Alien: Covenant reviews round-up: Better than Prometheus but able to match Aliens? Critics reveal their thoughts

The sixth instalment in the franchise has won rave reviews

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The Independent Culture

Reviews for the sixth instalment in the Alien franchise (eighth including Alien vs Predator) have arrived, Alien: Covenant being praised as unanimously better than Prometheus, but perhaps a little old hat. 

In our five-star review, The Independent calls the prequel/sequel part ‘claustrophobic, sweat-dripped horror’, part ‘philosophical treatise’ that manages to encapsulate all that was great about Alien, Aliens, Prometheus.

The Telegraph also awards Ridleys Scott’s latest space-adventure a perfect score, their critic Robbie Collin highlighting how Covenant embraces Alien’s horror history while elaborating on Prometheus’s themes.

The Hollywood Reporter heaps praise onto the blockbuster, calling it ‘the most satisfying entry in the six-films-and-counting franchise since the first two.’

Other publications were less positive about the film, The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw criticising Covenant for feeling stale, a greatest-hits compilation that fails to impress. Radio Times expresses a similar sentiment, saying a new director may have been able to keep the franchise feeling fresh.

The Independent - Clarisse Loughrey - 5/5

Covenant, thrives on its own self-awareness. We know the drill. The infection starts small then it builds and builds until the singular moment all hell breaks loose. Director Ridley Scott finds mischievous delight in carefully tracking the first parasite's journey into the first victim's ear canal, and down to burrow into their bloodstream, all while the audience's hearts start clattering in their chests. They won't stop until the credits roll. 

The Guardian - Peter Bradshaw - 3/5

The vu has never been so déja: it’s a greatest-hits compilation of the other Alien films’ freaky moments. The paradox is that though you are intended to recognise these touches, you won’t really be impressed unless you happen to be seeing them for the first time. For all this, the film is very capably made, with forceful, potent performances from Waterston and Fassbender. That franchise title is, however, looking increasingly wrong. It is a bit familiar.

The Telegraph - Robbie Collin 5/5

Scott’s Alien: Covenant is a mad scientist film – arguably, one of the maddest. It’s grandiose, exhilarating, vertiginously cynical and symphonically perverse, and around a million miles from the crowd-pleasing Alien retread Twentieth Century Fox have presumably been begging the 79-year-old director to make.

The Hollywood Reporter - Todd McCarthy

Scott and the writers have achieved an outstanding balance in Alien: Covenant among numerous different elements: Intelligent speculation and textbook sci-fi presumptions, startlingly inventive action and audience-pleasing old standbys, philosophical considerations and inescapable genre conventions, intense visual splendor and gore at its most grisly. The drama flows gorgeously and, unlike in many other franchises in which entries keep getting longer every time out, this one is served up without an ounce of fat. It provides all the tension and action the mainstream audience could want, along with a good deal more.

The Mirror - Chris Hunneysett - 5/5

Despite displaying Weaver's kick-ass aptitude, Waterston is overawed by a majestic Michael Fassbender. He's mesmeric in a dual role as synthetic androids, David and Walter. Scott's final theatrical flourish sends the franchise spinning out in a new direction. This is screamingly great cinema.

Den of Geek - Ryan Lambie - 3/5

Alien: Covenant’s problems only really begin to tell in the second half. While the movie doesn’t lose its coherency in the way that Prometheus did, the story does delve into similarly awkward, faintly kitsch storytelling territory. One of the issues is, surprisingly, Michael Fassbender, who plays two roles here. As well as David, the actor also appears as Walter, a newer model of synthetic with fewer personality malfunctions than his predecessor.

Radio Times - Terry Staunton - 3/5

Scott has relinquished the directorial reins of the upcoming Blade Runner sequel, and it might have been wise to do the same here, to bring a more fully formed perspective and a fresh slant to the saga. Unlike the crew of another spacecraft with a sizeable cinema pedigree, he seems frustratingly content to boldly go exactly where he’s gone before.