Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
In space no one can hear you scream.
During its return to the earth, commercial spaceship Nostromo intercepts a distress signal from a distant planet. When a three-member team of the crew discovers a chamber containing thousands of eggs on the planet, a creature inside one of the eggs attacks an explorer. The entire crew is unaware of the impending nightmare set to descend upon them when the alien parasite planted inside its unfortunate host is birthed.
I can't stay away. Every few months, I find myself called back to the Nostromo to try and figure out what it is about Alien that makes it so perfectly immersive and enjoyable. I haven't come close to being able to definitively state it yet, since Scott and crew do so many marvelous things here, but for this rewatch I focused on a few things that make Alien stand up so high among not only the rest of its sequels, but of a majority of sci-fi, past and present.
Who's on First?
Probably the most fascinating thing about this watch was realizing that Ellen Ripley does not become the primary protagonist until after the hour mark - more than halfway…
Ash, that transmission... Mother's deciphered part of it. It doesn't look like an S.O.S.
When you get right down to it, Alien is a "B Movie" made with "Triple A Movie" sensibilities. The story in one broad stroke is a crew of people on a ship getting killed off one at a time by a creature. A story doesn't get more "B Movie" then that. I think the problem ended up being that every single person involved with the film wasn't interested in making a "B Movie".
I'm tempted to describe so many things about this movie with the word "genius", and I still feel that way after watching it yet again for the umpteenth time. Everything that expands…
It’s hard to imagine the impact Alien had for people, like me, born after 1979. Its influence in genre cinema, both science fiction and horror, has been felt ever since and whilst it may essentially be an Old Dark House style movie in space it changed the landscape for both genres.
The opening is simplicity itself; after the slow ominous crawl through space and the scantest of intertitle exposition, the camera glides gently through the corridors of an empty industrial and utilitarian spacecraft before the computers whir into life, waking not only the ship from its deep space slumber but the human occupants too. It is a beautiful and evocative beginning, teasing elements of what is to come, from the…
Alien taught me how scary a film could be.
I learned this lesson at the age of 8, when my father introduced me to the horrific events that took place on the Nostromo. When most people hear that, the initial reaction is to judge a parent for allowing a tiny child to experience a hard R rated film, but be easy on the man. He wanted to share his love for both Alien and Aliens in time to take my brother and I to the theater to see Alien 3 (which I don't hate nearly as much as most people, but that's for another time).
I don't really remember the actual act of watching Alien for the first time, but…
It's been about 5 years since the first time I ever watched Alien. Can't believe I've waited so long to revisit it! I appreciated the film much more this time around and there are just so many aspects that make it such an amazing blend of horror with science fiction. The visual effects still look gorgeous and quite realistic. You really feel like you are in space on this epic journey. Another thing that works remarkably well is the suspense. Wow, this film truly delivers a lot of clever and effective scares! Some may argue that it can get a little slow at times, but that's precisely why it's so brilliant for me. Director Ridley Scott keeps making you wonder…
It legitimately upsets me I wasn't alive to experience Alien for the first time when it came out in 1979. My mother often talks about how when my grandfather took her and my uncle to go see it, they spent the majority of the last half on the floor peering over the seats in absolute fear. This is the kind of experience I envy to this day.
Its definitely not hard to see why, as Alien is such an effective and simple film. No matter where or when I watch it, I almost seem to melt right into it. It's no longer a screen, it's a window right into events that look, sound, and feel real. The pouring authenticity just…
Like a nightmare where it's pitch black, you have no idea where you are, but there's something right behind you, and it wants to kill you and eat you in whatever order.
It goes without saying that this is a stone cold classic. But I said it anyway; it's just that good.
ON THE LIFE CYCLES OF ALIENS AND BLOOD FLUKES (excerpts from The Biology of Science Fiction Cinema by Mark C. Glassy.)
(note: strangely enough Mark C. Glassy forgets to mention the parasitoid wasps who lay their eggs in caterpillars - one of the major inspirations for the Alien lifecycle as Alien-screenwriter Dan O'Bannon explains in his essay "Something Perfectly Disgusting": "I also patterned the Alien’s life cycle on real-life parasites … Parasitic wasps treat caterpillars in an altogether revolting manner, the study of which I commend to anyone who is tired of having good dreams.” - or in the words of Darwin: "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the…
This was my first, and still is, favorite film. My mom refused to let me watch it when I was younger, saying that I wouldn't sleep for the rest of my life. So it had an aura about it, even before I'd seen it. So when I finally got around to watching, I was excited. However, I was not struck by how horrifying it was. Do not misunderstand- It was very frightening. In fact I'm certain it is still one of the scariest films ever. However, its frightening nature was not what made a lasting impression on me. I was blown away by how good of a movie it was. This of course was before I knew much of anything…
If I learned anything from this movie its: Fuck Space. You don't know what the fuck be in the cold, empty, vastness. But I do, bruh. Fuckin' cold-as-ice intergalactic G's, down to straight 187 your ass. Ain't even playin.
"Alien" is an excellent, smart and scary film. The dark and cold atmosphere created by director Ridley Scott sets up a sense of isolation and danger. One of the best scenes occurs when three of the crew members board a strange ship and find the fossilized remains of the craft's pilot, a giant, who is still frozen in time in his seat after being a host for the alien spawn. This scene alone demonstrates the wonders of great science fiction film making that is almost always forgotten or ignored in today's Sci-Fi.
After watching this for the first time in years, I realized that there is surprisingly little screen time for the alien itself. But it really doesn't matter because…
a beautiful foray into the world of a xenomorph trying to get through life from the social prejudices experienced on the nostromo led by Sigourney Weaver. Can the xenomorph triumph. only time will tell. . . .
Hello I am Ripley I must kill Alien rawr 20 minutes to get to the shuttle takes forever oh thank God the Alien's gone!
Watched this last night after a long day, from the comfort of my bed and with eyes half-open, which may have detracted from the experience.
The Alien franchise is one of the many significant holes in my cinematic education, so to correct that I ended up getting the Blu-Ray anthology collection during an Amazon sale. I'll probably watch all the films sooner or later, as time allows, but for now I started with the first in the series.
Even without having seen the Alien films, I've familiarized myself with the basic plot through pop culture references, and that knowledge set my expectations for the first film. The presence of only a single alien made for a more restrained experience than…
Don't trust Ash! Great.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
- Pulp Fiction
most recent update - Thursday, March 6, 2014, 11:42 PM EST
The letterboxd crew has unveiled a new feature that…