Matthew Lickona 9:21 a.m., Sept. 29
Ridley Scott finishes what he started in Prometheus: the story of David (Michael Fassbender), a sentient creation who discovers that his creator is laughably inferior, but still potentially useful. (There’s a bang-up opening scene featuring David’s awakening — physical and otherwise — for those who may have thought they were here for the xenomorphs.) Happily for the audience, he isn’t alone in his superhuman status — a little brotherly rivalry keeps things interesting (just ask Cain and Abel). So the new crew, piloting the titular colony ship, has an android of its own: Walter, he of the flattened accent, dialed-down individuality, and bulked-up virtue. The drama between the two is the stuff of good, even classic sci-fi, but in his eagerness to make his point, Scott reduces his people to stumbling, panicky incompetents (whatever made the scientists so dumb in Prometheus seems to have spread to the soldiers and other supposed professionals here), and his monster to a glorified service animal. (At one point, David explicitly compares it to a horse.) Possibly worse: he trades the slow, creeping dread of the original Alien for frenetic slasher-pic violence and gore. Definitely worse: the way the film seems to borrow from those released earlier this year: Passengers, Life, Ghost in the Shell, et alia. Still those movies didn’t have that creature, nor the religious underpinnings. What should a god do but create? 2017.