I watched this edit with my wife after we gave up trying to get through Wraith's edit "Alien vs Predator: Outbreak" which combined both AvP films. As with the AvP films, I only watched Covenant once in the theatre and bought it out of a sense of obligation, having grown up with the Alien franchise, so I didn't remember much of Covenant when watching Wraith's edit. As per Wraith's recommendation, we watched the Extended edit instead of Alien V.
I agree with many of The Scribbling Man's criticisms of Covenant and the Extended edit doesn't fix those, but it does do wonders in other areas of the movie which were sorely lacking in the original release. While Covenant was rightly criticized for being an unworthy clone of Alien, one thing it didn't copy from the original in my opinion was building a sense of camaraderie or give much detail to the characters. Wraith's decision to include the pre-release materials and the very telling Phobos sequence helped a lot. My wife thought the Phobos sequence went on a bit long but it was one of my favourite parts of the edit. The part that felt long to me was David's lengthy exposition tacked on at the end. It seemed to fill in details that should have been better addressed in the film itself, which is of course no fault of Wraith's, but I felt that after the big ending twist, the narration really took the wind out of the movie's sails.
We watched a 16.5 GB copy of the edit which looked and sounded great, and neither of us noticed any A/V issues or other editing errors. Covenant is still my least favourite Alien film, but this edit was a big improvement. I'll hang on to the shorter edit and watch that after a while to see if it improves on the pacing. Unfortunately, as with AvP and Prometheus, the more backstory I get on the xenomorphs, the less I enjoy it. I think part of the magic of the first Alien trilogy was the mystery behind the origin of the species, so even if Ridley does another film to wrap up David's arc, I'm pretty sure I'll be disappointed by it. That said, I'm glad that editors like Wraith will be there to sift through deleted material and such to tighten things up where Ridley drops the ball.
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyMay 17, 2021
Thanks for the review. You will find Phobos is shorter on ALIEN V, and even here I removed about 2 mins or so. I'm still trying to work out why they relegated all that extra material to viral marketing. Very strange indeed.
Visual quality is good, but not on par with the blu-ray. Artifacting is noticeable in some darker areas (mostly early on in the film).
Audio-wise, I think there were a couple of small pops near the beginning, but I wasn't certain if that was on my end or not. I didn't stop to take notes or replay since I was watching with someone and didn't want to spoil their experience by faffing.
No complaints on the editing front. Very professionally put together. I didn't notice a single cut. Wraith has obviously done a lot of work throughout the film, and it's really well executed.
Narratively, it is superior to the theatrical for sure, but it still doesn't really fix the film for me (though no points off because Wraith has only improved things). It's nice to see all the deleted/promotional footage reincorporated into the film, but my main issues still stand:
- overreliance on (bad) CGI and virtually no attempt to incorporate practical fx (something the franchise is known for nailing)
- an evolutionary cycle that doesn't make sense in light of the xenomorph being in the early stages (I.e. Everything happens SUPER fast)
- an absolutely appalling character arc for our "man of faith", by which he mopes about not getting to be leader, then has it handed to him on a silver platter, then makes bad decisions, then makes more bad decisions based on his insecurity about previous decisions not going down well, then gets everyone killed, then gets himself killed. It's just the most bleak, depressing, pointless and (as far as I can tell) thematically irrelevant arc in the film.
Still, I enjoyed it, and I wasn't expecting to come out converted necessarily. The slower, more philosophical moments are still the film's strength, and basically anything with David and Walter.
Overall, a good edit of a bad film and I think Wraith achieved his goal - it's just not the cut for me. I think for now my go to for Covenant is still Job Willin's Paradise edit.
Big thanks to Wraith for putting this out there though. It easily trumps the theatrical and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a better alternative to the theatrical that isn't a fan mix.
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyDecember 06, 2020
Thank you for your generous review.
I agree the whole "man of faith" arc is poor and has no real pay off. It also sits badly given how well he tests at the Phobos facility. Maybe that is why Phobos was cut? I did play with him being killed off earlier but it then means losing discussions which are worth seeing. plus a big re-jig of the running order. Then again, version 3? who knows. The flute scene still really annoys me. Maybe you should try out the longer version in a few months? Thanks again.