Alien(1979) – Movie review
Alien is the best horror movie I have ever seen. Wait, hold your wrenches let me explain, from my favourite director, Ridley Scott, comes a science fiction horror movie, that keeps you captivated and at the edge of your seat. Mr Scott, known for movies like Blade Runner, Gladiator and American gangster brought to the big screen a well written, well-acted, dark, claustrophobic, horror science fiction movie. The film follows a crew on the spaceship Nostromo on a return trip to earth from a space expedition. The crew consists of; the great Sigourney weaver as Ellen Ripley , John Hunt as Kane, Tom Skerritt as Dallas, Bolaji Badejo as the Alien , Veronica Cartwright as lambert, Ian holm as ash , yaphet kotto as parker, harry Dean Stanton as Brett and Helen Horton as mother, the artificial intelligence system of the Nostromo.
The opening of the movie, the calm before the storm, dark and silent bringing a feeling of emptiness and isolation. Claustrophobia kicks in as soon as we see the inside of the ship; dim, metallic and looking like an abandoned oil rig. Inside, blue collar workers cryogenically frozen going back home. They’re awakened to be sent to another planet because of a signal coming from it.
The feeling of family and togetherness makes you warm inside. A group of people tasked to do the impossible coming back home. None of them is even thinking of what a magnificent feat this is, some just want to taste real food, others just want to see their family others just want to get paid and get lost. The corporate structure of their work is made to screw them at any form of defiance. For example “if you won’t go to any side mission given to you by mother, your income from the mission you undertook will be scrapped!” basically they can send you to your own death.
They reach to their destination, a cold and extremely blue planet. They decide to investigate the origin of the signal, they find a giant alien ship, wrecked. Crescent in shape and didn’t look anything like any from earth. At this point my spider senses were tingling, If I was one of them i would shout “ It’s not ours, let’s go back!’” but I wasn’t there, was I? They go in and BOOOOOM!! They come back with a huge problem.
The storm is here and it’s a big one, played by Bolaji Badejo, a beautiful majestic alien creature with acid blood, that grows so rapidly and is on the loose. Confusion, distrust and double crossing starts as the most logical crew member ash turns out to be a robot set with the crew to ensure everything interesting they find is brought back. Ash’s reveal came like an RKO out of nowhere; I for one think he was just fed up with Ripley’s constant questioning of his motives. The scene is shot beautifully, making it to me the scariest part of the movie.
Speaking of Ripley, (woman empowerment personified) the only human in the history of horror movies to question stupidity. She was in it to survive by any means possible. She clashed with everyone even the computer when everything tried to make her make stupid decisions. From the start, she followed logic protocol and knew when she had lost the fight an had to flee. The whole movie should have been called ‘Ripley :A guide to space exploration’ how are you on a planet millions of miles from earth and one of you gets an alien disease, then your big idea is to take them to quarantine inside the ship. Do we just want to die?
This movie is genuinely one of the best pieces of cinema; the pacing was amazing, character motivation makes absolute sense per the narrative especially Ash who was to protect company property at all cost. I would really recommend this movie forty one years later because it’s just that good. I would especially recommend it on movie night with your friends so that you can argue philosophical stands with them. This is before getting hooked on Ripley trying to survive by using her brain while others shout and try to catch it. I can’t wait to watch Aliens.
Review Written by Mike Letutui