Friday Feature: 'Alien: Covenant'

While Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant is receiving mostly positive reviews and adequately delivers what you’d expect from a deep space alien thriller, I’m not sold that it’s worth the price of admission for more than serious fans of the Alien franchise.

Bound for a distant planet that may contain a sustainable environment, the crew of the colony ship Covenant encounters an unknown radio transmission along their journey and decides to investigate. Although the habitat they encounter appears to hold answers on what happened to the ship Prometheus before them, it also has dangers beyond anyone’s dreams that ultimately risk the lives of the entire crew as well as every colonist on board.

The 2nd installment in the Alien prequel series, Alien: Covenant is a follow up to the 2012 film Prometheus and is the sixth overall film in the Alien franchise. Like its predecessor, Covenant features all you’d think of in a space-alien terror film - blood, guts, alien creatures, people dying, vast special effects and more. But how many times are we going to watch the same predictable story of a space crew venturing off course to encounter a mysterious signal that eventually leads all but one person to their gruesome death?

Covenant delivers more alien-related action than Prometheus, but the two films are very similar. There is a strong female protagonist in Katherine Waterston’s “Daniels” character, much like Noomi Rapace and Sigourney Weaver in Prometheus and Alien, respectively, and in all three films, a crew traveling in space goes to investigate a new planet, only to come across the same dangerous alien creature.

Despite the positive aspects of this film, it just felt incomplete or as if something was missing. It feels like we waited five years after Prometheus for a quality sequel that would answer many of the questions of the last film while progressing the story, and it turns out the sequel is just a slight extension and reflection of its predecessor that only creates more questions.

Young audiences and those who don’t do well with graphic material should be aware of what the film involves. At one point after the small parasites have infected members of the crew investigating the new area, it’s like a switch is flipped as the creatures start quickly growing and begin ripping out of the people’s bodies in horrifying, bloody fashion. Everything is fine and then all of a sudden, people are screaming, dying, and being torn apart by the creatures.

Scott, who directed the 1979 Alien, Prometheus, and Covenant, is said to have multiple sequels in the works, and depending on the success of Covenant, we may see additional installments within a couple years.

Starring Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride and James Franco, Covenant presents quite a bit of thrilling sci-fi entertainment and attractive CGI, but it’s not everything I had hoped for. Other critics agree that while Covenant is far from perfect, it’s a satisfying and thrilling experience. If you’re a fan of the Alien series or deep space terror adventures, check it out in theaters this weekend and decide for yourself.

3 out of 5 stars.

Alien: Covenant is rated R for sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality/nudity. Running time is 2 hours and 2 minutes.

Hayden Pittman is a special contributor to WFAA.com and a freelance writer, photographer/videographer, and filmmaker in Dallas, TX. You can find more of his work on Selig Film News. He is a film, TV, and sports enthusiast, and when he is not reviewing movies, Hayden works in film production. Don't like what he has to say? Let him know at hpittman87@gmail.com, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at @HPMoviePitt. Enjoy the movies!

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