Throwback Review – ‘Alien’

I’ve always wondered if they had a little cat space suit for Jones…..

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(FOX)

Some spoilers, but this movie is almost 40 years old you’ve had time to watch it!

One of my most anticipated movies of the year; Alien: Covenant is coming out soon, so I have decided I’m going to review all four of the original Alien films, because well why not! I grew up watching all of these movies and each one of them are so special and unique in their own sort of way, except Alien: Resurrection because as I’m writing this, I’m getting angry just thinking about that movie, but I’m willing to watch it for you guys. So what better way to start this party off then with the original Alien film, which spawned a massive movie franchise that is still going today!

Certain movies throughout time redefine the movie going experience. In 1979, Ridley Scott’s Alien did just that. The space horror/thriller changed movies forever in more ways than one, and to this day filmmakers are still using elements from Alien in their own movies. Alien did for space, what Jaws did for water. It made people terrified of it, even though people go into water rather than space but you get the idea. Being alone, in a secluded area being stalked by a creature. Alien steals elements from that fantastic film, and uses the same suspense and horror that came with Jaws.

From the very get go, you have to remember that this movie came out in 1979, it’s so far ahead of its time, from the very first minutes of the movie, it’s like nothing people would have seen before. It’s almost like Ridley Scott was showing off from the very get go, as the audience gets a tour of the Nostromo, the space shuttle where our 7-person crew resides. It’s so beautiful and I was shocked at what I was seeing, because again this was 1979, and the best part of Alien are the effects, they are all practical and the little CGI that’s in the movie works, again considering when Alien was made. I wish this were one movie experience I could of had in the theatre. I do this all the time, I’ll go back and watch an old movie and be upset that I didn’t get the theatre experience with it, because this would have been an all-timer. I mentioned the 7-person crew, the plot is simple, the Nostrum is a commercial spacecraft that is heading back to Earth after a journey in space. The 7 crew members; Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Kane (John Hurt), Ash (Ian Holm) and Parker (Yaphet Kotto) lay dormant in their stasis pods, but are awoken to find out that they are off course because a close planet has been sending out a “distress signal.” Part of their job description is to investigate the matter much to he crews disdain for such a thing, they land on the planet and well things just go to shit from there. Once they land on the new planet, Kane, Parker and Dallas go out to search from any sign of life and well they eventually do find life, just not the kind they were looking for. Kane investigates a mysterious looking egg, and before he knows what happens a strange life form latches itself onto his face. Dallas and Lambert rush Kane back to the ship, but Ripley is hesitant about bringing the unknown life form onto the ship, eventually they get Kane onboard and start to experiment on the life form, but quickly realize its blood is super corrosive and it will not detach from Kane’s face. You know the rest, the creature detaches from Kane’s face, he has a little bit of memory loss and everything seems fine and dandy. Until the crew sits down to their final meal before reentering their stasis pods for a 10 month snooze. Kane starts convulsing and an alien pops out from his rib cage and before they have a chance to kill it, it scurries off into the spacecraft. I just have to give John Hurt a massive shout out, the world lost this incredible actor last year and he’s just fantastic in this, he’s so damn young it’s scary. His death scene is one of the more iconic death scenes in all of cinema. When people think about Alien, this scene usually comes to mind. I just feel like his death is so far ahead of its time, and it’s a scene that will always stay with me for years to come.

John Hurt isn’t the only one churning out legendary performances in Alien; Ripley is the first badass female character that really stuck with the pop culture crowd. When you think of strong female characters in film, Ripley definitely comes to mind and rightfully so! For years to come Sigourney Weaver would play the Xenomorph ass kicker. Growing up I loved this character, and I wish we would have gotten more Ripley in our lives and rumors about a potential 5th Alien movie is just great news and I hope it really works out. The rest of the story is simple; the alien grows to enormous size and starts stalking our crew one by one. This is when the movie shifts from a thriller to straight up horror. I forgot how scary this movie was, and now I remember why it scared me to death as a kid. There’s something about enclosed spaces and a creature lurking in the shadows. The Xenomorph is an all time classic movie monster and they are one of my favorites, it’s something about how they go about doing things. They don’t necessarily kill their victims and sometimes it’s hard to see what exactly they do to their prey, which makes them even creepier. That can be said for a couple of its victims in this movie, Brett and Dallas who are the first two victims. For myself they are part of the two scariest moments in the film and it happens to be their final moments.

The scene in the hanger leading up to Brett’s death, there’s a brief second where you see the alien just hanging above him, it’s not meant to be a jump scare and there isn’t even a change of music or tone. That being said, it’s so sudden that at first you could miss it, but its there just waiting for its moment. All of this makes it even more terrifying, the aliens do such an amazing job blending into their surroundings, and it’s this trait that gets most of their victims. I just thought this was a really cool part of the movie, but poor Brett certainly didn’t think so. Next in the airshafts when Dallas takes control of the situation and decides to try and trap the creature but he ultimately meets his fate in those air shafts and it’s a really scary moment. It’s this scene that kind of encapsulates what the movie is all about. It’s about being scared and alone, in an enclosed space, not really knowing what’s out there and what you’re dealing with. The scariest part about both of their deaths is the audience has no idea what happens to their bodies, it’s never talked about or discovered, unless you watch the directors cut, which I did. You find out that the Xenomorph cocoons its victims when towards the end of the movie, Ripley discovers the bodies of both Dallas and Brett, Dallas hanging on by a thread begs Ripley to kill him. When you think about it, it really makes the whole experience worse that this alien doesn’t full on kill you but rather leaves you in a cocoon and will ultimately finish you off later, they are insanely smart creatures.

As the crew fights for survival, it’s revealed that Ash is actually a droid, and since the discovery of the new species, the crew is now expendable and primary objective is now to bring the creature back alive to study. Once Ripley discovers this, Ash tries to kill her not before the remaining crew comes to her rescue, and I always loved how the androids had what appeared to be milk for blood, always loved it! When Ripley is the soul crewmember left, it’s a fight to the death with this “perfect organism” and the ending is just fantastic. The best part about watching Alien was that I honestly didn’t remember too much about it, and it was such a satisfying experience to enjoy this movie again. It changed the game for the horror and thriller genre, and it will always stand the test of time. Alien redefined practical effects and what you can accomplish on a limited budget, its movies like these that reinvigorate my passion and love for movies. I’m going to link some of the favorite scenes from the movie down below!

Check ya later,

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Alien = 90/100

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Wannabe Movie Critic

Hey Guys & Girls. Ever since I can remember, I have loved movies, pop culture and everything geek and nerd related. So I have decided to start writing my thoughts on things that I love. Just a wannabe movie critic, trying to make it big Check ya later.

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