ALIEN @ 40(-ish) Still Has It (…Mostly)

ALIEN 40

A bit late to the party, but I have my reasons…

So, I waited a few days to post this to more or less commemorate the day I went to see ALIEN some 40 years ago. I was 15, and I took the day off from school to hoof it down to Times Square just to see this on a larger screen than was available in the Bronx. Or, I probably went downtown because I didn’t wan to be caught walking into or out of a theater there showing it. Or both. Anyway, it happened and as with Star Wars before that, I’d say my cinematic life took an upswing thanks to some fine film-making that recalled things I’d seen in the past. Ridley Scott’s direction was impressive, the cast was great and what more can be said about the production design and art direction that combined a few distinct art styles you’d think wouldn’t mesh together at all into something so… beautiful to look at?

(Thanks, Moviepilot Trailers!)

To me, the original film has held up so well that I can recall at various times over the years loaning out VHS and later, DVD versions to friends who’d never seen it before thinking it was made twenty years or so past its original premiere. Atmosphere carries more weight than plot here, as the story is your basic “Man meets monster, monster eats man” deal, but set in space (where despite the tagline, everyone in the theater sure heard or did a whole lot of screaming).  As a total sci-fi geek back then raised on too many B-movie TV airings , I saw bits from The Thing From Another World, It! The Terror From Beyond Space, and Planet of the Vampires, among other influences, all of which made me appreciate the film even more.

Aliens

Not everything works consistently in this series, but you can hear the parts rattling around when you shake the boxes hard enough…

I ended up seeing the sequels in a few different theaters and for the most part, the law of diminishing returns quelled somewhat my overall enjoyment of the franchise (a word I dislike for a few reasons). Sill, I believe I ended up with VHS copies of all four films (my tape library was sold off quite some time back to make room for more games as that collection expanded), and now I’m down to what’s in that photo below because it’s what I need when I need my ALIEN fix (although I only bought ALIEN Covenant because the pre-order price on it new was stupidly cheap thanks to what seemed like no one willing to buy it based on its critical drubbing in theaters and maybe too many copies being made). As for those AVP films? Nope of the hard variety for me. I saw them all a few times on cable and never liked a one other than some fun casting choices. The original Predator and its hilariously goofier sequel, though? Yeah, I could watch those two on a loop all day.

Hmmm… I may just do that this weekend, especially after this message from MOTHER (Hi, Mom!):

crew expendable

Well, okay then. Do Not Pass GO, Do Not Collect $200…

-GW

Oh, wait… it’s some other big deal sci-fi film’s kinda sorta faux anniversary as well? Damn. I’ll get to that tomorrow because I tend to roll like that.

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8 thoughts on “ALIEN @ 40(-ish) Still Has It (…Mostly)

  1. I remember seeing a full-page ad for this in the newspaper – just the egg and the tag line – and it had me hooked; my Dad and I went to see it that summer, at the Plaza Twin in Escondido, CA. I ended up seeing it a few more times during its release, and like you once owned the VHS and the DVD. Now, I have the four-movie Blu-ray set; I only care for the first two movies, but the set cost me less than buying the two separately, plus it has something like 4,000 hours of bonus features. I still have yet to watch the Blu-ray versions…I guess I should get off my backside and get to it.

    And it’s also some other sci-film’s anniversary, that you’ll discuss tomorrow? If you’re talking about its 40th, my first thought was ‘The Black Hole’, but there’s also ‘Star Trek’ and, perhaps, ‘Moonraker’. Does ‘Kramer vs Kramer’ count as sci-fi?

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    • Well, three strikes on your guesses, but those are all worth a post as I did see all three flicks in a theater a few times. Kramer vs Kramer I saw as well, but I’d say it’s more rom-com gone wrong than anything else. They could have added an alien to that film… but you’d end up with E.T…. with Hoffman as that little space dude, lol.

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  2. 40 years! Wow. Too right it still holds up today. I’m a wee bit younger and got to see it on it’s TV premier over here in 1982. I was 10 and I won’t lie, it scared the crap out of me BUT man oh man did I love it. Big props to my old man for letting me watch it. The start of an obsession that has been passed down to my kids and hopefully they will carry the legend on down through history. LOL.

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    • Yeah, it’s so hard to believe it’s THAT old, isn’t it? The last person I loaned the Quadrilogy to was floored that the first film holds up better than the rest, so that’s a good sign it’s going to be fine in the future even when some studio decides to (ugh) remake it at some point.

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      • The opening shot of the stasis pods and of course Ripley in her tighty smalls is incredible on the bluray. The way Scott pans out around the room is just perfect as the banter starts to flow. It’s all perfect but that opening is my favourite. …. Hopefully we will be saved from any remakes and they will just keep making crappy sequels (2 & 3 not included)

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      • Yep it’s definitely perfectly designed and still fantastic to look at, I’d seen the film so many times in theaters that I could tell some wife or gf was about to elbow their man in the ribs when Ripley was undressing, lol. Same thing happened later with LIFEFORCE, and yeah, you know elbows were jamming ribs for over 2/3 of that flick!

        I still like/appreciate Alien Resurrection because it has that oddball humor Jean-Pierre Jeunet is known for (but I think the film is missing Marc Caro’s flourishes). I liked the casting and most of the action scenes, but that alien was too damn creepy/hideously colored to look at for too long. Well, it looked like a half-melted candle with puppy eyes to me, lol…

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      • Oh good gosh Greg! Yes Mathilda May broke bones of many kinds for blokes all round the world! She so beautiful. Always have a pillow on standby whilst watching that film, you never know who might walk past! lol… Space girl aside, it’s still a very fun film.
        I liked Resurrection right up to the bit with all the mutant Ripley’s. From then on the film completely loses the plot. The mad scientist in love with the queen alien! wtf.. Oh god yeah what the fook were they thinking with the hybrid alien. YUK it was his silly little nose too. They messed up real bad in the end. Haha yes a half melted candle lol

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      • The funny thing about LIFEFORCE is here, classic movie channel TCM has added it to its lineup, so it turns up as an after hours treat, meaning you can be watching something like the original Dracula, Lawrence of Arabia a or a Kubrick film for few hours, then get some time with Miss May without a channel change, lol.

        As for AR, yeah… that stuff with the mutants was weird. I did like Brad Dourif as that mad scientist, though – he tends to get some nicely bizarre roles (and hey, he was Chucky’s voice in the original Child’s Play flicks and in a few David Lynch films).

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