Alien: Covenant

Starring Michael Fassbender and Karen Waterston, Alien: Covenant is about a technologically advanced aircraft (with all the bells and whistles and appendages thereto) on a space mission to colonize a new planet. Something goes wrong, blah, blah, blah and so on and so forth; and there’s your movie.

Apologies. I’m a bit late with this review, but I’m still catching up on things here after being laid up for like six weeks.  Moving on…

Although sci-fi isn’t “my thing,” I have somehow managed to see all of the Alien films from way back in 1979 to the present. Don’t ask me how that happened.  It just did.  It certainly wasn’t purposeful.  I have actually enjoyed the franchise because sequels are not pumped out for profits and obvious cliff hangers are not left dangling all over the place.  A contained movie that can stand on its own (pretty much) is made each time.  Not here.  And I didn’t like that, along with a mess of other things I didn’t care for about this movie.

First let us discuss what I liked. The acting was pretty good.  Fassbender’s and Waterston’s performance, in particular, elevated this film and the supporting cast did a good job (an honorable mention goes to Danny McBride for his performance, mainly because his character was just so likeable). The action was well choreographed, the effects were strong and the set design and cinematography are top-notch.  The fact that this story plays like a sci-fi/horror flick at times is what I like most about it.

Now, on to what I didn’t care for; and I’m going to try to not be too brutal here because it isn’t a bad movie, it just isn’t a great one – regardless of how much love you may or may not have for the franchise, or whatever, love will not make this movie great. Aside from the fact that the Aliens have been cross-bred (which explains their new look and behavior), the rest of the elements in this film are nothing we haven’t seen before.

The plot of this movie is feeble. Now, the premise is supposed to include the fact that something goes wrong with the ship that makes these people wind up having to deal with these creatures, but absolutely nothing goes wrong!  A bit of interference occurs.  The crew hears a voice somewhere out in space, but nothing life threatening occurs.  What captain on a mission suddenly decides to change course because they heard a voice out in space?  Out.  In.  Space.  It’s not as if he heard a baby crying on his front doorstep.  We are in outer space!  It’s not like dropping by the house two doors down to check on the neighbors.  Outer space.  And doesn’t he have someone to answer to somewhere?  If I were a crew member, we would have had a real problem, is all I am saying, and this would have been a completely different movie.  Ridiculousness…  No Sir.  We are not stopping what we are doing to go investigate, Scooby Doo style, some voice that you think was transmitted from some planet we have no information about.  No we’re not.

I almost feel as though I’m talking about Passengers right now. Not that Alien: Covenant is as bad as all that, but similarly, the movie falls apart at the very point where it is meant to begin.  In other words, the premise is just kind of silly.  And as in Passengers, the writers here attempt to twist this poor decision the captain makes into some sort of “question of conscience,” which doesn’t fly because if the question becomes do we risk ourselves to save one unknown somebody or do we protect the thousands who are on board this ship against the unknown, there is no question.  Additionally, since there was zero consideration given for the safety or well being of those thousands of sleeping people on board at any time during the course of the movie – why were they even there?

The painful attempts at plot twist are so weak it’s almost sad. The way things play out is very boilerplate and predictable, from Fassbender’s fight with his “brother” (like, who didn’t see that coming?), to the ending.  And was I the only one who felt slightly uncomfortable during that flute scene?  What was that!?  Whatever it was, thankfully Fassbender played it well.

The “colonization of a new planet while people sleep in pods on a years-long journey” is kind of a stale premise.  Come on…And the painful set up for the sequel… I can’t.  I just didn’t appreciate seeing Alien reduced to looking like all the rest of the “crank ‘em out and stack money” franchises.  It hasn’t been that way up until this point, but it looks as though we have taken a turn here.  You can certainly feel the influence of the comic franchise machine in this writing.

Alien: Covenant earned 6 out of 10 bloops. It’s a good movie that could have been much better.  I would venture a guess the studio even knew this, as it was released in spring, and not as a “summer blockbuster.”  If you’re super invested in the franchise you will probably like it more than I did.  As for me, I wanted to like it.  I really, really did.  It is beautiful to look at and well acted, but this installment falls flat.

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What I’m Watching This Week

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

Mini Reviews…

Hey there! It’s been a while since I reviewed anything. I had a bit of surgery to recover from but I’m much better now.  While I was down I binge watched so much Netflix, Hulu and HBO GO, etc., I don’t even remember all the things I watched.  So here are some mini-reviews of what I’ve seen.  Still haven’t seen The Handmaid’s Tale, the seventh season of Archer, second season of Master of None, and Queen Sugar (I know I’m late.  Don’t judge me!), but they are soooo on my list. Thank you to everyone who kept checking to see if I had written anything and those who kept reading, referring and sharing what I’ve already written and kept my little blog alive.  Sincerely, thank you so much.

Ballers
HBO – starring the Rock
7.5 out of 10 bloops

I like this show. It is worth seeing, particularly if you’re a fan of the Rock.  It’s kind of like Entourage meets Arliss.  If you liked those shows, you’ll really like this one.

Dear White People
Netflix
8.5 out of 10 bloops

Surprisingly, much better than I expected it to be given that I disliked the movie very, very much. I felt like it was too similar to something Spike Lee had already made, and if I want to see a Spike Lee movie, I can watch a Spike Lee movie.  What really made me watch the Netflix series is that one of the episodes is directed by Barry Jenkins (Moonlight).  Would have been really nice if they could have gotten Spike Lee to direct one, but alas… The uniqueness of the format of the show is what makes it interesting.  It’s well acted, well cast, and confronts and discusses important issues surrounding racists and racism.  Another one of the programs the very people who need to be watching won’t.  You think it is going to be an exercise in bashing white people but it is really about engaging one another in a conversation, coming to some understanding about one another and working toward solutions.

13 Reasons Why
Netflix
8.5 out of 10 bloops

Another great show which puts suicide all up in your face, and covers all the things that can contribute to it, including but not limited to, low self esteem, negative self image, peer pressure, bullying, sexual assault, rape culture, depression, underage drinking, and just so much more.  If you have a tween or teenager who is willing to watch it with you, you really should.  You could literally talk about each episode for hours because there is so much going on in the story with these young people.  And no, it does not glorify suicide.  This is a mini-review, so I won’t get into all of that.  Watch it and form your own opinion.  The initial premise is a bit silly to me, but you have to go with it to get through the story.  A second season is coming.  I guess it will be interesting to see how that is executed.

Greenleaf
OWN
9.0 out of 10 bloops

All I can say is Oprah… Holy Crap Girl! You have done it!  Haven’t seen Queen Sugar yet, but this right here is fire!  If you like drama and excellent acting I can’t tell you enough how much I encourage you to watch Greenleaf.  It’s about a pastor of a megachurch and his dynasty.  Lynn Whitfield is outstanding as the first lady of the church and it’s like someone spilled all the church secrets.  Very well done, indeed.  It’s dramatic like Empire, but with class and Jesus.  And there’s a Winans in it and everything!  The music is an important part of the show.

This is Us
NBC/I think I watched on Hulu or Amazon. I really cannot remember.  Check both.  It’s worth it!
9.0 out of 10 bloops

This show features a multicultural, multifaceted family that contains a bunch of imperfect people trying to navigate how to love each other and stay together. You see, the family looks all perfect and kumbayaa on the outside, but if you look a little bit deeper you see all the many, many, flaws – just like real families.  And they’re beautiful.  And they love each other.  It is just a beautiful show.  If you have almost any type of family relationship troubles, you will see your loved ones in this show.  I was told it will make me cry every week, which is why I avoided it.  (I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t want to be crying over some t.v. show every week.  Life is hard enough as it is.)  It didn’t make me cry every week, but when it gets you, it gets you and it isn’t terrible.  Well-acted, well written, well-conceived, just superbly well done.

Other Reviews:

Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
The Belko Experiment
Beauty and the Beast
Raw

Kong: Skull Island
Logan
Bitter Harvest
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
Florence Foster Jenkins
I Am Not Your Negro

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