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Alien Quadrilogy

June 14, 2009

This is a film series I’ve always meant to watch, as outside from catching parts from these movies on TV every so often, I’d never actually fully seen any of them. Turns out they are at least good, with the first two being pretty damn amazing. Feel like I could write an essay these films, maybe with a slight feminist leaning but for now I think I will just gush about them in blogging 1.0 style.

Alien (1979) has now become one of my favourite movies ever. The sense of tension and unease Ridley Scott creates before any real danger is introduced is amazing and then once the “alien” is introduced things just get better. The set is tight and claustrophobic and makes for amazing use of the camera to create fear and some great, yet simple, action pieces. I also loved that there are minimal overblown action scenes and most of the tension comes from unknowing. Sigourney Weaver as Ripley is also fantastic in the lead and the awkward relationship the ship’s crew share just makes things all the more realistic and suspenseful. The more I think about this film the more I realise how amazing it is.

Aliens (1986) is pretty much almost as good. James Cameron seems to be loaded up with cash and uses it for some awesome special effects and action scenes. The sense of tension from the first film isn’t as palpable but there are still some great suspenseful moments here and the inventive action sequences make up for it (Giant robot and Alien fight!!). Weaver just continues to be awesome and kick extra arse in this movie (she was nominated for an Oscar!) and even the introduction of a small child doesn’t stop this from being a great film. Props for killing that Mad About You guy off as well. He was a douche. Oh and that shot with the alien rising out of the water is rules.

It’s right about the time of Alien 3 (1992) that things start going amiss with this franchise. It’s not terrible, it’s fairly entertaining actually but it is nowhere near as good as the first two. I would say it is better than David Fincher’s horrible Benjamin Button film though, and I was surprised to see him attached as director to this. Ripley crashing on some stupid prison planet full of English sounding convicts (planet Australia?) was possibly a good idea if handled better but the supporting cast is either; annoying as fuck or the good characters are killed off far too early. There are only a few moments of urgency here and there seems to be a lack of direction but it is good to see Ripley being awesome again. A solid film and could have been a lot better, also using CG for the aliens looked baaaad.

The main problem I had with the 4th film, Alien Resurrection (1997), was that they sort of messed with Ripley’s character a bit too much. It’s understandable they had to take her to new places but it all felt a little stupid and “fantastic”. I literally can’t believe Joss Whedon wrote this thing but then again I heard it deviates a lot from his original script. The aesthetics feel wrong with oranges and browns dominating the screen and everything just feels too bright and the alien baby at the end looks fucking ridiculous. The supporting cast is pretty alright and they seem to carry the film and Ron Pearlman pretty much playing Hellboy without makeup is cool. Some questionable death scenes and character motivations though and perhaps there should have been more aliens and more Ripley in this one? Not a bad way to close out a terrific film franchise though. Although apparently a prequel is in the works…  

Alien – 10/10
Aliens – 9/10
Alien 3 – 7/10
Alien Resurrection – 7/10

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