Alien: Reign of Man (2017)
ALIEN: REIGN OF MAN
WRITER: Justin Price
DIRECTOR: Justin Price
STARRING: Khu as The Heroine
Cameron White as Reed
Deanna Grace Congo as Constance
Samantha R. Garcia as Tilly
Justin Price as Seagon
QUICK CUT: A lot of stuff we don’t care about happens to a bunch of people we don’t know on a planet we don’t know about with a backstory we don’t get told in a plot that goes nowhere.
Constance - A doctor who is willing to bend the rules to get the job done.
Reed - Some guy who mumbles his way through the movie.
Zan “The Heroine” - Someone who was taken as a child by The Order because she is immune to Terminus and maybe the saviour of mankind.
Tilly - Some woman who knows where they’re going. At least someone does.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! Since it's been a good long time since I did a Sci-file, I thought I'd grab this random movie, called Alien: Reign of Man, from the same guy who wrote and directed the 13th Friday and...wait, what? THAT movie? Oh...fuck me. Why do I do this to myself?
The movie opens with a young girl wandering through fog, and spoiler: This is how I am gonna feel for the entirety of this movie. Just wait and see. She watches as spaceships float out of the fog and, are they invaders? Friendly aliens? WRONG! They are picking up humans they believe can be used for the plot of the movie.
From there through the credits, we are suddenly somewhere with someone, and talk about throwing the audience into the deep end of your plot. Here's two people we don't know doing things we don't know, on a planet we don't know.
As we watch from Constance's perspective through her suits HUD, another member of her team lands beside her and says her life saving module activated prematurely. ...If you say so!
\We at least learn the planet is Demo (That's Dee-Moe, not dehmo) and there are other members of the team, including a Zan. Jayna must be elsewhere.
But then we jump to another person, revealed eventually to be this Zan, in a cave as an alien creature noms down on someone else we also don't know. And they never tell us about.
We hop back over to the first two, as they wander around and stare at things, continuing Justin Price's tendency to love long, lingering shots of people just standing around.
They start talking about 'the spire' which is apparently the source of all life. ...If you say so!
It is also apparently their mission to recover it, because of 'everything they lost'. I genuinely feel like I missed a whole squawking movie here, folks.
But! The Spire can replenish our natural resources, and fix these problems they're vaguely glancing blows with, and I can roll with that much at least.
It's also just delivered so...so deadpan. "The Spire. The source of all life in the universe" with ZERO sense of wonder, and then Captain XButt just WALKS AWAY! No! You get back here! You don't drop THAT plot device and then just bugger off!
Or I GUESS YOU DO because it's back to Zan in the cave, killing the alien monster who just wanted a snack.
The CG varies wildly from 'black construction paper animated badly' to 'actually pretty decent. It has its moments, at least.
Back with Constance, she finds another one of the team, Reed, asking why he phased, whatever that means, and he says they were pinned down. BY WHO? There is no one else ON this rock. Save for the occasional alien.
Reed speaks mumbily and with passionate disinterest, another Justin Price favourite! as a hilarious CG dust storm wooshes around, and giant planets float in the sky all of a sudden. I guess?
Which just leads to these two staring with that same passionate disinterest at nothing, completely no-selling any and all grandeur there might be.
This all might have actual weight IF I KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON AND THEY ACTED LIKE IT MATTERED.
Something suddenly bursts across the sky, crashes into the ground, and sends up a dust storm that would almost rival The Mummy, causing these two to run for their lives.
But then we're suddenly in space?? on a space station?? With Zan?! Is this a flashback? What is going on??
Zan meets with a woman who rambles about Demo being an anomaly, a paradox, that the Order has known about for awhile. WHOEVER THE ORDER IS.
And this is where we find out it was the Order that took Zan at the start of the movie, but she's wrong that they 'stripped her of her childhood' when in fact they saved her because she's immune to the deadly Terminus virus. All of which might matter, or be a big revelation, if THIS WASN'T THE FIRST WE HEARD ABOUT ANY OF IT.
Oh, and Zan can control 'the very dark matter that flows through her veins'. This will never come up again at any point at all during the course of this movie.
But they are looking for the Spire, because it has data that predates the Earth, and will lead to the ability to cure Terminus. ...If you say so! I don't know why you think this, but fine!
Oh, and only the Eternals can do whatever that needs to be done for the plot to get where it's going. Whatever they are. And whyever they would do this.
AND SUDDENLY WE'RE IN AN INDUSTRIAL AREA WITH ZOMBIES?! WHO THE FUCK ARE THESE PEOPLE??
Is THIS a flashback?? Where are we? What does this HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING??
So these two are looking for the Spire?? But the Spire is on Demo??? And wait, is that Captain XButt?!
XBUtt questions Tilly about their next move, which she is the only one that can tell them, because she has 'The Map'. These are all words I understand, but not the context of them, because fuck this movie.
But we're suddenly back with Zan, looking at some ugly guy and she's in different clothes looking out over a ruined cityscape and WHAT IS GOING ON. Is THIS a flashback?? Give me indicators! Dates! Transitions! ANYTHING FROM THE BASIC EDITORS HANDBOOK.
And then we're back with the Order woman whom Zan was talking with in space, and they ramble about stuff for awhile and play with a salt lamp
They mention that the Spire on Earth was responsive to only Zan, and showed her a map to Demo...and then say that we long ago sent a creature there to terraform the planet. But...they didn't know about it until Zan touched...ohfuckit.
Blah blah blah, technobabble, spires, phasing, neural connections, Eternals, run the calculations to run both Spires. Nnngh. But at least they're speaking passionately about things no one understands. If it doesn't make sense, then say it with conviction!
Oh, and Zan is 'remembering' so they might not be able to count on her to run the Spire on Demo. But also also, the Spire on Earth might not be a 'viable option'. ...If you say so!!
The movie continues to do nothing as Zan sits by a fire and has a nap. I've said it before, but if characters have the time to lay down and sleep in the middle of your movie, your pacing is wrong.
And then suddenly again we are back with Constance. And Zan. In civilisation?? WHAT IS GOING ON. PLEASE give me SOMETHING. BUT THEN ITS BACK TO DEMO.
"Zan will find the Spire! She will ignite the one on Earth! All we have to do is follow the plan!" WHAT IS IT. WHAT IS THE PLAN.
But then we're suddenly back with Constance in a lab with someone in, fuck if I know, flashback again?? and they're talking about the spread of Terminus, how it's patterns don't fit anything else, which we wouldn't know, because we've barely seen ANY infected for longer than five seconds.
And then it is declared they must move on...TO PHASE FOUR. I don't know what that means, but it better involve ants.
This all leads to Constance infecting the doctor so she can study Terminus up close. Something which has zero bearing at all on the plot for the remainder of the movie.
After spending a long time with two of the team, Reed and I don't care who else, wandering through caves, we then spend a lot of time with Zan wandering through the snow all alone.
Then suddenly, we're with Constance and Tilly back in civilisation doing things. How does this tie in with her going to Phase Four? Are they looking for the Spire? Where is this in the timeline? Where is this in the spaceline? WHAT IS GOING ON??
But regardless, there's something wrong with whatever the thing is so they have to get above ground to do a thing for the thing to thing and I DON'T KNOW.
And then it's right BACK to the cave where Reed declares he has never seen anything like this before. THEY ARE ROCKS.
But this is more long wandering and pontification signifying nothing and OH YAY something happens as Reed and XButt are attacked by space worms.
Oh but we can't have that excitement last for too long, we have to wander around the snow with Zan some more. And her suit AI ruins out of juice, so we're not even going to get any conversation with an omniscient voice any longer.
And she finally finds a stone pedestal with carvings, and oh fuck, they're very Mayan, trying to tie things in to those cultures. Urgh.
But she punches random parts of the stone, it glows blue, why because they say so. This launches something into space that whooshes through some things we don't know what they are...aaaand back with Constance and Tilly in the industrial zone.
Oh, but something lights up, so I guess that's...good?
You know what this movie needs more of right now? Returning to the cave to wave flashlights around at rock walls, because that sure is moving the plot forward.
But even better, let's go sit in the snow with Zan for a bit while nothing proceeds to get done at an alarming rate!
One of the creatures arrives and Zan declares "this is where you were created, this is where you began" ...If you say so!
We literally sit here with Zan staring at the creature for three straight minutes, until she has a flashback where another dying woman tells her of The Earth of Old, which encourages her to do...something, I guess.
But whatever, it gets her ready to fight the creature, and the music builds...
DON’T THINK YOUR DRAMATIC MUSICAL CRESCENDO MEANS ANYTHING TO ME. YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT SIT IN THE SNOW STARING AT CGI FOR ALMOST EIGHT WHOLE MINUTES.
But finally, she goes to attack the creature and...WHAT THE FUCK CREDITS.
SO WHAT WAS THE FUCKING POINT. We wandered around an alien planet talking about stuff from a backstory we never really know, being very confusing, jumping around places and times, and at the end of the day, doing NOTHING. Did she activate the Spire here, and on Earth? What about Terminus? What about everyone else? What was the point??
EVEN THE CREDITS ARE SLOW.
Video: …Well it looks good at least.
Audio: I can’t complain about the sound either, aside from the computer suit voice being a bit to gravely to follow some times.
Sound Bite: "This is where you were made. This is where you begin." IF YOU SAY SO.
Body Count: As is typical with Sci-Files, not so many, and they’re pretty lame besides.
1 - Alien gets offed 13:30 minutes in
2 - Constance infects the doctor with terminus FOR SCIENCE!!
3 - I think Captain XButt got eaten by spaceworms.
Best Corpse: The doctor with her face ripping up is coool.
Blood Type - F-: Almost no blood, dodgy effects half the time. Meh.
Sex Appeal: Nada!
Drink Up! Just…just keep drinking.
Video Nasties: Check out this scene of terraforming…I guess?
Movie Review: Okay okay, I always like to try and find the good in these situations. No movie is all bad. Almost. But this one comes perilously close. But it’s actually well shot, there’s some style to it. It does love the long lingering shots of nothing a bit too much, but that’s a style thing. The plot, at least what I can glean, isn’t bad, has some merit, and could have made for a good movie. But this movie is just SO mired in its own backstory and mythology, and doesn’t bother to explain even half of it, that it is an almost incomprehensible mess. If the movie actually held our hands and explained things, it would have something there. It also feels unfinished. The CG has its moments and is even well done at times, but other times feels real slapdash. There are movies I frequently describe as “face punchingly bad” meaning, I would rather be punching myself in the face than watching the movie. And this is 80 minutes of face punching terribleness.
And I want to say, while I play it up in the review, because I wrote these notes before watching the special features and I wanted to maintain that confusion, there are sections there that ACTUALLY EXPLAIN that the differing scenes with various people are happening linearly, mostly, because this group of people are all connected and can bounce between bodies, hence why you only see X number of people in any given scene, so they’re coordinating between themselves in long distance places. BUT YOU DON’T EXPLAIN THIS IN SPECIAL FEATURES. PUT THIS IN THE MOVIE AND MAKE YOUR GODSDAMNED PLOT MAKE A LICK OF SENSE. A VERY generous two out of five spires for at least having a certain level of competency in film making.
Entertainment Value: I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie I hate this movie Zero out of five neural links.
Let me put it this way: I would rather watch Space Psychos again. The only entertainment in it is the confused look on viewers faces.