Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Alien


(1979) *****


"How do we kill it?"
Seven crew members on the space vessel Nostromo are wakened prematurely by the ship's computer. They are to respond to a distress call (or warning) received from a nearby planet. Despite some grumbles, a team is sent to the surface, where crewman Kane discovers a nest of leathery eggs with some form of life inside. An embryo bursts out of one egg and attaches to the faceplate of Kane's helmet, and his teammates bring him back to the ship. Ripley, temporarily in command, halts them at the hatch; she is not willing to break regulations about possible contamination, even to save Kane's life. Ash, the deadpan science officer, lets them in, and the Alien is on board the Nostromo.
Watching this favorite on a fresh, clear DVD print with critical eyes only made me appreciate it more. It is the perfect blend of scifi and horror. I can't recall another horror movie with such brilliant pacing. The high quality of acting is further reinforced by the naturalism of the interactions among the crew. You have teasing and irritability and resentment of hierarchies. The sets, particularly on board the Nostromo, are SO believable. And then there's the Alien. 'Nuff said.
This viewing I perceived Ripley's search for Jonesy, toward the end of the movie, as a type of displacement for her mounting hysteria. She becomes fixated on saving the cat, possibly at the risk of losing her opportunity to escape. In this movie, Ripley is no superwoman; rather, she's functioning somehow despite her panic, which makes me like her more.
I had to give Alien five stars, because unlike "the Sixth Sense," I literally could not think of a way to make it better.

9 comments:

AC said...

yes jpx, Aliens is up next. no jpx, i will not be reviewing 3 and 4 this month.

JPX said...

I would recommend watching the special edition of Alien 3, it's a completely different movie. I believe half the footage is new. I would avoid Alien 4 as well.

AC said...

i'll think about it!

Jordan said...

I'm doing Alien pretty soon.

Jordan said...

I'm a big fan of Alien 3 (David Fincher's debut feature). Alien Resurrection is stupefyingly bad. It has to be in order to uphold the rule that there can be no good movie with Winona Ryder in it.

(I know, I know: Heathers. I hate it.)

JPX said...

I feel that way about Amanda Peet.

Jordan said...

I've told you my story about almost being fixed up with Amanda Peet back in 1994, right? I did hang with her (and other people) at a few parties back then (when she was a Columbia student just starting acting; her best friend was dating my friend Barney at the time). She's very difficult to talk to coherently, for obvious reasons.

JPX said...

I never heard that story! The more I read this blog the more I believe in the six degrees of separation thing.

DCD said...

I don't think I have ever seen the original in it's entirety.

Obviously I need to rectify that situation. I don't know if I will do it for Thon though - unless I can sneak it in before Jordan's review...