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Ridley Scott's long-awaited return to the science-fiction genre was met with both praise and cynicism as Alien prequel (of sorts) Prometheus delivered in the stylistic department but failed to convince those more demanding fans of the franchise who perhaps expected something slightly different.

Alien: Covenant is very much a direct sequel to Prometheus with Michael Fassbender returning as dodgy robot David and the story picking up some time after he and Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) departed for the Engineers' planet in the alien ship. Initially, however, we focus on new ship The Covenant and its crew who are travelling with thousands of human colonists and embryos in order to start a new life in a specific planet. Following a destructive accident in space which kills its Captain (an odd James Franco cameo), new robot Walter (also Fassbender) wakes up the crew and the new Captain decides to follow a radio transmission down to a nearby unknown world despite the fact it isn't their mission and the planet is riddled with storms. Soon after landing, a couple of crew members become infected with an unknown virus and you can guess what follows.

The crew of the Covenant start dropping like flies as the spores idiotically breathed in by a couple of people turn out to give birth to baby aliens who eventually pop out of their backs in gooey, bloody sacks. While this may sound intense, it really isn't as the crew's handling of this whole situation is so inept you'll be laughing at the most dramatic moments as the film becomes surprisingly silly at times. It never feels like this crew was qualified enough to even get on a spaceship let alone lead Humanity's most important expedition. The fact that, throughout the film, there doesn't seem to be any kind of protocol when it comes to exploring a new world, dealing with an unknown virus or even communicating between the ship and the planet's surface really takes you out of the movie and makes the crew of the Covenant the dumbest we've seen in this franchise by far.

It's surprising that none of the criticisms audiences had about Prometheus are taken into account here. In fact, Ridley Scott seems to go out of his way to enhance whatever didn't work about the last film. When David shows up about half an hour into it, it's frankly a breath of fresh air as his story turns out to be far more interesting than any of the goofy nonsense the Covenant were up to. Unfortunately, even that part is flawed as you keep getting hints of a far more interesting movie that took place between this film and the last one but you only get to witness the hammy aftermath and a pretty infamous flute-playing scene. David's evolution as a character is fascinating and Michael Fassbender is by far the best thing about this sequel but some dodgy CGI and the moronic actions of everyone onboard the Covenant ruin what could have been a genuinely creepy serial killer movie.

Alien: Covenant will no doubt disappoint a lot of the franchise's fans, including those who enjoyed Prometheus. This is a muddled, uneven sci-fi film with lots of pretty visuals and a potentially cool subplot but it's quite simply much too dumb for its own good and, ultimately, you'll be left wondering what the whole point of it was.


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