I'm not having the vapours over Prometheus the way I currently am about The Avengers' pre-movie shenanigans, which is probably just as well as Prometheus doesn't come out until June. I am, however, quietly impressed by the direction their viral marketing is taking. These days most sci-fi/geek-oriented movies use viral videos and ARG sites alongside traditional marketing, but quality varies.
Guy Pearce's 2023 TED Talk (in character as the CEO of Weyland Industries, an early precurser to the Weyland-Yutani corporation of the Alien Quadrilogy) was an intriguing turn, especially since Prometheus takes place decades after 2023. Likewise, the new David8 robot ad from Weyland Industries features one of Prometheus' main stars, but doesn't seem like it's going to appear in the movie itself.
Not gonna lie: I'm kind of fixating on this video. Watch it and you may understand why. Michael Fassbender is just so creepy.
Like most people watching viral videos several months before a film's release date I'm enough of a fanperson that my future film ticket is metaphorically booked already, so I can't really guage its usefulness as a marketing tool (although I guess I am currently perpetuating its ploy by writing about it here...). But at face-value, as an advertisement for a robot as opposed to a film that contains a robot character? WORST. AD. EVER. Let's break it down.
- David8 (lovingly played by Michael Fassbender's smooth, skull-like face and vast array of teeth) is supposedly a master of human emotion, yet his dead-eyed expression and Swarovski crystal tears are so far down the Uncanny Valley that I'd rate this video at least a PG for pure inhuman disturbia value. He also has the soft, calm voice of Hal 9000 or Hannibal Lecter.
- He manages to enhale the perfume of a lily (FUNERAL IMAGERY, I see what you did there) in such a way that he somehow resembles a lizard about to kill and eat a small defenseless animal.
- "I understand human emotions... although I do not feel them myself." SCREAM. Look, I know this ad is aimed at CEOs looking to hire someone with no ethical qualms about doing their dirty work, but David8's demeanour is so disquieting I can't imagine buying him for that exact reason.
- When he cries, not only are the tears fake in the sense that he's a robot and therefore has no autonomic function, they're false because he freely admits that he doesn't feel any emotion.
|Screencaps from here.|
Oh, and in the background of that scene? Robot skulls.
The chess shot is really an extension of the Uncanny Valley thing as a whole. On top of David8's subtly non-human appearance, here we see two Davids performing what is supposedly a human leisure activity. Except they're doing it in a sterile room, with uncomfortably perfect posture, and expressing none of the body-language of either a person who is having fun, or a person interacting with another person. "THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT ACTUALLY PEOPLE," it screams, and I have to wonder if this is a purposeful marketing choice on the part of Weyland Industries because if a robot was exactly the same as a human, then what's the point in paying for a robot at all?
|Not disturbing at all.|
The timeline for Weyland Industries from Peter Weyland's birth to the "present" day is well worth checking out. This is the kind of constructed reality I appreciate: lots of believable detail, but very little solid information relating to what will take place in the movie itself.
This Twitter feed is an astonishingly well-devised piece of viral marketing. In character as David8, @david8weyland answers questions from fans with tweets like, "Spiders are a most fascinating breed of insect. Arachnids have superior strength, reflex and survivability." and "What fascinates me about humans is their individual interpretation of beauty. I can interpret positive visuals from objects."
There's also a David8 Tumblr, although I'm not sure if it's official or a fan-page and it doesn't seem as interesting as David's personal Twitter.