Review Roundup: Alien: Covenant is one of the best Alien films in decades
A return to form.
One of the most iconic horror franchises is back on the big screen this week with Alien: Covenant. While the series has a rocky history with two great movies and a bunch of really terrible sequels, it seems director Ridley Scott has managed to hone it back in with Covenant.
Many fans criticized the last film, Prometheus, due to leaps in logic, lack of actual aliens, and more but Ridley Scott heard those cries and set out to right those wrongs. With Covenant, a new cast of characters set foot on a new planet which holds a dark secret. The film sets out to mix the horror of the original films and the story and style of the new Alien prequels but does Ridley manage to nail it or has he lost his touch?
Alien: Covenant currently has a rating of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes with a total of 176 reviews. The reviews from Rotten Tomatoes' "top critics" section give Covenant a 90% with 29 total reviews. Below, you'll find a handful of reviews for the movie from some of the top publications who have reviewed the film.
strikes a more favorable balance between the unwieldy philosophical ideas of Prometheus and the classic horror and suspense of the 1979 original film. Despite continuing Prometheus’ questionable line of inquiry into the xenomorphs’ origins and occasionally adopting its histrionic tone for entire scenes, Covenant’s framework and exciting action put enough new spins on the series’ most reliable touchstones that the cast is able to carry it through to a satisfying end."
The Hollywood Reporter
"Scott and the writers have achieved an outstanding balance in Alien: Covenant among numerous different elements: Intelligent speculation and textbook sci-fi presumptions, startlingly inventive action and audience-pleasing old standbys, philosophical considerations and inescapable genre conventions, intense visual splendor and gore at its most grisly. The drama flows gorgeously and, unlike in many other franchises in which entries keep getting longer every time out, this one is served up without an ounce of fat. It provides all the tension and action the mainstream audience could want, along with a good deal more."
"... Scott has put together visually stunning, fast-paced, and thrilling entertainment — the kind that freshman directors are expected to make straight out of Sundance these days, but rarely do. The confidence on screen here is the cinematic equivalent of the filmmaker rolling up his sleeves and saying that he’s got this."
"Covenant is an Alien movie made for 2017. It doesn’t have the original’s restraint or eerie quietness. There’s probably more footage of the xenomorph in the trailer for Covenant than in entire ’79 Alien. But the update also speeds things up. The movie understands that the audience knows exactly where the story is going, so it gets there quickly. It’s not going to slow down to give Crewmember #4’s demise some (or any) dramatic weight.
One leg up that Covenant has is Scott’s refusal to entirely jettison the biblical weirdness of Prometheus. There’s still plenty of vague discussion about creation, but the movie is essentially a compromise between the prior film’s fans and haters. Some of us [clears throat] will miss those big swings, but regardless of where you landed with Prometheus, there’s bound to be something to delight you in Covenant because, Scott — thankfully — still makes ’em like he used to."
"Without resorting to spoilers, let us say that what you think you know doesn't dent the killer suspense, the truly disgusting goo of the alien effects (damn those facehuggers!) or Scott's skill at making us jump out of our seats while planting disturbing seeds of discussion that stay with you long after you leave the multiplex. It's true that the film is covering old ground – the shocking originality of the first Alien is a one-time thing. No worries. I'd rank Alien: Covenant with the best of the series, right after the first two chapters. Fans are going to freak out. Join in."
"... “Alien: Covenant” ultimately comes down to the shocking effects that made the first film so memorable. Once the title character appears, the blood starts to flow — and spurt and gush and envelope the hissing, devil-tailed succubi that will eventually grow into the faceless wraiths of legend, lore and now seemingly endless pre-boots. Presumably, Scott is giving the audience what it wants, but purists may wonder whether simply re-watching “Alien” would have provided scarier, more genuine jolts."
"This is one of Scott’s best-directed movies and one of his most entertaining overall, partly because he’s working in a genre, the science fiction spectacle, that he does better than anyone since Stanley Kubrick, but also because he seems to be approaching it almost entirely in terms of visceral impact and emotion—as symphony of fire and blood, poetry and schlock. The best sequences (in particular the spore infestation that brings us inside an ear canal, the first attack in the grass, the flute scene, the flashback revealing the city’s destruction, and the escape from the planet) put nearly everything else being done in science fiction or fantasy at this budget level to shame. It’s rare to see such a combination of technical mastery and wicked joy in a film by a director who’s been working as long as Scott. This is the third best “Alien” movie after the first two, but don’t be surprised if repeat viewings kick it up a notch. "
Alien: Covenant releases on Friday, May 19th.