WARNING! This review contains spoilers!!
This movie really should have been called David: The pointless addition to the Alien franchise. The entire thing just felt so unnecessary! I’m going to try and explain why but just know that I did not walk out of this movie mad, but I certainly walked out bored. I’m going to explain why, but I’m going to start with the smaller things.
First and foremost the characters. I can tell you three character’s names and one of them is David. That’s not a great thing in a movie that starts with a crew of 13 new people running around doing things. There’s just no development. They spend no time getting to know people that you feel like you should care about. The entire thing feels like there was a lot cut out because I just don’t care about the Captain whatever his name was and I’m sure I was supposed to be upset when he went down! But I wasn’t!
Next I want to talk about David. It was Fassbender’s movie, man. He was amazing in it. Problem is the franchise is not called David. He’s not what this should have been about. I don’t actually care about David as a character with motivations and grievances and drives. He’s not important to me on a larger scale. This movie made the entire thing about him, and I mean the ENTIRE thing. All of it! I didn’t need to know where the Aliens came from or if they were created or whatever else they could come up with. That’s not what it was ever about! Not know what these things are adds to the terror, and that seaways nicely to my next and biggest complaint.
The first movie is a nearly flawless horror/sci-fi film. You feel the tension and the energy the crew is exuding dealing with this bizarre unknown threat. It’s terrifying! In Aliens, there is less fear but plenty of frustration. We now know what these things are and how they work, so they turn it into a zombie film with the hordes coming after you! Three brings back some of the fear, but the script is so unevenly paced you lose a lot of that in the slower scenes in the middle. Resurrection is fun (wait for it…) but not good. It’s season 1 of Buffy and so there is little to no tension. The Zenomorphs are more cartoon like. That same space is where Covenant severely drops the ball! The whole reason these movies are considered as great as they are is THE HUMANS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE PRAY! That’s where the fear comes from. We are the hunted, and our pursuer is smarter, faster, and harder to kill than us. It’s the fear that we’re not the top of the food chain anymore.
In Covenant the humans were just kind of constantly surprised and then killed shortly after. No real hiding or running, just happy oblivious sheep that, beyond Danny McBride’s Tennessee, never show any sustained fear. T’s fear isn’t even about the Xenomorphs, it’s concern for his wife! When he sees the Xenomorph for the first time his only reactions are “We’ve got company” and “I found them.” He has never seen anything like this before and that’s how he reacts? People are only scared about the Xenomorphs for the few seconds before they die. That breaks the entire movie! We need to be scared of the Xenos, not just think of them as weapons, or animals.
There’s a new alien in this too. They’re calling it a Neomorph. There are two of them in the entire film. There are only four aliens total! The Neos have no real reason to them, no explanation, and we’ll probably never see them again. They existed, in my opinion, because they allow more and different toy sales. They had all the same issues as the Xenomorphs as well. They weren’t scary, and these things are all supposed to be the most deadly predators ever found. None of them really last very long either. They kill one or two people and then are put down. They’re just so frustratingly mediocre.
The graphics were amazing and the design was nice and the sound design was well done, and some of the camera shots were not meh. But that alone can’t make a movie watchable! I’m not opposed to world building, but we ended this movie with nothing seriously impactful to the story happening. Some will argue the origin of the Xenomorphs being a big deal, but that’s not what made them interesting so it almost feels like a negative. The movie is not anger inducingly bad, but it’s also not very good.
I’ll just say it is easily my least favorite Alien movie now.