When the trailer for Alien: Covenant dropped on Christmas Day last year fans were ecstatic to see the return of classic Alien conventions – you know the tremendous amount of horror, blood and wait… even more blood. However, when the film was released in May many critics and die-hard fans were left disappointed plainly due to its resemblance to the philosophical dominated Prometheus (2012).
The Alien: Covenant honest trailer isn’t afraid to rip Ridley Scott’s latest instalment of the Alien anthology to shreds, they even crown the director as one of the greatest and one of the worst filmmakers of our time.
As a fan of Covenant, I’ve highlighted and delved into the points the trailer makes:
1) There are more bad Alien movies than good ones
Alien will remain one of the greatest horror and sci-fi films of all time, I say this partly due to its popularity 38 years after its original release. To have a movie that still projects suspense and shock value for first time viewers, specifically in an age of technical advancements and green screens, is a credit to Scott’s horror-struck imagination of wanting to genuinely scare the audience. The same opinion goes to its sequel Aliens (1986) and yet, despite James Cameron taking over directing duties, the film still energises the same notion of brutality – the only difference is that the narrative was beginning to advance. Though, this is where the franchise unfortunately starts crashing with Alien 3 (1992), but it’s mainly Alien Resurrection (1997) where the story seemingly lost its mojo, where it focused on genetics and cloning instead of terrifying creatures.
Scott returned as director with Prometheus in 2012, but instead of focusing on gory aspects of the loved franchise, he created a film that generated questions about philosophy and faith. Fans had high expectations and in turn were left disappointed by the film’s lack of Xenomorphs. That’s where Alien: Covenant fits into the view that the franchise has gone downhill, simply due to its spot in the line-up of films, where it will be compared to both the 1979 Alien and it’s later prequel Prometheus.
Covenant brings back classical horror conventions, but lacks the tense factor due to Scott attempting to answer the questions left hanging at the end of Prometheus. In this modern age of filmmaking, everyone needs to give Covenant a chance – it’s a film that includes Xenomorphs, what more do you want?
2) Ripley, believe me she’s not
The voiceover of the trailer enthusiastically mentions that he wants a “short hair girl in a tank top fighting a Xenomorph,” and he gets just that with the film’s female protagonist Daniels, played by Katherine Waterston. Yet despite this, throughout the honest trailer the voiceover claims that none of the Covenant crew have stand out personalities and calls Daniels “Ripley, believe me she’s not.” This statement could be taken as a dig that Scott is ripping off his own film.
Not only is Daniels a badass character similar to Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), but they both share the same traits of being natural born leaders in life-threatening situations. Both of which have some stellar (and memorable lines):
“Get away from her, you bitch” – Ripley (Aliens)
“I got you, you son-of-a-bitch” – Daniels (Alien: Covenant)
However, that can’t be said for Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), who in Prometheus didn’t really do much apart from running away from everything and saving David’s head. In theory, if she didn’t attach David’s head back onto his body in one of the many promotional prologues for Covenant, the film could have taken a different turn, ultimately losing its philosophical edge. Ridley with Alien: Covenant brought back the essence of an Alien kick-ass protagonist that made us all respect his casting decisions. Waterston brings a new relatable dimension to an Alien heroine, one who can be both strong willed and emotionally driven.
3) Don’t trust the android
The trailer discusses two contrasting scenes in the film where we see our hatred for android David (Michael Fassbender) growing, and seeing that Covenant crew member Oram (Billy Crudup) really is a fool for David’s British charm.
So here we go, David was attempting to gain a Neomorphs (a new, young breed of Xenomorph) trust, for Oram to shoot the creature and David getting very angry. Then we have Oram suddenly trusting the menacing android into looking into an egg. Wrong move because the next thing we know a facehugger is attached to him. Long story short, don’t trust someone who just tried communicating with an alien who just killed one of your crew members – it’s a bit far-fetched, as much as I hate to admit it. In John Hurt’s iconic facehugger scene in 1979, the audience didn’t have this blip in the narrative; instead of being frustrated with the characters they had shockwaves pulsing through them, with a heartbeat of 100mph.
4) David ft. Walter flute scene, why?
I didn’t agree with much of the honest trailer, however when they slated David and Walter’s double-android flute duet the clips suddenly had my full focus. The voiceover was spot on when mentioning that the unexpected musical scene dragged on to a point that both androids couldn’t get enough of each other (pun intended if you have seen the film). If the scene was cut and Scott had added more of his crazily good horror sequences then it could have potentially saved the film from doing not-so-good at the box-office.
5) Promotional scenes, we needed you
Alien: Covenant’s marketing campaign was strong as steel; however, the trailer brings up a valid question about the film’s promotional scenes whereabouts. Running up to the release of the film, 20th Century Fox released numerous prologues and teaser trailers that included action packed and potentially key informative clips that could have altered the direction the film unfortunately went in.
For example, ‘The Last Supper’ prologue could have enhanced the audiences’ our views on the characters, allowing us to see them interact more freely with one another – it’s difficult to tell without the nearly five-minute scene being included in the movie that the characters are coupled up without them referring to someone as their ‘wife,’ another statement that’s correct in the trailer.
The trailer highlights the question of why “critical plot scenes are on YouTube, and not in the movie,” in which they are discussing the crucial scene of where we finally see Elizabeth Shaw and David heading to the home world of the Engineers following the events of Prometheus. The scene concludes with the ship arriving to its destination, and David preparing to drop canisters that caused most of the Prometheus crew to die. To have a scene that FINALLY answers a fair few questions about the 2012 film’s narrative and characterisation and for it to not be featured in the film is both crazing and confusing.
Despite agreeing and disagreeing with points the honest trailer brings up, Alien: Covenant is a solid film that has a great cast, a decent concept and is cemented with the return of the iconic Xenomorph. Let’s hope in future films that the crew don’t abandon their mission just because they heard a John Denver song.