Movie Review – Alien

I remember when I first saw Alien. It was 1979, I was a freshman in high school, and our biology teacher (Fred Granger) took us on a field trip to see “Alien”. I recall his words: “This is far more likely what an extra-terrestrial encounter will be like…”

The creature that bursts out of John Hurt's chest
The creature that bursts out of John Hurt’s chest

From the first suspense-filled moment when the Egg exploded on John Hurt’s character, to the chest burster scene, to the final scene where Sigourney Weaver finally finishes it off before heading for home, it is a roller coaster ride of epic proportions.

I recall tossing my popcorn when the first encounter of the alien, and never stopped being on the edge of my seat.

The cinematography is typical Ridley Scott, gritty, realistic, and engaging. Mr. Scott has an eye for detail and this movie is no exception. Unlike the contemporary “Star Wars”, where the characters were pristine, the ships were spotless, and the characters somewhat stiff and wooden, Scott brings a realism that makes the movie “pop”

Part of the brilliance is the design of the stages of the alien, and the set of the alien ship where it all began were done by H. R. Giger. Mr Giger’s work is legendary, gracing the cover of the ELP album “Brain Salad Surgery”, his surrealistic style really fits the film.

There were three sequels, all decent, but none of them matched the brilliance of the original for visceral reaction, suspense, and raw terror factor.

Ironically, one of the contemporary critical reviews complained that Ridley Scott didn’t do enough character development of the cast. FFS, how much character development do you need? 7 people, one monster on a spaceship.

A true tour de force, and a spectacular film, nearly 35 years on. I am glad I have a copy and I still get a thrill watching it.

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