Monday, 15 November 2010


Alien is a movie I first saw at The Odeon Marble Arch it could be described as visceral, frightening and thrilling. Ridley Scott mastered the look of a realistic future and Geiger’s half glimpsed Alien was both disturbing in its different incantations and scarily believable. The performances of the crew members are excellent too. By casting real actors; Yaphet Koto, Tom Skerrit, Ian Holm, Harry Dean Stanton, Veronica Cartwright and John Hurt alongside newcomer Sigourney Weaver, Ridley Scott gives a chance for character development so that the viewer feels their peril more acutely. So many great moments that one forgets the tension of Dallas in the ventilation system, Ash’s meltdown, the sinister agenda of mother and the heart stopping moment the Alien is revealed on the escape craft.
The challenge to James Cameron when he took on Aliens was to put his own mark on the subject matter and remain consistent with the first films key elements. In doing this Cameron achieves a remarkable feat in producing a second film that is as good as the first but in different ways. The Colonial Marines interactions and Alamo moments give a War movie slant to proceedings and the tension is palpable through out.
Film one has the artificial person with a terrible agenda film two has the human friendly version. Jones the cat is replaced by Newt for Ripley to rescue. The motion sensor and flame thrower of Alien is up scaled for Aliens. The question mark over the eggs is answered in film two. The parasitic repulsive face hugger in the first is replaced by a dangerous skittering insectoid version. So many elements are retained yet given new life. Both movies have great final stands and genuine thrills.

Alien is a masterpiece of design, lean storytelling and atmospherics aligned to compelling performances and real shock. Aliens is a second act that achieves the impossible feat of following up a masterpiece successfully while having its own identity.

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having said that;