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500 Five-Star: Alien (1979)

July 6, 2011

 

I’m not exactly one of Ridley Scott’s biggest fans.  He’s made more absolute stinkers than he has classics (Hannibal, A Good Year, G.I Jane to name a few) and even his better films tend to be overlong and yawnfully indulgent.  I obviously don’t know the bloke, but he also comes across as a bit of an arse.  Just my opinion, and I’m probably wrong, but something has just never sat right with me when it comes to Scott.  All that said, I cannot really pick fault with Alien.  I know the film incredibly well by now, but can still find myself easily engrossed in it.  One thing that I can’t deny is that Scott produces beautiful films; incredible amounts of precision and detail go into the production design, allowing the viewer to submerge themselves fully into the atmosphere that this creates.  Everything about Alien therefore feels real, from the spaceship, to the relationships between the characters, to the alien itself, and it is this which gives Alien the edge over so many other ‘evil alien’ pictures.  For the most part, the special effects also stand up to present-day scrutiny, meaning that the film is still genuinely scary and disturbing in parts.  And then of course, there is Sigourney, whose Ripley remains a screen icon.  Knowing Ripley as well as we do now, it’s easy to forget how much of a surprise the character must have been to audiences on the film’s original release and how much of an impact Weaver had on the role of women in cinema.  Put simply, Alien will forever be the standard-bearer of all science-fiction films, and for that (much as I hate to admit it), Ridley Scott deserves to be remembered in the annals of cinema history.

 

Verdict:

You can pretty much disregard any Greatest Film list that doesn’t feature Alien.  I agree with Empire yet again…

 

*****

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