Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TRAILERS: Fast & Furious 8 #2, Alien: Covenant Last Supper

RUN. This is a pretty awesome poster. The official synopsis for Alien: Covenant reads that the space craft Covenant carries a crew of colonists going to a paradise but when they get there, they realize it is anything but paradise. What's the point of watching a film like this? I mean, we know what's going to happen, right? The alien, it inhabits people, it spreads, they have to try to escape, it's dangerous and disgusting,... we know, we've seen this before, right? Yea, we have. BUT, there is something in which I am intently interested: the order of deaths. We know that no one ever dies in a film unless they are all ready dead, that is, the film makers invests certain traits, values or characteristics in a character to demonstrate to the audience why that character shouldn't live, and why we ourselves shouldn't adopt that mode of existing, because it will bring death to us (the exception to this is, of course, when a hero willingly sacrifices themselves for the good of someone else, in that case, the character's virtues transcend death and live on after the character's death). In the clip below, we see a number of characters "ripe" for death, but how death comes to them, who the messenger will be, so to speak, is going to be of prime interest. Just as important as who dies is who lives, and how they manage to keep themselves going through the horrors the film makers will throw at them. Now, Covenant, the name of the space ship, is also a social/legal code, a "covenant," that which a group of people agree to in order to protect themselves and each other from other harms or ills, i.e., a "social contract." This, then, introduces an element of deconstruction into the film all ready: the ship is named Covenant, but there is also a covenant between the members of the crew; so how do they uphold or violate (they will violate, that is always more interesting) that covenant and why? The ship, then, becomes the "ship of state" and not just a vehicle for exploration, but additionally, the vehicle of exploration of government and communities itself. Why would this be important in the world today? Some people, who enjoy the benefits society offers, have selfishly violated the covenant of the social contract, specifically with their sexuality; proof of this being of concern with the film is demonstrated in the homosexual relationship of two male characters, one of whom is Damien Birchir (A Better Life, Savages). In other words, we might expect that the sexuality of crew members (as we saw in slasher films of the 1980s) determine who gets killed and who survives, so this is some particularly rich social and political commentary we can look forward to in the film. Additionally, we can say that Alien: Covenant is a direct response to the film Passengers (Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence), which itself was a response to Scott's film The Martian (Matt Damon). This then, becomes a public debate, and one in which Ridley Scott appears to have the upper-hand by the number of films he's capable of putting out. 
I have had bronchitis so parts of this might not make total sense, and I apologize, but I wanted to get this up. The "international trailer" for Fast and Furious 8 has been dropped and it looks great. This is going to be one of the hottest films of the year:
There are several major themes in this trailer: "Cuba," so we have communism and sanctions, as well as the "time machine" of all the cars being old instead of new; "love," love is tough, it's not easy and not always a honeymoon, there is the love of family, the love of your hobby, the love of spouse, love of friends, and even, love of self (Dom deciding that he loves himself enough to sacrifice himself for his family; ultimately, we know Charlize Theron's Cipher threatens Dom and his family, and Dom takes the burden upon himself to save the others). There is of course "play" as in "play vs game," which regular readers are familiar with. This is the truth: there is the certain reality that a major twist in the film--like why Dom agrees to work with Cipher in the first place, and who Helen Mirren portrays--is going to throw off any discussion we have because we can't account for that twist, which is, by definition, both formal and informal, the unknowable. But I think this trailer does reveal the most important aspect of the film: the key as to why everything happens that happens, and it's Lettie.
Remember, Cipher's hair is in dreadlocks, i.e., "dead hair." We know hair symbolizes thoughts, so the "thoughts" Cipher has are all ready dead at the source. How does that conflict with Dom's bald head? A bald head is more difficult to give a clear-cut symbolic interpretation, for example, Professor Charles Xavier of the X-Men universe is bald, and he's definitely good, but so, too, is Lex Luthor of the DC Comics universe, and he's definitely bad. On the other hand, we know Dom is a good guy, but we wouldn't necessarily compare him to Professor X. What I think we can say of both Dom and Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is that they are men of "few thoughts but important actions," and that's because they have become so good (not flawless or infallible, but virtuous and thoroughly virtuous so that they wouldn't do something that wasn't virtuous) they don't need to think about what to do because they always all ready know what to do. Cipher wears a red tank top (or a really hot pink, maybe) 
"I'm really loving Cuba right now," we hear Lettie tell Dom, and I think it's that statement that is basically the whole basis of the film and its events: "Oh, you think you love Cuba? Let's see how what goes on in Cuba effects your personal life, and then see how much you love it,..." I could be wrong, but I think when we go back to examine the film, we're going to be coming back to that moment. Plus: did you catch the reference to The Man Fro UNCLE when the cars go side-to-side and split at the building? We'll see how that works out. Another little detail that might not be so little: If you stop the trailer at 0:21, right in the center of the screen, on top of the building, is a cross. Given that Dom always (or, usually) wears a cross around his neck, this could be important as well.
All the noise that is going on during the "dinner" scene, is meant to draw our attention to what is not being said, specifically, that these are probably all liberal couples we see, for example, Damien Birchir is part of a homosexual couple (the two guys arm wrestling are gay). Tennessee, the one in the cowboy hat, even though he has a wife, by his comments--whatever it is he says in this scene--let's us know that he is completely okay with homosexuality. The girl choking on food is important. Eating symbolizes something we digest, we are "taking it in," and there are two pieces of information she could be taking in: first, the roaches on the other planet that was found, or two, the homosexuality of the couple; that Walter the droid says, "It went down the wrong pipe," suggests that she isn't processing the information correctly and, instead of it being nurturing and life-giving (which is what food is meant to do) it's bringing her to death (choking). James Franco, I guess the captain, winks at Daniels before going to hibernation, and Daniels winks back; because winking is a moment of "blindness," it suggests that both of them "turn a blind eye" to a fault within the other. They are possibly a couple (I don't know for sure) or at least in a "work relationship" with her holding a command post, but they don't "see" the other for what the other really is.
Next, we have a special treat indeed. Ridley Scott's son (ugh, I closed  the story, I can't remember the kid's name, sorry) directed this "prologue" for Alien: Covenant; even though The Last Supper, which we see below, is part of the film's narrative, but we won't actually be seeing it in the film itself. This is, then, extra-textual information, which I LOVE to get (you may recall we got the same exquisite treatment for Prometheus, and also for X-Men Days Of Future Past with the "bent bullet theory" video released on why Magneto was in prison).
"Follow the light," is the first line of dialogue, and since this is a "sufficient unto itself" mini-film, we can interpret the line with confidence: follow the light, do not fall into darkness; what kind of darkness? The next word, the name of the main character, "Daniels," tells us: the name "Daniel" means "God is my judge," and so translated in the plural, "God judges all." The "light" then, will be the Light God has given us to not become androids like Walter (Michael Fassbender,... yes, he was "David" in Prometheus, but I guess he's a different droid since they changed his name and David lost his body). Just before posting this, the first full trailer has been released, so here it is:
What's the reference to Paradise? Utopia. These are people looking for utopia, and they have foolishly gone ahead without any idea of what they were getting themselves into. This is going to be an awesome, kick-socialist-ass film that I can't wait to see. I also couldn't wait to see the new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer that this teaser below announced was going to be released today, but so far thus, it has not. I'll post it as soon as it lands.
We know eating symbolizes "taking something in," but it also looks like they are in a forest,... of types; we know forests are the opposite of gardens, because gardens are disciplined and planted with care, they symbolize the soul that grows in virtue, whereas a forest is wild and left to its own devices, so forests symbolize sin and a soul that hasn't taken care of itself. So, we'll see what happens, hopefully in a new trailer that has yet to be released today. This is a trailer for a documentary, and I will let you decide what you think, you're smart, and you can see what's going on for yourself:
By the way, Logan opens this Friday, and I hope to see it Friday afternoon, get my post up and finish John Wick Chapter 2 captions Sunday.
I hope.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner