Problem with Synthetics: Episodes 1 & 2, The

Faneditor Name:
Bad Movies Made Less Bad Presents:
An "android-centric" edit of Prometheus and Covenant, told in two parts.
These are the first two episodes of a Fanedit Anthology Series, about the relationship between creators and their creations.
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Brief Synopsis:
"Paradise" is easily one of my favorite franchise-saving fanedit of all time. It highlights what is great about the prequels, and ditches everything else. I watched it endlessly.

Over time, I wondered - what would a chronological edit look like? And after having gotten the blessing of jobwillins himself, I began to experiment. The initial simple chronological re-edit lost all the magic and tension that made Paradise great.

But I kept playing with different ways to try to keep the "David-centric" story, and settled on this two-episode format. This is an admittedly inferior re-imagining of Paradise, but still a fun and different way to focus on the deeper questions raised in these films, each about 70 minutes.
And while I was editing these anyways, I wanted to address continuity issues mentioned so often in these prequels and make this truly an Alien Prequel story.

- David is undoubtedly now the source of the xenomorphs (we reveal only the baby trilobite from the Prometheus episode, and only seeing more once David begins tinkering, and his monologue in his lab is adjusted to support this.)

- No chestburster scenes or terrible Xenomorph confrontations. (Trying to honor the original Alien movies.)

- Prometheus does not land on LV-223. (Remove all mention of the planet name.)

- Better connect it to the Juggernaut in Alien. (A juggernaut closes in on the Covenant in the final shots.)

- Remove or minimize stupidity of crew decisions to be less obvious and maddening. (As much as footage an narratives allow of course.)
Other Sources:
Paradise by Job Willins
Bluray Deletes Scenes and Extras
Special Thanks:
Job Willins of course, for his amazing inspiration and for allowing me to tinker with his art.
Daydream in Blue for countless viewings in extremely early drafts compared to now.
Malthus for giving an early draft a look and giving great feedback.
Last Impressions for solid feedback in the threads.
ClosertoGod for multiple audio reviews.
Release Information:
Editing Details:
Show, don't tell principles effect.
Smaller more focused storylines with less main character focus to highlight the philosophical questions presented in the films, and cutting screen time and interest for characters that make glaringly bad decisions.
Cuts and Additions:
All scenes have minor edits to dialogue and visuals for better pacing, continuity, and storytelling.

Main Changes:
A heavily trimmed Weyland Ted Talk opens Episode one.
David's awakening from Covenant used for David's intro, dialogue adjusted.
All Prometheus footage before the ship in space are removed, we begin with David.
David does now look into dreams.
Scenes of Crew awakening from cryosleep are removed.
Weyland's presentation trimmed.
Holloway's presentation trimmed and graphics for LV-223 are removed.
Prometheus ship planet landing sequence trimmed for better logic.
Crew interactions in the dome trimmed for to remove focus on anyone but the doctors and David.
Xenomorph mural reference removed.
Paradise scene of Shaw debreifing the room with Country Roads cover used.
Vickers confrontation with David in hallway removed.
Shaw "DNA" discovery trimmed for less information.
David's tainting of Holloway's drink adjusted for speed.
Scenes of crew left in dome removed.
Discussion of Shaw's physical issues removed.
Vickers and Janek scene trimmed to only highlight Vicker's questionable status as a human,
David's "VR Simulation" scene trimmed.
Fifeilds return removed.
Vickers confrontation with Weyland removed.
Vickers dies before she can escape the Prometheus.
Shaw is killed by the falling Juggernaut.
End of Episode 1.
Episode 2 begins with Extra footage of Walter's "birth."
Paradise intro of Walter with Beatles music used.
Daniels mementos scene removed.
Bridge discussion scene dialogue trimmed
Oram's religious overtones dialed down as much as possible
Covenant repair scenes trimmed for pacing
Transmission discussion scene trimmed for logic
Lander flying to planet rescored with Prometheus soundtrack of similar scenes
Recon team scenes trimmed for pacing.
Ledward scenes of him getting infected removed.
"The Crossing" trimmed and rescored, used during David's introduction.
Oram looking into a pod removed, and Oram's chestburster scene removed.
David's genocide scene trimmed and moved to after Walter finds Shaw's body.
Xenomorph confrontation on both the Lander and the main Covenant ship removed.

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I must start this by admitting that I find both "Prometheus" and "Alien Covenant" a slog to sit through. Any possibilities they might have, and they did have them, were weighed down by sluggish pacing, uninteresting characters, bad lines, and sillier-than-silly moments (I consider the Idris Elba/Charlize Theron seduction scene, thankfully gone in this edit, to be the absolute worst seduction scene I've ever seen outside of "Shark Attack 3: Megalodon" and "Samurai Cop"). I've seen edits of "Prometheus" in the past (not of "Covenant" due to my long absence from this site) that did improve the film quite a bit, but weren't still there. I just got a little less bored and a little less unengaged.

And then this edit happened. Suddenly, the first episode turned "Prometheus" into... something I actually like! By centering the narrative around David, it allowed the film to drop all the dead weight, and it allowed me to be able to concentrate in the stuff from the film that I always liked, namely the core themes, the production design, and Michael Fassbender's remarkable performance. Now it has a wonderful pacing and comes across as a lot more of a horror movie (which the original "Alien" of course was, one of the greatest horror movies ever). This one is a perfect 10 all around. Episode 2, though, while still very good, worked a little worse for me. Partially because the material doesn't seem to allow for this approach as flawlessly, and partly because a few things that I detested in the original cut had to stay here for narrative reasons. For instance, the flute sequence, which is so blatantly a sex scene hidden in plain sight that the lines come across a lot like something from a bad porn ("Blow to the hole gently", "Watch me, I'll do the fingering". LOL!!!), and the way the outcome to the David/Walter fight is filmed, which makes it obvious if it was the "good" or "bad" android the one who survived... exactly by trying too hard to hide it (to be fair, this does work better here than in the original as a side effect of the removal of the xenomorph, meaning less android heroics). But, as I said, the narrative needed these to stay, and it's not the editor's fault at all. Though they force me to detract one point from the enjoyment scale, as they still are what they are.

Editing was top-notch all through. I'm particularly impressed by the new title graphics. I would love to know how they were achieved. Visual quality was flawless in Episode 1, though interestingly presented a bit of artifact in Episode 2 (I did watch the version that had separate files for each). I must admit I'm a bit disappointed by the lack of subtitles, I always appreciate them and the fact that the previous Wakeupkeo edit I watched (Dick Tracy) did include them, made me somewhat expect them here too.

I also love the fact that Wakeupkeo presented this as an open series for other editors to contribute with episodes, which is both brilliant and generous. I'm still thinking what I would like to do for an episode, as I'd prefer something outside the obvious candidates. Will keep considering ideas.

Despite faults deeply ingrained in part of the source material, this is a tremendously remarkable edit. Apparently JobWillins' "Paradise", which I haven't seen so far, was the inspiration for this and might be even better, which means I should most probably be checking it out as well. In the meantime, this is highly recommended (and how is it possible that I'm the first person to review it? Come on!)
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