Spoilerdome – ALIEN: COVENANT

We know you're just BURSTING to talk about this film!

It’s fierce, it’s slimy and it’s got that whole MOUTH-CEPTION thing going on. That’s right: the Alien franchise has returned, helmed by the fellow who started the whole thing: Ridley Scott. So what are your thoughts? How does it compare to the original? To Aliens? Does it reach the lofty heights of Alien vs. Predator: Requiem? It seems to me like there’s a broad spectrum of opinion on this entry, and I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Chime in in the comments below!

  • ALIEN: COVENANT is not a perfect movie, and it’s certainly not up with the first two films in the franchise, but it won me over with its profound oddness and surprisingly considered thematics. I can forgive plot holes, dumb characters and a perfunctory climax when there are at least a couple characters worth caring about and some ideas worth discussing.

    I predict most will hate the chestburster scene, but for me it was the high point of the film. It forces you to confront the most nihilistic idea imaginable: that David is right, and the Xenomorph’s singular, murderous perfection is something to be prized. Maybe David really has one-upped his creators after all.

    • It revels in the idea that some of us have had since the first movie: that the Alien is “a perfect organism.” The best monsters are the ones you can love, and the Alien is one and David loves it.

  • Butts Carlton

    The Neomorph is the Hybrid from RESURRECTION done right.

    I mentioned in my review that this had more in common with ALIEN 3 than any of the other sequels, but thinking about it I think this might be an even meaner film. Every character for the most part has to watch their husband or wife, the person they cherish most in the world, die a brutal and painful death. Daniels has to watch James Franco get burned alive in his sleep, Tennessee has to listen to his wife’s last words and be helpless to save her, Lope witnessing his husband’s mutilated death via throatburster, and Upworth watches Ricks get impaled in the head. Like I mentioned, it’s a movie about how everything you ever love and will love will die. It’s such a meanspirited film, And I kind of love it

    • I have a hard time seeing it as mean-spirited for exactly the reason Priscilla Page outlines in her review on Birth.Movies.Death.: it presents David sympathetically, and in sympathizing with David, you must see the Alien’s action as good or beautiful on some level.

      Obviously I don’t/can’t like that it kills people. But I’m #TeamAlien all the way and viewed in that lens the movie is almost triumphant.

  • Not sure how this’ll go down, but I prefer Prometheus in a pretty major way.

    I know that Prometheus isn’t what people wanted from an Alien film and that’s fine, but taken on its own terms, Prometheus is a really interesting musing on the dynamic between creator and creation that I was looking forward to seeing get a proper a sequel. But Alien: Covenant isn’t that sequel – instead, it’s a film that feels compromised from the ground up, another Xenomorph movie that Scott fits a continuation of the themes of Prometheus in whenever he can. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the more Prometheus sections are also the best sections of the film, and I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that Scott seems to be coasting during the Xenomorph related action scenes – this isn’t the film he wanted to make and at times that shows.

    Still, I’m grateful the film exists for its continuation of Prometheus, even if it doesn’t come in the form that I wanted to.

    • I both agree and disagree.

      On one hand, I also prefer PROMETHEUS’ tonal and aesthetic approach to the material, and PROMETHEUS often has a visual grandeur that COVENANT can’t really match.

      On the other hand, I don’t think PROMETHEUS has much of a cohesive thematic statement, besides what lip service the characters pay to it.

      COVENANT, on the other hand, actually has very strong thematic cohesion and incorporates its ideas in an interesting way (the chestburster, David and the Neomorph, the prologue, the flute scene). It has a bit more overall compromise in returning to its ALIEN roots (My theory would be that Ridley pitched his sequel idea and Fox waffled on it for being too weird so he split the difference by pumping up the horror and Xeno elements), but I think it’s also way more successful in its aims.

    • I was very disappointed in Prometheus, but I agree with you. To my surprise I wanted to explore David’s story much more than another iteration of the classic Alien story. I wanted to see the film between Prometheus and Covenant. I guess I’m impressed that Scott / Logan etc managed to create some genuine mystique there when I was one of the folks who clamored hard for the franchise to return to its slasher action roots.

  • Something I’ve been hearing from a lot of fans of the film is that, unlike PROMETHEUS, it is thematically interesting. I’m afraid I’m just not seeing it. To me it felt like more PROMETHEUS-style thematic posturing, with nothing particularly interesting under the surface. The one advantage it has is that it’s not as pretentious about it. So, I’d be really interested to see some elaboration on this. What are people seeing in this film that I’m missing?

    Beyond that, I felt it was a decent enough (if unmemorable) horror film with a good cast and the typical level of Ridley Scott craft on display. I wasn’t a fan of how it doubled down on the element of Alien origins. I realize that’s kind of the point of these new films, but I feel the xenos are better off with some mystery retained. “Where did they come from? Why, this mad scientist android designed them!” No thanks.

    One side note, I think the film seems unengaged when it comes to the traditional xenomorphs. The sequences involving them are boring as hell, unlike some of the great other gory set pieces. I mean, BOTH of them are killed because they idiotically run head first into construction equipment. Very boring

    • I’ll just link you to my Letterboxd review. I go over my take on the film’s thematics within.

      http://boxd.it/hk7wB

    • I loved the thematics, though I think I may have just loved David more, but I’ll concede that (like ALIEN3 actually) it becomes a bit boring when it tries to do action.

  • Thanks! I just wrote that as a way of getting my thoughts more organized. I was shocked when it came out to over 1400 words.

  • I’m baffled. I spent the first half hour grateful that it felt so much tighter than Prometheus, and the last half hour wishing it was as tight as Prometheus. It is gorgeously made, obviously, and the cast is terrific, but it just doesn’t know what to do with itself. Depending on my mood I either really appreciate its ambition despite its messiness, or I’m just as frustrated as I was by Prometheus.

    I LOVED David’s lair and the twist on the mad scientist zombie master. That had a lot of potential but the horror elements were a poor fit IMO. I liked all the horror stuff well enough in its own but it belonged to a different film. Also, David’s backstory, closing the gap from Prometheus to “now” – that to me was a much, much more compelling tale than what we got. I wanted to see him experiment and gradually destroy a planet and build a monument to Dr Shaw’s remains. That was such an overloaded backstory as to render the whole thing ridiculous for me.

    I think it will grow on me over time but honestly the impulse to deliver a bog standard Alien film got in the way of something that should have been altogether a different animal.