To say that the “ALIEN” franchise has truly become a part of the vernacular in pop culture would be a gross understatement. Since 1979, the HR Giger designed ‘Xenomorph’ has frightened audiences not just on a basic horror genre level, but even more so on a psychological one.  Well, it’s no different here as the latest iteration of the franchise, ‘Alien Covenant’, helps make the longstanding franchise as relevant today as was 40 years ago.

That being said, this movie was a lot to take in–It’s by far the most “disturbing” of all the ALIEN films, no question about that. Seeing it in IMAX was about as grandiose as you can get for a movie like this. I’ll also say that although the CGI looked rough in trailers and some other footage, I could barely notice CGI was even in use for most of the film. Everything looked as pristine as possible, and you could tell the production still used a great deal of practical creature effects to balance out CGI usage. This was as intense of an ALIEN film since James Cameron’s 1986 entry, ‘ALIENS.’

As far as the story, I think it should satisfy most people who saw Prometheus and felt slightly let down, but at the same time it may well “prop” up that film more in conjunction with the tale Covenant tells. Hell, even just spending the money to see Michael Fassbender play dual-roles as Walter and David is worth the $$$– He was bloody incredible, and now without question is the connective glue of the franchise with his primary character of David. Additionally, I gotta give a shout out to Billy Crudup, who played Captain Orem. He was quirky and awkward in such a way that you’ll remember his character. Additionally, Katherine Waterson’s role of Daniels was as well represented as you’d want a heroine to be—well acted, great temperament, good screen presence, etc. Nevertheless, the rest of the ensemble cast, especially Danny McBride, did a hell of a job adding to the believability of the extreme circumstances their characters were put in from the first moment they’re on screen.

Now, trying to pin down the consistent tone of the film was somewhat difficult, but in a very good way–The early part of the movie actually feels very “2001-esque”, which was phenomenal to see as the trailers clearly gave off a very different vibe.  Regardless, this flick was a variety pack of Sci-Fi, Horror/thriller,  psychologically disturbing themes and definitively the creepiest Alien film of them all. Just take my word for it.

The big takeaway? Don’t go into it expecting it to feel exactly like the original ALIEN or ALIENS as it truly came off as its own thing. (much like Prometheus did too) Sir Ridley Scott proves here that he intends to take his franchise in fresh directions. And more importantly, there were indeed enough questions answered within the framework of Covenant’s story to not only satisfy the lingering ones from Prometheus, but also keep your imagination at full speed ahead for  what is yet to come–Isn’t that the point? Keep the wheels turning upstairs so that after you see a film you’re still thinking about it? This is why we go to the movies, to see an epic, intense and big story splattered all over the screen. For my money, Alien Covenant was a masterclass of filmmaking from beginning to end.

Speaking of the end, without giving too much away, think of this entry as the “Empire Strikes Back” of the new trilogy—Little darker, grimmer (although actually quite funny in some parts), and the real beauty part is it opens up infinite story arc possibilities for the third film.  The bigger wildcard is will enough people see and support this movie to guarantee a third??? Time will tell, but in the meantime, let’s enjoy this one!! Nuff said.

3 out of 4 Stars

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