Review of ALIEN COVENANT (2017)


I just recently caught a viewing of the latest installment of the ALIEN franchise, ALIEN COVENANT, and despite some very good special effects sequences and action, and some fine acting, I found it fairly underwhelming. Certainly nothing to write home about. Just more of the same in a long-running franchise, whose best two installments are still the original 1979 film and its first sequel, 1986's ALIENS by James Cameron.


Despite being directed once again by the respected filmmaker Ridley Scott, who directed the original film and 2012's PROMETHEUS prequel, this newest movie fails to recapture (for me, at least) the thrill and heart-pounding drama of the first two films. It is a tried and true, and in my opinion, fairly tired formula.


This time, we are introduced to the crew of the colonization starship Covenant in what is essentially a sequel to PROMETHEUS and a prequel to ALIEN (1979).  It stars Michael Fastbender, Katherine Wasterston and Billy Crudup as some of the 15 crew members of the huge vessel, which also carries 2000 colonists and 1,400 human embryos to the distant world of Origae-6. While en route, a stellar burst damages the ship and causes the death of 47 of the colonists.  As the crew works on repairing the ship, a nearby planet is discovered, which contains a crashed alien vessel (which has a design quite familiar to fans of the franchise). They make the ill-fated decision to investigate this radio transmission coming from the downed spacecraft. It isn't long before our heroes are confronted by terrifying xenomorph alien creatures, in their various life cycles (egg, facehugger, baby xenomorph, adult xenomorph). The adventurers also encounter a never-before-seen species local to that unexplored planet----the neomorph species. This pale variety, which looks somewhat similar to the classic xenomorph, comes to life after gestating inside a human who has inhaled alien spores found on that planet.  

Anyway, the plot of the movie is fairly run-of-the-mill. It doesn't really bring anything we haven't seen before. It is good for what it is---a big budget sci-fi thriller. I give it TWO-AND-A-HALF TRIBBLES out of four.


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