Trailer Truth: Do the Ads Help or Hurt 'Prometheus'?

Trailer Truth: Do the Ads Help or Hurt 'Prometheus'?

Jun 11, 2012

I never watch a trailer until after I’ve seen the movie, and I also attempt to avoid as much news as possible. Then I compare what I knew, to what you knew. Let’s find out if what we see in the trailer is what we get, and if there is any advantage to going in fresh. (There will be spoilers.)

What I Knew Before: I knew Prometheus was probably a prequel to Alien, but no one involved in the film really wanted to say that. Why? No clue. Avoiding trailers for this one proved difficult, especially since it seemed to be sponsoring every NBA playoff game. I saw that moment in the cave when two scientists discover the ancient drawings at least two dozen times before my finger quickly found the remote control. Here's something funny, I saw two images of Michael Fassbender from the film. The first one had me convinced he was an android. The second one made me believe I jumped to the wrong conclusion.

I watched Alien two days before I saw the screening of Prometheus. It had been a decade since I saw it. While it is very dated (technologically), Alien still packs some great scares. Most importantly it gives me one of my top three movie monsters of all time. I wanted to make sure I felt that pace again, which I remember being slower, before going into this one.

What I Knew After: Fassbender is a robot. I'm allowed to say that because within the first few minutes of meeting his character, you know that as well. Idris Elba is always a welcome surprise, and Logan Marshall-Green is someone I want to see more of. The bigger question and answer to this film is, yes, it is definitely a prequel. I think there is going to be more. In fact, I think judging this film will be fully dependent on if there are future sequels to this prequel and what answers they provide. I found this to be a little disappointing. Since Alien is a stand-alone film, I was really expecting the same out of Ridley Scott this time around. The look of this world is so fantastic, I almost didn't mind the unanswered questions, and I'm totally comfortable with the concept of where our species comes from. The motivations of the characters are a little more muddled. I am happy about rewatching Alien, because the flow of this film, including when people start dying, feels like a mirror image to the 1979 classic.


What You Knew: Charlize Theron enters with a voiceover. It's sinister and definitely makes her sound like a villain. Then we get to see some of the beautiful aesthetics of Scott's world, including some lovely new sleeping pods. Elba lets us know the Prometheus has landed. At this point, how can you not be getting tingly all over? Someone wanted this motley crew to come visit this far away planet. Our plucky young scientist played by Noomi Rapace surely thinks only good things can come, but a booming Inception-like bass line let's us know this might not be as nice as Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Some sweet red-laser probes pick up a life form, and things are moving. All we can really see is that things are sticky, and people are getting nervous. Have I mentioned the Inception music, because it bears repeating. OK, clearly coming to this planet was a mistake. The crew want out, and then the trailer starts flashing image after image. It's almost too quick to make out. If you've recently seen Alien, some things will look familiar. The kicker for this trailer is Fassbender saying, "Big things have small beginnings."

Trailer Truth: Look, part of me wants to go through the rapid-fire section of the trailer and get into every single frame. I could treat it like the Kennedy Assassination tape, but that's not how we watch trailers. The vibe of this trailer doesn't feel like the film I saw. Instead, it comes off as an elaborate tease. Is that a good thing? Only if you end up liking the movie. Rapace is definitely in the trailer more than any one, and she is the lead, but where the heck is Fassbender?

He's a huge part of the film, yet he only takes up a few moments. Theron is barely in the trailer as well, but that holds true to the film. That voiceover that starts the trailer is actually not a voiceover at all, and directed at a character who doesn't even get a second of your time in the trailer. It would have been nice to actually show one of the earlier scares, giving you an idea of what might be lurking, instead of the wham, bam ending. I don't know what exactly to make of this trailer, but I really like looking at it. Funny, when I put it that way, that's my same opinion of the film.

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