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Alien



A group of workers on a space mineral carrier/refinery on their way back to earth stumbles upon a distress signal. When they attend to that signal something comes with them into the ship which puts their lives and mission at incredible risk.

The latest alien movies like Prometheus and covenant have been criticized as being too dumb. But, if you follow this movie you can see where all that dumbness comes from. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The movie has some positive elements and some negative elements. But since the positives are so high compared to negatives the movie is considered a classic as opposed to a dumb movie. In the opening sequence of the movie, the camera just follows the empty hallways of this ship. There is this eerie feeling that something is roaming this ship but in reality there is nothing dangerous in there yet. So, its all about the creepiness of it all. I must attribute that to Ridley Scott and screenwriters. The space ship is programmed to wake up the crew if it discovers something unusual or if its the end of the journey. The crew in the movie is well balanced for the most part. To show varying personalities of the people involved , the filmmakers decided to include some blue collar worker-esque crew members in there. I think its a commercial decision by studio. Space travel takes every crew member to have a certain level-headed personality. So, each and everyone in the crew is picked like that. They don't ever pick a loose canon or un-opinionated or personality-less individuals like the one's in these. But I think its a decision by studio to make the movie much more accessible.

There is a perverse element to this whole movie like John carpenter's the thing. The movie shows that the most curious one among them all is the first one to bite the dust . That gives a weird satisfaction to audience. Because in slasher movies most of the times there is one such character who is extra enthusiastic about wandering into the forest or dark alley's and audience want that person to be killed first and this movie delivers on that aspect. It is during their initial venture into this unknown planet and into this unknown structure on the planet that I realized there is way too much cruriosity among these crew members. Especially one that I alluded to earlier. The problem is, its an alien planet and they are just going on it with no hesitation. Even looking into the egg of the face hugger is kind of a stupid movie. He knew something was moving inside it , then why even look into it so directly. But the curiosity of it all from audience stand point sort of makes us excuse these dumb decisions by astronauts. Because audience love the fact that something exciting has happened. So they don't bother criticizing how it happened. Its the first jump scare scene of the movie. Up until this point it is so normal.

The movie has two tricks up its sleeves. The first one is revealed early on. Which is the whole impregnation nightmarish scene. The scene sort of plays out so well. If you can forget being pissed off at the science officer for his rather unusual and irritating behavior the steps taken by the team later are quite frankly realistic. They isolate the infected but they do it only physically. So they still left the chance of being infected through airborne parasites to luck. Nonetheless the behavior of this face hugger is quite biologically understandable. The dinner scene is iconic. From then on the movie becomes a slasher in space. Without all the gore. This is where the movie takes a nose dive in filmmaking department. Because what happens next is a series of kills by the creature and the filmmakers reveals their final trick and that happens to be the android trick. This trick , even though it explains the behavior of the character in the earlier parts of the movie raises some logical questions. So, lets forget about the mission of the space vessel. Lets focus on the rules followed by this android. It has to bring home any extra terrestrial organism found in space and the crew is expendable. But how exactly are they going to contain it ? What was their plan to contain this organism ? They don't seem to know what they are looking for as the rules are so vague on the organism part and what if they find something which carries a plagu. All this leads to believe that either their plan, which is willing to sacrifice the whole crew is half baked or the android Mal functioned. In which case their whole plan of sending an android unbeknowst to the crew is idiotic if it just kills them in sleep by accident ? I mean thats a possibility if the android could malfunction. So all these are serious plot holes. But the concept of horror in space and the execution sort of makes up for it. The science equipment is little too futuristic and there by loosing natural look. Some of them look like props. Even a layman can tell that it doesn't look like an actual instrument at any point in time in past or in future.

The best thing about the movie is the emergence of a hero aspect in it. Its one of the greatest movie tropes if executed well. During the course of the movie we notice that Ripley is tougher than most crew members mentally at least. But she is also unsure of the circumstances and is controlled by the pecking order in the crew. She is the third in command. So she has to wait for and follow orders. But as the going gets tougher, the tough gets going. This eventually makes her take control of the situation when individuals get agitated. The situation becomes even more complicated and dangerous when they realize that there is an android among them. What this element does is, it makes her show her vulnerable side and just suck it up and keep moving. Thats the best part. This kind of presented itself as a resistence after she assumes power and she learned to overcome it and suck it up and move on. The final 10 minutes or so reminded me of predator where its Arnold vs the predator and here its Ripley vs alien but as it would be in a horror movie. In predators its an action scene and here its a suspense scene.

Now a word about Ridley Scott. I covered my disdain for him in Covenant review. But people always bring up this movie to defend the genius of Ridley Scott. But the problem with that argument is, at this point in his career he was a ads director. He used to shoot TV commercials. The studio having liked his direction gave him this movie. But if you look at the movie there is not too much room for a director to imprint his stamp in a boiler room story. Its almost a closed space movie. He can't take credit for creature design because thats another department. The screenplay is given to him. What he basically did was , he made a movie that satisfied the financiers. Because this movie is no different than a slasher movie. But the genius of setting it in space and having this awesome creature design and face hugger design came from people involves in this movie that are not the director of the movie. So most directors in the Hollywood consider him lucky to be able to make this movie. They think its a fluke. I don't really disagree. Ridley Scott can be real hit or miss sometimes. Some of his movies can really be pieces of crap. So in case of movies like this and gladiator it really comes down to his ability of make a decent movie from a script. Its really a complicated argument to argue against Ridley Scott but it can be done. He is someone who picks the type of movie he wants to make by going through the scripts. He will see the budget attached to the movie and the actors he need for the movie to get the budget he want. So he starts shooting a movie by picking a script available to him and a vague passion to make it. He should have learnt some valuable lessons about filmmaking and directing in his 40s and if he done that he would have won an Oscar by now but his desire to stay employed and be a commercial director for hire by studio sort of made it hard for people to consider him an auteur. Its that vague passion thats so off putting to people. He thinks in terms of visuals and doesn't know what a good story feels like. He is a highly talented commercial director. The dumb plot holes in Prometheus and Covenant sort of proved that movies like alien or blade runner or gladiator are just flukes and even those movies are not created and produced by him on an artistic level. He gave input as director and the scripts for those movies stood on their own merit.

So, this movie is a very good movie but its just shy of being a highest rated movie because of the half baked plans by the corporation and movie essentially turning into a creature feature during the last part of second act. Some characters die way too easily and could be avoided but you can give it a pass since the creature is so much of a mystery until this point. But this movie does have seeds of problems that turn into giant trees in prometheus and covenant not just plot wise but the kind of human stupidity that alien franchise has now become famous for. I mean again good god how could Ridley Scott have missed such huge plot holes and stupid characters.