- Alien (1979)
140 Character Movie Review – #140RVW
About as scary as any movie really needs to be. Yes, most of us prefer Aliens – action, humor & Marines – but the original is terrifying…
Spoiler-free Movie Review of Alien:
I deliberately did not use an image of the Alien as the featured image for the review in the hopes that my daughter wouldn’t accidentally come across it, because I believe the creature conceived of by screenwriter Dan O’Bannon and designed and realized by the late Swiss artist H.R. Giger is the single scariest and most perfect monster ever put on screen.
After 35 years, the movie still works so well for a host (heh, heh) of reasons:
- The setting is brilliant. At least as effective as 2001 in establishing the remoteness of the location and the complete isolation from everything else; the limited area makes the setting integral to the story.
- Despite being a fantastic bit of science fiction and having this great alien, the film first establishes great human relationships and realism. The horror is genuine because the characters have character. With a relatively low body count, each death must be meaningful, and they are.
- The look of the film is incredible. In addition to Giger’s work, which is groundbreaking, inspired, and a wonderful mix of beauty and hideousness, the production design is timeless. The filmmakers took all the right lessons away from the “used universe” of Star Wars and made something new out of it. This is the unglamorous side of space travel; a big, ugly, hulking freighter that moves slowly and breaks down frequently. No one here is gazing at the suns – they’re having a smoke and arguing about their pay.
- The film favors suspense over action. This is classic Hitchcockian edge of your seat stuff, but it’s more than that. Because the Alien concept is so fresh and unique, you lean into it, desperately trying for better looks at the ship, the creature, the dark corners. All the better to scare the life out of you. Which leads to:
- The Alien itself. There are practical reasons why they chose not to give you a really good look at the creature; Scott wisely realized that extended close-ups or too much clarity would only expose the “guy in a rubber suit” effect. Much better to utilize the shadows. But this technical solution had a much more important result of maintaining the mystery and terror of the creature.
Alien is absolutely terrifying, one of the scariest movies ever made. Watching it this weekend with my dad (another Alien nut) for possibly the 5oth time, it still scared the crap out of me. Not a lot of movies can retain that kind of impact. The Alien is one of the greatest sci-fi inventions of all time. If only one part of the life cycle were introduced, it would still be amazing, but the fully-fleshed out creature from egg to face-hugger to xenomorph makes for the most startlingly original creation. They could make 20 movies based on this creature and it would still be satisfying.
The Representation Test Score: 7 (B pts)
|Main Cast||Sigourney Weaver Ripley, Tom Skerritt Dallas, John Hurt Kane, Veronica Cartwright Lambert|
|Release Date||Fri 22 Jun 1979 UTC|
|Plot||The commercial vessel Nostromo receives a distress call from an unexplored planet. After searching for survivors, the crew heads home only to realize that a deadly bioform has joined them.|
|Tagline||In space no one can hear you scream.|
|Writers||Dan O’Bannon (story) and, Ronald Shusett (story) …|