‘Alien: Covenant’ lacks heart-pounding excitement of franchise

In space, no one can hear you say, “Meh.”

I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t get 2012’s “Alien” prequel, “Prometheus.” I rewatched it last week, and I still couldn’t tell you what it’s about. But at least it was interesting, both visually and thematically.

“Alien: Covenant,” meanwhile, is more straightforward yet far less wondrous.

In 2104, 10 years after the events of “Prometheus” and 18 before what’s become accepted as the time frame of “Alien,” the colony ship Covenant is en route to the far reaches of the galaxy and Origae-6, the new home for its 2,000 passengers.

Then a stellar ignition severely damages the ship, and Walter (Michael Fassbender), an upgraded synthetic based on David from “Prometheus,” awakens the crew from cryosleep. Well, all of them except the Covenant’s captain, who’s burned to death in his pod, leaving Christopher Oram (Billy Crudup) in charge and Daniels (Katherine Waterston) a widow.

During a space walk to repair the Covenant, pilot Tennessee (Danny McBride) picks up a rogue transmission that he eventually recognizes as a scrambled, broken, barely audible snippet of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The crew trace the broadcast to a planet that appears more hospitable than the one they were headed to, so a scouting party is sent to the surface, where, much like in “Prometheus,” someone gets infected with something, and all bloody hell breaks loose.

Directed by Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Prometheus”), this time from a script by John Logan (“Skyfall”) and first-timer Dante Harper, the plodding “Alien: Covenant” takes a good 45 minutes to get going. Then, despite brief bursts of action, it’s roughly another hour before it really starts to feel like an “Alien” movie. The filmmakers even take time out for one character to teach another how to play a primitive recorder in a scene that seems to drag on for days.

With the exception of Fassbender, who’s simply Fass-cinating, Waterston and McBride — mostly because of how odd it is to see “Eastbound & Down’s” Kenny Powers playing it straight — the cast is impossible to follow. Again, aside from Fassbender, there’s no character development, so there’s no reason to care whether anyone survives. Whenever someone wailed about the death of so-and-so, I never had an inkling of who bit the alien dust.

There’s also a “twist” that’s so thuddingly obvious, it’s a wonder anyone pitched it, let alone got a studio to sign off on it.

Without giving away too much, “Alien: Covenant” directly connects “Prometheus” to “Alien,” providing closure to the prequel’s story in a way that its ending — Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) blasting off with David’s severed, still communicative head in a duffel bag — never did.

It’s nowhere near as bad as “Life,” this spring’s other alien-running-amok-on-a-spacecraft movie. But for a franchise known for things bursting out of people’s chests, this one will barely elevate your heart rate.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
This boozy milkshake is big enough to share with seven of your best friends
Fiddlestix makes an "8 Man Milkshake" that's packed with alcohol. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five Chris Stapleton songs you need to hear
D. Michael Evola opened E-String to make New York style pizza
Shamrock Macarons at Morels at Palazzo
Zuma serves a sushi roll topped with 24-karat gold
La Cirque covers their quail and foie gras in real gold
Jean-Georges Steakhouse seves chocolate gold bars
3 ways you can eat gold in Las Vegas
Artist Kathleen Nathan On The Virtues Of Library Galleries
The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s art galleries offers artists a more relaxed vibe for showing their work. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada SPCA Competes In Tournament Of Tails
The NSPCA and its mascot cat, Prince, are competing in an online voting challenge for a $5,000 grand prize.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Eureka's cocktail comes with a "buzz button" that will shock your taste buds
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed Deadline reports that New Line has purchased Chase and Lawrence Konner’s screenplay for their “Sopranos” prequel film. The working title for the prequel is “The Many Saints of Newark.” Chase created the HBO series, which ran for six seasons, and Konner served as a writer. “The Many Saints of Newark” is set during the 1960s riots in the New Jersey city between the African-American and Italian communities. Multiple characters from the series, albeit younger versions, are expected to star in the film. The Sopranos won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards during its run.
The Big Bounce America is coming to the Las Vegas Valley
The Big Bounce America. (Courtesy Big Bounce America)
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History According to The Hollywood Reporter, 26.5 million watched the Oscars, a 20 percent drop from last year. The 26.5 million viewers would be an all-time low for the Oscars. Overnight returns had the lengthy ABC telecast averaging a 18.9 rating among households between 8 and 11 p.m. ET. Last year, 32.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the ceremony. The previous low for viewership was 32 million viewers in 2008 when Jon Stewart was host. The Shape of Water picked up an award for Best Picture, while Gary Oldman and Frances McDormand won Best Actor and Actress, respectively.
March First Friday theme is “Think”
First Friday art, culture, music and food event takes place on the first Friday of every month in and around the studios and galleries of the Arts District in downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon)
Cirque’s One Night for One Drop gets ready for the big night
Cirque du Soleil’s “One Night for One Drop” performed a dress rehearsal for the annual benefit show. This year’s show at Mandalay Bay is based on the life of singer-songwriter Jewel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Kosher Experience provides kosher foods to Las Vegas families
2018-19 Broadway Las Vegas at The Smith Center
Ten touring productions are on The Smith Center’s 2018-19 Broadway Las Vegas season schedule. (The Smith Center)
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like