I have always held a certain fondness toward the Alien franchise. I can’t necessarily say why. Until recently, I hadn’t even seen all of the films. (I still haven’t seen Prometheus or the second Alien vs. Predator film) After a while, I finally decided that old-memories shouldn’t be the deciding factor for my thoughts on Alien. I buckled down and took the two-hours out of my day to watch the film.
Alien is a 1979 science-fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott, who has since come back to the franchise to direct Prometheus. The movie stars Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skeritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Iam Holk and Yaphet Kotto. The screenplay was written by Dan O’Bannon after a story that he had once wrote for Ronald Shusett, borrowing elements from various different horror movies, many focusing heavily on suspense.
I think one of the most interesting things about this movie is that it only focused on one Alien. That’s like a built-in suspense for later installments in the franchise, other-wise it would also allow for them to install an enormous amount of fear as the series progressed.
More importantly for the movie, it meant that there would be a lot of dependence on suspense and that this would be a slow-burn. The movie doesn’t take any unneeded jumps over hurdles, rather, it takes its time and allows for the viewer to fully digest it by the time that the credits are rolling across the screen.
There is a lot of fear induced by the alien as it wanders throughout the area. It isn’t only because of how much destruction that it causes but also because of how realistically it comes across on the screen.
I am not talking about the scenes when they are exploring the planet and it becomes something almost resembling found-footage because, in all honesty, I found that disappointed. It felt more like a cop-out than an added realism. What I am talking about is the alien itself.
The alien was designed brilliantly from the beginning and looked like how I might actually imagine an alien looking. This wasn’t a stereotypical alien with an overly large forehead and huge almond shaped eyes, this creature squirmed around like a different breed of scorpion. A lot of scientists actually have the belief that over ninety-nine percent of Earth’s species have already went extinct. This creature made me feel like the planet and its creatures could have been at a different stage in the chain of evolution than Earth.
If aliens actually existed, they probably wouldn’t look like anything that immediately comes to mind, but I like what they came up with for this movie.
One criticism about the alien is that I believe it grew up much too quick, one minute it’s a baby and then it’s a full-blown adult. I am certain that there is likely an explanation for this, but I don’t want one.
The story focuses on a spaceship crew that stops to investigate what seems to be a distress call. (Either that, or a warning.)
Considering the title of the movie, I think that you can deduce what this movie involves, and sure enough, at an eventual time, there is an alien running around sporadically in their ship.
I didn’t know what to think about the cast of the movie. I liked Ian Holms as Ash, although, I didn’t like what they ended up doing with the character. Tom Skerritt’s performance as Dallas, and Yaphet Kotto as Parker, all of them added a little something to the film.
I don’t know what I thought about Ripley. (Played by Sigourney Weaver)
I realize that this might not be popular opinion, but … she seemed harshly annoying and not like a character that I could find myself enjoying or becoming emotionally invested in.
At least for the five half of the movie.
In the first half, she was loud, obnoxious, and too serious. Her seriousness didn’t feel like a good person wanted to stay alive but like somebody that was simply unlikeable. However, I think that toward the home-stretch, maybe because Weaver was able to step out of the character’s behavior in the moments of desperation, she started to grow on me.
Anyway, the movie for all its innovation is certainly a horror film in any regard, and like a lot of horror movies, it has a lot of stupid antics in it as well. I already hinted at the stupid thing they did with Ash, but there were more than a few things about the film that could be a tad nerve-racking.
Nevertheless, the movie is a very enjoyable first installment in the franchise, and was the kind-of movie that made me want to continue watching the rest of them. It has some moments that I could have dealt without, but there’s a lot of good in this movie.