by Roi Lim
Alien: Covenant fulfills the covenant that began in Prometheus; it explains how the Aliens came to be. It’s told through the story of 15 crew members of the colony ship Covenant, who are entrusted with the herculean task of bringing 2000 members safely to a habitable planet. They end up hunted in dark, claustrophobic, steel corridors, and creepy, mysterious, shadowy ruins. A smart, sketchy robot and stealthy, tactical aliens await.
You’d think humanity would send the best and brightest crew on such a daring endeavor in the 22nd century. But this movie revolves around the worst type of grunts James Bond dispatches. They explore uncharted environments without space suits that the Prometheus crew had, and possess weaponry and training less sophisticated than guards hunting down James Bond. This leads to several gruesome deaths, more funny and gruesome deaths, and a few unimpressive action scenes.
If someone jumps out frightened at any point, it’s probably because they never heard of Alien movies. The cinema was packed when I saw it, yet not a single scream was uttered. But even if the bursting, leaping and hiding aliens don’t take you by surprise, the deaths are tremendously graphic and stomach-churning. They are painful to describe, and there is nothing funny about them.
While it’s unsettling enough to invoke genuine horror in a few scenes, your fear gets mitigated in others because you end up laughing at people getting killed because of their stupidity. You can also be dazzled in disbelief at their abject lack of caution. Aside from some characters being married, there’s barely any character development, or memorable traits that makes you care about crew deaths. The plot’s predictable too. Annoyingly, the most disturbing, scariest scene gets ruined by two incompetent schmucks screwing up because they trip. Is that scary?
Despite all this, knowing when the terror’s coming isn’t all that bad. There’s a horror in knowing doom is inevitable and you realize you must watch the human body wrecked, deformed and contorted by such hideous, otherworldly yet determined creatures. If you enjoy the shock that causes you to lean back and turn away from freaky, repugnant imagery, then don’t miss this. Enjoy torture porn? This is better than simple, bloody gore you’re probably desensitized to.
[pull_quote]”There’s a horror in knowing doom is inevitable and you realize you must watch the human body wrecked, deformed and contorted by such hideous, otherworldly yet determined creatures.”[/pull_quote]
Finally, there are two robots played by Michael Fassbender whose conversations about humanity some people might find profound and philosophical. I didn’t though. In fact, I don’t remember a single quote. Once you get to the end, and everything is revealed, you won’t feel anything awesome. I wish I didn’t care much about what the film had to say entering the cinema.
Overall, I’m still left excited for the next movie in the series. Despite the audience becoming harder to surprise, Alien: Covenant has some novel horrors worth experiencing.
If you haven’t yet, watch the trailer here: