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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Horror > Thriller > Drama > Creature > Android > Murder > Alien: Covenant (2017)/Prometheus (2012/both Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray sets)

Alien: Covenant (2017)/Prometheus (2012/both Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray sets)

4K Picture: A- (both) 4K Sound: A- (both) 1080p Picture: B+ (both) Sound: B+ (both 1080p Blu-rays) Extras: B Films: C+/B

Director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Gladiator) returns to the world of H.R. Giger's Alien universe his two prequel films, Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017), both of which have elegantly landed on the 4K UHD format courtesy of Fox.

Featuring the iconic look and production design of the original films with modern special effects and a few A-list cast members, both films are a bit on the experimental side for Scott, who tried a few new things in an effort to finally unearth how the infamous Xenomorphs came to be and hopefully thrill audiences the way he did decades ago. Unfortunately, the reception for both installments have been mixed from critics, however, both did well in the box office and on home video, leaving hope for future installments.

Prometheus stars Noomi Rapace (the original, foreign Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy), Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde), Michael Fassbender (Song to Song, Assassins Creed), Idris Elba (The Dark Tower, Pacific Rim), Guy Pearce (Memento, Iron Man 3), and Logan Marshall-Green (Spider-Man: Homecoming) for starters.

Covenant brings back cast member Michael Fassbender (as the sinister human-esque android David) in a lead role and brief cameos by Prometheus stars Guy Pierce (as the founder of the Weyland Corporation - Peter Weyland) and Noomi Rapace (reprising her role as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw). Covenant also features rising star Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them), Billy Crudup (Watchmen), James Franco (in a cameo role), Danny McBride (yes - THAT Danny McBride), and Demián Bichir (Hateful Eight) to name a few.

Prometheus has been a hotly debated film for the sci-fi community over the past few years, with some fans loving it and others hating it. There's no doubt that Scott tried a few new things here, namely not giving the main characters weapons during their adventure and predominantly featuring The Engineers, who were vaguely touched upon in the original film. For me, Prometheus is actually one of my favorite installments in the franchise with some scenes that I truly love, namely the scene where Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) has to give herself an alien abortion, and the white knuckled climax of the film that puts you on the edge of your seat. Sure, the film has some plot holes and some deleted scenes that should have been left in, but I find it superior to Covenant and a film that definitely benefits from this new HD update.

While many sci-fi fans complained about the slow pace and missing Xenomorphs in Prometheus, in Covenant, we get our treasured bad guys back (and a new creature known as the Neomorph) and more brutal violence than before. However, the film was cut down considerably (a rumored twenty minutes missing) during Post Production and ultimately got mixed reactions from audiences and critics. Some fans were also upset by the new origin for the Alien creatures that were created for this film and some of the twists in later acts were met with lukewarm reception.

Personally, I enjoyed the film although I don't feel its one of the franchise's stronger entries. When you say 'Ridley Scott' and 'Alien' in the same sentence, there's a certain level of anticipation and expectation that comes with that for which I don't feel this film quite reached the potential it initially had out of the gate.

The crew onboard the vessel Covenant are on a trip with thousands of members in hibernation to seek out a new home for mankind. However, they get an unexpected wakeup call when a ship malfunction kills off their Captain, leaving the crew is disarray and low on hope. Still a ways away from their final destination and forced to reassign leadership, the crew discovers a new planet that seems to be a better fit than the planet in which the mission was originally targeting. Upon landing and checking out the planet up close, they realize that they aren't the only inhabitants, as they find the wreckage of an Alien craft once manned by the Engineers (the 'creators' of the Xenomorphs). Infected with an airborne disease, a few crew members grow ill and soon end up birthing alien creatures. From here, things start to get nutty as surviving members must struggle for survival and avoid a fate worse than death.

Some of the film's problems lie with the David character himself. Playing dual roles in the film as a friendly A.I. named Walter and the manipulative David, Fassbender brings his unique acting chops to the role even if the script doesn't always serve the character best. An interesting twist could have been executed better, with Scott giving away the plot point before it happens if you pay close enough attention. The biggest plot hole is the absence of the evolved alien from the end of Prometheus with no explanation as to what happened to it. The Neomorph, although a cool character design, isn't explained as logically as a face hugger didn't give birth to it as much as an airborne disease did. Some strange story choices here that could have been easily avoided.

Those of us at the site who liked Covenant less than myself have an alternate name for the film based on the fact the the title killer is often no larger than a large cat: Apocalypse Meow!

The 4K Ultra HD format lends itself well to the production design these movies making them must haves on the new format, with transfers that are more defined than the included Blu-ray editions. The 2160p with HDR (high dynamic range 10-bit color; 1080p for Blu-ray) high definition transfer features a widescreen presentation of 2.40:1 and fantastic sounding, lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 track (including Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core tracks in each case that are not too shabby either) that push the limits of many home entertainment systems. Both Blu-rays offer lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 mixes that are also strong, but not as thorough as the Atmos versions. The darkly lit films have some very detailed production design that is more noticeable on the 4K disc, namely the scenes that take place on the spacecrafts. Skin textures are immaculate, specifically on Fassbender in the sterile white opening sequence in Covenant, with gritty detail on set design and other worldly elements on the films. Prometheus looks loads better here than the aging Blu-ray transfer, with sharper looks at our leads and visual motifs not evident in prior, more compressed releases.

Digital UV copies also included.

Special Features for Prometheus are the same as the previous Blu-ray release....

2 Audio Commentaries by Scott and by Writers Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts

The Peter Weyland Files

Deleted and Alternate Scenes, which include an alternate opening and ending

Special Features For Alien: Covenant include...

Deleted and Extended Scenes

David's Illustrations - Image Gallery

Master Class: Ridley Scott - Documentary on the making of Alien: Covenant

Director Commentary by Ridley Scott

Production Gallery

And if you're a collector and have an interest you can track down these other various editions of Covenant that are available at various mega retailers such as...

Wal-Mart - includes Alien Day fan art designed t-shirt (4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray formats)

Target - Collectible packaging with a 36-page book packaging featuring an inside look at David's Lab and the creatures of Alien: Covenant, plus behind-the-scenes photography and concept sketches (Blu-ray format only)

Best Buy - Alien baby Xenomorph SteelBook (includes 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray formats)

Personally, I rank Covenant below Prometheus and slightly above 1997's Alien: Resurrection (which I think was the weakest and goofiest installment in either cut). I, of course, don't count the so-so Alien vs Predator films, a spinoff franchise in desperate need of an intelligent reboot... Fox should really get Neill Blomkamp (District 9) on that since his Alien project was put on hiatus!

Still, Ridley Scott hasn't completely lost it as there are some great moments in Covenant and visually the film is on point. Unfortunately, there are also many missed opportunities and a screenplay that doesn't quite hit all of its marks. A third installment is rumored to be happening with Scott again at the helm, so we will see if Covenant is strengthened or weakened by that addition. Also due to the heavy edit of the film, I wouldn't be shocked to see a Director's Cut of this in the future with many plot holes filled... if the deleted scenes on the disc are any indication.

Presentation-wise, Fox has done a great job here and hopefully Scott's original 1979 masterpiece and James Cameron's masterful sequel will soon follow in the months ahead on 4K disc. In the meantime, here's our coverage of the previous six feature films in the series on Blu-ray....

Alien Anthology (first 4 films) regular set


plus Alien Anthology with limited edition EGG


Alien Vs. Predator


Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem


and our original look at Prometheus


- James Lockhart



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