Friday, June 2, 2017

Movie Review – Alien: Covenant

I’m a huge Alien fan. When I turned 18 and was old enough to get a tattoo, the first thing I got was an Alien drone on my right shoulder blade. Many years later, I got a facehugger on the inside of my wrist. At some point in time, I will probably get an Alien Queen. When I grow up, I want to be an Alien Queen.

I’ve watched the first four movies in the franchise numerous times. I’ve read the novels and the comic books. I read commentary on the internet and interviews with the cast and crew of the movies. You might even say I’m a fanatic.

When Prometheus first came out, I was thrilled. Then I saw it. I’m not going to rehash what I thought about it because I’ve already written a review. In summary, I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t spectacular, either.

I recently rewatched the film, and it still boggles my mind that the scientists are such idiots. I mean, the geologist’s “puppies” can map the entire structure they are in and send those plans to whatever he wears on his wrist, but he still gets lost?

And the biologist finds a new alien species and the first thing he wants to do is pet it? I get he’s excited about a new species, but wouldn’t logic dictate that he should observe it first? Maybe I’m confused about the role of biologists…

But I digress.

When Covenant came out, I was excited, but I didn’t have high hopes. I was happy to see there was a traditional xenomorph in the film (after writing this review, I watched a video [only watch this video if you’ve seen the movie; spoilers abound] that explained these creatures were actually “protomorphs,” so not quite xenos yet), but I was going to reserve judgment until I watched the movie.

Covenant wasn’t terrible, but it was problematic. It raised a lot of questions and answered a few. In a way, I kind of felt like it was trying to rewrite Prometheus. I felt it was saying, “Well, that movie sucked, and the fans weren’t happy, so let’s pretend like it didn’t happen. But it did happen, so let’s erase the parts that were terrible and rewrite them with this film.”

The creatures were cool. The neomorphs were incredibly creepy, and the protomorph was badass. There were definite elements of horror films in the movie, including going into the equivalent of a dark basement and messing with stuff the characters aren’t supposed to mess with—just because someone told them it was okay. Why do they always believe the bad guy? Granted, they didn’t know it was the bad guy, but common sense, people! Come on!

However, it is the horror movie elements that make horror, horror. It’s smart people doing dumb things that makes the genre the genre, and if Covenant is trying to be a horror film, it stands to reason that these elements would be included.

Overall, I didn’t find the movie frightening. I don’t know if it’s because I knew what to expect (and I did; the bad guy and his motive isn’t a secret and there aren’t any unexpected twists) or if it just didn’t have any overly scary parts. It’s creepy enough that I won’t let my 8 and 10 year old watch it for fear of nightmares, but they are also 8 and 10.

I did enjoy the film. And I think the movie left itself open to expand the Alien universe.

The film wasn’t perfect by any sense of the imagination. There were some issues, such as pacing and not really caring at all about the characters. They tried to give them back stories and a reason to be liked, but most of them weren’t alive long enough to develop feelings for.

I will say that I really liked Danny McBride. He did a great job in the film.

I will definitely watch this film again, and I will attempt to look deeper into the narrative and tease out the hidden meanings. On the surface, it was a passable film. It had action and monsters—which is really the only criteria I need to enjoy a movie. Was it a spectacular Alien film? Not really, but it doesn’t dishonor the franchise either.

Has anyone else seen the movie? What are your thoughts?

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