Alien 1979 ★★★★½

What can I say about Alien that hasn’t been said before?

My friends and I watched Blu-ray special editions of the first three movies back-to-back to prime ourselves for Prometheus and I was astonished at how great the original looks today. The transfer is perfect, the sets beautiful, and the lighting superb; Giger’s art still striking and frightening. I found myself wishing to be able to… take screenshots of many shots throughout the movie. The sequels are very obviously just sci-fi, this one crosses that invisible barrier and actually feels real.

Alien is still terrifying to watch today and must have been so much more so in 1979 before you knew what to expect and before the very idea has been sequeled, franchised, copied, and parodied to death. Most of those aged horribly, but there’s little in the original that did – mostly some practical and optical effects. That needs to be added to the huge list of accolades this movie already earned.

A bad director – we will see a few further down the road in this franchise’s history – would become infatuated and maybe overwhelmed with the ideas in this movie. But Ridley Scott shows considerable restraint and doesn’t shock, explain, or pander to the audience. We have as many questions walking out as we had walking in, but we’re so much more invested and curious about the new ones it’s not such a bad deal.

Yes, there’s a risk Prometheus will ruin that part. But I’m not worried. Consider me officially excited.

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