• Guy Jeffries

Alien Rewind Review


Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, Veronica Cartwright, Helen Horton, Bolaji Badejo.

I have to confess, I saw Aliens before I watched Alien, Aliens actually being the gateway film to the franchise and I'll touch more on Aliens in that rewind review soon. In fact, I should probably write that first seeing as that's the film that got me hooked. Be right back!

Right, it's actually really hard to watch Alien without knowing anything about it, it's biology, ecology and it's evolution. There was so much more to just H.R. Giger's perverse yet perfect creation, some of it's character not coming to life until writing out the screenplay. It's acid for blood self-defence mechanism wasn't hatched until the writers Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett had to devise a reason why the crew couldn't just simply remove the facehugger from Kane's head. The title itself was originally coined as Star Beast before settling for Alien. Eventually the overall design became so original with acid blood, the lack of eyes, the snapping, salivating double jaw and that rustic breathing. it's phallic, black glistening head and it's skeletal and lethal tail. It's a terrifying yet beautiful creation that has become such an icon for intergalactic monsters.

Plus the ingenious evolution of it's making. The eggs and spin forth that crab-like carrier that impregnates and plants a parasite into its host via the throat to then violently give birth in a way that is so similar to braconid wasps that lay their eyes inside beetles and other insects for their larvae to eat their way out of the living host. Sounds horrifying right? These guys imagined what that would be like if the host was a human being.

The quality of production really raised itself's from many of its fellow science fiction films, especially the exploration of the fallen spaceship with the space jockey being a statement to the audience that this is not a B-movie, or as conceptual artist Ron Cobb coined, to convince 20th Century, "the Cecil B. DeMille shot." It went on to win one Oscar for best effects and nominated for best Art Direction; won two BAFTAs for best production design and soundtrack, and four Saturn awards for Scott, Weaver, Cartwright and Best DVD collection in 2011.

Jerry Goldsmith's score is amazing and perfectly fitting for the film that just heightens the tension of the looming threat. Also the sound engineering is greatly thought out, noises that were resurrected and reused for all future projects such as the 2014 game Alien: Isolation. The ship's klaxons, bleeps and the alien's snapping attack all echo throughout the franchise.

Only obvious negative now, is now. The fact that the film is dated and looks out of place with the Scott's new additions. They unfortunately didn't get the technology right, I mean who would have thought back in the late seventies the future would have touch screen, retina recognition and voice interactive computers. What makes it worse is that it's set thirty years after the events of Prometheus. It just aesthetically speaking, the films don't fit.

A commercial space freighter is on it's return trip to Earth when the crew is awoken early to response to a distress signal from an unknown planet, LV-426 and being bound by contractual obligation, they venture to investigate. A derelict alien spacecraft isn't the only thing thing discover and tragically set off a chain of horrifying events. It's near impossible to not know of the infamous, gut-wrenching scene of the chestbuster. Even those who have seen the film are possibly familiar with it. It even gets parodied in Mel Brook's Spaceballs, with John Hurt re-enacting that famous scene. "Oh, no, not again."

The film has been quipped as being "like Jaws in space and is rightly so like Jaws, rarely showing the alien in its entirety, Bolaji Badejo as the alien actually only having about 4minutes of total screen time. It's like knowing you have a wasp buzzing around the room and you just can't find it, unable to rest until it's left the vicinity.

Scott really makes his make with alien, spawning a new breed of science fiction and horror, drawing influences from Star Wars: A New Hope, 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. His original cut was 192 minutes long; and yes, there is a director's cut of the film but not at 192mins. Prior to this Scott had made The Duelists and a run of episodes for various TV series, so it's fair to say Alien really for him noticed to then follow up with yet another sci-fi noir cult classic, Blade Runner a couple of years later.

Scott wasn't the only one to make his big break here. I find it impressive that though Sigourney Weaver has had a number of parts since, even three Oscar nominated roles with Working Girl and Gorillas in the Mist, it's her role as Ellen Ripley that she will be remember most for receiving that other Oscar nomination for playing her in Aliens. What's impressive about this is that it was her first major role and I can't think of any other actor or actress that can lay claim to that. There has be a danger of her being typecast but she's handled it great fashion, starring in Galaxy Quest, Avatar and providing her voice as the Axiom in Wall•E and an episode of Futurama. It's like every geeky, sci-fi filmmaker's dream is to have Weaver star in some capacity in their film.

It's an incredible piece of cinema that will remain to be one of the best films ever made, reinventing the genre almost entirely. You haven't watch sci-fi horror until you've seen Alien.

Running Time: 10

The Cast: 10

Performance: 10

Direction: 10

Story: 9

Script: 8

Creativity: 10 (for is's time)

Soundtrack: 9

Job Description: 10

The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for being one of a kind and reinventing the genre, leading to Aliens.

Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Already do.

96% 10/10

#RidleyScott #DanOBannon #RonaldShusett #SigourneyWeaver #TomSkerritt #JohnHurt #IanHolm #HarryDeanStanton #YaphetKotto #VeronicaCartwright #HelenHorton #BolajiBadejo #HRGiger #JerryGoldsmith