‘Serve in Heaven or reign in Hell…’
The Alien franchise is weird. There are certain tropes and characters that act like beacons appearing sporadically down a lonesome road; Ripley, Bishop, Face Huggers etc. But mostly these films all seem to exist in isolation of each other. Almost as if you asked six people to make six different films, given only a picture of the famous Xenomorphs as a guide. Despite the final two entries in the franchise, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, both being directed by Ridley Scott, they still feel miles apart.
In the second paragraph I would normally outline the plot of whatever it is I’m reviewing but I can’t really do that here because most of the time I didn’t have a clue what was going on during Alien: Covenant. One thing that is for absolute certain is that there was loads of Michael Fassbender’s knocking around. According to IMDB, Fassbender only plays two characters in this movie but this seems preposterous. There was gay Fassbender and hippy Fassbender. Android Fassbender and human Fassbender. Good Fassbender and bad Fassbender. And now I’ve said Fassbender so many times that it has lost all meaning.
Ridley Scott has delivered a film that is a sequel to Prometheus and a prequel to Alien and yet still feels like it has little to do with either. There is nothing coherent to connect these films any more and they certainly don’t work as a standalone entity.
With Alien: Covenant, Scott has managed to make a film about huge, alien killing machines boring. It’s as if he has lost a bet. And while the visceral thrill of seeing the Face Huggers back in action is a welcome one, it simply isn’t enough to rouse anything other than a befuddled shrug. How did it come to this?
Apparently, Ridley Scott is planning at least one more sequel that would bring us full circle to Alien. If that’s the case, Alien: Covenant needs to be used as a blueprint for how not to make an Alien movie. It’s almost as bad as Alien vs Predator… Almost.