‘Alien: Covenant,’ the new sci-fi horror film directed by Ridley Scott, premiered in London on May 4. The sequel to the 2012 film ‘Prometheus’ follows a ship traveling into space, but after an incident, the crew needs to land on an uncharted planet. They soon realize that they’ve made a huge mistake, but it is already too late.
Here’s the trailer:
The movie marks the third title in the ‘Alien’ film series directed by Scott, the second in the ‘Alien’ prequel series and the sixth installment overall in the series, which began in 1989. It stars Michael Fassbender in the role of the android Walter, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride and Demián Bichir.
Although the film will be released in the United States on May 19, some reviews have already surfaced, and there are definitely some mixed feelings among the critics, mainly because it is full of horror and gore, but at the same time, it is too slow paced, or maybe just boring.
The bloodthirsty extraterrestrials are the best part of the film
The 80-year-old director made an effort trying to blend its 2012 predecessor, ‘Prometheus,’ with elements of the critically-acclaimed first two titles of the franchise, from almost 40 years ago. To some critics, it accomplishes to do so, with the integration of many of the freakiest moments from previous ‘Alien’ entries. Of course, you would not be that impressed if you’ve already seen it, but for ‘Alien’ newbies, the experience may be nightmarish.
The most praised aspect of the film is the its strength and extreme amounts of horror it brings. As soon as the aliens show up, viewers can be sure that they will see some hideous, gory kills. Priscilla Page wrote in a review for Birth.Movies.Death, that it is “a film that drags its characters to hell… It’s a film that got under my skin and took hold, not unlike a little rogue chestburster.”
Fassbender and Waterson’s performances have also been acclaimed, described by Peter Bradshaw from ‘The Guardian’ as “forceful” and “potent.”
The storyline is weak, and the rhythm is way too slow
Although the monstrous creatures are really terrifying, that’s not enough to save the film. Most critics agree with the fact that the movie takes way too much time to actually show you something important or interesting.
After the crew lands on the unfamiliar planet, it soon gets obvious for everyone – viewers and crew – bad things are about to happen. The problem is, that moment takes too long to arrive. The two-hour long film takes an excessive amount of time to show the crew deciding to land on the planet. Things turn on a little bit when they get off the ship and begin exploring around, but the best part was saved for last.
As Germain Lussier describes for Gizmodo’s io9, the only character you get to know is Daniels, played by Waterson, and maybe a little bit from Tennessee, a pilot played by Danny McBride. As for the rest of the crew, the only thing you learn is that they are on the flight to do a job. More than half of the movie is filled with barely relevant interactions between the characters.
Things get progressively more interesting as the main moment of the aliens gets near, but the mood is pretty monotone most of the time. “What you do get,” says Lussier, “is a lot of explanation of what happened after ‘Prometheus.’” While Fassbender’s performance is great, his character pretty much ruins anything that was good or memorable about ‘Prometheus,’ leaving almost nothing to the imagination.
Most critics agree that the best part is the final one, but it is not as epic as other entries have had. Also, while most of the movie is sluggish, all the greatest scenes and gorish events are shown in a very short period of time, blocking the possibilities of a tense ending.
Other critics say that at this point, the franchise maybe has not much more content to offer, describing the film as “familiar” or even “routinary.” “You almost wish it was terrible because then at least it would have taken some risks. Instead, you’re left with an instantly forgettable piece of entertainment with boring characters, obvious mysteries, and none of the horror that made the ‘Alien’ franchise so great,” Lussier writes.