This has never really been a favourite movie of mine – until the past week or so, the whole Alien series has never really had much of a place in my heart. But, kind of like The Matrix or Star Wars Trilogies, my lack of personal interest has never stopped me from having a real general interest as a movie fan. I bought the first Trilogy box set, and what fan of DVD hasn’t drooled over the new Quadrilogy 9-disc set containing Special Editions of all 4 movies?
Likewise, Ridley Scott has never truly thrilled me as a director. I find most of his work far too craftsman-like, no risk-taking, brilliantly put together but too brilliantly put together.
The first Alien movie for me is an interesting exercise in the creation of an atmosphere, but it’s hardly ever scary. One thing it does get nearly spot-on is not showing the Alien too much, something that was to get worse with the progression of the series (and totally ruined Alien3). I say only nearly, however, because there are still some really clunker shots in Alien where it’s just a hilarious man in a suit: Tom Skeritt’s death, for instance, nearly always cracks me up (made me jump a few times too, I have to admit) – it just looks like the Alien is saying “Boo!”
I do like the ending of this movie maybe more than the endings of the other movies in the series. There’s something really satisfying about there being just the one monster, and bringing it down to a showdown between Ripley and It, and the final frying at the rear of the shuttle really gives me goosebumps, I can imagine a packed cinema audience cheering Ripley on like crazy.