Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt
Run Time: 1 hour 57 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Read my full review at Arrow in the Head.
Additional Notes: I can see why they hired James Cameron to do the sequel to this film. Alien is a massive, unprecedented special effects spectacular that tests the limits of the gooey monstrosities you can show onscreen. And aside from an obvious cut replacing a dummy head with Ian Holm’s and a late wide shot that exposes too much of the Xenomorph’s “dude in a suit”-liness, the effects hold their glorious icky power to this day. H. R. Giger’s orifice-tacular design is gross enough on its own, but it’s realized with tremendous skill.
Like I said, design is what really counts in this movie. Although the basic interiors have lost their charm after years and years of rip-offs and copies, there are subtle elements that still stand out, my favorite being the hatches that swirl shut like a camera lens.
I suppose I should mention the cast, although the human element barely registers in this cold and (literally) alien film. They have solid chemistry and their banter is amusing, although they’re only given a handful of character traits between them. Sigourney Weaver isn’t, like, mind-blowingly good, but she retains her femininity while still presenting a tough, professional attitude, a balance that earns her all the credit she gets for being an iconic strong female character.
I really don’t have that much more to say about Alien, because at its core it’s devilishly simple. I respect what it does and how it works, but as the years pass I’m less and less sure that it’s Ridley Scott’s doing why it works so well. All I can say is, when compared to its proto-predecessor, the likewise Dan O’Bannon scripted Dark Star, Alien is a massive quantum leap forward for 70’s sci-fi.
TL;DR: Alien is a base and dirty grindhouse horror flick with the impeccable design of an A-list sci-fi picture.
Rating: 8/10Word Count: 1051
Reviews In This Series
Alien (Scott, 1979)
Aliens (Cameron, 1986)
Alien 3 (Fincher, 1992)
Alien: Resurrection (Jeunet, 1997)
AvP: Alien vs. Predator (Anderson, 2004)
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (Strause & Strause, 2007)
Prometheus (Scott, 2012)