It’s one of the most complete and satisfying films out this year.
In today’s film world, dominated by reboots and super heroes, thoughtful science fiction films are few and far between. Fewer still are thoughtful sci-fi movies that feature gratuitous alien-on-human carnage. Alien: Covenant is a film of the latter disposition.
Yes, it’s a sequel, and yes, it’s part of a franchise that’s been sputtering along for almost 40 years but there’s no drought of inventive and terrifying details on display here. Along with an all-star cast including Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterson, Danny McBride, and James Franco (in what some would say a fiery performance), the film is directed with surgical precision by one of the great auteurs of sci-fi cinema, so this film should be a slam dunk right?
Well, given the “thinking” part of “thinking man’s sci-fi,” those viewers thirsting for 2 hours of non-stop adrenaline and aliens will be let down by the film’s desire to slow down and wax poetical about creation and death. As for those of you who would rather seminar on natural selection and the practical side of artificial intelligence, you’re gonna come out of the theater wobbling like a tub of jello on a fishing boat.
Now for the people that fall somewhere in the middle I urge you to approach this movie expecting a slasher movie that takes its time considering gods and monsters and hosts a villain that has more in common with natural selection than any other antagonist in the movies right now. I found the first 30 minutes to be a master class in suspenseful filmmaking, and the mid-point monologues had me glued to the screen before the devilishly clever conclusion. It’s one of the most complete and satisfying films out this year.