Alien (1979) Review

“In Space, no one can hear you scream” is the most iconic tagline in movie history.

Ellen Ripley is the greatest heroine in movie history.

This poster (left) is the most chilling film poster in movie history.

The Nostromo is a planet mining ship on its way home when a distress call takes the crew on a detour to an undiscovered planet. An alien attaches itself to one of the 7 crew members forcing them to take the Xenomorph on board. This mistake turns out to be fatal giving us one of the finest science fiction pictures ever made.

Ridley Scott’s latest addition to the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant hits cinemas in two weeks. To celebrate this I have cracked open the vault to bring you a series of reviews covering every chapter of the Xenomorph’s monumental tale. The only way to kick off a series of Alien reviews is with the horror that started it all the original theatrical release of Alien. Very rarely do you come across a film so captivating and dynamic that it defies time. Scott’s vision of what creatures may be waiting out there, really altered how we saw extra-terrestrial life on screen inspiring such films as John Carpenter’s The Thing from 1982. The Alien alone is frightening but the incredibly well thought out and suspense-filled opening act is what makes the Xenomorph terrifying. What can I say? Scott knows how to lay down the perfect groundwork for a sci-fi epic. As well as the very well orchestrated build up the effects and costume have not weathered at all in 36 years! The cast is where the true magic happens really transmitting the horror of this otherworldly creature to the film’s audience. John Hurt will always be fondly remembered in my eyes as the Aliens first victim perfectly bringing to life one of horror’s most iconic scenes. But everybody including the alien was overshadowed by Sigourney Weaver’s performance as Ellen Ripley. At the time there had never been a strong female lead in Sci-Fi like Ripley and she pathed the way for the likes of Sarah Conner. Some may argue Princess Leia was the first sci-fi heroine but she didn’t single-handedly defeat the greatest predator ever, did she?

To fully enjoy Alien you need to look at it as a solo film and not think about the questionable twists and turns the franchise took, we will get to those. Alien is a sacred protected pocket of Sci-fi history that no number of awful sequels could damage which I think says something about the true movie prowess that went into this picture. Scott unknowingly created a picture that changed cinema forever. Alien isn’t perfect, at times it’s slow and definitely not everybody’s cup of tea but if you are a movie fan, I’m sure you respect Scott’s finest work for what it is, a cinematic master-class.


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