The first reviews have arrived for Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. The legendary director brought audiences back into the world of Alien in 2012 with the prequel movie Prometheus, starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Logan Marshall-Green, among others. Scott left many questions unanswered with the film, questions that he planned to answer in future installments – and that is where Covenant comes in.
Alien: Covenant is not only a prequel to the original Alien trilogy but a sequel to Prometheus, and it introduces audiences to a new group of space travelers. Katherine Waterson is leading the charge as terraforming expert Daniels, with Billy Crudup co-commanding the ship as First Mate Christopher Oram. Among the returning cast is Fassbender, who will be pulling double duty as android David and Walter.
It has been five years since Prometheus released, and fans are finally getting the sequel they have been clamoring for. We’ve rounded up a handful of SPOILER-FREE excerpts from some of the first reviews for Alien: Covenant. If interested, you can click on the links provided above each excerpt to read the full reviews.
EW — Kevin P. Sullivan
“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.”
The Verge — Bryan Bishop
“It’s a film full of terrifying, heart-pounding terror, on par with some of the best work in Scott’s career. But it’s also a movie stuck between modes, mixing that horror with the same pseudo-intellectual pondering that ground things to a halt last time. The result is a film that is a welcome improvement over Prometheus, but perhaps not the home run that sci-fi and horror fans might have been hoping for.”
The Wrap — Alonso Duralde
“Alien: Covenant almost completely gives itself over to the scary stuff; director Ridley Scott dredges up a little of the Prometheus balloon juice (this film is a direct follow-up to that prequel), but he’s more interested in an interstellar version of Friday the 13th, with a respectable ensemble of actors as the camp counselors and various fanged slimeballs filling in for Jason Voorhees.”
Collider — Haleigh Foutch
“Ultimately, Alien: Covenant is a very messy movie and your mileage may vary. Those who enjoyed Prometheus will likely warm to David’s frustrating side-tangents, and those found Prometheus’ mythological lilt too obtuse will find the same flaws in Covenant. Whether you want a Prometheus sequel or an Alien movie, you want a movie that feels cohesive, and there’s no denying Covenant is a structurally challenged film that feels more like two movies slapped together in the name of audience appeal.”
IGN — Daniel Krupa
“Alien: Covenant 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.”
Polygon — Charles Bramesco
“It’s a coup to turn crueler, rougher, and more ambitious this late into a series and a career. Scott’s showing no signs of slowing down, having already lined up his next big project as he approaches the big eight-oh, but Covenant bursts with the leave-it-all-on-the-field maximalism of a pro who’s earned decades of confidence. While it may sometimes exceed its own reach, Covenant extends a grasp so impressively audacious, it might as well come from a director with nothing to lose.”
The Guardian — Peter Bradshaw
“Just as in Prometheus, the action is opened out from the claustrophobic confines of the spaceship to the vast prospects of a distant planet, which turns out to be a mix of Pompeii and Easter Island. … The vu has never been so déja: 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. For all this, the film is very capably made, with forceful, potent performances from Waterston and Fassbender. That franchise title is, however, looking increasingly wrong. It is a bit familiar.”
THR — Todd McCarthy
“After the [Alien] 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. Gripping through its full two hours and spiked with some real surprises, this beautifully made sci-fi thriller will immeasurably boost fan interest in the run of prequels which Scott has recently said will consist of at least two more films until the action catches up to the 1979 original. This Fox release is a lock for major early summer box-office worldwide.”
Uproxx — Mike Ryan
“The title of the movie has been changed back to Alien, but this is very much a Prometheus movie. And if you didn’t like Prometheus, there’s a good chance you won’t like Alien: Covenant either. (In turn, if you did like Prometheus, boy, do I have some good news for you.) What’s frustrating is this could have been a pretty stellar Alien movie. Waterston, Crudup, Danny McBride (playing a character named Tennessee!), and Demián Bichir are all really great. And Fassbender is terrific as Walter. A new crew! Fun! But then David shows up and forces us to watch Prometheus again. David is such a killjoy.”
So far, the reviews fall in line with the early reactions that were posted online earlier this week: it’s certainly better than its predecessor but fails to live up to the original. One thing critics seemed to agree on, though, is that Covenant brings the franchise back to its horror roots – and that’s precisely what Alien fans wanted to see with the new installment, albeit with some Xenomorphs, of course.
By the sound of things, Covenant appears to mark a return to form for Ridley Scott, whose last film, The Martian, garnered universal acclaim from critics and even nabbed a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. At this point, there’s no telling if Scott will follow through on his plans to make another Prometheus sequel, but if Covenant is a success then that seems likely.