Alien Franchise Emerges From Its Rut

'Alien: Covenant' is 'among the better chapters'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2017 12:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – A spaceship arrives on a distant planet that looks like a perfect new home for humans in Alien: Covenant. But if you know anything about Alien movies, you'll know there's only terror in store. Here's what critics are saying about the latest installment of the franchise, with director Ridley Scott of 1979's Alien returning:

  • The filmmakers have finally managed to "dig the series out of its hole," Todd McCarthy puts it at the Hollywood Reporter. He calls Alien: Covenant "the most satisfying entry in the six-films-and-counting franchise since the first two." Beautiful and gripping, it "feels vital" and is "keen to keep us on our toes right up to the concluding scene, which leaves the audience with such a great reveal that it makes you want to see the next installment tomorrow."
  • Peter Howell at the Toronto Star agrees this flick "ranks among the better chapters" of the franchise. Scott "breaks new ground even while revisiting old concepts" and "brings back the visceral panic that fans expect." Actors Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, Billy Crudup, and Michael Fassbender—who delivers "a grand performance times two" as two separate robots—also deserve high praise, he writes.

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  • The inclusion of Fassbender's David, from 2012's Prometheus, was an incredibly smart move, writes Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal. But there was little else that impressed him. There's just "nothing new" to this "gore fest," he writes. He acknowledges, however, that "many Alien fans will come looking for something old, and that's in bloodily abundant supply."
  • Chris Klimek had his own issues with the film. For example, "a religious subtext is introduced and then immediately abandoned," he writes at NPR. But he, too, had to marvel at Fassbender, whose "existential rap session" provides the "freshest part of the movie." Then again, Fassbender's David "is the only character in whom Scott seems truly interested," he writes.
(Read more movie review stories.)

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