Reviewed Jul 11, 2012
Not much can be said about this movie that hasn't already been said or evaluated by another critic. But nonetheless, this is easily the greatest sci-fi film ever made and at least one of the best films of all time. And in this reviewers opinion, yes. It's better than 2001.
Right from the first minute, Alien draws the audience in with it's desolate atmosphere and a tension that slowly builds along with the music. It follows it up with an introduction to a perfectly chosen ensemble cast, with every member being unique, memorable and likable in one way or another. And once they land on LV-426 and make contact with a being that they do not quite fully understand, the unfolding events slowly send the crew hurdling down a path that they cannot turn away from. And it's completely enthralling to watch.
This film's ambitious vision is executed so well that it is genuinely difficult to find flaws with it. The acting is extremely suited to every character and situation of the film, and feels very naturalistic and relatable. The cinematography is similar in developing this believable sci-fi universe, with it's stark look making the idea of space travel less romantic than a viewer would think. The stoic direction from Ridley Scott once more grounds the world in a way that other directors at the time wouldn't have been able to achieve. Once these other beings are discovered, the designs from H.R. Giger disturbs the audience with their otherworldly qualities in a stunning way. The decision to not show this unknown creature except in brief glimpses means it is all that more intimidating, because this audience is equally unfamiliar with this force that only leaves death in it's wake. And the uniquely slow pacing for a horror film conjures a tension so ridiculously palpable it makes the film even more terrifying that it already is.
There are many more good things I could talk about with this film. But I'll leave it there, and I'll just say that if you haven't seen this film before, go and watch it right now. And you'll find that this 5 star rating doesn't do it justice.