Review: (4 / 5) Alien is a 1979 blockbuster movie produced by Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill. Ridley Scott directed the film that starred Tom Skerritt, and Sigourney Weaver. Alien won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. It’s success lead to three more films over the next eighteen years in the series, plus an additional two in 2012 and 2017.
The story begins with a seven-man crew on their journey back to earth, only to be interrupted by what they perceive to be a distress signal. The crew goes out to investigate, landing their shuttle on the planet, and damaging the vessel. As they search the planet, they come across an alien ship, and something that resembles a skeleton. As they continue with their search, they come across the breeding ground, where one of the creatures attaches itself to one of the team members. So let’s speed this up so isn’t a recap of the film. The crewmember is taken back to ship and the alien host is now onboard, mutates, and BOOM, we have a killer.
So what works in this film? Well for starters, a lot when you consider Alien had a budget of $10M and brought in over $203M worldwide. The mutation from the crab like thing morphing into the creature that burst out of the chest was brilliant. The scene where Kotto’s character found the skin—similar to a snake shedding its scales—gave the viewer the idea that it grew even more. The progression of the alien’s growth left me wondering how they were going to defeat it. It was a win.
So what didn’t work for me? For one, the tropes of horror were a little too typical. I wished the director could have been more creative. Every time someone went off looking for the alien, we knew what was next. What I didn’t understand is when crewmembers confronted it with a weapon, why not let them use it? Why not have a duel? Instead they were killed on the spot.
The other issue I had was with the crew itself. There were five members who dressed the part, then Kotto who looked out of place with the sweatband around the head, then Stanton who looked as it he stepped off West Palm Beach and onto the shuttle in his flamingo shirt. Keep it consistent. Their characters were fine, it was just the way they were portrayed that bothered me.
Then there was the objectification of Sigourney Weaver. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about inserting a beautiful woman into the film. But don’t do it just to do it. The scene at the end where she disrobed could have easily been cut out and nobody would have known any different.
So overall, I enjoyed the film. I never saw it in theaters, mainly because I was only in the fifth grade, and although I could have seen it as an adult, I was never the horror film kind of guy—until now! Despite the issues I had with the film, the cons were easily outweighed by the storyline itself.