The First Reviews of ‘Alien: Covenant’ Are Bursting Out of Critics’ Chests
If you’re one of the people who thought that Ridley Scott’s Prometheus was a franchise-killer, then you’ve probably awaited the first round of Alien: Covenant reviews with a strong sense of dread. Maybe even the same degree of dread you experienced while watching Alien for the first time, come to think of it. And while I’ll passionately defend Prometheus for days — I’ve recently come around on that film in a big way — there’s no denying that Alien: Covenant is the biggest question mark of the summer. Could Scott build a bridge between the grandiose science-fiction of Prometheus and the grounded horror of Alien?
We’re about to find out. The first wave of Alien: Covenant reviews are finally here, and while there are pluses and minuses to be found, it seems that Scott’s return to xenomorphs has gone about as well as we could’ve hoped. Let’s start with The Village Voice, where critic Bilge Ebiri suggest that the ambitious elements of the movie don’t always hold together, but are always worth the price of admission:
If in the end it doesn’t quite work — if its many fascinating pieces and ideas and odds and ends don’t ever cohere into a whole — lament not what might have been. Instead, be grateful that Ridley Scott has lost none of his ability to provoke, captivate and infuriate.
The Wrap describes Scott’s film as emphasizing the horror elements this time out, with critic Alonso Duralde comparing the film to one of the classics of the American slasher subgenre:
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.
Over at Collider, Haleigh Foutch admits that the movie doesn’t tell a cohesive story, but more than makes up for this in Scott’s knack for grandiose acts of violence and splatter:
Whether it’s the sickly splat of a body flopping to the ground, a broken sack of skin, or the frantic stumbling of a body engulfed in flames, Scott’s knack for detail and visual storytelling elevate each moment of carnage.
And finally, CBR critic Kristy Puchko can’t help but admire the ambitious storytelling at the heart of Alien: Covenant, even if it makes the film somewhat disjointed:
Yes, there’s body-horror and action, nightmare-inducing monsters, and a kick-ass heroine. But then there’s so much more. Some of it is tedious, halfhearted pontification about the power of faith. Some of it is intriguing backstory, knitting Prometheus’s tale more tightly with Alien. And the rest is just so damn weird that I can’t help but be impressed!
There are quite a few more reviews available to read through now — if you aren’t afraid to read reviews before you see the movie — but there does seem to be a solid consensus forming around this one. Alien: Covenant is a whole bunch of things crammed into one overflowing bag, a philosophical science-fiction movie that attempts to operate as a sequel, a prequel, and a standalone horror movie all at once. As the critics suggest, it may not be for everyone, but I’m pretty sure that you’ve found enough in those excerpts to decide if it is the movie for you. The Jason Voorhees comparison was all I needed.