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YMMV / Alien: Covenant

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  • Accidental Innuendo: David teaches Walter how to play the flute by getting him to focus on his embouchurenote  while stating, "I'll do the fingering."
  • Angst? What Angst?: In the third act, the survivors seem unusually chipper, relaxed and good humoured for a handful of crew who have just lost family and friends to a tragic accident, followed by an extremely traumatic encounter with alien monsters and a genocidal android. This really stands out when Tennessee and Daniels are casually joking with one another, despite both having just lost their spouses along with several friends, only for two more to be killed when it turns out another Xenomorph is onboard while they were having sex in the shower; despite, again, just losing several friends to horrific events.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The whole of the prologue video "The Crossing" is narrated by David, as he talks about his journey with Shaw to find the Engineers's home world. Their almost convivial and tender relationship is very much at odds with David's later murder and dissection of Shaw — but then again, we only have David's word that the events of the video happened as they did. He might well have been bending the facts or straight up lying to whoever's listening to him (presumably Walter); he certainly lied in the film proper about how exactly Shaw died...
    • On that note, is David lying or not when he says that he loved Shaw? He claims it in the midst of a whole pack of other lies he told Walter — but he did create a fake grave for her in a beautiful garden when he really didn't need to, and when Walter happens upon him later with her picture, David was playing a dirge for her and crying, which he probably couldn't have put on for his "brother's" benefit since he didn't know he was going to be interrupted. Or, David does love Shaw, albeit in his own deeply sick and twisted sort of way, and considers the aliens he created in his experiments (both on her and otherwise) to be the children they could never have together.
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    • Did David create the Xenomorphs entirely and the one we see in the film is the first ever, or did he tamper with and recreate the creature based off ancient engineer designs? Evidence for either can be found if one looks hard enough, leaving it unclear if David did it all himself or he just revived a sort of lost technology. The novelization states it is the latter, but the director has said otherwise. Additionally, the fact the Derelict Ship pilot in the original film was stated to be fossilized (A process that takes a minimum of 10,000 years.) makes the idea he created them outright impossible.
    • Oram's religious persecution complex is something of an Informed Attribute if you think about it. He claims he's religious, and says he was passed over for a promotion because of that. However, he is adamant that the crew doesn't have the time to have a service for the deceased captain. He believes himself persecuted and denied that promotion because of his stated faith, yet none of the crew bring up his religion as a negative point, and we see him make a number of mistakes that would not only explain why he wasn't chosen as the original captain, but actually call into question who thought him capable of serving as a competent XO. So, is he truly a devout follower of a faith who is persecuted because of it, or is he an inept bungler who uses the excuse of religious persecution to excuse his own mistakes? And was his attempt to forbid a funeral service really because he felt there wasn't adequate time, or was it bitterness and jealousy for the man whom he felt was unfairly promoted over him? Or a not-so-subtle power play to establish his authority over the crew?
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • A big gripe about Prometheus was the decision to make the movie a Stealth Prequel instead of emphasizing that it was a prequel to Alien, as the original, unproduced Alien: Engineers script did.note  Concerns that the sequel would follow suit went away as soon as it was announced that Alien was part of the title — then the teaser poster featured the Xenomorph's unmistakable face front and center, and in almost every advertisement afterward. Other fans disagree and lament that Scott didn't do as he'd originally planned, showing Shaw and David exploring space.
    • The Alien: The Roleplaying Game names the Xenomorphs in this film Praetomorphs, which seems to be a means of shutting down the Fan Disliked Explaination that David created the species.
  • Awesome Music: Jed Kurzel produces a rather nice, effective score, even incorporating Jerry Goldsmith's iconic theme in the first act. It was even used in the teaser for A Quiet Place.
    • "Medbay". It's chilling, suspenseful, and truly keeps in touch with the ominous tone of the first film.
  • Base-Breaking Character: While David was an Ensemble Dark Horse in Prometheus, his role in Covenant has split fans and critics right down the middle. Some find him to be a tragic figure and compelling antagonist. Others accuse him of overstaying his welcome and being too reprehensible to enjoy.
  • Broken Base:
    • Is Covenant a worthy attempt to make the Cult Classic series more intelligent and interesting, or just an awkward attempt to turn it into an extremely pretentious authorial movie? Should Ridley Scott transfer the continuation of the series to other people, or is he coping enough with it within as part of his later career as a director?
    • If the massive Idiot Ball in the story was recognized by almost all the fans and the question was only how much it harms the film, then the incredibly heavy and straightforward religious symbolism of the film caused much more serious controversy, where people argued about whether this work is a very clever and profound philosophy about the nature of "God" and the destiny of mankind, whether it's yet another Religion Is Wrong message being slipped into science fiction or that this film is merely an annoying mediocre film in its pretentiousness, with the same Faux Symbolism issues as The Matrix. Whatever the case, one of the early drafts of the script was more heavy-handed as, according to Scott, in that that the birth and life of Jesus was the reason the Engineers decided to kill off humanity.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: If the film wanted viewers to be surprised by the Cruel Twist Ending, it probably shouldn't have had David appear with shoulder length hair that he hacks off soon after his first appearance to match Walter, making it fairly obvious that he's at least going to attempt a Kill and Replace. If you didn't catch on then, you'll surely figure it out when the conclusion of Walter and David's brawl is left suspiciously off-screen.note 
  • Contested Sequel: While the movie still has its detractors (some citing the same problems that they had with Prometheus popping up in the film and others expressing disdain for the movie for other reasons), the majority of Alien fans that weren't fond of Prometheus consider it an improvement. Conversely, fans of Prometheus are split on the quality of this movie, although many of them agree that it's a better Alien movie than the theatrical cut of Alien 3 or Alien: Resurrection.
  • Continuity Lockout: If you haven't seen Prometheus a lot of the plot points and David's character motivation in particular won't make sense.
  • Critical Dissonance: Despite the mixed to negative fan reactions, Covenant got a strong 67% in Rotten Tomatoes and most professional critics were very positive in their reviews. In other words, similar to the reception Prometheus got in its day.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: It goes without saying in a horror movie, but some viewers found the relentless darkness and David's continual bastardry, his murder of and experimentation on Shaw, and successes to make the film too cynical to really enjoy. Some even accuse some plot points of being Ass Pulls just to make sure that David wins. In addition, the reveal that Shaw was killed offscreen some time between Prometheus and Covenant has hurt some fans' enjoyment of Prometheus, as all of Shaw's struggles were rendered completely meaningless.
  • Ending Fatigue: The film looks like it's about to wrap up in the scene when the Covenant's docking pod escapes from the planet — but there's still another 20 minutes, three more deaths and another major action sequence to go.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The Neomorphs have been well received, in not a small part due to their resemblance to the Beluga-Xenomorph from the unmade yet acclaimed Alien: Engineers script.
  • Fandom Rivalry: A weird intra-fandom example. Fans of the original films were not happy when it was announced that Neill Blomkamp's pitch for a potential Alien 5 (which would have brought back Ripley, Hicks, and Newt, and been set in an Alternate Timeline from the maligned Alien³ — effectively retconning it out of existence) had been cancelled in favor of this movie, and it got even worse with how controversial this movie proved to become after it was officially released.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: The Xenomorphs weren't created by the Engineers, but by David. Moreover, they're not biomechanical organisms, but the result of David hybridizing various natural Neomorph strains - including one spawned from an alien wasp - on the Engineers' planet with the black mutagen. This was highly criticized by many fans for being anti-climactic, removing the sense of eerie mystery around the creatures and for adding yet another notch on the belt of a character who many see as Ridley Scott's personal Creator's Pet. Making matters worse is that early drafts and the novelization did not contain this and the explanation in the final film provides a massive Series Continuity Error with Scott's original Alien film.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • The Xenomorphs' origin story as presented in the film version of Alien: Covenant was not well received by fans who prefer what was implied in previous films and outright stated in the Alien: Engineers script and the novelization of Alien: Covenant — that the Xenomorphs are a bioweapon created by the Engineers; or what was established in the Dark Horse comics and Alien vs. Predator expanded universe — that the Xenomorphs are a naturally-occuring species from a planet called Xenomorph Prime. It's rather telling that Alien: The Role-Playing Game explicitly designates the creatures depicted here as a different strand called Praetomorphs.
    • The segment of fans who actually liked Prometheus were not happy with the way this movie handled it, namely by abruptly killing Elizabeth Shaw and the majority of the Engineer race without answering any of the complex theological questions that were raised by the previous film. It's no surprise then that many fans prefer to keep this film on the "Never Happened" shelf next to Alien³.
  • Faux Symbolism: Many people complained that the film abused the most obvious religious symbolism so much that it can not be seriously watched because of the excessive pretentiousness and attempts to look deeper than it really is. This also caused a large Broken Base due to the fact that the fans began to argue about whether or not the whole religious philosophy was really needed the film.
  • Franchise Original Sin: As already mentioned, the original series also suffers very badly because of the Idiot Ball and other common mistakes in horror films, even in everyone's favorite first two films. However, if at that time people could still turn a blind eye to it or ignore it, as those films did not attempt to get into deep or philosophical topics, in the case of Prometheus and the Covenant it turned into a major problem that can not be ignored.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Rick and Morty's promo for the film has Rick get attacked by a facehugger for a few seconds, only for it to succumb to the drugs and alcohol in his system. In the film itself, Lope apparently didn't have this excuse and still managed to get infected anyway.
  • He's Just Hiding!: As we don't get to see David explicitly killing Walter and we know he can heal from serious injuries, many people believe he might be still around in Paradise.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: With the purchase of Fox by Disney, this fan trailer is borderline foreshadowing.
  • He Really Can Act: A lot of critics, including Variety, were surprised by Danny McBride's dramatic chops.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • After the first trailer came out, the reaction of a huge part of the viewers was annoyance and disappointment that the producers decided to play safe with a movie featuring the classic Alien plot and showcasing heavily the Xenomorphs. This, as other parts of the viewers noted, is particularly shocking considering that the old complains about Prometheus were precisely that its plot was too convoluted and devoid of the familiar creatures.
    • The plot moves along a similar line as Prometheus, with David manipulating events for his own interests and ultimately triumphing over the remaining survivors, who are at his complete mercy.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The beauty that is LIAEN: OVEN CANT, which came as a result of someone messing up the placement of ad panels on a bus.
    • "I'll do the fingering."
    • The Ho Yay between Walter and David (played by the same actor) became one of the most famous and parodied scenes of the film.
  • Misaimed Marketing: The "She Won't Go Quietly" ad features a contemporary pop hit and emphasizes Daniels as being an Action Girl... Even though the movie is a horror film and doesn't emphasize action as much as Aliens did to its predecessor. When compared to the rest of the ad campaign, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was for a different movie altogether — and that it's a Missing Trailer Scene makes the disconnect between the ad and the actual movie even more apparent.
  • Misblamed: A lot of people and official sites, including Film Brain of Bad Movie Beatdown and Reelz Rejects, were quick to blame Ridley Scott and this film as the reason Neill Blomkamp's proposed Alien 5 was cancelled, sometimes pointing out the aggravation that this film would have probably portrayed much more the essence of the franchise than the more exotical Covenant. However, Scott stated in a few interviews that it was actually Fox who canned Blomkamp's film and that he had been in fact interested in producing it.
  • Misaimed Fandom: The film received a lot of criticism due to the fact that many fans mistakenly perceived it not as a prequel to the series and the history of the appearance of aliens as a race, but a sequel-restart that changes the traditional forms of life of these monsters.
  • Moral Event Horizon: David's actions in the previous film could've been still excused thanks to Blue-and-Orange Morality due to being an android and under orders from his creators. However, wiping out the Engineers, killing Shaw and experimenting on her remains and all of his experiments with the Neomorphs, along with the deaths of the Covenant crew that he provoked both unintentionally and intentionally definitely put him on the other side of the spectrum.
  • Narm: Enough for its own page.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • Pretty much any of the deaths by Chest Burster could count, but special mention goes to Ledward and Hallet, with the former having it graphically rip out of his back (with the spine still visible, by the way) and the latter bursting out of his neck only after he's vomiting up his own blood. Good luck eating after that...
    • David puking up the embryos at the end.
  • Narm Charm: The idea of David coming up with teaching Walter to play flute in their meeting is both ridiculous and out of place, but there's something so strangely human in the scene and Michael Fassbender's performance is so heartfelt (summed to the Visual Effects of Awesome which allow him to play both roles) that the part ends up being instead one of the highest points of the movie's philosophic baggage.
  • No Yay: David seems to excel in this. Highlights include kissing his "brother" on the lips softly before attempting to kill him and pinning Daniels down and forcing a much creepier kiss on her.
  • Older Than They Think: The idea of Xenomorph-type creatures which reproduce via airborne spores is something that first originated in William Gibson's unused Alien³ script in the late 80s.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Guy Pearce as Peter Weyland in the opening scene.
  • Pandering to the Base: One of the perceived conceptual faults of the film, which was noted by both the people who wanted to return to the simplistic roots of Alien and those who preferred an answer of the mythological questions opened by Prometheus, was how Covenant tried to smash the former over the latter in an attempt to please all the sides of the fandom. This was pretty much confirmed after it was known that Scott had altered his original plans from the franchise after the divisive reception of Prometheus and that the script of Covenant had been massively rewritten several times.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: In the opening of the film, Oram is the one who wakes Daniels up, is excited and happy to see her even in the fact of the imminent danger, and gives her several tender touches as the crew wakes up, which seems incongruous with the social ineptitude he demonstrates just a few scenes later. A viewer without the lore background might be forgiven for thinking that Oram is Daniels's spouse until she panics at the sight of Branson's pod malfunctioning.
  • Spoiled by the Format: During the fight between Walter and David, the former is very nearly about to win, but we see a potential way for the latter to turn it around on them. The film then cuts to the next scene without showing us any more. Literally the only reason to do this is to disguise the fact that David has done a Kill and Replace on Walter. It's not difficult to spot the film's final twist coming if you realize this.
  • The Scrappy:
  • Signature Scene: "Fingering" aside, even people that dislike the movie often vouch that the flute lesson scene is a highlight, both for special effects, performance and writing. On the more infamous side, another contender is Faris' lengthy comedy of errors death.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The CGI new-born Neomorph is not synchronised with its victim when it attacks Karine in the med bay. The Neomorph claws at the victim's throat but they're pointing the knife at full arms length making slashing motions like the alien is supposed to be half a foot in front of them and not directly on their chest. It makes it look like the victim didn't even bother to defend themself.
    • While still very scary, the Xenomorphs don't look as real as previous versions and move more glitchy. It seems like the filmmakers were trying to emulate the movement of a man in a suit as the creature was previously portrayed, but it doesn't translate well to CG. The topic goes to the extent that some people have pointed to the traditionally reviled Alien vs. Predator films as an example of much more realistic and natural Xenomorphs.
    • In particular, a shot of the Xenomorph on the Covenant crawling down a ladder hole, through which its dorsal tubes don't fit, looks less like the Alien collapsed its body to fit in the space and more like it clipped through the floor.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The fact that, since most of the crew are in relationships with each other, most times when a character dies there's an extra level of tragedy. The characters aren't just losing their friends, they're losing their spouses or lovers, which is seen throughout the film in the horrifying reactions Daniels, Oram, Lope and Tennessee have to seeing their spouses get brutally killed off.
    • When Ledward and Karine are sealed in the medbay, Karine tries to comfort him in his agony — only to have the Neomorph burst from his back, and her to start pleading and screaming to be let out, terrified and trapped.
    • David raw scream of pain as he watched the last Neomorph be gunned down by Oram. Adult Fear at is finest.
    • Shaw's fate. She came so far and sacrificed so much for answers, only to be cheated and murdered by the being she helped to save and came to trust.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The egg design, as well the facehuggers to a lesser degree, has caused some concern amongst fans who were hoping to see the original Giger designs. The fact that the Xenomorph itself lacks biomechanical features has also confused and upset fans of the classic version of the creatures.
    • That David is the creator of the Xenomorphs was negatively received due to the Series Continuity Error it induces on the first film and the fact previous iterations of the series — including the Alien: Engineers script and earlier drafts of Alien: Covenant's script — either implied or explicitly stated that the Engineers were the ones who created the Xenomorphs. Alien: The Role-Playing Game seemed to recognize this and explicitly refers to the creatures in the film as a different breed called Praetomorphs.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • The Variety review pointed out that having Oram, who's shown to be religious, meet David, whose experimenting with the planet's life to create Xenomorphs resemble an unholy divine act of creation, could have made for an interesting character interaction and spiritual conflict. Instead Oram just holds David at gunpoint, demands that he explains himself but gets no answers, and is then killed via face-hugger.
    • Captain Branson, played by James Franco, who gets burned up to a crisp mere seconds after he's introduced.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The general plot of the film can be considered disappointing on two fronts, depending on which part of the Alien fandom you're on:
      • Alien fans who didn't much care for Prometheus can feel this film is undermined by David's A God Am I experimentation and heavy-handed insertion into the mythos and creation of the Xenomorph species. The novelization, which was based on an earlier draft of the script, had David's lab contain several "Protomorph" specimens as well as an Engineer-produced Ovomorph and explicitly stated that David was replicating the work of the Engineers, not creating it, which many feel should have been the approach taken for the film.
      • For fans of Prometheus, the ending of that film — with the implication that Shaw and David were going to the Engineers' home world to find out why they created humanity, why they chose to destroy us and many other important existential questions — left them eager to find out more. They're left extremely disappointed when it's revealed David wiped out the Engineers, meaning it's unlikely that those answers are ever going to be revealed. Noomi Rapace doesn't even appear in the final version of the film; Shaw turns up for a few moments in the prologue video "The Crossing" and then is unceremoniously killed off-screen with only her dissected body glimpsed in David's lab. It makes for a very underwhelming end to her struggle for survival and understanding, to say nothing of one of the parts of Prometheus that viewers and critics had most praise for.
    • The Neomorphs, as well as the fact that they grow from pods that once broken can zero in on people to infect, are a very promising premise. Paranoia fuel could have ran rampant among the crew in trying to figure out how they get infected. However, about two thirds through the film the Neomorph threat never comes back to focus back to the Xenomorphs. Even worse, as the storyline has moved away from Paradise and seemingly David didn't seem to bring any mutagen with him, it's improbable Neomorphs can ever return to the franchise.
  • Ugly Cute: The Chestburster that Oram gave birth to isn't horrifying, as usual; not only is it focused on (in itself rare for chestbursters that usually crawl away after birth), it was so adorable in its mimicking of David's affectionate "open arms gesture" (accompanied by heartwarming orchestral music, no less) that it works as Nightmare Retardant.
  • Uncertain Audience: A common critique with the film is that it doesn’t know who it’s meant for. On the one side, fans of Alien dismiss it for being a sequel to Prometheus alone, not helped by the characters making ridiculously dumb decisions along the way, and the reveal of David being the sole creator of the Xenomorphs left a poor taste in their mouths. On the other side, fans of Prometheus disliked the film for scrapping the concept of Shaw meeting the Engineers and the potential of learning more about them and their culture in favor of trying to please the die-hard Alien fans with callbacks and references to the original, all the while having David killing off the rest of the Engineers, and later showing Shaw’s dead body as one of David’s Xenomorph experiments. Top it off with a rather depressing tone and atmosphere from beginning to end and the aforementioned Idiot Plot and What an Idiot! moments sprinkled throughout and fans on both sides are left with an unsatisfying experience that leave more questions than answers.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • As accustomed in Ridley Scott's movies, the Covenant, the Engineer ship and the facehuggers in particular look great.
    • Anytime David and Walter are in the same scene. Every review selected their scenes as the highlight of the movie.
    • The scene when David eradicates the Engineers with their bio weapons is horribly beautiful.
  • What an Idiot!: Also enough for its own page.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Many fans' response to James Franco being involved in a cameo.
    • To some fans, having comedian Danny McBride being in a serious horror film counts. He eventually proved them wrong, however.


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