Grade: C-

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Author: Billy Madden

Alien: Covenant, the continuation of the Alien franchise, arrived in theaters this weekend, May 19, 2017. If aliens are your main motive to see this movie (which they should be), you will be sorely disappointed. If you’re a big fan of Michael Fassbender, you’ll be happy to know you get a double dosage of him. Unfortunately, Michael Fassbender alone doesn’t justify the price of admission in a movie where the focus (aliens; heck, it’s in the title) do not appear until the 45-minute mark. The whole movie is only 2 hours. That means almost half of the movie doesn’t contain a single alien! The script is very dialogue-heavy, and some rather uninspired action sequences are peppered throughout.

I have to admit that I am not an Alien junkie, and I do not know the subtle nuances of the Alien storyline; still, even a non-fan would find this movie predictable. Looking back to my first experience with Alien (the 1979 version with Sigourney Weaver), I remember suspense, scares, and action. Covenant seemed like a recycled lazy script completely devoid of all three while bringing nothing new.

Fassbender is a great actor, and he was wasted in this role, making him act stiff and robotic. Yes, one of his two roles was an android; still, it came off weird and relatable. Katherine Waterston tried to act like the tough girl who could handle Xenomorph scum but instead was portrayed in a weak and cheesy role. Definitely not on par with Sigourney’s iconic role. Billy Crudup did a decent job as Oram, still his character was also surprisingly weak. Danny McBride was part of the Covenant crew who played a token Southern Boy appropriately named Tennessee.

The only saving grace for Alien: Covenant is the great CGI, probably where the studio spent most of the money. The first planet the Covenant crew arrives on reminded me of a bleaker Pandora from 2009’s Avatar. As usual, the trouble starts when crew members unknowingly interact with alien spores. The “infection” scenes were well done and shot in a way that gave the audience an exact understanding of how all extraterrestrial hell can break loose in your body.

Despite its pallid take on a beloved franchise, Alien: Covenant was entertaining enough to hold my attention for two hours. Perhaps the next installment will deliver on the thrills the franchise is known for. Either way, best to see this installment at home or matinee.

Rated: R (for violence, bloody images, language, and some sexuality/nudity)
Director: Ridley Scott
Screenwriter: John Logan
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollet, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, Noomi Rapace, James Franco
Genre: SciFi, Thriller

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created with Alien: Covenant, a new chapter in his groundbreaking Alien franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise but is a dark, dangerous world. They must attempt a harrowing escape when they uncover a threat beyond their imagination.

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