Trailer Thoughts Alien: Covenant

A trailer for a brand new Alien movie dropped just in time for Christmas. If you ask me, nothing screams Happy Holidays more than a movie about a phallic looking alien looking to face hug, chest burst, and acid drool all over unsuspecting victims!

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Wait, what’s this?  Legendary director Ridley Scott is back at the helm of the series he initially launched way back in 1979.  Oh, there is no way this can be bad.  Not like the depressing, studio tinkered, dumpster fire, that was Alien 3 or the ludicrously absurd Alien: Resurrection. 

Wait my editor is handing me a note.  It says that Ridley was in fact responsible for the brainless, limp, non-Alien, Alien movie, Prometheus. Well, fuck…..

So Josh, what was your initial reaction to this festive, slimy, trailer from Satan…I mean Santa?

Josh: So yeah, what an odd choice to let this thing out to the masses on Christmas Day.  Not only is it a trailer for what’s clearly an Alien film that leans to the more horrific side of the franchise, but it’s a red band trailer at that, so it’s got some gory bits.

Now I’m really hesitant to put any faith in this movie or any other Ridley Scott endeavor at this point because of how much Prometheus outright SUCKED.  I get what he’s trying to say, believe me, the subtext was not lost on me.  Guess what?  It’s still a terrible film, no two ways about it.   No joke, it’s more damaging to a franchise I love than the Star Wars prequels or Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ever could be.  And really, Scott’s track record isn’t all that fantastic when you get down to looking at his success to failure ratio.  He’s done a few classics for sure, but he’s done way more forgettable movies, and several outright duds.

So this trailer…I kind of look at it in two sections.  The first half is very much troublesome because it looks like Prometheus (and yes, I know, this is meant to bridge the gap between the two, but I’d rather we just forget Prometheus all together, amiright?).  But when you see that familiar egg that the facehugger pops out of, it’s clear that this is an ALIEN movie.  Despite my reservations, that excites me.

Still, I have some concerns.  Not only is Prometheus total crap, but it prescribes to a major, and I mean MAJOR poor choice that runs rampant through modern horror, and that’s a need to explain the origins of what terrifies us.  H.P. Lovecraft once stated that there is no greater fear than fear of the unknown, and we all know that to be true.  So remind me again as to why we’re explaining this shit?

Mike:  Well, my guess is that our old pal Ridley caught wind of the fact that people were genuinely interested in what Neill Blomkamp was doing with Alien 5.  So he decided to get in on the action.  I imagine that Ridley waved his dick around, got the studio to push back Blomkamp’s film indefinitely and pushed forward with his Prometheus sequel.  Oh, and then he changed it from a Prometheus sequel to a real deal Alien film.

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Even if that isn’t true, the basic answer to your question is something that you’re not supposed to say.  Imma say it anyways… Most moviegoers are stupid.  It’s true.  They don’t want films/ideas that are new, cover new ground, or challenge us.  Nope.  They’re content to just see the same damn thing over and over again.  Not to mention that people just LOVE getting their favorite characters over-explained.  It’s no longer acceptable to audiences to leave anything up to the imagination or unexplained.  Studios know this and they typically cater to the lowest common denominator.   Wanna see why Darth Vader is such a badass motherfucker?  It’s because he’ll never again know the gentle touch of Natalie Portman’s hand on his light saber.  Yeah, it’s a hand-job joke…sue me, this trailer has me in a sour mood.

Let’s get back to the trailer.  Ugh, there is so much foolishness for a mere 120 second clip!  Did you know that back-bursters are the big new thing?  It’s like a chestburster, except you know, opposite!

Josh:  So the backburster thing doesn’t bother me so much, and that kind of heralds back to one of the two things that Prometheus actually did well.  Aside from looking really, really good (excluding elderly Guy Pierce), it really amped up the body horror element of Alien.  Before you hit the end of the movie to find that none of what you just watched had much rhyme or reason to it and all of the events of it were due to sheer coincidence, I really liked how you had no idea why or how people were going to get killed off.  It was a great approach to differentiate it from Alien, even if the whole thing seemed pointless by the end.

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Veered off course again!  Yeah, this trailer.  The point that I abandoned a fair amount hope is in that shot where the black goo goes in that dude’s ear.  I might have just praised the body horror in Prometheus, but I still think the black goo is stupid.  And let’s go to that last scene with the xenomorph.  Not going to lie, I was thrilled to see it, but c’mon, a sex in the shower scene?  Alien has always had a strong sexual subtext, but that just seems too obvious…and lazy.

Mike: Yeah that shower scene was a little too on the nose.  The xenomorph’s tail might has well have quipped a one liner in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice like, “Knock, knock!  Time to get fucked!”

I think I figured out why this trailer feels so off.  You know how Alien is essentially a haunted house film in space with a Sci-Fi veneer?  Of course you do.  Well, let’s approach this like an SAT question:

If Alien is to John Carpenter’s Halloween
then Alien: Covenant is to ______________?

If you said Rob Zombie’s Halloween, then congratulations you’re today’s BIG WINNER!  Seriously, the whole trailer feels like a badly done slasher film.  It’s as if Ridley thought he was being cleverly by trying to pull off the same trick twice.  Except this time he decided to make an actual fucking slasher film.

The entire trailer looks like dumb people, doing dumb things and getting killed.  The girl bracing herself with a butcher knife looked like something straight out of a z-grade slasher film, as did the shower scene.  And yeah the black spore thing is monumentally stupid.  Listen, I’m not a scientist or a cool futuristic dude.  However, if I walked on any alien planet I would never, EVER take off my helmet for fear of that exact shit happening.  Dumb people doing dumb shit man…

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Josh:  That’s a good assessment, Mike.  This trailer looks like it’s either:

a)  A continuation of the things not answered in Prometheus, those questions being entirely unnecessary and damaging in the first place, or

b)  A weak take on the original Alien movie, packed with standard horror tropes.

All this aside, I’m probably going to see it anyway.  Not on opening night as I did with Prometheus, but worst case scenario, when it comes to home video.  Apparent idiocy on the part of both the characters and Ridley Scott for continuing his crap story started in Prometheus, it looks well shot and, at times, beautiful.  I miss that signature H.R. Giger look though.  That’s probably the biggest failing of this trailer.  Aside from that scene with the egg, I didn’t really get much of that atmosphere, which is really the selling point for me with Scott’s original.

Mike:  This trailer makes me feel like a complete wanker.  Because you’re right, I’m still probably going to end up seeing this damn thing!  Despite my trepidation, I liked the overall look/cinematography.  Parts of it look downright gorgeous.  Plus, seeing that little bugger in the final scene did cause some joyous synapses to fire off in my brain.  However, if the xenomorph is 100% CG I’m out.

Here’s the thing though.  Even if you, the moviegoer,  thinks this looks incredible what is the best possible outcome?  That it’s better than Alien 3 or Alien: Resurrection?  That’s not exactly a high bar to hurdle.  There is practically zero chance of this coming anywhere near the perfection of Alien or Aliens.  So again, why is this being made?  Prometheus was a bad science fiction film and my gut tells me that Alien: Covenant will end up being a bad horror film.  I hope I’m wrong, but this initial trailer doesn’t inspire too much confidence.

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