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.