The downside of the horror genre becoming less of a theatrical genre and more of a video genre is that when a horror film has a big budget it winds up being just as dumb as a comic book film. The most interesting and genre changing horror films were always engaging on more than a visceral level. But the best first films in a franchise were very rarely followed by anything decent; horror sequels are pretty awful and it’s profoundly uncommon to find a sequel in the genre that’s worth anything more than a pity viewing. Consider Alien, for example.
Alien is still one of the best from a decade that featured a number of films that are still stolen from regularly. The first sequel to that film stands as one of the greatest action films of all time. As a franchise, though, Ridley Scott’s cinematic Alien universe has been fairly unremarkable. And Alien: Covenant, a quasi-reboot of the franchise and sequel to Prometheus, does nothing to change that notion.
Simple premise. A bunch of colonists are given the task of creating a new Earth. When their ship is thrown off course, a decision is made: investigate a planet firing up a distress call. That never works out for anyone, of course, and it becomes a bunch of scientists turning into dead teenagers.
The film’s downside is that it wants to fill in the blanks as to how the Alien of the franchise’s lore was created. It’s like filling in Michael Myers’ back story, showing us how Freddie Krueger became a scarred-up freak or a peak into Leatherface’s childhood. It doesn’t do really do much besides posit much larger questions of philosophy.
Once you remove the grander questions of meaning, and the film’s genuinely spectacular visuals, there’s nothing about the film that really adds to the mythos. It’s not much smarter than a typical slasher film; it just looks better.
There’s a ton of behind the scenes pieces on the Blu-Ray. It’s a terrific insight into the filmmaking behind Alien: Covenant.
20th Century Fox presents Alien: Covenant. Directed by Ridley Scott. Written by John Logan and Dante Harper. Starring Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir. Run Time: 122 minutes. Rated R. Released on: 8.15.17
Tags: Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott