Alien: Covenant, more like Alien: Commercialization. The only reason this film is enjoyable, which it undoubtedly is, is because it’s a highlight’s reel of the Alien franchise. Alien: Covenant is a compilation of the greatest moments in the Alien franchise, from Ripley replica to a fight with an alien involving a crane.
There’s a bubbling frustration that arises when reviewing this film because I cannot deny it has some particularly awesome moments, the problem being these moments are carefully selected moments that were proven successful in previous Alien films. There are pockets of newness and brilliance in this new chapter of the Alien/Prometheus franchise, but even these are tied to another sci-fi film Scott previously worked on, Blade Runner. His focus on the rise of the humanoid machine via the androids portrayed in this film mark some great observations about the demise of humans and the rise of the perfected computer, but this is an Alien movie is it not, because it clearly renders Prometheus worthless after reducing its plot to a flashback that eradicates any meaning that could have helped that film.
In a review style that more similar to what I used to do in the past, let’s now take a look at the positives. Well, the ensemble they managed to gather is great, from a short-lived James Franco to a phenomenal double Michael Fassbender plus all that lies in between. But, if this were to be called anyone’s movie, that title wouldn’t be attributed to the classic xenomorph, but to Michael Fassbender instead, not Walter, not David, Fassbender. I used to think of it as sad whenever an emotionless robot turned out to be best part of a film full of humans, but as of late I’ve began finding it incredibly interesting. Partly due to the mastery Sir Ridley Scott employs when portraying androids, but the real reason of why androids are so pronounced in this film is because Alien: Covenant is a film about the artificial creation of life above anything else, with androids being our entry-point into that mysterious world where the creator and created live among each other and it only being a matter of time before the created notices he’s better. It’s the classic story of the suppressed rising against the suppressor, except we’re the suppressor in this story, feeling innately repulsed by the idea of an emotionless machine of our creation rising up against us just because he think he’s better than us.
There’s always the lusciousness that unfolds before the camera that I can praise and although there’s no one who can visually direct sci-fi like him, that saying has become standard among people reviewing a Ridley Scott film. At the core of this story an intriguingly complex reflection on artificial lifeforms, the only problem is the surrounding we must endure to get there is a network of bastardized moments from previous Alien films. The final confrontation in this film is literally identical to that of the original Alien except now its been upped by a bigger budget. Although I enjoyed Covenant, I abhor what it stands for, the formulaic commercialization of a once beloved original sci-fi film classic. It belittles the franchise to the constraints of the typical Hollywood blockbuster, there’s seriously like five more of these in the works and we’re just filing behind the ticket-vendor looking to get satisfied by a re-appropriation of what once was classic, original sci-fi.
With regards to its dealing in the land of electric sheep, Ridley Scott hits it out of the park. The idea of this film being a bridge between Prometheus and the Alien franchise can be completely discarded because this film discards the entirety of the events that occurred in Prometheus. Most importantly, as an Alien film, I’d have to neglectfully agree to it working, the only reason it does being as a result of it hijacking a successfully proven scenes from past films in the franchise. Alien: Covenant is the perfect commercial film for the modern age but a complete betrayal of the film that birthed the franchise it has now uprooted.