Science Fiction Films discussion

Alien (all films) (Ridley Scott, 1979)

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message 1: by Angie (new)

Angie This movie is perfect for the time it was made in (1979) and would be a tragedy if it was ever remade. I think the CGI of today and the need for a story to hurry up (no slow story plots) would take away from this film. This movie has me on the edge of my seat every time I watch. Like when a parasite deposits a seed in Kane's chest. YIKES!

The second movie is a good movie too. The forth movie shouldn't have been made! But I love this series anyways.

message 2: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
I enjoy ALIEN and have always struggled with its genre classification: is it science fiction or horror?

message 3: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 144 comments I loved the whole concept. "Truckers in Space"

Its been years since I saw it. I remember I was totally memsmerized by the whole "look" of the movie. None of the slick, white, smooth surfaces of the Death Star or U.S.S Enterprise. The movie reminded me of a greasy, noisey gritty place to work and live, like a huge factory or truck-stop in space. People not caring about the mysteries of space travel, just wanting to get paid and go home.

When they are exploring the alien spaceship on the planet, they come across a skelital sentinal, apparently dead at its post.
Is this a victim of the "alien" creatures or is he one of their species?

My coworkers keep saying he is one of the creatures, I say his ship was probably infested with the aliens.

message 4: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments I agree about ALIEN, one of the better and more interesting science fiction films to come around. Probably Ridley Scott's best film, and definitely the best of the ALIEN films. Every time I see it I appreciate it more, most especially the high quality of the acting. Ian Holm's performance as Ash is particularly fascinating: his little games of one-upmanship with Ridley always entertains and chills.

I often wondered if Scott had seen Tarkovsky's SOLARIS. The way the NOSTROMO is shown to be a place where people actually live, with clutter and photos and little nodding glass bird toys, as opposed to a sanitized piece of futuristic set design, always reminds me of the similar ideas in SOLARIS. Those messy hallways with laundry and clutter in the Space Station orbiting Solaris are pretty much unprecedented, aren't they?

Manuel, I know what you're talking about. I've always gathered that the figure in the alien ship was a victim of the Alien creatures, after all there is a hole in it, suggesting that it was a victim of the Alien's unusual reproductive processes. Hard to tell for sure though.

message 5: by Phillip (new)

Phillip the original is a classic. there isn't much that stands up to it. like alex, it's a little hard to classify, but that's a good thing. it is a sci-fi film that scares the blitzkrieg out of you!

nice comparison on the state of ships in solyaris and alien, tom. this next comment refers to another aspect: from the interviews with tarkovsky that i read, he really wanted a different environment on board his ship than the sanitized world you get in 2001. AND, it reads a lot more soviet, with all the loose wires draped about...the seams show, but in a good way.

message 6: by Angie (new)

Angie I agree with Alex too about deciding how to classify this movie, because this movie has me on my seat. Is that horror? I guess it could be both horror and sci-fi. Has anyone seen the director's cut?

message 7: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
I've seen the Director's Cut but I didn't think it really added anything new to the story. It does look fantastic remastered even on DVD but it's been a few years since I last watched. I have to admitt my reaction to Ripley looking for her cat still kinda makes me roll my's a cheap setup that could have been written in a more dramatic way. And why does every freakin' spaceship in a science fiction story have a self-destruct mechanism? Does that really make any sense? In 2001, the ship had a fail-safe that allowed Dave to manually disconnect the computer in case of a fault, however unlikely. To me, that makes sense. And these aren't ships launched from Earth over populated areas, they were probably built in space stations (like Enterprise). Anyway, just my "two sense".

message 8: by Terence (new)

Terence (spocksbro) My friend's parents took us to see Alien in 1979 (we were 12). I think having seen Jaws, I was relatively immune to any traumatizing fear but it was still pretty scary.

It's almost a shame they had to make any sequels. Don't get me wrong, I like Aliens and I'm on the fence for 3 and 4, parts were good, parts weren't so good, but the mood was entirely different, and I don't think anything was really added to the "myth." Alien is a claustrophic, scary, self-contained story about an isolated crew facing something totally beyond their experience.

I saw the Director's Cut several months ago and frankly found the theatrical version better.

PS - I read and reread Alan Dean Foster's novelization of the movie when I was a kid; anyone else willing to 'fess up :-)

message 9: by George (new)

George | 63 comments Well, I think the presumption is that the large alien creature is a victim, however I would note, we've never been treated to an image of the male of the Alien species, and, of course, with certain insects, the consumation of sex is death.

As for what genre hole we should pound this peg into, it's largely immaterial to me. It certainly has aspects of both horror and sci-fi, and I'm pleased to leave it at that.

I agree with Tom, this is one of Ian Holm's best roles.But it has a pretty fine cast all around. Certainly, Yaphet Koto, Tom Skerrit, John Hurt, and Harry Dean Stanton are all worthy of mention.

message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) What's wrong with Alan Dean Foster's novelizations? They're fun & a quick read. Kind of like Saturday morning cartoons or comic books. ;-)

message 11: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments As for the other ALIEN films, they're a mixed bag. I enjoyed ALIENS a good deal when it first came out, but can't imagine it has aged well. Splendid action scenes and all, and I did appreciate the demonic yuppie played by Paul Reiser. But I haven't felt any need to revisit it.

Likewise ALIEN 3. Saw it when it was released, barely remember it, no particular interest in seeing it again. My increased respect for David Fincher (after the unexpected triumph of ZODIAC) might lead me to seek it out again to see if I missed anything the first time.

message 12: by Angie (new)

Angie I notice Tom didn't even mention movie 4. Just goes to show how bad it is.

message 13: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
I have only seen the first two and must admit the second one is fairly standard Hollywood entertainment...though it is the second most quoted movie during our gaming sessions:)
Monty Python's Holy Grail being the first.

message 14: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Alien 4 certainly does have some memorable bits, such as the part where an alien is sucked out into space through a quarter-sized hole, intestines last, if I remember correctly. Hehe...

I haven't seen any of these movies in years, but the original is definitely the best of them.

message 15: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Rob, I 100% agree. I cried.

message 16: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 144 comments I made it a point not to watch Alien III or IV. Word of mouth on the street, kept saying that they were less than worthy of the first two movies.

I never really felt I missed anything. Reading all your comments about the sequals has been interesting.

Still not sure if I want to see the last films in the sequence though.

Biologically, I always thought the "Alien" creatures must have had a very tenuous hold on evolution.

It doesnt really make too much sense to go from the egg form (face hugger) to needing a host for the final transformation into becoming a true "Alien".

I would imagine the "Queen" alien would eventually produce more eggs than there would be hosts for the incubation period. In other words, the need for new hosts would eventually exhaust the supply of living creatures for the aliens to use for incubation-transformation.

Another thing to think about is that the final "Alien" form is determined by the DNA of the host being used in the incubation-transformation period.

My point is, that without any living hosts, the Alien becomes extinct. I think this leaves it in a very vulerable position for its evolution.

message 17: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Yes, I really did. I'd probably cry again if I watched it right now.

But that's ok... I came to terms with being a sentimental sap ages ago. :)

message 18: by Angie (new)

Angie What made me cry was Alien VS Predator!

message 19: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 144 comments Sorry Rob,
but as someone who sees a lot of movies, Im always looking for plot-holes in the logic.

message 20: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Rob, King Kong gets me all teary-eyed too!

Angie, I haven't seen all of AVP. I've seen bits and pieces, so I will have to rent it one day. I love Predator though. I swear my cats try to imitate the clicky-growly noise the predator makes every time they see birds, haha!

(And... Let me just say that I am hating this scrolling to the bottom to reply thing!)

message 21: by Randy (new)

Randy AVP isn't meant to be a sequel to either. Just another story with both alien races effin up humans. I really liked the first one - especially the last fight scene.

The second one was worth watching but overall, it was

message 22: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 144 comments Dont hate me!!!
But I actually saw Alien vs Predator. I didnt expect much, and was pleasantly surprised I was entertained for 90 minutes.

Something to watch on a late late Saturday night.
It was a ridiculous premise for a movie and more of an ideal vehicle to appeal to teenaged boys. Yet it still worked.

message 23: by Angie (new)

Angie I have not seen AVP 2, I think I might check it out. I didn't love AVP but I like the Alien franchise so I had to watch it!

message 24: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 01, 2008 11:45PM) (new)


I watched 'Alien' with Scotts commentary last night and he says some interesting things about the other creatures.
He imagined that they were a military unit of some kind transporting the 'alien' pods to their home world in order to be used as weapons.
He also says that he imagines an accident of some sort occured on the ship and one (or more) of the pods hatched causing the crash.
The blue mist that hovered over the pods acted as a kind of placenta so once John Hurt stepped through it he was always 'doomed'!

Interesting thoughts re: the evolution but if Scotts thoughts are to be followed and agreed upon (and I know this point is very far fetched and needless) maybe the evolution was altered, especially if the alien creatures had been used as weapons for a long time?
Anyway, I recommend the directors commentary...loads more of that sort of thing!

message 25: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 144 comments Thank you Daveh,
That does explain some of the weird biology and evolution theory about those creatures

message 27: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Those are great! Thanks!

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