Alien (1979)

 

In the year of 1977, the studio 20th Century Fox released a little known film entitled “Star Wars” to the general public, which changed the notion of science fiction. And we all know what a success that was, as it spawned many imitators and parodies. But two years later in 1979, 20th Century Fox released the movie “Alien” to the public, and just like “Star Wars”, it too changed the notion of science fiction, and spawned many imitators and parodies. Unlike “Star Wars”, however, “Alien” was played more for terror, as it combines both the science fiction genre and the horror genre into one movie. Though the film does suffer from one major flaw, “Alien” provides an entertaining and amazing experience with offering a great mix between two popular genres.

 

The plot focuses on a group of miners (Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto, and Sigourney Weaver) coming home to Earth after completing a mission. While on their way, the ship’s computer picks up a transmission signal from a nearby planetoid. The crew decides to check out the source, but things get a turn for the worse as a creature attacks one of the members. The expedition party that went out to investigates the signal goes back to the space ship… with the creature still attached to one of the members. Now, it’s a race for survival as the creature starts killing off the crew members one by one, as they try to fine a way to kill the creature.

 

“Alien” has a lot of things going for it. For starters, the cast is pretty good, especially from Weaver who basically perfected the character of Ellen Ripley. After coming off the independent success of “The Duellists” (1977), director Ridley Scott took his sense of vision to this film perfectly. The writing is solid, and the music sets the tone of the film well. But what really makes “Alien” work is the way it combines two genres into one movie. It is essentially a big budget remake of the 1958 sci-fi film “It! The Terror from Beyond Space”, and yet it works. The sets are creative, the creature design is legendary, and the scares are present, making the movie more entertaining to watch. By combining the horror and sci-fi genres, we get a very interesting combination that fits quite well.

 

The only criticism that befalls the movie from being perfect, and this is a major flaw, are the characters. While they are cast perfectly, and the dialogue given to them is great, the only downside is that we the audience do not know where they come from, or what’s their past history. If the story had given the characters background development, then the movie would be outstanding.

 

In conclusion, “Alien” is a great addition to both the science fiction and horror genres. If the story had given more development to the main characters, then it would have been a bit more interesting. Watching the film now, it still holds up after all these years, and seeing how much of a cultural impact it has left in our society.

1 thought on “Alien (1979)”

  1. This is one of my all time favorite films, and I am glad you recognize brilliance when you see it.

    Alien is groundbreaking for two big reasons. First, and most importantly, the lead character is a woman. A strong, smart, and complete character. In how many action films is the lead character a man, and has some dame wrapped around his leg? That was the stereotype for women in Hollywood that Alien broke.

    Second, Star Wars started it, but Alien carried on the tradition of “dirty sci-fi” This was really important because previous Sci-fi films had always been set in a clean, perfect future. This created a new basis of realism that audiences could relate to and in doing so it paved the way for Sci Fi movies to become part of the mainstream. In other words, it helped make scifi profitable.

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