Remember how you felt when we learned director Ridley Scott was returning to the “Alien” franchise?
Then we watched 2012’s “Prometheus,” and the air rushed out of the pop culture balloon. The sorta-kinda prequel to the great franchise wasn’t awful. It still couldn’t chase away the memories of the saga’s scariest moments.
Not even close.
Now, Scott is back with a sequel to that film that takes place before the events of 1979’s “Alien.” And, judging by the latest trailer, there’s hope again in the franchise.
The film doesn’t hit theaters until May 19, but here are five reasons the trailer suggests a return to form for Scott and co.
1. That Killer Cast
Michael Fassbender returns, once more playing the quizzical android David from “Prometheus.” So does Noomi Rapace, featured prominently in that film’s “unique” operating sequence.
That’s just the start.
The movie offers a beguiling leading lady (Katherine Waterston), an underrated actor (Billy Crudup), the hardest working man in Hollywood (James Franco) and killer comic relief (Danny McBride). Add Demian Bichir, Guy Pearce and Amy Seimetz and those aliens will be picking off some top-flight actors.
2. There’s No Better Movie Monster
The 1979 original did more than shock us to the core. It introduced a monster without equal in Hollywood lore.
For years, horror movies tried to mimic the creature with minimal results.
Now, with CGI and other trickery at Scott’s disposal, the monsters can do virtually anything on screen. And the new trailer suggests that’s precisely what we can expect.
3. A Social Experiment Twist
The problem with too many sequels, and prequels for that matter, is “why?” It’s all about the money, of course. Hollywood knows these projects can make a mint with minimal risk.
Still, storytellers must convince us why we need another “Alien.” For “Covenant,” the angle appears to be both simple and compelling. The ship o’ victims is filled with couples, ready to start a new colony in space.
That amps up the drama and the stakes quite nicely.
4. That ‘Alien’ Vibe
The original “Alien” spent plenty of time introducing the characters, the spaceship and the rhythms of life in outer space. It’s what made the subsequent gore so shocking.
Scott also understood how to create a sense of unease in a story. Consider Ash, the android memorably brought to life by Ian Holm. Every scene he was in had an edge, a sense of mystery.
That’s what we see in both the new “Covenant” trailer and the prologue video released online. There are chatty passengers, a sense of secrecy and a moment where we’re all made to feel … uncomfortable. And you know that sensation will only get worse.
5. “In Space, No One Can Hear … Anything”
The trailer offers a sneaky glimpse at the horrors to come. How? By turning a bustling planet into a quiet zone.
“Do you hear that,” Waterston’s character asks her shipmates.
Sometimes the best scares come with the absence of sound. The best directors know how to use that to optimum effect. Heck, the original film’s tag line boasted, “In Space No One Can Hear You Scream.” It’s simply one of the greatest marketing hooks in modern memory.
Let’s hope “Alien: Covenant” can live up to it.
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