Enough Already

Alien ConvenantAlien: Covenant

Theaters:  May 2017

Streaming:  August 2017

Rated:  R

Runtime:  120-122 minutes

Genre:  Action – Adventure – Fantasy – Horror – Science Fiction – Thriller

els:  2.5/10

IMDb:  6.5/10

Amazon:  2.9/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics:  6.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience:  3.3/5

Metacritic Metascore:  65/100

Metacritic User Score:  5.9/10

Awards:

Directed by:  Ridley Scott

Written by:  John Logan and Dante Harper, screenplay; Jack Paglen and Michael Green, story

Music by:  Jed Kurzel

Cast:  Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterson, Billy Crudup

Film Locations:  Australia and New Zealand

Budget:  $97,000,000

Worldwide Box Office:  $240,900,000

The year is 2104, a little more than a decade since the ill-fated Prometheus was destroyed, denying humanity’s creators from undoing the birth of man, and the Weyland Corporation is sending another ship: the Covenant, carrying several thousands humans, to populate another, distant planet.  The ship has all its human occupants in stasis for the trip and all are watched over by a new and improved version of the psychopath David: Walter.  A starburst, looking a lot like a meteor shower, pierces the ship’s hull and kills the captain while he sleeps in his stasis chamber.  Walter wakes up the 14 members of the ship’s crew, including those married to each other to repair the ship.  The newly revived crew receives a human-like transmission from a nearby planet that appears to be a perfect place to start a new colony, better than their original destination.  The new captain, with the commonsense of a milk cow, diverts the ship putting in motion a series of explicable bad decisions that endangers everyone, the ship’s crew, the ship’s occupants, and the ship.

Samuel Coleridge, author of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, stated that a written unbelievable narrative that was shown to have a “semblance of truth” could be enjoyed by the reader or audience by suspending judgement on the implausible parts. This is usually stated as the willing suspension of disbelief or to believe the unbelievable.  J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, took this concept in a different direction by suggesting that the narrative could have a secondary belief system within an inner consistency of reality.  Tolkien believed that suspension of disbelief was only required when the story’s plot line does not maintain an internally consistent fictional world.

Alien Covenant fails not because of poor direction or bad acting but because the writers of the story and screenplay put forth an unbelievable and implausible plot that destroys everything else the movie has to offer, and that’s before you even discover it is a complete rehash of the five previous Alien movies (I refuse to add in the Predator vs Alien movies).  The writers, mainly John Logan, somehow believe that the Peter Weyland Corporation is willing to put up a fortune of bitcoins and pieces of eight to build, outfit and send off a colossal starship, containing thousands of human embryos and adults, capable of traversing the vast parsecs of empty space, to find a suitable planet for human colonization; then staff the running of the ship with unintelligent and irrational beings that are incapable of assessing risk or following protocols, all the while compounding the silliness of their decision-making by having spouses or significant others amplifying their emotional buffoonery.  Gads, why not just leave it to Mother, Father, David or Walter.  With computers or androids running the show the writers can at least insert some plausible scenarios for illogical scenes that don’t have to rely on the characters and or audiences being absolute morons.  If  all else fails maybe the space faring chimps: Albert, Ham and Gordo have some offspring that are up for the task.  Hopefully Logan will return to writing plays and leave science fiction to those that can formulate plausible plots.

Alien Covenant goes where the previous Alien movies have already gone. Good androids, bad androids. Sniff and closely examine all gooey eggs, repeat endlessly. Find the Alien, lose the Alien. Burn, nuke, melt, freeze, shoot, chop, slice, dice, mince, atomize the Alien. How about we just bury the concept so deep that all the Alien acid combined will not be able to uncover it again.

Zombies — or Not

PredestinationPredestination.jpg

Theaters:  March 2014

Streaming:  February 2015

Rated:  R

Runtime:  97 minutes

Genre:  Drama – Mystery – Science Fiction – Thriller

els:  8.0/10

IMDb:  7.5/10

Amazon:  3.9/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics:  6.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience:  3.7/5

Metacritic Metascore:  69/100

Metacritic User Score:  8.0/10

Awards:

Directed by:  Michael and Peter Spierig

Written by:  Michael and Peter Spierig (screenplay) Robert A. Heinlein (story- All You Zombies)

Music by:  Michael and Peter Spierig

Cast:  Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor

Film Locations:  Melbourne, Australia

Budget:  $NA

Worldwide Box Office:  $5,386,852

Ethan Hawke, temporal agent and bartender, must find and eliminate the Fizzle Bomber before he explodes one last devastating bomb that will take thousands of lives.

For the child of God, time is linear and unidirectional; we are born, we live, we die; the beginning, the middle and the end are all planned out except you can choose what to do with God’s offered grace.  Predestination, the doctrine, the outcome is a certainty; Predestination, the movie, the outcome is in doubt.  For predestination versus free will, the doctrine, is not a contradiction because, for God, time is immaterial, all moments are present in their immediacy. For predestination versus free will, in this movie, it is not a contradiction because time is circular and the protagonist can Keep On Keeping On until he selects good over evil, death over life (Live Die Repeat and Groundhog Day).

The Spierig brothers are identical twins born in Germany, living and working in Australia, creating movies from the ground up.  They write, they direct, they produce, they create the music, but they don’t act. Predestination is their 3rd feature film.

Predestination is a faithful rendition of Heinlein’s All You Zombies with enough temporal displacement to develop a very twisted noodle. The movie provides enough clues that you should figure out the plot well before the end credits roll; but knowing the plot ending neither diminishes the fun nor un-scrambles your brain.

The directing, writing and acting are all superb, but the story is what puts it on my to watch again list.

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