What follows is full of spoilers! But again, if you have seen the other films Alien, then none of it will be a surprise…
Alien Covenant, is somewhere between Alien and Prometheus. Ridley Scott might have wanted to finally give the answers promised with Prometheus but never came. So here they come, in a very unpleasant way, rushing towards the spectator in a flow of verbal explanations and artistic drawings. In the end, no mystery remains, but a series of inconsistencies. Is David the creator of the xenomorph? Doesn’t seem like it, otherwise how did the Nostromo in the first Alien find eggs in the Juggernaut spaceship? But to be honest, I am sure I missed a lot of references to the saga because the old movies were not fresh in my mind. Maybe Alien Covenant + Prometheus are just launching a new Alien saga and nothing more. Because Alien Covenant leaves you with some interrogations regarding the future.
Tennessee: “We don’t leave Earth to be safe.”
No good lines, no visual effects that will blow your mind, no surprising twist and not a good script…
What’s deplorable is that this film is like a pale copy of the first Alien. It uses the already overused narratives of the saga. A crew is going to be annihilated, one member after another, until there is one or two people left. Without any surprise, you can bet that the new Ripley (Daniels) will survive with some lucky guy who will make it by a series of circumstances. Fun fact, the character of Daniels looks so much like Ripley: from the hair to the wardrobe. If they really want to do another 3 or 4 movies, they probably think they will need to catch up with what was their first glory: Sigourney Weaver’s old character. That’s too bad if they feel they still need to live in that shadow because they will never do something new. What could possibly be new when the audience can make up the movie after only 5 minutes?
The characters are so numerous that you don’t get who’s really who, whereas in Aliens the second for instance, there was a same team configuration, but you could at least remember some names… Big round of applause for the characters’ stupidity. Ok, stupidity is supposed to be a horror movie typical characteristic, otherwise you wouldn’t have a story, but Alien Covenant is not a horror movie. Therefore, why are they so dumb? At the beginning, the crew deliberately decides to go to an unknown planet from where they received a message (does that ring any bell to you?). But they don’t go because they have to, no they do it because it could be suitable for them and they don’t want to go back in their pods…
Don’t expect a movie with a lot of action; Alien Covenant has a few scenes that try to wake you up: the first pursuit of an alien and the big ending when they leave the planet. Between those two, you might expect some thrills since everyone is going to die, but no. Nothing is surprising in the movie. Like its ending you see coming at the second David appears on the screen. Regarding Michael Fassbender’s performance, I don’t know what to think… My first thought is that he had too much to do, playing Walter and David who are very different. In the end, I was not convinced.
David: “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.”
So, is there anything good in Alien Covenant? Yes, the landscape was beautiful! New Zealand has a lot to offer in terms of filming locations. More seriously, I guess there are some interesting references which could have been introduced with more finesse, but which still deserve to be noticed. The civilisation of the planet Paradise reminds the Roman Empire. The way their city is built and the fact they all burned like in Pompeii. After that, David lives in a huge cemetery that he created himself. So David’s bitterness against humanity is so big, he destroys all living creatures in Paradise, meaning that for him, humans don’t even deserve a hypothetical better life after death. Obviously, since Prometheus David hates humankind, but in Alien Covenant he hates it so much, he wants to exterminate it. Of course he will use them first for some science experiments where they could serve him as hosts for his beloved creatures. We become his guinea pig, no better than a laboratory subject.
David is an interesting character to analyze. I think he is more human than he wants to. Deep down David is a lot like a sociopath. He likes to kill animals, chopping them to see how they work. Don’t let me start with what he probably did to Shaw… He is profoundly narcissistic and uses others for his own purposes. Yes, he is an android, but forged with everything bad mankind could possibly offer.
David wants to create more than anything, he has a God complex. This is ironic since human beings have exactly the same complex and that’s why they created him. Even though he knows its origins, David doesn’t have any purpose in life that distinguishes him from us, except for the fact he is vindictive, but why? David is so close to be human, that he makes mistakes (when Walter correct him after quoting Byron instead of Shelley). I guess if David is still in the next movie, it will be interesting to see how he evolves.
There are at least two references to Star Wars. The one and only “I am your father”. Also in his first appearance, David looks a lot like a Sith. The fight between Walter and David at the end reminds of The Matrix. Walter fights with an arm behind his back and masters every movement of the fight as Neo. Some could say that Alien Covenant finds a way to pay tribute to some classics of science-fiction or it could another proof that Alien Covenant can’t propose anything new even in its core.