– by David Kozlowski

As the release date for 20th Century Fox’s highly-anticipated Alien: Covenant nears, the Fox marketing machine has shifted into full gear. A new and unusual video clip recently debuted that reveals the awakening of synthetic companion Walter, played by actor Michael Fassbender. This clip is hypnotic, haunting, and very, very strange. 

It is also one of the more inventive (and possibly most divisive) product tie-ins you’re likely to see all year. 

A pair of ghostly, silhouettes enter a surgical clean room, which is dominated by a solitary operating table. An inert form rests beneath a silken sheet; the surgeons lift the sheet to reveal a headless android body (or artifical person, if you prefer). A translucent skull is attached to the spine and a thick microprocessor, bearing an oddly familiar logo, sinks down into its forehead.

Wait, was that an AMD logo? Is this a promotional clip or a commercial? 

Interior lights illuminate the body cavity, thick hoses pump fluid into its torso, and the sheet is replaced. A jump cut later, Walter emerges, fully formed and awake. He dresses, walks toward a window, and announces his existence, “We are Walter.” 

Ambient music and whispered dialogue reinforces a mesmerizing, dreamlike mood. It’s a truly beautiful sequence that evokes the surreal, techno-mystical atmosphere of 2012’s Prometheus

Hold on a second. Back up. What was that bit about the AMD logo again? 

The clip suddenly transitions into something akin to a futuristic automobile ad, complete with mock titles andmarketing scrawl. Quick fade-to-black and the legendary Weyland-Yutani logo emerges, followed a beat later by an embedded link to MeetWalter.com, and finally the AMD logo re-appears — this time in its official, trademarked form. It’s a teaser. It’s an ad. It’s a monster!

Interestingly, MeetWalter.com is actually a cross-marketing site that marries the fiction of the film to the reality of AMD processors.    

You might find this clip and its corresponding web site a clever marketing campaign; you might also find it to be confusing and off-putting. There’s no doubt this clip exudes the tone and spirit of the film in a very different manner than the film’s recent trailers, but its overt product placement might also yank you out of the storytelling, such as it is. 

What do you think of this new Alien: Covenant clip? Are you excited to learn more about Walter or are you inspired to check out new AMD products? Let us know in the comments down below!

Alien: Covenant hits theaters on May 19, 2017.

Don’t forget to share this post on your Facebook wall and with yor Twitter followers! Just hit the buttons on the top of this page. 

SOURCE: 20th Century Fox

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.