Monday, January 19, 2015
646. ALIEN (1979)
Running Time: 116 minutes
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Written By: Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Walter Hill
Main Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton
Click here to view the trailer
IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM
So I got a little side tracked last night and didn't make it back for any reviews, despite watching one movie. Nevertheless, I'm fully prepared to put in an overtime day today and still get this season wrapped up before night fall. Let's get to it.
I had only seen Alien once and it was many, many years ago, back during a time when my brother and I had made a pact to watch every single horror movie in alphabetical order from our local, "mom and pop" video store - Video 99. I don't believe we ever made it out of the A's, but we still saw a lot of cool stuff, including Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (not cool at all, actually), An American Werewolf in London (Paris too - not as good) and of course, the four Alien flicks. The film takes place aboard the Nostromo, a humongous commercial ship, traveling through space and making it's way back to Earth when a mysterious signal is picked up. It's the manifesto of the crew to research any alien signals, so they do. When they land on a planetoid, Captain Dallas (Skerritt), Kane (Hurt) and Lambert disembark their detachable space craft and discover a large, alien craft, which they enter to investigate. While there, an alien parasite attaches itself to Kane's face, wrapping a tentacle around his throat. Upon arrival back to the Nostromo, where Ripley (Weaver) denies them access back onto the ship, stating that it's protocol not to allow foreign bodies aboard for fear of putting everyone in danger. However, scientist Ash (Holm) opens the doors and the crew re-enters. They keep Kane stable despite the alien that's attached to it's face and after a little while, they find him upright, laughing as if nothing ever happened - apparently the thing decided to let go. During a late meal together, however, Kane begins to cough and before you know it an alien is bursting out of his stomach, complete with gnashing teeth and slimy appendages. It runs off and grows extremely quick, blossoming into a seven foot tall monster, with a massive cranium. As you'd expect, this does not bode well for the crew of the Nostromo....chaos commences.
I wasn't planning to watch this yet, trying to save it for next season, but my wife wanted to check them both out so, of course, I caved. Anyway, this one was pretty great. I mean, what's not to like? Get a load of that cast huh? I didn't really remember anything about this movie, so when it was opening and I was reading all the names, I was starting to get really excited - Harry Dean Stanton (Yeah!), John Hurt (Sweet!) and Ian Holm (Score!). Not to mention, Tom Skerritt who is solid and Ms. Weaver who is also not bad (and might I add looks great in skimpy panties and white tee). According to THE BOOK she wanted to do the scene nude, but FOX forbade it (screw you FOX, what'd I ever do to you!). Speaking of the actors, let's talk about the characters, as apparently a prerequisite for getting a job on the Nostromo was having a cool name. Whatever happened to Captain Bill or Officer Sue? Instead we get named like Dallas, Ripley, Ash and Kane - maybe just a little something to remind you "it's only a movie, don't get too scared".
This is a space that is much darker, much gloomier than any space we've seen prior or since. If you watch films like Gravity or even 2001: A Space Odyssey, we see a much glossier space, maybe a movie that makes us all want to be a kid again and write an essay about wanting to be an astronaut for fourth grade. I'll go on record and say I do not want to be a spaceman in Ridley Scott's space, that's for sure. Not only because protocol will be breached and I'll end up fending off a massive alien with obvious angry self confidence issues about his misshapen cranium, but because this is just a dark, dank space that is scary even without the aliens. AND IAN HOLM WAS A ROBOT THE WHOLE TIME!? What a plot twist that was and one that I didn't see coming, despite having seen this before. The whole thing about him being an undercover agent that the agency sent up with the crew to ensure that they got an alien specimen was pretty genius and when he starts beating up Ripley and trying to shove a newspaper down her throat, I was flipping out - I say again, what a great twist.
Ridley Scott made this almost look like a found footage film, at times. The music is less pronounced than other Hollywood blockbusters and sometimes it's the silence that scores the really tense scenes, keeping us on edge, just knowing that something's gonna' pop out. And when it ends up being the fucking cat, I'm not even calling cheap thrill, because it works and it's cool and with an alien aboard the ship, you know the next thrill will be far from cheap. The plot is simple and very effective and I found this to be a film that would be hard to dislike. Sure, you could say, I just don't like horror or alien films, but really it's not THAT scary and falls more under the category of sci fi, I think. It's more of an Agatha Christie style murder mystery, where we already know who the killer is and we're just waiting to see who the survivor's gonna' be. Let's face it, Weaver wasn't a star by this point, so it could've just as easily been Veronica Cartwright running around at the end of the film in HER skimpy panties or God forbid, Yaphet Kotto (shudder). Granted, I'm not a sci fi fan, so I didn't go quite as fanboy for it as others probably did, but I'm just saying despite being very sci fi, it's much more than that. It's also probably the classiest, most well put together horror movie I've ever seen. This movie's shots and scenes look like they belong in a coffee table book about classic scenes in cinema, proving that Scott and crew were out for more than just a monster movie. My question is: Where do we go from here? I haven't seen Aliens in a long time either and I don't remember what it entails, but is Ripley really dumb enough to go back to space after this? We'll see...
RATING: 7.5/10 An '8' just seems too high, so I'm standing my ground on this one, but you watch, by tonight's TOP 20, I'll already be ready to call it an '8'.
MOVIES WATCHED: 898
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 103
January 19, 2015 9:33pm