In Brief: The Prometheus sequel is better than the original but better is a relative term.
Alien: Covenant is the sequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel, Prometheus.
This one is set a few years after the Prometheus disaster. Colonists in stasis are on their way to a new planet. A space shockwave requires Walter — a clone of Prometheus’ android David — to wake up the crew. While awake they receive a strange signal. It’s a John Denver song.
Unable to resist the mystery, the crew finds the source of the song is a planet that appears perfect for life. In fact, it may even be a better planet than where they’re headed. But this is an Alien movie and this is science fiction, and that puts you a step ahead of the poor souls sucked into the trap.
And it is a trap. The planet turns out to be infested with aliens and one other — even more dangerous — villain.
Much more detail and I’m giving away key “surprises” that aren’t really surprises. It’s an Alien movie so you pretty much already know it all turns out bloody and badly for all involved.
Michael Fassbender kind of reprises his Prometheus role and Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Billy Crudup (Jackie), Danny McBride (Pineapple Express) and Carmine Ejigo (Selma) co-star.
This is Scott’s third Alien movie so whether it’s in a spaceship or a distant planet, he has the dark, gritty alien landscape down. His characters are required to more or less sleepwalk through the plot and like pieces on a chessboard end up exactly where they need to be.
It’s a limitation but Scott — as the original Alien and his recent The Martian show — is a great storyteller. Even when his movies are bad, and Prometheus and Exodus: Gods and Kings come to mind, they’re at least entertaining.
When it comes to Alien: Covenant the good news for Scott is Prometheus is so bad that there is nowhere to go but up and this one is up. Unfortunately for Scott, not by much.
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo
Rated R for extreme violence, language and mature themes. It’s an Alien movie and what you always see is what you always get. Better than Prometheus but that’s not saying much. Give it a 3 1/2 on the Average Joe Movie 0 to 5 scale.
5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.
Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.
Got a movie suggestion or comment? Email him!