Alien: Covenant appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. I felt impressed by this fine presentation.
At all times, sharpness delivered strong images. Virtually no signs of softness arose here, as the movie remained crisp and tight even in the widest shots.
Jagged edges and moiré effects didn’t occur, and the movie lacked edge haloes or other distractions like print flaws, so it was always clean.
Expect a heavily teal palette here. A few oranges occasionally occurred but the chilly blues dominated. However one feels about those choices, the disc reproduced them in a positive fashion, and the disc’s HDR gave the tones extra zing and impact.
Blacks were tight and rich, and low-light shots offered smooth, well-defined elements. HDR brought added depth to whites and contrast. Everything here soared and gave us a terrific transfer.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, we get ample pleasures from the thrilling Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Covenant. A sci-fi flick that didn’t skimp on action, the mix made vivid use of all available speakers to create an involving, immersive experience.
With lots of action and space components, the information popped up in logical places, meshed together smoothly and created a wonderful sense of the situations. The soundscape was consistently an active presence and really brought us into the story.
In addition, audio quality excelled. Speech was natural and distinctive, while music sounded robust and full.
Effects did the heavy lifting and added real punch to the package. With clean highs and deep lows, those elements sounded great. The soundtrack became a strong addition to the film.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio remained identical, as both discs sported the same Atmos track.
Visuals got a boost, as the 4K brought superior sharpness as well as improved colors and blacks. While the Blu-ray looked solid, the 4K became a nice step up in quality.
As we head to the extras, we find an audio commentary from director Ridley Scott. He provides a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets, location and production design, music, effects and related domains.
When he starts, Scott tells us he didn’t formally prepare for the commentary. This seems evidence for a while, as the first parts of the chat tend to simply offer narration and few insights.
Happily, Scott digs into the film better as he warms up, so he manages to provide a good array of remarks about the movie, its production, and its connection of elements of Alien mythology. This never quite becomes a great chat, but after that slow start, it works pretty well.
All the remaining extras appear on the included Blu-ray copy, and 12 Deleted/Extended Scenes run a total of 17 minutes, 37 seconds. These tend toward general exposition or additional character information. I like Daniels’ flashback because it features the major movie star whose theatrical version cameo barely registers, but the rest seem forgettable.
Under USCSS Covenant, we find three segments: “Meet Walter” (2:20), “Phobos” (9:09) and “The Last Supper” (4:37). These offer “mini-films” that offer additional information about characters.
“Walter” is actually an “advertisement” for the android, and “Phobos” shows tests for the crew. “Supper” comes closest to a deleted scene, as it shows the crew before they go into cryo-sleep. All are fun to see, though “Supper” fares best of the bunch.
Next comes Sector 87 – Planet 4 and its three components: “The Crossing” (2:34), “Advent” (6:41) and “David’s Illustrations”. The first two act as a bridge between Prometheus and Covenant, so they prove useful in that regard.
“Illustrations” provides what its title implies: stills that display the drawings created by the David character. It’s an extensive collection that adds value to the set.
Master Class: Ridley Scott splits into four more pieces: “Story” (11:17), “Characters” (15:46), “Setting” (13:42) and “Creatures” (14:54). In these segments, we hear from Scott, screenwriter John Logan and Dante Harper, producer Mark Huffam, stunt coordinator Kyle Gardiner, production designer Chris Seagers, special effects supervisor Neil Corbould, director of photography Dariusz Wolski, visual effects supervisor Charley Henley, set dec illustrators Dane Hallett and Matt Hatton, costume designer Janty Yates, creature design supervisor Conor O’Sullivan, creature effects supervisor Adam Johansen, and actors Callie Hernandez, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Amy Seimetz, James Franco, Benjamin Rigby, Michael Fassbender, Demian Bechir, Danny McBride, Uli Latukefu and Carmen Ejogo.
“Class” covers story/character areas and connections to Alien mythology, Scott’s planning and approach to the material, cast and performances, sets, locations and production design, various effects, creature design and execution. We learn a fair amount about the film here, and the ample use of footage from the set helps.
However, we also locate a lot of praise for Scott and others. “Class” musters more than enough informational value to deserve a look, but it’s less rich than I’d hoped it’d be.
By the way, could someone tell the cast and crew that “Giger” is pronounced “Gee-ger”, not “Guy-ger”? Almost all of them pronounce the name incorrectly. And let screenwriter Harper know Alien came out in 1979, not 1977!
In addition to two trailers, the disc finishes with a Production Gallery. This breaks into “Ridleygrams” (18 screens), “Conceptual Art” (197 across 10 domains), “Creatures” (40 across six domains) and “Logos and Patches” (34). Though the user interface isn’t great, I still like this collection of images.
With a slew of enticing action sequences, Alien: Covenant tops the sluggish Prometheus. However, it lacks much creative energy of its own, so it becomes a derivative entry in the franchise. The 4K UHD boasts excellent picture and audio as well as a good collection of supplements. As an Alien fan, I’m glad I saw Covenant, but it doesn’t live up to expectations.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of ALIEN: COVENANT