Alien by Ridley Scott

So, for the month of January and February I’m taking part in two none challenging events being hosted at different blogs but both interacting with each other.  Sign yourself up – no pressure, even if you only read one book – or none for that matter (just take part in the discussion) Vintage Sci-fi by Little Red Reviewer (hosted by Andrea) and The Science Fiction Experience by Stainless Steel Droppings (hosted by Carl).   The beauty of both of these events is that the rules are fairly free and easy.  Obviously with vintage science fiction – the books are slightly older and according to LRR anything before 1979 and with the SFE you can read what you want, when you want, as much as you want and, I think, also includes film.  Which is why I’m being really cheeky and including this post in both (may contain spoilers).

Last night I watched Alien directed by Ridley Scott.  I do love this film.  It’s a perfect blend of science fiction, horror, good casting and excellent surprises.  I distinctly remember the first time I watched this being really scared (and I do mean really scared).  Perhaps these days it might not have the same impact on people although I think it stands the test of time very well.  The effects still look good.  The actors are all excellent, or at least I thought they were.  It’s such a small cast that any major blips would really stand out.  Ian Holm as Ash is really good.  When you rewatch this you pick up so much more about his performance that you missed the first time around.  Little looks, a bit shifty and snide, that you don’t pick up on at first.  I couldn’t help seeing him as Bilbo on this rewatch perhaps because Tolkien is everywhere at the moment (I love a bit of omnipresence in my authors!)  I also thought Sigourney Weaver was brilliant in this film.  Her Ripley was the perfect thorn in Ash’s scheming side.  She started off a bit, almost, ambitious in her role, sticking to the letter of the law in terms of what should happen on board.  She pretty quickly got under Ash’s skin and she did a great job of portraying real fear and panic in the final few scenes.  I think the character of Ripley is great, she obviously has a leading role (if not the leading role) in the film and, again, this seems quite pertinent at the moment given another event that I’m joining in with over at Worlds Without End (thank you Carl for highlighting this one! – what another great site.)

I’m not going to elaborate on the plot in case there are any people out there who haven’t yet seen this (what, why and pick up a copy now!)  Basically the story revolves around the alien it’s named for.  An aggressive (read very!) alien who it is almost impossible to kill.  Imagine it like a virus.  It’s trying to infect other races and planets and it’s almost impossible to eliminate.  But it’s a bit bigger than a virus and has a fair few sets of teeth!

I must say that one of my favourite scenes is the scene where the alien is born.  I won’t say any more than that.  This is quite frankly a stunning scene – particularly given when the film was made.  Watching this again last night I just didn’t have any criticisms – now perhaps I’m seeing it through rose tinted glasses but if so I’m keeping them on and updating the prescription.  I remember many years ago reading a story about that scene that suggests that the actors were not informed about what would actually take place.  That could be an urban myth but every time I watch it the surprise on their faces is just so real that I find myself believing the stories or maybe they’re even better actors than I give them credit for.  You decide – go and watch it!

Next film has to be Star Wars.  Currently reading: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A Heinlein.


24 Responses to “Alien by Ridley Scott”

  1. Michael

    I’ve had the Blu Ray set sitting on my shelf for a while now and really need to watch it.

  2. nrlymrtl

    This is also one of my favorites. I watch it at least once a year. I didn’t really care for it as a kid, but as an adult I love the way the suspense is built. I also love one later in the series – where one of the main characters has a very strong …..uh…. bond (trying to avoid spoilers) with the alien. Sigourney was magnificent in that movie too.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

    • lynnsbooks

      Was that the film with the little girl and the ‘get away from her you bitch’ line?

      • nrlymrtl

        Yep. Sigourney got to play basketball in that one.

  3. Genki Jason

    Wait… you can watch sci-fi/horror films as well??? Cheat! 😉

    This is a favourite film of mine. I love the realistic blue-collar/white-collar tone set by the script and the acting is given enough room to get across the characters. Ripley is the iconic sci-fi heroine and Scott and his writers had a lot of guts making Ripley a woman. Weaver is just perfect in the role as she has that officiousness and grit but there’s also the humanity.

    Poor old Kane, the sequences all the way from the ‘derelict’ to the birth always make me tense. I ordered the special edition DVD last year but I have yet to watch it.

    • lynnsbooks

      Ahem, not sure if you can watch films actually! Making it up as I go along but reading sci fi puts me in the mood to watch the films and so I thought why not….

      I love the tension in the film and even though I’ve seen it so many times when I’m watching the scene with the eggs, and I know what’s going to happen, I’m still telling Kane not to be stupid!

      So are there extras on the special edition DVD? You’ll have to let me know.

      Lynn 😀

      • Genki Jason

        It’s the Definitive Edition of Alien and it has, “Ridley Scott Introduction, Fascinating Featurettes and Audio Commentary, Dan O’Bannon First Draft Screenplay, The Art of Alien – Featurette and Screentests, Documentaries, Galleries and Deleted Scenes.”
        It comes in a nice metal case as well.

      • lynnsbooks

        Oh, I hope you do a sort of round up of that or a review of the extras. Would like to know if it’s a must have.
        Lynn 😀

      • Genki Jason

        I will get around to watching the film and extras soon and let you know hot the DVD stacks up. Then I may review it but first I have to finish watching/reviewing K-horror films!

  4. Redhead

    One of my all time favorite movies! I saw it for the first time when I was about 10, I can’t believe my dad let me watch it when I was that young! suffice to say, it scared the carp out of me, but it was love at first sight. Ripley was, and still is a hero of mine.

    I love that for the most part, all the horror is off screen, and we only see the character’s responses. It really lets the viewers imagination go crazy!

    Lynn, I have the same exact experience you do, even though I’ve seen it a million times and know the script basically by heart and know exactly what’s going to happen, I still jump out of my seat at all the scary scenes.

    • lynnsbooks

      Ah, now I need to watch Star Wars. I did have an immense crush on Han Solo so it won’t be a hardship.
      Lynn 😀

  5. About Books Bitches

    After watching Prometheus, I think I have to watch them again. Even though it didn’t really hold up all that well. I can be entertained easily.

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, to be honest, I didn’t like Prometheus. I know this isn’t probably the majority of opinion but it really got on my nerves. My review is here Definitely watch Alien again – it’s such a brilliant film. And, maybe I should watch Prometheus again and chill a bit!
      Lynn 😀

  6. Carl V.

    One of my favorite sci fi films, along with its sequel, Aliens. We watched it again during the summer last year because it had been awhile, and my daughter had never seen it. I think it stands up well after all the years and is a really solid, and suspenseful, story.

    I haven’t seen Prometheus and haven’t had much of a desire to. I know I’ll see it one day but I’m not in any hurry.

    • lynnsbooks

      It’s definitely on of mine as well. Think I’ll have to have a sci fi film megathon! Must watch Star Wars.

      I wouldn’t rush to see Prometheus but then I’m a bit biased because I didn’t really like it. I probably need to rewatch it and have a more open mind but just certain parts were annoying!

      Lynn 😀

  7. Jeremy F

    I remember rewatching this a couple of years ago and loved it. I also think it stood up to time. You made me want to watch it again!

    • lynnsbooks

      Great – you should definitely watch it. I’m planning a few more sci fi films. Joining in with these events makes me want to watch them.
      Lynn 😀

  8. jessicabookworm

    I am not a huge sci-fi horror fan but even I think this film is a classic 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      It really is a classic. I don’t know how they managed to make this film all those years ago and it still look this good.
      Lynn 😀

  9. TBM

    A couple of years ago I saw Aliens at a retro theater in Boston. Everyone there were huge fans of the series and there was trivia and prizes. It was pretty cool to see it again on the big screen. Enjoy Star Wars! I’m curious to see what you think of Heinlein.

    • lynnsbooks

      Oh, a retro theater – sounds great! Not to mention everyone being huge fans and all the other fun. That must have been really excellent.
      Not watched Star Wars yet – maybe weekend!
      Lynn 😀

  10. Delia (Postcards from Asia)

    That’s a great action movie. Funny, I’m not that into SF literature, but the movies, bring them on! I must have watched this at least twice. Have fun with your challenges!

    • lynnsbooks

      I also haven’t read a lot of sci-fi. That’s why I like to take part in these to make a conscious effort to step out of my comfort zone and see what else is out there. You’re right of course, sci fi does seem so much more accessible on the screen than reading but I think for me it’s just a matter of building up your knowledge really, a bit like fantasy. At first it’s all new to you but then you begin to have a definite vision.
      Lynn 😀

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