You can make any movie look good in the trailer.
No matter how awful or dull a finished two hour experience might be, there’s (hopefully) enough material within the runtime to make at least two minutes of exciting footage to sell a film.
To a certain extent, that’s all a movie really needs. As long as the trailer’s enjoyable enough, the finished film can be utter garbage for all the studio executives care.
Directors generally put more care and attention into their projects, of course – no director (except maybe Michael Bay) deliberately sets out to make an actually bad movie.
It’s just that, no matter how talented a director might be at the beginning of their career, age does weird thing to a person’s ability to tell a logical story.
Should we call this George Lucas Disease? Yes, we probably should.
One director who has suffered from a chronic case of GLD in recent years is Ridley Scott—a director who, once upon a time, was capable of turning out a phenomenal cinematic experience, but who in recent years has turned out joyless monstrosities such as Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Counsellor, and Kingdom of Heaven.
It would be wrong to say that Ridley Scott is coasting. He’s not making lackluster or downright bad movies based on a cynical desire to get his hands on more money; like plenty of aging directors before him, he’s simply allowed fame and fortune to rob him of an understanding of what makes a good story.
So what’s the point in harping on about Scott’s recent failures?
Well, in most cases, his movie’s trailers have been phenomenal. The same is most definitely true of Alien: Covenant.
See? That looks fantastic. But amid the excitement of a very hopeful return to form for both the Alien franchise and for Ridley Scott himself, it’s important to remember what the trailer for Prometheus looked like.
As a matter of fact, even Ridley Scott’s C-grade movies shine up pretty well in trailers. It’s the benefit of that old school visual storytelling that many directors of Scott’s generation prefer, that the flashy special effects and impressive setpieces look phenomenal when taken out of context.
It’s easy to make a cool looking movie if you don’t bother with a well-written script.
The trailer for Alien: Covenant may be enough to please fans of the franchise who’ve been long hoping for an eventual return to form for a series that started strong, but has been mediocre to downright bad ever since its third installment.
But there’s no proof,yet, that Scott has managed to escape his slump. Besides, the early highlights of the Alien franchise do in retrospect seem a little like a fluke. Even Joss Whedon couldn’t fix the underlying problems in the series.
In the meantime, there’s one other, big reason why fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for this movie, no matter how good the trailer looks.
James Franco is in it.
That’s enough to kill a franchise dead, no matter how good the director is.