No 30 - Alien
Director - Ridley Scott
I am ashamed to admit that I have never watched the Alien films. This seems like a terrible thing for a film geek to admit to, especially because although part 3 may be weak and part 4 is apparently awful - parts 1 & 2 are classics. So I am happy that the situation has arisen where I can finally sit down and watch it. With Aliens to follow whenever I am next free (I imagine next Saturday).
So, what were my thoughts on this piece of iconic cinema? What struck me first and foremost is just how young everyone is, which makes sense as the film was made in 1978. I guess that frequent viewing of Ghostbusters has made me accustomed to young Sigourney Weaver (to be honest I don't think I've seen her in many films where she is in her more Autumn years) however I was not prepared for such a young Ian Holme and I don't think I'd have even been able to picture a young John Hurt before today. It was all quite an eye opener and it was quite amusing to see both those titans of cinema explode.
I really enjoyed this film, I always thought I would do, I had just never gotten round to actually sitting down and watching it. My enjoyment was only slightly tarnished by the iconic nature of the film, and the fact that I'm a little film geek sponge soaking up all movie information. It meant that I had already seen about 60% of the film through clip shows etc and there didn't find any of the scary or suspenseful moments scary. Or suspenseful. I did however really appreciate the monster. The titular Alien may only be seen in a handful of scenes and very rarely seen in its entirety but it is a truly beautiful creation.
Geiger sinister gothic artwork creating a wonderful killing machine. However, I feel that the design of the Alien gas been spoken to death by other, more intelligent film folk. So I wish to talk about a much smaller, less iconic, piece of design:
When the crew land on the planet emitting the strange signal they find the ancient mummified corpse of an alien being sat in an enormous contraption. The room, and the contraption itself looked amazing. I'm not sure if Geiger designed all the alien elements or just the creature itself - however the room and the device look like classic elements of Geiger's artwork and I like to think he designed them too.
I wrote the first half of this report straight after watching the film, and am continuing it now as I sit in a very nice Scottish restaurant waiting for my posh posh steak (for some reason Blogger won't let me upload straight from my BlackBerry® so I'm waiting till I'm at a PC to finalise it) - the reason I mention this is that I'm racking my brain figuring out what else I had to say. It is foolish to interrupt one's stream of consciousness with something as rude as work...
However, I feel the cat needs a mention. Mainly because I don't like cats and therefore can't empathise with Ripley as she puts her life in danger looking for the mangy thing. If I was her I'd have escape podded to freedom & let the thing die. I'm sure cat versions of the Alien exist - I think I've heard of such a thing.
So... Next weekend we shall watch Aliens and see how the story progresses. But it was lovely to finally have the chance to sit down and watch this excellent bit of film.
And to watch the (ever) wonderful John Hurt explode. That really is a good scene....