Michael G. Cooney’s Alien Code suffers from a few flaws here and there. In fact, I won’t particularly recommend watching this movie. However, I will say it’s far from the worst sci-fi thriller involving aliens I’ve seen. In fact, in some ways, it is arguably better than more mainstream hits like Independence Day (which doesn’t even try to be contemplative and is moderately entertaining at best). Also, the flaws of Alien Code won’t be insurmountable to everyone. Basically, I’ll make a quick list of why certain critiques of this movie are relatively weak. That being said, few people will end up viewing this as an absolute masterpiece.
Critique #1: It’s Too Slow!
Alien Code is not an action-packed, mile-a-minute thriller, especially not compared to plenty of other movies. It does take its time and could be cut to a shorter run-time. In fact, I’ll be honest: It might have worked better as a half-hour episode of some anthology. Nevertheless, I have a general impression that this movie has layers I did not pick up on, which may merit a rewatch further down the line.
Some of those may be part of its seemingly lengthier-than-needed run time. Alien Code is definitely not alone in this regard. Even with a film like Alien, one can go back and see certain layers that didn’t catch their eyes (or ears) before. I obviously wouldn’t say this movie’s as good as Alien, but there’s more to it than meets the casual eye.
Critique #2: The Dialogue
I have to admit, the dialogue in Alien Code is not very memorable. Mary McCormack’s performance as government agent-person “Rebecca Stillman” is actually quite dry. Although Kyle Gallner is considerably more lively as cryptographer Alex Jacobs, there really are not many memorable zingers (to borrow Barack Obama’s term).
However, if you can look past this relatively mild flaw, you might be able to get into Alien Code. This is obviously sort of a thinking man’s thriller, so to speak. Its main point is not to be witty or even beat you over the head with action. The idea is a big question mark, which doesn’t make a movie bad in itself.
Critique #3: The Underlying Message
Without getting technical, let’s just say this movie ultimately presents some conundrums (and not just the puzzle that Alex initially unfolds). It’s a bit tricky to grasp what the aliens actually want. This will definitely turn some viewers away, and I suspect few people will read this review anyway. Still, a number of beloved films and filmmakers rely on confounding puzzles to get their audience thinking. If you look up some viewer reviews on Alien Code, you’ll find people who genuinely seem to enjoy the movie and who get what it’s all about. That may not end up being your experience.
For me, this is simply a movie I might rewatch further down the road. While this little article might sound critical, that is not really my intent here. In fact, I urge you to give this one the benefit of the doubt. It’s also because, honestly, I could imagine creating a story like this one, if not considerably worse, and I would want people to at least try to connect with it.
After all, some movies/songs/etc. are only good if the person experiencing it pays attention, possibly to the point of immersion, while suspending some disbelief. Why not give it a try? If nothing else, maybe put this movie on when you’re not feeling very picky.
What are your thoughts on Alien Code, if you have seen it? Let us know in the comments!