Tuesday, 8 November 2011

FIlm Review: Alien (1979)

Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) is a movie that confuses the mind with it's effects and concepts that seem to be highly similar to the ones seen today.
As far as the plot is concerned, it is quite predictable but so very entertaining that the viewer is glued to their seat. As reviewer Derek Malcolm says, "If you want cinematic kicks, Ridley Scott's massively successful Alien will give you them in profusion"- Malcolm,Derek.(2009). The Guardian.Derek Malcolm's Alien review from 1979
Fig 1: Alien Movie Poster
  The story starts out in the distant future where a team of astronauts set sail into space in lieu of a distress signal from a distant planet. One of them comes across an alien egg whose fetus latches onto his body and becomes a parasite. That crew member shortly dies after 'giving birth' to this alien life form. The alien then disappears somewhere on the ship which does put one in mind of the interiors of Serenity from the TV show Firefly.
Fig 2: Interior of the ship that looks like Serenity
 Throughout the film, the setting becomes more and more worn out. The exterior of the ship makes the audience feel like the alien has altered the appearance of the ship as well. The concept of the character called Ash being a robot is reminiscent of Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek.
The film slowly progresses with every other member of the crew getting killed by the alien.
The crew consult a 'mother' on the ship to assist them with their alien situation. Getting no answers from a computer who has absolutely no clue as to what is to be done with an alien life form, they are left to defend themselves.
Fig 3: Head of Ash
 The character Ripley, who is a woman also seen in James Cameron's Avatar as Grace played by Sigourney Weaver, is the last to survive. Her character does form the basis for all feminist idols today. According to reviewer  James Berardinelli  "Even today, on those rare occasions when a woman takes the lead in an action/adventure movie, she is typically measured up to Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley"  - Berardinell, James. (2003). Alien (1979).
She destroys the alien by escaping in a shuttle craft and detonating the mother ship. However, the alien has followed her in the shuttle and she cleverly suffocates it by adorning a space suit and feeding it poisonous gas.
Fig 4: Ripley in the space suit

 One thing interesting about this film as that the audience never actually gets to see the alien as a whole. There is the mystery element present where the viewer is forced to imagine the rest of the alien at all times. Much like Roger Ebert says "Alien" uses a tricky device to keep the alien fresh throughout the movie: It evolves the nature and appearance of the creature, so we never know quite what it looks like or what it can do."- Ebert,Roger.(2003).RogerEbert.com.Alien (1979).
Fig 5: Depths of the ship

 The alien space ship has concept art with a lot of detail that puts the audience in mind of the Jellyfish ship in J.J. Abrams Star Trek 2009.
Alien is a predictable film to some degree but does not fail to hold the viewer's attention in the course of the film.

Bibliography and Illustration List


Malcolm,Derek.(2009). The Guardian.Derek Malcolm's Alien review from 1979. Available online at http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/oct/13/derek-malcolm-alien-review (Accessed on 8th November 2011)

Ebert,Roger.(2003).RogerEbert.com.Alien (1979).  Available online at http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20031026/REVIEWS08/310260301/1023 (Accessed on 8th November 2011)

Berardinell, James. (2003). Alien (1979).  Available online at http://www.reelviews.net/movies/a/alien.html (Accessed on 8th November 2011)

Abrams,J.J.(2009). Star Trek


 Fig 1: Scott,Ridley.(1979). Alien http://www.bestofscary.com/scary-movies/alien-1979.html

Fig 2: Scott,Ridley.(1979). Alien http://jcd.dreamhosters.com/site/alien-1979

Fig 3: Scott,Ridley.(1979). Alien http://www.allmoviephoto.com/photo/1979_alien_013.html

Fig 4: Scott,Ridley.(1979). Alien http://theskullpumpkin.blogspot.com/2011/05/you-are-my-lucky-star.html

Fig 5: Scott,Ridley.(1979). Alien http://www.allposters.co.uk/-sp/Alien-1979-Posters_i6254198_.htm

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