Alien: Covenant is a 2017 British-American science fiction horror film directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by John Logan and Dante Harper, from a story by Michael Green and Jack Paglen. A joint American and British production, the film is a sequel to Prometheus (2012) and is the second installment in the Alien prequel series and the sixth installment in the Alien franchise, as well as the third directed by Scott. The film features returning star Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterston, with Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, and Demián Bichir in supporting roles. It follows the crew of a colony ship that lands on an uncharted planet and makes a terrifying discovery. Alien: Covenant premiered in London on May 4, 2017. It was released on May 12 in the United Kingdom, and on May 19 in the United States.
In 2104, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members (Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup) of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David (Michael Fassbender), the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.
- This film is so different from Prometheus in terms of story that it feels almost like an apology for that film. This causes the prequels to have a messy storyline that barely connects to one another.
- When David is giving the backstory on what happened after the events of Prometheus, it feels like the filmmakers had ideas for Shaw and other events from that film, but had to come up with something new after some fans weren't satisfied.
- The movie has a very similar plot to the original Alien.
- They made the Xenomorphs mysterious yet dangerous endoparasitoid aliens with multiple life cycles and originating from the planet Proteus into the creations of a malicious android, even worse, it even gives the Xenomorphs way too much backstory, which ruins to what made them mysterious in the galaxy.
- Much like its predecessor, most of the characters still keeping making very idiotic mistakes throughout the storyline making them impossible to root for. For example, they don't wear any protective gear when they land on a foreign planet and one of the characters sticks his face in a face-hugger egg.
- The movie made it so obvious that David is the evil android right from the first time we see him on screen and his plan is just straight up confusing.
- False Advertising: The trailers made the movie look like some epic action horror movie. When most of the action and horror happens in the final act of this movie. Another misleading advertising is that the scenes with the Xenomorphs that were in all of the trailers only happen in the last third.
- It creates numerous plot holes in the Alien franchise.
- The soundtrack, while it's still decently-done, and performed by Jed Kurzel, some of the soundtrack that were retread of the Jerry Goldsmith score from the first movie.
- Very bad lighting in many scenes.
- Terrible CGI effects. This is why most of the film is shot in dim light.
- The movie recycles way too many plot elements and tropes from both Alien and Aliens.
- The movie's tonal shifts are very jarring. It starts out as a slow-paced science fiction adventure drama before becoming an action thriller and turning into a toned-down Friday the 13th slasher movie in the final act of its movie.
- It had generic and mediocre action sequences throughout the entire movie.
- There are lots of unnecessary padding that make the movie feel longer than it actually is.
- Like both Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, the movie is very boring, it's not scary and the scare factor is even way far below that of the preceding films.
- Sometimes the movie breaks its own logic. One of the worst examples is when the Xenomorphs first appear, the movie makes it clear that they can be quite tough to kill even in their baby forms, but then there is a scene in which an adult Xenomorph gets taken down with just a few bullets.
- The characters are forgettable and boring, and they are all romantic couples for some reason.
- Michael Fassbender's performance as David is the best selling point of this movie.
- There are some decent filming locations.
- Even though the soundtrack is a retread of the Jerry Goldsmith score from the first movie, the soundtrack is actually decent.
- There are a few good callbacks to the first Alien film.
- Similar to Gravity and Prometheus, the cinematography is almost as beautiful and dazzling making you feel like that you're on another planet instead of Planet Earth and manages to pull the viewer into the movie's world. It also manages to make the viewer feel as non-claustrophobic as possible.
- The designs of the Xenomorphs are decent although the CGI effects look ugly.
- Just like Prometheus, the visual effects for USCSS Covenant are very nice.
Despite Alien: Covenant received mixed to positive reception from critics, both audience and fan reception has been mostly negative. The film has a 65% approval from 402 reviews compiled by review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 6.30/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Alien: Covenant delivers another satisfying round of close-quarters deep-space terror, even if it doesn't take the saga in any new directions.". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 65 out of 100, based on reviews from 52 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, the same score earned by its predecessor.
The film grossed $240.9 million worldwide against its $111 million budget making it a box office disappointment.
At the 2019 CinemaCon, it was stated that after its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Disney "will continue to create new stories" in the Alien series. In May 2019, Variety reported that another prequel is reportedly "in the script phase", with Ridley Scott attached to direct. In September 2020, Scott confirmed that a new Alien film was in development.
- Neil Blomkamp had plans to make an Alien 5 that would serve as a direct sequel to Aliens and completely ignore the events of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. However, the project was shelved due to the outcome of Alien: Covenant.
- Ridley Scott stated that the first cut of the film was going to be a 143-minute movie (Two hours and twenty-three minutes) of the first cut, but it was eventually edited down to 122 minutes (Two hours and two minutes) of the released version, in fact, it would've be a second longest Alien movie of the franchise, after Aliens (1986).
- Initially, Harry Gregson-Williams was selected as the film's composer. When the first trailer was released in late 2016, Kurzel was revealed as the replacement for Gregson-Williams.
- In each of his Alien films, director Ridley Scott has used a different composer for the score. In the original film, he worked with Jerry Goldsmith; in Prometheus, he worked with Marc Stritenfeldt; and in this film he worked with Jed Kurzel.