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Nostromo’s (a commercial towing spacecraft) return to earth is
interrupted by a distress signal on a planet nearby. The mostly
blue-collar crew goes to check it out and unknowingly bring back an alien
life form on board. It’s
DIRECTOR'S CUT COMMENTS:
Just in time for Halloween 2003, FOX releases
"Alien: The Director's Cut" into theatres. Although an obvious "cash
cow" move (hey, why not release it on DVD and call it a high enough $$$
return?), it was a treat for me to see "Alien" on the big
screen for the very first time (originally released in 1979). Now although the "special effects" looked more
dated since the screen was so big and the flaws more apparent (like that
severed head on the table, or the chestburster puppet on a stick), the
bang-on production values, the gorgeous exterior Nostromo
shots, the breathtaking space scenery and the beyond astounding set
designs (inside the ship and especially on the creepy Alien planet) truly
shined. "Alien" had a somber enough feel and arresting enough imagery
on the small screen, but witnessing that unique world on a massive canvas
blew my sox off to "Face Hugger" heaven..
And what about the editing changes and the 11
minutes of new footage, you may ask? Well, first off, the pace of the flick was
definitely tighter than the initial cut. I heard that Ridley Scott shaved seconds from some scenes to speed things up
and I felt it. New footage-wise, my favorite bit had to be "The
Nest" sequence where an exhausted Ripley (Weaver) found two expiring crew members gooed up on the
walls in Alien slime (a tactic that James Cameron mucho used in "Aliens").
It gave those two RIP characters a good finish and allowed Ripley to have
an extra emotional moment. I loved it! Other obvious additions
were a slight physical confrontation between Ripley and Lambert
(Cartwright) which upped the
impact of the situation at hand, a slick overhead money shot of the Alien
hanging from chains, ready for attack and an added peeved Alien Vs Ripley
chase down a hall where the Alien did
something that I've been dreaming of doing forever...kick that damn cat "Jonesey" out of the way.
In conclusion, this "Director's Cut" didn't bring
enough variations to its whole to gravely affect my memory of the original
cut of "Alien" (see my full review of that one below). It pretty much felt like the same
ol' film to me. But its "new"
and more obvious goodies were still a treat to munch on and this
"Director's Cut" should slap a smile on every Alien fanboy's
Don't see it for the new stuff, that's just a minor bonus. See it to
experience Scott's classic on the big screen. The way it should be seen.
is the movie that made the formula of a “crew trapped in an enclosed area with monster”
popular. Countless imitators have followed but none were ever able to achieve
the artistry that “Alien” proudly displayed. On the visual front,
everything about “Alien” is more than just on the money; it’s
fucking amazing! You get the kickarse production designs by Michael
Seymour; who can forget the inside of the crashed space ship or the
unveiling of the Alien egg farm? You get atmosphere up the wazoo with
dripping corridors, lots of smoke and groovy lighting. And of course, you
get the H.R. Giger's “Alien” design; one of the more original creature
designs to ever grace the silver screen. Top all that off with Scott’s
subtle and moody directing and you get a visual horror feast that’s
undoubtedly on top of the menu.
wise, Alien hooks you early on and gradually imposes its terror upon you.
What I love about the characters in this flick is that they all
pretty much get the same screen time. For someone who knows nothing about
this classic movie, it’s virtually impossible to pinpoint who’s going
to make it and who’s not. It’s pretty nerve-wracking. Also, all of the
kills are injected with a huge dose of tension with Scott fully using the
dark surroundings to scare us. The inside of that spaceship is just plain
creepy; even the ventilation shaft doors that shut in a circular motif
gave me the brrrs. Another
aspect that had me chewing on my socks is the way the movie handled the
growth cycle of the alien. That dinner scene still gets to me even though
I’ve seen it a thousand times. Every time you think that it's over, it gets
worse. The Alien itself is one of the more interesting cinematic creatures
ever. I won’t give everything away in case some people live on Mars and
have yet to see this flick, but I will say that any creature that has acid
for blood is OK in my book. Wow!
does betray its intelligence and uniqueness twice though. First off, the
damn cat really pissed me off. Couldn’t the screenwriter find a less
obvious and silly reason to get a character wandering in the dark so he
could get his head bit off? The feline bothered me even more when Ripley
(Weaver) went back in the ship to save it, discarding two important facts:
A) the ship is going to blow up and B) the invincible Alien is still on
the prowl. Come on! Fuck the cat! You’re going to die! The other thing
that cheapened the movie for me was having Ripley in her bra and
panties (why are the panties two sizes too small??) during her final
encounter with the alien. Why do that? To excite us (didn’t work, she
looked like a plumber with that butt crack sticking out)? To put Ripley in
a more vulnerable state? To further imply that the Alien is a phallic
symbol on two legs? Whatever the reason, it didn’t work for me. It looked
sleazy and was obviously only there to show some skin.
film’s overall superior qualities do compensate for its smaller faults though.
You just can’t go wrong with Alien! It’s a haunting and engrossing
ride that swallowed me whole from the get-go. In an age of CGI, this movie
reminded me just how much more effective “model” effects and matte
paintings were in the days. Time has been good to Alien. The vibe of the
flick is all dread. I would compare it to visiting a cemetery at night.
This flick just charmed the hell out of me (even the computer noises;
loved that old school bleeping) and still holds up like a champ today. In
space, no one can hear you scream…
Skerritt (Dallas) is very appealing as the man’s man of the bunch.
Tough, focused and on the ball. Sigourney Weaver (Ripley) gives a decent performance but I thought she
overdid it sometimes in respect to her more emotional scenes. Overall, she
worked. Veronica Cartwright (Lambert) is a cutie and does what she has to
do well. Harry Dean Stanton (Brett) is always funny. Here he deadpans his
way though yet another performance. Good shite! John Hurt (Kane) is on the
money but I just wished we could have seen more of him. Ian Holm (Ash) is
just plain creepy; 'Nuff said. Yaphet Kotto (Parker) is "fun stuff" as the
tough guy. He gives a funny, sympathetic show. All of the actors have
perfect chemistry between them. Congratulations everybody!
murders themselves are very quick, so you won’t see much (Alien bites
here and there). But we do get the bloody splashing “dinner” birth
scene (that part always makes me cringe) and a cyborg going ape shite
spitting out gross milk (or it looks like milk).
Weaver’s butt crack. Are you horny yet?
Scott does a lot of slow pans, fully capturing the incredible set designs
and the spooky mood of the environment. He offers some gnarly image
superimpositions and does groovy things with sounds (loved the silence).
He also does great things with lighting, using the dark as his ally to
scare us. And even though I hated the cat in this flick, I did appreciate the
close-up shots of the cat retreating as the Alien was slowly attacking one
of the crewmembers (wow). Scott makes the right choice and mostly keeps
the Alien in the shadows just showing enough for us to know what’s out
there. He does show it a bit too much in the end (guy in a suit, anyone?)
but that’s easily forgivable. This flick is the perfect example of
flawless build up and steady tension throughout. Whoever said horror
movies have no “art” in them can kiss my arse and watch this flick to
be proven wrong.
score by Jerry Goldsmith perfectly captures the mystery and the awe of the
situation. I also dug the subtle heartbeat thumping that played during the
term has been used countless times in the past but I’ll use it again:
CLASSIC. To this day no “Alien” clone has ever been able to recapture
the novel mood, build-up, designs and charm of this original. Not even its
sequels. Alien is in a class of its own. If you can’t see that then
maybe it's time for that chestburster to pop through.
Hill was initially supposed to direct this film but he pulled out and Scott took
of the dialogue in the film was improvised.
early draft of the script had Ripley as a man.
sex scene between Dallas and Ripley was in the script but never filmed.
Scott originally wanted a darker
ending. He wanted the alien to bite Ripley's head off in the escape
shuttle then sit in her chair and start speaking with her voice in a
message to Earth. Apparently, 20th Century Fox wasn’t down with that.
Veronica Cartwright was originally
set to play Ripley but the producers went for Weaver in the long run.
A.E. van Vogt sued the film
claiming plagiarism of his 1939 story 'Discord in Scarlet. Everything was
settled out of court, of course.
this movie on The Arrow's HORROR BOARD
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