Aug 182017
 

Alien: Covenant had plenty of potential as it starts off well enough before taking a nosedive into derivative territory, filled with idiotic characters, and an utterly stupid finale.

 

 

Alien: Covenant
(2017)

Genre(s): Sci-Fi, Horror, Thriller
Fox | R – 122 min. – $34.99 | August 15, 2017

Date Published: 08/18/2017 | Author: The Movieman

 


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Writer(s): Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett (characters); Jack Paglen and Michael Green (story), John Logan and Dante Harper (screenplay)
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Callie Hernandez, Guy Pearce
DISC INFO:
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailers
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray, DVD
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 42.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

 


THE MOVIE — 2.0/5


There comes a point when maybe a studio should just let a franchise die. Paramount hasn’t come to that juncture with Terminator sadly but one can hope with its lackluster box office, and poor reviews, Alien: Covenant will force Fox to move on.

Taking place about 10 years after the events of Prometheus and sometime prior to Alien, Alien: Covenant opens on the space craft of the same name, on its journey to colonize the planet Origae-6 with 2,000 colonists and 1,000+ embryos, face a catastrophic failure following a freak electrical burst forces android Walter (MICHAEL FASSBENDER), who takes care of the ship, to wake the crew up from their cryo-sleep. This burst not only kills some of the colonists, but Covenant’s captain (James Franco cameo alert), and husband to third-in-command, Janet “Danny” Daniels (KATHERINE WATERSTON). Now, the ship is under the command of Chris Oram (BILLY CRUDUP), a man of faith.

Other members of the crew include: chief pilot Tennessee Faris (DANNY MCBRIDE); security head Sergeant Lope (DEMIAN BICHIR); biologist and wife to Oram Karine (CARMEN EJOGO), lander pilot and Tennessee’s wife, Maggie Faris (AMY SEIMETZ); communications officer Upworth (CALLIE HERNANDEZ); and navigator Ricks (JUSSIE SMOLLETT), the last two married to one another. So as you can see, plenty here to be slaughtered, especially the ones I didn’t bother naming.

While Faris is out doing repair work outside, he begins receiving a scrambled communication and upon analysis, discovers the origin is coming from a previously uncharted system and on a planet that can sustain life. Faced with either going on with the mission as planned, which would mean another 7 year journey, or investigating and colonizing this planet, which would take only another couple of weeks, Oram ultimately chooses the latter, going against the objections of Daniels.

Oram, Daniels, Ricks, Faris, Karine and the security team take a lander craft where the initially seem to discover a suitable habitat… and then all hell breaks loose first by an air born virus infects a couple of the (expendable) crew members, which hatches a mini-alien creature but eventually saved by none other than David (FASSBENDER), the android we last saw in Prometheus. But the alien attack does take a couple more crew member’s lives as well as destroy the lander craft… and only way off the planet. Add to that, a surging storm cuts off communication between the ground envoy and skeleton crew on the Covenant.

Meanwhile, David provides some exposition on what happened to Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (as portrayed by Noomi Rapace) and just a lay of the land which isn’t as habitable as once thought. We get some interesting little character scenes between David and Walter, all along getting the sneaky suspicion David has other plans.

The first 20-minutes (or so) of Alien: Covenant actually was pretty damn good with amazing atmosphere and proper slow build-up and introductions to the ensemble cast. In fact, this portion was around an A-grade for me. Then came the second act where, while not awful, you began to see a movie that’s trying real hard to meld Alien with Prometheus, especially with David re-entering the picture. The bigger issue at hand is, unlike Alien and Aliens, although there’s plenty of fake blood, the thrills are non-existent and there’s nary a genuinely scary moment. At this juncture, my attention waned and angers about to wash over me.

Act Three: Fuck you movie! I’m unsure if I’ve ever been so annoyed with a finale like I was with Alien: Covenant. Not only was it just all around lame, but worse, it was utterly predictable and a piss-poor job was done in concealing the “twist”, to the point I have to wonder if it was supposed to be one or not. Whichever the case, I really hated the end which just capped off a movie filled with clichés and, like Life before it, unbelievably daft characters who we’re supposed to believe are humankind’s hope for colonizing a new world; course not that this world are filled with geniuses either. But I digress.

Ridley Scott returns to the director’s chair after Prometheus with The Counselor, which I still have yet to see, and the highly entertaining and well done The Martian coming in between. No doubt Scott still has the chops but it’s apparent that the Alien is his baby that he just cannot let go when after Alien: Resurrection it should’ve just gone away.

I don’t know for sure where Covenant ranks with the other turkeys in the franchise, it’s not as messy as Alien 3 (it’s close), but at least in that case, its poor showing made for an ironically enough, interesting watch, even if it’s in a car crash kind of way.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5


This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside is the DVD Copy and redemption code for the Digital HD version.

Audio Commentary – Producer/Director Ridley Scott breaks down his latest entry into the Alien franchise, delving into casting, the script and other topics.

Deleted/Extended Scenes (17:37; HD) – There are 12 scenes either cut down or removed completely. Nothing I’d call Earth-shattering but wouldn’t surprise me if these end up in some form on an eventual “Extended Director’s Cut” as often Ridley Scott movies get.

USCSS Covenant (HD) are three featurettes where we get an inside look at various things like the creation of Walter, the crew undergoing psychological tests, and the crew enjoying a meal before going into cryo-sleep.

  • Meet Walter (2:20)
  • Phobos (9:09)
  • The Last Supper (4:37) – Includes James Franco as the captain

Sector 87 – Planet 4 (HD) – Here we get a close examination of the planet the Covenant crew eventually would land on. It contains footage of Noomi Rapace and Fassbender in their roles in Prometheus.

  • The Crossing (2:34)
  • Advent (6:41)
  • David’s Illustrations Gallery

Master Class, Ridley Scott (55:30; HD) is an extensive four-part featurette/documentary covering the story, characters, setting and creatures. The movie might not be great, but this behind-the-scenes feature is well worth watching.

Production Gallery

  • RidleyGrams
  • Conceptual Art
  • Creatures
  • Logos and Patches

Last up we get two Theatrical Trailers.

 


VIDEO – 5.0/5


Alien: Covenant on Blu-ray looks fantastic. The 1080p high-definition transfer, presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio, offers excellent detail levels throughout and despite being a dark story, and there are times even the daylight scenes are darkly lit, there are splashes of color which pops off the screen while blacks appear stark without betraying any detail or showing signs of artifacts, aliasing or other flaws.

AUDIO – 4.5/5


Although the 4K release got an Atmos track, for whatever reason Fox continues to “downgrade” their Blu-ray releases to a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and it’s a nice sounding lossless track that comes with crisp, clear and clean dialogue levels but excellent depth for the action-centric sequences with the LFE channel giving a slight boost but not quite room shaking, just more subtle.

 


OVERALL – 2.75/5


Overall, Alien: Covenant is yet another misfire in the vaunted Alien franchise where still the first two are the best, the rest not so much, though I did enjoy Prometheus, for all the faults it had. This one had plenty of potential as it starts off well enough before taking a nosedive into derivative territory, filled with idiotic characters, and an utterly stupid finale. This Blu-ray release has great video/audio transfers and a nice selection of bonus features.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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