoked, aka true signs of a successful “Alien” film:

– First and foremost, ya gotta have chest-bursting: Major Check.

– White knuckling my armrests? Check.

– Jump Scares? Check.

– Fangirl screaming (internally of course) when a facehugger latched onto its first victim? Check.

– Feeling phantom chest pains during the film and trying not to panic that trouble’s about to go down internally: Check. (Note: Strangely enough, Alien Chestbursters are not listed on WebMD.)

– Convincing myself there is an Alien in the ceiling of my apartment when I get home: Sadly, Check.

Double the Fassy

I don’t think this really needs an explanation … not only is Michael Fassbender one of the greatest actors working today, but LOOK AT HIM! In “Covenant,” you don’t get just one Fassy performance, you get TWO; he reprises the role of David and introduces a new synthetic, Walter … basically the less aggressive, 2.0 update of David. Anyway, his performance was the highlight of the film. So much so, his characters were the only ones I really rooted for throughout the entire movie (we will get to that issue later).

I don’t want to be super spoilery, but I think I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t warn you to emotionally prepare yourself for a Fassy on Fassy kiss… you heard it here first. BTW, now that he has shown his ability to act against himself, I am writing a treatment for a gender-swapped “It Takes Two” that will make the Olsen Twins wish they were never born.


Whatever you may think about “Covenant,” Ridley Scott and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski shot a beautiful film. From the opening shot, focusing on David’s first moments of “life,” to the landing on the alien planet, I knew we were in for a real treat.

The Bad

• Clunky Script

Man oh man the script needs serious work. I was really annoyed by the way the script talked down to the audience, treating us like we are idiots who need the intricacies of the story spoon-fed to us in order to understand. From an overuse of expositional dialogue, which at its worst kept explaining relationships between the characters, to a few cheesy (almost laughable) scenes, I was taken out of the movie way too many times.

What “Prometheus” did best was allow faith vs. science to be a provocative, subtle theme of the film, existing in the cerebral realm if moviegoers wanted to go there intellectually. But “Covenant” beats you over the head with this concept, leaving nothing really to ponder and, in my opinion, almost cheapening its predecessor’s accomplishments.

Finally, I won’t get too spoilery, but that “twist” at the end was sooooooooooooo telegraphed. I was hoping the actual twist would be that Daniels knew what was going on all along, but NOPE. It was all just that obvious. Yikes. I think “Life,” another FANTASTIC sci-fi horror film released this year, had a much more satisfying third act.

Character Development

Listen, I knew going into “Covenant” we weren’t going to get another Ripley. There is only one, and she is still a few years off (canon-wise) from traveling to LV-426. However, “Prometheus” did a great job of developing interesting characters who made me invested in their survival. Shaw is original in her own right, and I hoped for the same dynamic in “Covenant.”

However, I found the main crew to be extremely dull and one-dimensional, including Daniels (Katherine Waterston). Apart from one cool scene in which she battles the Alien on the outside of the ship … yawn. The only characters I actively rooted for were Walter and David, and as you may remember from “Prometheus,” David isn’t necessarily a hero. Not a good sign.

Also, this gets back to a script issue too but at times I felt like I was watching a parody of a horror movie. The Covenant crew was SO STUPID! Almost every character died because they did something idiotic, for instance: deciding to go out alone in the woods on an alien planet for a bathroom break, going to check out a scary, dark room alone, or leaving the security of your group to freshen up, you guessed it, alone. Wait a second, I’m starting to sense a theme here… .

The Bloody

This is definitely the bloodiest “Alien” movie to date. From chest/back eruptions galore, to varying types of xenomorphs messing humans up, “Covenant” is definitely not for the weak of heart (or stomach). Director Ridley Scott knows how to get an audience’s heart rate up, perfectly timing the most gut-wrenching scene (pun intended) to usher in the start of the film’s high-octane second and third acts. I’ll put it this way, it doesn’t take too long for you to know you’re watching an “Alien” film. And then all of a sudden you realize this is next-level gory … and, let’s be real, freakin’ awesome.

LAUREN BRADHSHAW is a lover of all movies, even the bad ones. Follow her on twitter @flickchickdc. She grew up in Courtland, graduated from Southampton Academy and doubled-majored in foreign affairs and history at the University of Virginia. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.