Film Review: “Alien: Covenant” (2017)

“Alien: Covenant” falls flat in delivering the origin story that this franchise deserved

Review of Ridley Scott’s latest addition to his ever-developing “Alien” franchise

By Carter Bagley

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Ridley Scott returns yet again to helm another installment of the classic “Alien” franchise he created way back in 1979. Scott was at one point a revered filmmaker after making films like “Alien”, “Blade Runner”, “Thelma & Louise” and “Gladiator” but despite the occasional classic he isn’t very consistent. One thing he is great at though in all of his MV5BNzI5MzM3MzkxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTkyMjI4MTI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_.jpgfilms is world building and his talent for directing memorable shots. So, naturally, “Alien: Covenant” is very beautiful and eery to look at. However, it lacks the coherent story that all those films I mentioned above have. In all of his years at directing he still has an eye for huge scopes and making an arching story. He attempted to do this with the “Alien” franchise back in 2012 when he made the prequel “Prometheus” which many considered a flop despite being fairly enjoyable in my opinion. That film contains a better story and better characters than this film though which is a shame because this is the film that explains the origins of the classic Xenomorph aliens, it falls flat though in almost every department. To be fair the ties to Prometheus are well crafted and Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston and Danny McBride all give entertaining performances. The main characters aren’t the issue here, it’s the mythology this film relies on that weighs it down. It seems rushed and not as complex and fascinating as it should’ve been considering these creatures are the classic alien design that has been terrifying audiences for nearly 40 years. Fassbender gives his all in this film despite having been given some questionable dialog at points. Sometimes the films is suspenseful like in the first and third act but the film’s extended second act is what tears this otherwise simple, science fiction thriller apart. Ridley Scott tries to weave this deep, philosophical, thought-provoking narrative that on it’s own has some interesting parts in it but when paired with the rest of the film and the franchise as a whole it just seems jarring. The characters were mostly put there to just be killed off and even the main characters don’t have much to them and it’s thanks to the talent of Waterston, McBride, Fassbender and Billy Crudup that this film is even somewhat intense at points, it’s not in the writing. The beginning of the movie and the end were quite enjoyable and interesting but as a whole film it left me confused and unsatisfied. Some great cinematography, music and performances can’t stop this film from feeling bloated in it’s muddled, pretentious plot. If you enjoy sitting back and just watching science fiction films this might be decently enjoyable for you, but if you’re going in expecting the next “Aliens” then you better lower your expectations.

Rating: 5/10

Film Review: “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” (2016)

“Fantastic Beasts..” is an entertaining adventure with memorable characters despite having it’s share of problems

Review of newest installment in the massive “Harry Potter” series, but this time it shows us the wizarding world of America

By Carter Bagley

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Having grown up on the “Harry Potter” movies, I’m very familiar with the hype surrounding them. Personally I’ve never been as big of a fan as many of my peers but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching some of them. In fact I really love about half of the series, but the other half doesn’t thrill me enough to not consider myself a big fan. However a couple years ago JK Rowling announced she was making a film series based on the small guide book titled “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them” and considering at the time the final “Harry Potter” film had already come out and marketed as “the last installment”, so I thought it was a little bit of a sell out. Though just about a year ago fantastic-beasts-where-find-them-movie-poster.jpegdetails started sprinkling in about the movie saying it was about the wizarding world in America and it took place in the 1920’s both of which we haven’t seen before in the franchise. Also I’m a fan of a lot of the actors in the film like Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, and Colin Farrell and David Yates returned to direct it. Yates was definitely the director who consistently made the best films in the series and he does a great job at directing this one as well. The visuals and the editing and directing are the highlights of this film, it’s in the writing where the flaws become apparent. Not necessarily writing the characters as many of the characters were great especially Redmayne’s Newt Scamander who is a very likable and human protagonist. It’s the pacing and story of the film that I found to be disappointing. J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay herself and despite crafting a cool storyline and mostly fascinating characters I don’t think she did the best job. The main antagonist of the film didn’t catch me the way the “Harry Potter” films did even though the idea of an “Obscurus” was very fascinating. The main idea is that if a wizard’s powers are suppressed long enough, their power manifests itself as a parasite that becomes dark and evil. Despite the idea being surprisingly cool and original it comes off as cliche and tired in the final product, almost like those scenes were shot as a cliche modern horror film. Ezra Miller does a great job with the material he’s given and so does Colin Farrell who seems very seedy the entire film. I’ve heard a lot of praise for this film and I have to say I can’t share it but I will say I enjoyed watching it and found it very entertaining. If you’re a fan of the franchise you’ll probably have a very great time watching but if you’re not there’s not really any reason to go rush out and see it. Overall it was a decent set up for a new saga filled with interesting characters and fresh ideas and I’m still curious to see where the next films take it.

Rating: 7/10