Alien: Covenant review round up: 'Better than Prometheus'

Ryan Leston
·UK Movies Writer
Will Alien: Covenant make you scream with joy or frustration? Credit: 20th Century Fox
Will Alien: Covenant make you scream with joy or frustration? Credit: 20th Century Fox

The first ‘Alien: Covenant’ reviews are in and it sounds as though it’s an improvement on ‘Prometheus’.

In space, nobody can hear you scream but when it comes to movie opinions, you don’t have to look too far. Everyone has an opinion, and critics have been unleashing their ‘Alien: Covenant’ takes onto the internet as its first reviews begin to appear.

So what does everyone think?

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Well, it looks as though it’s good news for ‘Alien: Covenant’ as most reviewers agree that Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ sequel returns the franchise to its roots.

“There’s life in the old bugger yet,” says The Hollywood Reporter. “And, as always, plenty of death. After the series looked as though it had hit the rocks creatively (not for the first time) with the last entry, Prometheus, five years ago, savvy old master Ridley Scott has resuscitated it, and then some, with Alien: Covenant, the most satisfying entry in the six-films-and-counting franchise since the first two.”

Essentially, they’ve heaped praise onto ‘Covenant’ for bringing the franchise back from the brink of extinction following the rather rubbish ‘Prometheus’… and it’s easy to see why. It’s apparently far more in-line with the original movies – both ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’.

A classic xenomorph... sort of - Credit: 20th Century Fox
A classic xenomorph… sort of – Credit: 20th Century Fox

And that’s definitely a good thing.

Especially as other publications give similarly glowing reports.

“Every second here is tinged with dark foreboding, with the relentless tension that marked the 1979 original,” says The Independent in a 5-star review. “It’s refreshing, too, to see Covenant return to one of the elements that made Alien such a singular thrill: its sense of blind panic.”

Interestingly, it seems as though it’s not just the reverence for the original film that’s getting critics all worked up… but also how ‘Alien: Covenant’ expands on some of the themes seen in ‘Prometheus’.

A better android? - Credit: 20th Century Fox
A better android? – Credit: 20th Century Fox

“It certainly has its Alien-like moments,” explains The Telegraph, which also gave the film 5 stars. “But it’s also very much a sequel to Scott’s previous 2012 Alien ‘origin story’ Prometheus – and every cryptic, half-explored creation metaphor from that unfairly scorned film comes lurching into focus here, with what feels like a maniacal ‘this’ll show ’em’ glint.”

But is that really enough?

It already sounds as though ‘Alien: Covenant’ is a competent retread of the original ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’ movies, at least in terms of style and tone. And for some, that’s enough to make the movie feel a little stale.

“Ridley Scott’s parasitic space alien has returned for this watchable if unoriginal sci-fi thriller — though it doesn’t grow all that much these days,” said The Guardian… and they scored the film a rather average 3 stars. “It’s a greatest-hits compilation of the other Alien films’ freaky moments. The paradox is that though you are intended to recognise these touches, you won’t really be impressed unless you happen to be seeing them for the first time.”

Another Engineer-style alien? - Credit: 20th Century Fox
Another Engineer-style alien? – Credit: 20th Century Fox

It certainly sounds as though ‘Alien: Covenant’ is one to watch for ‘Alien’ fans.

And it’s better than ‘Prometheus’ so that’s something…

But will it stand on its own? We’ll have to wait for the fans to see it to find out.

‘Alien: Covenant’ stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, James Franco, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Callie Hernandez, Carmen Ejogo, Guy Pearce and Noomi Rapace.

Ridley Scott directs, based on a script by John Logan, Jack Paglen, Michael Green , and Dante Harper.

‘Alien: Covenant’ heads to cinemas on 19 May 2017.

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