Alien ★★★★

This film could hardly have less in common with Wanda if it tried, and watching it the very next day was admittedly a strange choice on my part.

But Alien is a good film too, albeit for completely different reasons.

I paid particular attention to the film's atmosphere during this viewing. The degree of detail in all the sets and models is incredible, and watching it in high definition for the first time I was able to appreciate it more than I had before. Though the characters are flimsy at best, the viewer can empathize with them immediately because the film so well conveys their emotions. Their sense of dread is built right into the film's claustrophobic environment. Sound design in particular is used to great effect, the ship's ambient noises becoming the film's most powerful embodiment of emotion at times.

My main complaint is probably with the alien itself, which tends to look silly when too much of its body is visible. Early on in the film its unearthly biology is played out to great effect, so it's a bit disappointing when its ultimate form is obviously a man in a rubber suit rather than something more inscrutable and Lovecraftian. In the end it's shaped basically like a human and moves like a human, and as a result it's less unsettling than it should be, and sometimes crosses the line into unintentionally comedic.

Overall, it's slow, suspenseful, and often subtle film, and with that in mind it's kind of strange that it launched a never-ending slew of action films.