Alien: Romulus preview footage hints at extensive use of practical effects

Alien Romulus theory
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The creatures in Alien: Romulus have been brought to life with puppets, animatronics and other practical ways according to reports of its preview footage.

The first trailer for Fede Alvarez’s upcoming Alien: Romulus shows how heavily it draws on the imagery of 1979’s Alien, from the design of its ship interiors to its lighting and sound effects. Another aspect it’ll share with Ridley Scott’s classic, seemingly, is a heavy use of practical effects to bring its title monster – in its various forms – to life.

At CinemaCon, the convention for theatre chains which took place over the past few days in Las Vegas, Disney showed off a few minutes of Romulus preview footage to attendees. Among the attendees was Discussing Film, whose description of the footage suggests that Alvarez and his team have indeed used a mixture of puppetry and animatronics for its xenomorph effects.

The outlet has a detailed rundown of what happens in the clip that we won’t share here since it might be considered a bit too spoiler-y – though in fairness, it doesn’t give much away that can’t be gleaned from the trailer.

Read more: Alien: Romulus | Combing the first trailer for nerdy clues

In essence, CinemaCon-goers got to see the Alien in all of its stages, from a lowly facehugger to a chestburster to the full-grown beast – and at each stage, practical effects were used for these assorted sequences. “It’s an incredible visual that makes Alien: Romulus feel more in line with the first Alien trilogy than the recent prequels,” Discussing Film writes.

Alvarez has talked in the past about giving Alien: Romulus a ‘hand-crafted’ feel, but it’s pleasing to hear that this wasn’t all just crowd-pleasing sales patter. Alien: Romulus will no doubt also feature plenty of CGI (courtesy of ILM, among other produciton houses) – and there’s nothing wrong with that – but the tangible, visceral feel of the creature effects in Alien and Aliens was partly what made them such classics.

Alien: Romulus is out in UK cinemas on 16th August 2024.

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