Three big new movies come out this weekend, yet it feels like there aren’t any good options. Ridley Scott has a disappointing ‘Alien’ prequel / ‘Prometheus’ sequel on 3D and IMAX screens, while a fourth ‘Wimpy Kid’ movie (featuring an all-new cast) and yet another YA teen romance adaptation play elsewhere. With each title beating one dead horse or another, you’re better off staying home.
I seem to be in a minority of ‘Alien’ fans who found ‘Prometheus‘ pretty damn satisfying. Having said that, you’ll find me in first in line to slap Ridley Scott for ‘Alien: Covenant‘ being such a mess. Set ten years after its predecessor, ‘Covenant’ introduces us to a new crew that get caught in the wake of the events on LV-223. While a colonizing ship falls victim to the same inciting incident as ‘Passengers‘ (a space accident causes the crew to wake up in their long-term sleeping pods), they fix the problem and identify a more suitable planet in close proximity. When the group of couples land on this new planet, they then find themselves the prey to xenomorphs (which are being called “neomorphs” online).
If that were the entire story of ‘Alien: Covenant’, the movie would probably be better than it actually is. Instead, the tale comes to a screeching halt at the halfway point when flimsy and unexplainable connections to ‘Prometheus’ are force-fed into the plot. If you hated the TV series ‘Lost’, you’re going to really hate what happens in ‘Covenant’. The second half of the movie does nothing more than raise questions that will (hopefully) be explained in the third and final installment of this ‘Alien’ prequel trilogy. (Ridley Scott is supposedly fast-tracking the third movie and intends to start shooting in 14 months.) If you plan on seeing ‘Covenant’, but haven’t watched the two prologue shorts that Fox released as viral marketing, watch them in advance. Neither appears in the final cut, yet both are critical to the story.
Next up is ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul‘. Although clocking in at 90 minutes, the subtitle is absolutely fitting for any adults taking their kids to see this fourth adaptation from the popular book series. It’s a long haul, indeed.
In this one, the entire cast has been replaced. We get a new wimpy kid, a new bully older brother, and new parents. Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris have been replaced by Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott – two ’90s stars who haven’t done much in the decades since. Chapter Four places the characters on a road trip where, once again, the wimpy kid derails everything out of his own desire for popularity. My nine-year-old, who loves the books, thought ‘The Long Haul’ was great. As for me, you couldn’t pay me to sit through it again.
After watching ‘The Space Between Us‘ this week, I’m losing faith in all YA adaptations. As such, I didn’t bother screening ‘Everything, Everything‘. This serious version of ‘Bubble Boy’ tells the story of a girl with a condition that keeps her at a distance from the real world. Confined to her locked-down home, she longs for more. When a boy falls in love with the sight of her through a bedroom window, she jumps at the chance for a romantic adventure even if it will cost her life. Because it’s better to know love and die than never live at all, the two run away together. With reviews claiming that this is exactly the dud that it appears to be, I recommend watching the trailer instead of paying to see the film. After all, the trailer is free and it shows nearly the entire movie in less than three minutes.