Alien: Covenant is incoherent and pointlessly complicated

Danny Woods
May 19, 2017

Everything in Alien was new and surprising - 38 years later, we largely know what to expect.

Which is to say the squirm-inducing franchise appears to remain sentient almost 40 years after "Alien" shocked theater-goers in 1979.

Guess which one is going to last? Admittedly, we didn't really need to know, because the fun of an Alien movie is the mystery of the unknown.

Payne left a huge mark on the film industry, and being that she was very active in Scott's filmmaking family and played a huge role in so many of his most loved works, her dedication at the end of Alien: Covenant makes ideal sense. Specifically, others who've had careers as celebrated and far more consistent than his own: James Cameron, David Fincher, Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Remember, it's an Alien movie. To Scott, this apparently amounted to artistic negligence. We know majority will die before film's end, so part of the intrigue becomes who will survive, and how.

Such is the problem director Ridley Scott faces in "Alien: Covenant", which arrives a full 38 years after the original "Alien", the blockbuster that made Scott an overnight sensation in Hollywood and turned Sigourney Weaver into an instant icon.

Without giving too much away, the expedition doesn't go as planned.

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OK, then what happened in Prometheus? .

The spaceship USCSS Covenant is en route to a planet called Origae-6 in order to start a new human colony. The surprise is, this alien, spawned from a single drop of black goo, cross-infected by two human hosts, a squid alien and an Engineer, looks more like the Alien Xenomorphs that we're already familiar with from the Alien franchise. In Covenant, that's Katherine Waterston's character, Danny. The odds of that are better if you live somewhere besides the United States; Prometheus made two-thirds of its $403 million in foreign markets. If not, feel free to skip it; unlike most of the Covenant's crew, you'll survive.

Fassbender told The National, in an interview published yesterday, that Covenant would be "scarier" than Prometheus, but not too "relentless". Fassbender was the best thing about Prometheus, and he's even better here, playing David as a megalomaniac who has literally supplanted his own gods, and then contrasting David with Walter in a series of riveting scenes in which Fassbender acts opposite himself.

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. And like some of the alien offspring, "Covenant" is a hybrid: part gory "Alien"-style scare-fest, part chilly "Prometheus" existentialism". I can't say the same about Covenant. "Ridley Scott's idea to wrap the machines in gold delivered a stunning result and is certainly an eye-catching addition to a film which will be seen by millions of people around the world". Prometheus is essentially Alien: Prometheus, now that Covenant links the two. The Weyland-Yutani Corporation was willing to bear whatever loss of life was necessary to obtain and patent xeno specimens.

"One of the big deals for me was to come to Hollywood", the Brit recalls. One whose structural perfection is matched only by its hostility. Ahead of the release of the movie, cast members Danny McBride, Billy Crudup, and Jussie Smollett spoke to Inverse about how the entire ensemble collaborated with director Scott to create a believable starship crew.

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