Monday, May 22, 2017

Alien Covenant Had Same Problem as Star Wars Rogue One

Went to see Alien Covenant yesterday and came away feeling very middling about it. It wasn't bad, and it certainly had a few memorable moments in it. I didn't come close to having the instant love that I felt when I watched Aliens in the theater when it came out. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that there are striking parallels to the Star Wars movies in what they initially did right and what they now did wrong, and it all comes down to character development.
When I watched Alien, Aliens, and Star Wars (the original), in all cases they spent a good amount of time letting us really get to know the characters in depth. I came out of Star Wars knowing almost all major names from Luke to Ben to Leia to C-3PO and more. With Alien I didn't feel invested in only Ripley--I also loved the captain and the two constantly complaining engineers.
When I watched Rogue One, I came out of the movie having enjoyed it to a certain degree...but I couldn't name a single character. I wasn't really invested in them. The same thing happened with Alien Covenant. I can't tell you any names besides 'Tennessee' and 'David'. They did spend quite a lot of movie time prior to arriving at the alien planet, but they didn't use that time wisely enough in developing the depths of character necessary. I recall seeing some characters get killed by the alien and I had no real idea who they were. With no investment in the characters, action is just action and death is sort of distant.

There was a similar experience with the first Lord of the Rings movie. When I saw the Fellowship of the Ring theatrical version, I wasn't thrilled by it. Later, though, I saw the extended edition and totally loved it. They had put back in all the character development that had been cut from the theatrical version. I wish studios and directors would learn the lessons about how necessary character development is.

1 comment:

  1. I can name the two androids and that's about it.
    Now I did feel connected to the characters in Rogue One and knew their names. Thought it was an excellent film.
    Alien Covenant had a lot of issues. Several huge plot holes really did it in for me.