New Jersey Stage 2017: Issue 5 - Page 26

jawed dullards and shrieking bimbos are offered shelter in the isolated home of a well-spoken eccentric, happy to receive his hospitality until they learn of the hideous experiments he’s con- ducting in his basement. The second act thus consists mostly of the villain explaining the wid- er plot and his evil plans to us, as though we’re James Bond tied to a table by Blofeld. Yet despite their verbosity, we never learn the motivations behind this char- acter’s villainous ways. Perhaps the biggest of Alien: Covenant’s many problems is how its antagonist isn’t an alien, or aliens, but rather a Baron Fran- kenstein figure. The xenomorphs are little more than the villain’s attack dogs, and lack little in the way of threat. It doesn’t help that they’re entirely computer gener- ated creations here, lacking the tactile terror of previous install- ments. A repeat of the iconic NJ STAGE 2017 - Vol. 4 No. 5 chestburster incident is rendered lifeless this time by an effect that doesn’t hold up to modern stan- dards. For such a high profile blockbuster, the CG is surpris- ingly poor at times, often on the level of those found in early Paul WS Anderson movies. As with Life, the aliens here have a hyper-accelerated growth rate, and claim their first victim in a set-piece that’s almost identi- cal to the one that results in that movie’s first casualty. The simi- larities continue right up to Covenant’s downbeat denoue- ment. And like Passengers, the fi- nal act revolves around surviving characters being unaware of the true nature of a fellow shipmate. I use the term ‘characters’ loosely, as they’re all barely con- ceived here. As with Rogue One, ironically, the character with the most personality here is a robot. There are three married couples among the central bunch, but INDEX NEXT ARTICLE 26