Starting from the first manned flight into space, scientists all over the world are trying to unravel one of the main secrets of the Universe - are there living beings in the space, except man. And till they cannot unequivocally answer this question, artists offer their own options. The director Ridley Scott gave us his version in the film ALIEN. He showed us that not a new life is waiting for people in space people but a death.
The genius of the ALIEN franchise lies in the fact that every movie with this name is very different. Nothing strange - different creative teams, led by different directors, probably imagined the atmosphere of each film differently. In other words, as the Xenomorph evolves in the movies, the films change. However, some of these mutations were more successful than others.
Why did I start writing reviews of this franchise? Because of bitLanders AI-Themed blogging. The ALIEN franchise from the first movie involved artificial intelligence in its plots. There we have androids, robots, artificial human, and we have a wise computer program.
This film is meticulously constructed, and all of its components fit together almopst perfectly. Creepily paced, wonderfully acted, and menaced throughout, Alien is one of the best films ever made.
The most reliable fear is the fear of the unknown, and to frighten the viewer properly, you need to build on the screen a whole world that seems as hostile and unfamiliar as it is convincing. In 1979, the ALIEN film places us in the most distant and merciless environment to all living organics - open space.
ALIEN is a true breakthrough film. A sensation on the battlefield for the wallets of moviegoers. The film, along with several other films made in the late 70s - early 80s, defined the mainstream for many years. It is the first film about Xenomorphs, showing that curiosity can harm.
ALIEN (1979) Trailer - Photo credit: youtube
Far future. Spaceships travel through the universe. There is a study of the most remote corners of the universe. Even cargo ships, belonging to powerful mega-corporations, flew to planets unknown to science to explore life there.
Returning to the Earth, a commercial Nostromo spacecraft receives an emergency signal from a nearby planet. When landing on an unfamiliar planet, the spacecraft is damaged. Part of the crew remains to repair the spacecraft. Another part went to look for someone who has triggered the alarm. On an unfamiliar planet, crew members discover an abandoned space ship and thousands of eggs in it.
They do not yet know that they will have a real nightmare on their return to space. Because they returned not alone.
It appeared that the ship's computer decrypts the received signal not as a call for help but as a warning. When they move one of the eggs, the crew is in danger of death.
Science fiction film ALIENS - Photo credit: imdb
All 117 minutes of ALIEN movie is like an experiment by alchemists. Every detail is measured; no one exists unnecessarily. Even the smallest handshake can change the picture, and everyone understands the cost of the mistake. Like alchemists, Ridley Scott creates a miracle here that simply cannot explain pure logic, but it is even more difficult to deny it. The Ridley Scott's miracle in this place is an atmosphere created in 1979 how it wasn't created in any other film.
Scriptwriter Dan O'Bannon, for whom this was not the first but certainly the most important script in his career, did not care about what the time is portrayed in the ALIEN, whether it is going far in the future and in what universe it is happening at all. He trusted the audience to understand that it was a science fiction film with extraterrestrial beings and future technologies, which is enough in this context.
The film begins when the ship's crew is awakened during a long trip home to check for a nearby signal, and from the first minute, viewers see it as a fairly standard procedure. Spacecraft, headed by Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), jokes with each other, confidently performs his tasks and, unlike many of the science fiction films of that time, is not keen to emphasize future technology; if viewers want, they see it without any outside help, but there is not too much attention paid.
ALIEN franchise - Photo credit: topsimages
Relatively quiet start of the film is a wonderful choice in a structural sense. It takes more than half an hour before started happening things that made ALIEN so prominent film. Until then, time is given for careful operations, non-binding spacecraft talks, and one of the first times when Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) advises the captain to behave in one way, and he does not listen to her (unreasonably). Such things are one of the main reasons why even when watching ALIEN for countless times, the film involves you so heavily.
Ridley Scott does not give any clues about the terrible monsters or the horror; he fascinates the audience by simple workplace dramas in cosmos, which sounds relatively banal but works great for the future.
That future for four decades has been the work of R. Scott, which is incomparable with anything. To talk openly about what later happens in the film would be unreasonable and would simply deprive the joy and horror of those unsuspecting viewers. This would also draw attention that the real Star of the ALIEN is not a freakish alien or even S. Weaver. The only thing that makes this film so good is R.Scott and his tone.
Science fiction film ALIEN - Photo credit: jimsmash.blogspot
Silence has never been better in film history than in this film. That there are few dialogues in the horror film is not surprising at all. But Scott does a great deal forcing the audience to pay attention to that silence. Heavy astronaut breathing, leaving between inspiration and exhalation a few seconds of silence. Slow steps when actors don't know who's waiting for them around the corner. Unlike many horror filmmakers, Scott is not afraid of silence and does not seek to fill it in any case. He met silence with his open hands; he was with it for as long as possible and used it to frighten a few generations loving this film.
Ridley Scott directed advertisements before his career in cinema, and since it usually lasts only half a minute, there is enough time to show only the most important elements as impressively as possible. This did not mean that Scott hurried to show the most important details of ALIEN. Otherwise, this did not mean that Scott hurried to display the most important details of ALIEN.
When we watch the movie, it seems strange that there are only three or four action scenes, even if after two hours, it looks we saw much more. Again, this is remarkable merit of the script's structure, when Dan O'Bannon realized that it is more important to create separate stunning images, not a single continuous action scene. And if you now ask any horror film lover, he will name you all the action scenes of this film, which each had a higher price and tension, and each of them fully justified their presence in this movie.
ALIEN movie review - Photo credit: twitter
Ripley - the main character only seems self-confident, and acts mainly on a whim. As a result, we got one of the strongest and most recognizable female images. She embodies the almost average woman who does not hesitate to make money on the male work. You can blame her for the fact that the daughter lives alone while her mother is on a business trip for months - such a space voyage. And the family cat named Jonesy is the link between two family members.
Ripley : Final report of the commercial starship Nostromo, third officer reporting. The other members of the crew - Kane, Lambert, Parker, Brett, Ash, and Captain Dallas - are dead. Cargo and ship destroyed. I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck, the network will pick me up. This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.
Dallas. I have always paid attention that to the gallant captain of the ship Nostromo, played by Tom Skerritt, the team has not only a sense of subordination but also certain respect. He makes important decisions, and the last word on the ship is always behind him. Dallas behaved like a boy scout - not paying attention to the danger and his opportunities, he rushed to prove leadership.
Lambert - she looks constantly frightened, afraid of every rustle and unable to think optimistically.
Artificial intelligence in ALIEN - Android Ash - - Photo credit: twitter
Android Ash - the most ambiguous, controversial character, whose participation in the film can be long argued. Many viewers blame Ash if you can even blame the android for being ready to kill all of his yesterday's comrades. You understand that any of his relationships with crew members look more than conditional. According to Dallas, the researcher with whom he usually flew, shortly before the flight fell out of the crew, and the company provided Ash. It is logical to assume that the robot is so impartially executed the decree from above, regardless of the lives of people, because he is not alive. Even if he had not turned out to be an artificial person, the behavior itself would hardly have caused such a stormy reaction.
Parker - brute force of the crew, the master of all trades.
Bratt - from the first scenes we see his lack of initiative - he only pushes Parker’s claims about the extra bonus for his excellent work. Nevertheless, he receives a well-deserved prize for the brightest death from the clutches of an adult Xenomorph in the film.
ALIEN by Ridley Scott - Photo credit: reelandroll.blogspot
Ridley Scott brought together a good team of actors. Of course, in the late 1970s, these names were not much to anyone. But the point is not that these were future stars, but the fact that even then all these people were professionals in their field. The actors involved in the film perfectly coped with their task and created memorable and enjoyable characters.
Tom Skerritt (captain Dallas), Yaphet Kotto (flight engineer Mechanic Parker), Ian Holm (specialist in the scientific part of Ash), John Hurt (officer Kane), Veronica Cartwright (navigator Lambert), Harry Dean Stanton (technician Brett), and Sigourney Weaver (nominally the main character of the film is Sergeant Ripley) - with all the differences they created a real team.
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Looking at them, you believe that these are people who have worked together for a long time, during the years of joint work, have studied the personal characteristics of each other and have become, in spite of conflicts from time to time, almost one family.
Every actor has made their contribution to the film's success. Moreover, according to the director himself, most of their dialogues and replicas were not written in a script — they are improvisations. Exactly like the fright of artists in certain scenes with the sudden appearance of a monster, not a rehearsed game, but a spontaneous reaction, because the actors themselves did not know that in one scene or another their enemy will do. That was the director's decision of Ridley Scott himself; he was eager to see real emotions on the actors' faces; he wanted to capture their true and not played fear in the film.
ALIEN by Ridley Scott - Photo credit: imdb
Well, each director has his own method of working with actors. And as can be seen from the results of these creative tricks and torments, this approach by Ridley Scott gave a positive result.
The Technical Side
The visual side of the stranger (and the fact that the film was created without any computer help means that all the scenery was absolutely real) is simply impressive, and Scott understands that he made a difference.
His slow style of directing, when the cameraman slowly moves away from a personage entering the room and shows the details of the alien's world, just enchants. The director does not abuse it, using tactics only a few times, but the slowness, combined with the atmosphere, when actors at every step can die, attracts to the screen like no other film.
I want to mention the other star of this film: Swiss H.R. Giger, who has created the design of a scary-looking ALIEN so far. H.R. Giger's got Oscar for this job. Such a careful work, alien who discloses little by little during the film, created without the use of any computer technology, is still the most prominent symbol of horror movies.
Combining the darkness of the monster, the light and very closed spaceship design and the powerful ALIEN planet decorations, we get a movie that invested heavily in small details, but it paid off with the goods.
ALIEN Movie Review - Photo credit: twitter
ALIEN has its own aesthetics and charm. Maybe it is a bit strange to see such computers, ship equipment that is both modern and in some respects primitive, but it is details of creation and time, that can also be fascinating.
In 1979, when space films were just beginning to spin, ALIEN by Ridley Scott became one of the key films. The world of the future is represented by the standards of the time very predictably: the development of new planets, an innovative approach to ordinary objects, huge space ships, both passenger and cargo.
In the late 1970s, an understanding of the real directions of the development of astronautics was already quite conscious, ALIEN did not follow the path of its fantastic opponents, like Star Trek and Star Wars. We do not see holograms, three-dimensional images, sensory displays on board - even the everyday life of many people today is unthinkable without them. By the way, in Prometheus, R. Scott brought the technology of the film closer to modern concepts, having gone from the style of the archaic future, as I call it. Today, thousands of flashing lights in the cockpit of communication with artificial intelligence cause only a smile, but the atmosphere of old-school science fiction is preserved in ALIEN.
Again, this is not so much a lack of knowledge in 1978-1979, as in the difference from the majority of ALIEN predecessors. Largely due to its uniqueness, interpretation of sci-fi themes in its own way, the film has become a cult and is still capable of causing awe.
ALIEN (1979) - Acid Blood Scene - Video credit: youtube
On A Final Note
The overwhelmingly closed space, the impenetrable dark rooms, the indescribably dangerous creature, and the complete inability to defend against it - it was on this absolutism of human fears that Ridley Scott created a unique atmosphere of helplessness and powerlessness that still excites the audience.
At the same time, for the entire film, a Xenomorph appears only a few times, but an alarming sensation emanates from every corner or dark corridor.
In fact, it's hard to find at least the slightest complaint about the film, which, even for the tenth time, is as engaging and interesting as the first review. ALIEN is the embodiment of diligence when everything - from the structure of the script to the mouth of the aliens - is realized with the highest degree of precision and the aim of influencing the audience, not only to occupy two hours of their lives.
This is the most successful R. Scott's experiment.
ALIEN is the very first part, not only the best franchise's part but also an example of horror and science fiction in general. This is a movie that goes into classics, which is definitely worth seeing and enjoying not only as a commercial garnish but also as a good film.
bitLanders AI-Themed Blogging: ALIEN Movie Review - Photo credit: topsimages
After 40 years, this sci-fi horror masterpiece still feels lethally contemporary.
Ridley Scott besides petty human fears like claustrophobia or fear of the dark, was able to embody the main thing - the fear of the unknown.
We are afraid of what we do not understand, what we cannot fit into the system of our life coordinates.
My rating: 9.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 97/100
Critics average: 94/100
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