Film Review - Alien

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The original film of a three-part series that stemmed into games and collaborations with other titles (Such as Alien vs Predator) boasts art of H.R Giger and the directing abilities of Ridley Scott into a jump-fest of a film. Almost beginning like 2001: A Space Odyssey, there is something missing. A much more sinister tone which screams something being wrong from the beginning. We are shown pale white rooms in which people wake up from being asleep for what seems like eternity. The scene is quite angelic. They’re groggy, but ultimately human. Thus Cereal and Cigarettes commence!

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With the ability for this film to go from mechanical and hard-surface to organic shapes in such a subtle way, using the late Giger’s genius, a large narrative is formed around the juxtaposition between the two. (figure. 3) Alien’s ever changing abilities to blend into the harsh sci-fi surroundings is what sets it apart from the others. “familiarity consumes the promise and leaves as residue the memory of some shrieks from shocks of a most mundane kind.” (Canby, 1979) Whilst Ripley is being hunted down by Alien (figure 4.) on the ship it is constantly changing, finding ways to almost sympathetically play with Ripley. Looking back on the film after watching it, it feels like an eternity even. The pacing in Alien is phenomenal but has the action and thrill of discoveries to back it up. “It takes its time. It waits. It allows silences” (Ebert, 2003)
Whilst the story isn’t complex, the relationships between the crew members, and Ripley with Alien are more notable. From the beginning Ripley has an essence of morbid curiosity in a way that she is fearful but also simply curious of what could kill her if she makes one wrong move.

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The most powerful asset to Alien’s success could be how brutally unfair it is. There is no movie magic which somehow allows everybody to survive a tragedy, and instead focuses on the desperation and turmoil that these individuals have no chance of going up against one verses one. They are all aware of this and as such there is no successful heroism. “Each of the members of the crew come face-to-face with the Alien in sequences where the mise-en-scene is coded to suggest an intense feeling of isolation” (Buckle, 2011) The strength of emotion because of this could not be any clearer. U jump-scares to it’s best ability without relying on them too much we are left at the end feeling a sigh of relief once we completely know that the Alien is gone, though there is still an essence of hopelessness that can never be shaken throughout Alien as well as the whole series. 

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Illustration List:

 Figure 1: Scott, R. (1979). ALIEN MOVIE POSTER. [image] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

Figure: 2Scott, R. (1979). [image] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

Figure 3: Scott, R. (1979). Film still 1. [image] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

Figure 4: Scott, R. (1979). Film Still 2. [image] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

Figure 5: Scott, R. (1979). Film Still 3. [image] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].


Buckle, A. (2011). The Film Emporium: Critical Analysis: Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979). [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

Canby, V. (1979). Movie Review - Alien - Screen: 'Alien 'Brings Chills From the Far Galaxy:A Gothic Set in Space - [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

Ebert, R. (2003). Alien Movie Review & Film Summary (1979) | Roger Ebert. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2014].

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ella!

    Another much more professional sounding review, well done :)
    See my previous comment re formatting and film titles...