Another First Glance: “Alien: Covenant”

Surprise, surprise!! That’s what the company releasing this film seems to like doing. First it was on Christmas Eve, and now, even with it being slightly annoying, it’s today. I can’t believe this is what we’re being treated to. If this film doesn’t do phenomenally at the box office in May, then there’ll be no hope for any more films in this franchise, no matter the director or the intent.

The upcoming 20th Century Fox film “Alien: Covenant” looks exactly like the kind of film I’ve been hoping for for some time. With horror films, especially ones with major legacies behind them, it’s never a sure thing what type of film will be delivered. Sure the idea sounds great, and may even be a bit fun, but that might not mean a whole lot when a viewer throws down some hard earned cash, takes a seat and discovers what they’ve just paid for. Here’s hoping that doesn’t at all become the case. After seeing the latest trailer five or six times, it’s safe to say (or am I just jinxing things?) that this film will blow away the previous film, “Prometheus”, in every way. This film is really going to be taking us back to the franchises’s horror and thriller roots.

Planet Of Terror

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In so many ways, I’m not quite sure what to make of what I just witnessed. With so many viewings of the trailer one would think that I’d be able to have some clear thoughts. Maybe I’m still in shock. I certainly still feel quite anxious. I wasn’t expecting something bad, which already goes to show how much faith I have in this latest entry, not to mention my level of excitement, but I wasn’t expecting what was delivered. It was bat shit crazy!

What starts off idyllic, as they usually do in these types of films, quickly turns upside down! There’s so much there in the last minute and a half, that it’s damn near impossible to look at it all. Even after multiple viewings, all I can think of is how crazy and scary the film looks. Overly analyzing it isn’t really possible nor is it something I’m going to do. There’s enough presented to chew on, that searching every bit is best left for those who want to drive themselves crazy with multiple screenshots.

However, this trailer does have me excited about the terror and fear that’ll hopefully be well constructed. The execution must be on point or the film may not matter much. It’ll be just another film about an alien killing people. There are many factors that’ll hopefully lead to a well done horror thriller, but I’m going to stick with a few things.

The alien looks damn terrifying. It also looks completely different. There are a ton of similarities, as one would expect, but to me it looks drastically different. Now, maybe I’m not remembering the original Xenomorph well, but this Neomorph, which is the one I think we see at the end and throughout the trailer, looks bigger. He looks massive!! Perhaps it’s just because he’s so up close, but I’m not fully convinced of that. Also, the way he clings to the ship makes his overall posture look different too. Not to mention, when everyone’s running around and screaming for dear life, the alien (aliens?) seem(s) to move with some speed. Now, after I just took a few minutes to remember how quickly the Xenomorph’s move in just about every film but the original, this isn’t surprising. What is, is the fact that they look like they’re on mass amounts of caffeine and are in overdrive. If the suspense and fear are built slowly and with terrifying results, this alone could prove to be a new scary element for the franchise. Before it was just about implementing action, but here, I think we’re looking at something completely different.

Then there’s the rest of the overall atmosphere and production designs. Not only does this trailer bring so much beauty, but it brings with it familiar elements from the original. Claustrophobia and a creepy and strange world. I instantly recognized the necessary H.R. Giger design of the Engineer’s ship and can see some similarities inside the Covenant. Also, as if it were hidden, the ship itself is just full of small-ish corridors, which after awhile probably won’t feel homey any more.

Before writing this sentence, I watched the trailer again, and I’m still a bit on edge. It’s that thrilling and has the potential to be scary enough. I hope my bias and overall excitement for this film, which opens in less than three months! isn’t what’s clouding my vision in some way. Even if this film doesn’t reach the terrifying levels of some other horror films from the past few years, I’d be okay with just getting good jump scares and feeling a bit on edge, among other things I’ll no doubt feel whilst sitting in the theater.

The Mystery Is Strong With This One

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A creepy atmosphere and cleverly designed jump scares and beautiful special effects aren’t the only thing driving me right now. It’s the overall mystery. As this is a sequel and a prequel, to a classic film, there’s a lot that needs to be addressed and put in to lure any kind of viewer. I’d say this has been achieved.

I’m not even sure which questions, based solely on watching the trailer and not taking 500 screenshots, to put out there. There are so many, which is good and potentially bad. Now, I loved Prometheus, even with its many glaring problems and unanswered questions, but I’m wondering if this film might not be trying to juggle too much?

My biggest question, which I just spent several minutes thinking about, before typing this, is how did the eggs get onto what I presume is the Engineer’s ship, and maybe, just maybe, the derelict ship from the film that started it all? I can’t make it make sense. The Engineer was left on the other planet when the creature burst through, so how is it there are eggs here? Were they always on these Engineer ships? Even the original “Alien” film, that I can recall, never answered this and I don’t think any of the sequels did either. Or, there’s information I’m just not remembering as it’s been many years since I sat and watched the sequels.

What about these strange black flower looking things? You know, the things that shoot up the spores when stepped on? What’s that about? When I saw that bit again, I instantly thought of the black goo from the containers in “Prometheus”, the one’s Michael Fassbender’s David was messing with. But, again, how did they get here? David only messed with one and the others were on the other planet? Or, as I must put out there as a possibility, but one that looks less and less likely when you ask more questions and think this through logically, is this the planet that Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw fled from with David? It’s not too far out of the realm of possibilities as much of the gorgeous scenery looks exactly the same, but from a story perspective it doesn’t make a lot of sense. It makes less sense when you think that Rapace is supposed to return in some way as Shaw.

Let’s see… what else??

Who was that hooded figure with what looked like a weapon? I can’t see that being any of the crew of the Covenant. Perhaps that’s Rapace, in whatever types of scenes she’s in, as that same hooded figure is seen a second time a few seconds later in the trailer.

Are we going to be seeing more stages of the growth of this alien? In one scene a person’s being attacked, but this isn’t the fully grown Neomorph or even the Xenomorph we know. This thing appears to be taking on those creature shapes, but is still quite small and with a freakishly long tail. Not to mention, it looks like it’s still got the light brown coloring of the Facehugger. Or, is this just some separate stage of development? If it’s to be believed that this creature still won’t be the alien we all know and love, then it very well would make sense that this creature wouldn’t be able to fully grow and adapt as quickly as it’s descendant. That idea alone is pretty scary and certainly allows for many more ways for any single audience member to be frightened.

See? Lot’s of mystery. While there are many more questions, I’m sure, I find that this alone covers a wide range and shall leave it at that. Since I’ve managed to get more and more anxious with each viewing of the trailer, I’m seriously beginning to wonder how I’ll respond when I’m fully immersed in this film? I get carried away easily, which is obviously great, but that doesn’t always mean I respond the way I’m supposed to. Here, I don’t think that’ll be a problem. What might be is the jumpiness and paranoid feeling I take on after I leave the theater.

The fantastic new teaser poster:

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Expected release date: May 19, 2017

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: John Logan and Dante Harper

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England and Benjamin Rigby

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