{Review} Alien: Covenant by Alan Dean Foster

Alien: Covenant

Adapted by Alan Dean Foster
Published May 2017
Goodreads: See here
Movie Adaptation / SciFi / Horror

*Featured Image via my instagram @bookbastion

Synopsis at a Glance:

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created with this sequel to Prometheus, a new chapter in his groundbreaking Alien saga. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise hidden in the darkest reaches of space. Making the choice to investigate this new world, the crew of the ship find instead of paradise, a dark and dangerous new world, one from which they will have to attempt a harrowing escape.

Alan Dean Foster, author of the novelization for the original movie, Alien, returns to the franchise with this outing. Set between the events of Prometheus and a yet-filmed movie, Alien: Covenant leads to the events that will yield one of the most terrifying sagas of all time; one that has captured the imagination of viewers for decades, reminding them that in space, no one can hear you scream.

Reviewed:

Fans of the Xenomorph rejoice, because the creature from your nightmares is back. Set 10 years after the fateful events of Prometheus, Alien:Covenant continues Ridley Scott’s new vision for the franchise, and for the titular character, the Alien itself. And this time, he’s brought along a few new and equally dangerous friends to up the ante. I can’t tell you how excited I was for this movie and novel adaptation. I’m a huge fan of this movie franchise, and finally getting to see the Xenomorph on the big screen was a dream come true.

Fans of the films who might have been wary about certain directions this movie appears to take regarding the creature should definitely give this adaptation a chance. It’s pretty clear that Foster was adapting from an earlier draft of the film script – or potentially the final draft, before any last minute edits that wound up on the cutting room floor. There are a number of scenes re-inserted into the narrative here that do well towards shoring up some of the more confusing/controversial elements of the film that hit theaters.

This was all around a great time. Is it as good as Alien or Aliens? Of course not, but if you’re going into a later film in a franchise expecting it to be the best one of the bunch, you’re likely setting yourself up for a bad time. But it’s an enjoyable addition to the franchise that plays off of existing lore while expanding into new territories. What Prometheus lacked for in terms of connection to the actual Xenomorph, this story makes up for in spades. The creature is pulled back to center focus here, which is sure to delight fans of the franchise.

As a fan of both Alien and Prometheus, I do wish this story had better juggled the story elements left in limbo after Prometheus. The Engineers, Humanity’s supposed creators that Elizabeth Shaw and David left LV223 in order to find, hardly factor into this story at all, which is a shame. In my opinion, there was a lot of material yet to cover about them, and the way things are left makes me think we’ll be hard pressed to ever find out more. Alas, I think this choice was likely a studio led initiative in response to the rather lukewarm reception Prometheus received, at least in the US.


Instead, Ridley Scott refocuses on the Alien, establishing new elements to their lore as well as introducing a deadly new subset of their species: the Neomorph. Whereas the Xenomorph’s reproductive cycle moves from ovoid to human host and then finally to the creature, the neomorph is born from a deadly virus, infecting a host’s bloodstream before eventually coalescing into its final form. This new method of infection makes for an interesting take on the body horror aspect of the previous films. Gone are the days when you were safe as long as you stayed away from leathery-looking eggs. Now, the beast can get you whenever and wherever it wants, if you’re not mindful of your surroundings.


One thing I appreciated about this adaptation were the ways in which it reduces many complaints I’ve heard of the characters in the final film. We the reader are given more time in their head, and we come to understand their reasoning and decisions they make a bit better. Plus, this book definitely clears up all the questions that seems to surround why the characters thought it safe to journey onto the surface of the planet without helmets in the first place.

And yes, for those wondering, the book does also clear up the question of if David created the Xenomorph or not.


My one major complaint here has got to be that Daniels is just in no way as good a character as Ripley or Shaw. She’s strong, but her strength, and the events that lead her to it feel like they’re on fast forward in certain ways. I understand that the trauma of her situation would lead to quick character changes, but they’re just not as compelling as they were for the two previous female leads.

Speaking of Shaw, I did also want to say that the fact that she’s barely mentioned in this installment should be criminal. I get that Noomi Rapace wasn’t able to make her schedule work to come back for this film, but I still wanted more from her character. I didn’t feel like her story was done yet.


All in all, this was a fun return for the franchise. I’m excited to see how Ridley Scott closes out his vision for the series, and how it will lead back to LV426 where Ripley first met the Alien.

🌟🌟🌟🌟 = 4/5 “glad this franchise is back” stars!


Do you love this franchise like I do? Have you read any of the books or comics? What about the audio-plays? I’ve heard there are a few that are stellar!

 

xoxo

 

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