Alien: Covenant is now in theaters, and earning bank at the box office. However, not all of the reaction to Ridley Scott's latest Alien prequel story has been stellar - or even very favorable.
Whether fans like Alien: Covenant or not, it's clear that both of Scott's Alien prequel stories don't quite measure up to the legacy of the first two Alien films. In fact, the entire sci-fi/horror sub-genre has been struggling to reclaim its former glory, which is why we've decided to step in with some much-needed guidance.
Here are 5 Ways Sci-Fi Horror Franchises Need to Improve.
The thing that made sci-fi/horror such an effective cinematic lane was the way that it captured our fears of aspects of life ruled by things like biology or technology.
The Fly, Alien, The Thing, Terminator - all of these classic sci-fi/horor films used their biological and technological subject matter as smart metaphors for concepts like de-evolution, birth, or the dangers of technology.
Since that time, sci-fi/horror movies have lost a lot of focus on the core elements that made them relevant in the first place: the science behind the horror. In order to get the genre back on the right foot, that focus must be regained.
Recent sci-fi/horror films (Ridley Scott's Alien prequels, specifically), have almost made the opposing mistake to indulging too much in horror: indulging too much in the intellectual portion of the sub-genre.
Prometheus got so lost in its creation theories that it forgot to effectively terrify; Alien: Covenant tried to regain some balance, but still lost itself in creation theories, and exploration of the dangers inherent in man playing god.
Sci-fi/horror tends to be at its best when it has a clear and straightforward subject to tackle - and then, lets the movie infer that subject (through story and visuals), rather than outright explaining it, over-philosophizing about it.
Alien gave us a nightmare version of pregnancy and birth - and the best moments of the franchise return us to that central theme. When you already have a good metaphor working for you - don't try to blow it out too far. Those Engineers (and all the God theory surrounding them) will never hold a candle to the gruesome creation of the Xenomorphs.
Films like Alien and Predator were novelties for their respective eras - and even films like The Fly and The Thing were uniquely original reinventions of some classic films.
These days, there are so many sci-fi/horror films that try to derive their stories from other established brands in the genre. For every Attack the Block, we get a slew of knock offs like The Thing (2011), Predators, Life, Quarantine, Morgan or Apollo 18.
With changing times and changing world circumstances, sci-fi/horror has plenty of real life to spin into novel new cinematic stories. Shows like Black Mirror are embracing the horrors of the modern age with both hands. More sci-fi/horror films need to follow suit.
Jeff Goldblum, Gena Davis, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and Sigourney Weaver - each of these big stars had a breakout role starring in an iconic sci-fi/horror film.
These days, the genre seems more concerned with special effects or grandiose concepts, rather than allowing talented actors to step into the spotlight and lead through performance. Nowadays, the film concepts win out over the actors, turning franchise films into revolving doors of bodies - or turning standalone films into forgettable affairs where the creatures are the only real feature.
The sci-fi/horror genre needs more Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor types filling out its ranks - and with so many great new talents in Hollywood (and the filmmaking nations beyond), there's no reason that this genre shouldn't be turning out more new stars.
SYNOPSIS: The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.
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