The marketing team over at Alien headquarters is hard at work polishing up a turd. A teaser trailer, a Red Band trailer, a “Last Supper” prologue, and the latest layer of varnish, a CGI-fuelled full-length trailer that apes off both Prometheus and Alien and Aliens in a vain attempt to discover the perfect way to mix together old things so that the result feels new. Unfortunately for director Ridley Scott, it has been almost three decades since a film in the Alien franchise thought to try something interesting and different, and he’s simply not built up any benefit of the doubt with Prometheus (or Robin Hood, or Exodus: Gods and Kings). This latest trailer does not portend well.
The opening scenes absolutely smack of the blue-collar homey feel of Alien, mixed with another bizarre plot-hole laden mission from Prometheus. People explore and find weird things, like wheat, and step on little puffballs that kick spores into the air. The spores, which can be seen in more detail in the teaser, are eerily similar to the weird fish infection thingy that the android David uses in Prometheus. The claustrophobic horror feel as characters run through narrow corridors is lifted from Alien. The spaceship-crashing CGI noise-factory reminds of the climax of Prometheus. The derelict Space Jockey / Engineer ship is lifted from Prometheus and Alien and Aliens. Stop me if it feels like I am being repetitive. Or stop Ridley Scott.
I love Alien, so I am not particularly interested in seeing the same parasitic process play out in a worse story. Still, there are isolated intriguing moments. I’m interested in why there are dog tags on the planet / derelict ship. There are some weird looking creatures that I am pretty sure are not full-fledged xenomorphs. I don’t why Michael Fassbender is in this movie at all. He’s ostensibly playing the same model of android from the first film, but it isn’t clear if that is going to factor into the story in any meaningful way. It damn-well better, because regardless of whatever title games old Ridley is playing, this is a sequel to Prometheus.
Like all trailers – and reactions to them – the quality of the final film is not going to be revealed here. Instead, this is a reaction (and some would say overreaction) to details that concern me as a fan of the Alien franchise. I hope I am wrong and Ridley Scott follows up The Martian with a quality film, but from this vantage point, it appears he is just searching for an ersatz knock-off.
Also, here’s two aliens. No points for identifying which is practical and which is terrible CGI.