Friday, October 9, 2015

Movie Review: "Alien" (1979)

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Director: Ridley Scott
Year: 1979
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes

A commercial salvage ship called the Nostromo is on its way back to earth after its latest mission. Before they get there, the ship's computer picks up what it believes is a distress beacon and wakes the crew from their cryo-sleep. According to their company contract, they must investigate any signal from possible intelligent life. There investigation results in being attacked by an unknown alien life form that attaches itself to a crew member's face. When they bring the landing crew back on the ship for medical assistance, they unknowingly unleash a deadly alien creature on board that puts the whole crew in danger. 

Would you believe it if I told you this was my first time watching the classic sch-fi horror film "Alien"? BigJ has seen it a dozen times, but today was my first viewing of it. With decades worth of hype around it, I'll have to admit, my expectations were pretty high.

This film did not disappoint.

"Alien" is the pinnacle of sci-fi horror. It has set an extremely high bar by which other films are measured. Despite it coming out in 1979, it still holds up impeccably well, even 36 years later. The movie has a very simple story, but it is executed so flawlessly that it doesn't even matter. The ship has a small crew of just over half a dozen people, and many of the actors who make up the crew have gone on to bigger things because of their work in this movie. Sigourney Weaver's part as Ripley has become iconic over the years for being one of the few strong female protagonists in a sea of Hollywood films consistently dominated by men. It's also worth noting that the role was originally written for a man, but Weaver was just so good, she owned the role and made it her own. Defining? Yes, but that's not to say she hasn't been amazing in nearly everything since 1979. The rest of the crew are played by Ian Holm as Ash, John Hurt as Kane, Harry Dean Stanton as Brett, Yaphet Kotto as Parker, Veronica Cartwright as Lambert, and Tom Skerritt as Dallas. These seven actors are the only ones who appear on camera in the whole movie...well, them and the Alien. Ohhh, the Alien. The Alien itself is such an amazingly cool, creepy design. It is by far one of the most memorable things about the film, even with a very limited screen time. It gives off such a terrifying visual. It's huge, yet there is an entire scene where it is hiding almost in plain sight and we don't even see it. The fact that a creature as large and deadly as the Alien could be so stealthy is scary as hell, making it one of the most iconic antagonists in cinematic history. Its terrifying movements and a penchant for toying with its victims shows the true mastery of the horror found here. Combine this with the already spectacular special effects and you've got the recipe for something magical. There is also a sense of isolation that runs throughout the film as well. We are the audience are made to feel the crew's chances slip away as they get feelings they might be trapped with no chance of help coming to rescue them.

"Alien" should not only be required viewing for anyone who ever wants to work on any part of a sci-fi monster movie, but it should be mandatory for everyone to see this film before they do. This is a movie that has stood the test of time and is still very revered, and rightfully so. It is a modern classic of the sci-fi genre and a standard for how every movie should be made.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
Two years ago, we were watching: "The Devil's Backbone"

One year ago, we were watching: "Creatures from the Abyss"

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