Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Film Review: ALIEN

ALIEN (1979) 117min

(Figure 1: ALIEN Poster Art)

ALIEN, produced in 1979 and directed by Ridley Scott, is one of the most remembered sciene-fiction horror films of the 20th Century. As said by Jason Anderson in his review, ''This is the stuff of nightmares.'' (Anderson, J), Scott acknowledged the fantasy of the 1970's public who craved such 'out-landish' adventures after the groundbreaking original Star Wars film. ALIEN has truly set the trend for the modern twists on any Haunted House plots we know today despite our development and knowledge on modern computer technology.

(Figures 2 & 3: Nostromo's Crew & Prometheus 'Makers' Sleep Capsules)

As the film begins, we see the seven astronauts of the Nostromo space craft awaken from their hyper sleep capsules. Such similar arrangement is shown in the prequel before the series; Prometheus. Such arrangement can symbolize a 'unity' between genders and 'togetherness' as a group itself. The difference in colours can also paint a picture to the audiences on how such scenes are supposed to be taken. The crew awaken gracefully in a simple white room; like heaven or rebirth. Comparing this to the 'Superior Makers' in Prometheus, the pale blue and black room could emphasize an ending; death.

(Figure 4: Dallas in the Nostromo Air Shaft)

While Dallas is crawling amongst the Nostromo Air Shafts searching for the monstrous alien, the one point perspective we see highlighted by the fire of the blow torch really dramatizes the suspense and tension for his character. Knowing that he is slowly becoming the Aliens prey, the lines arching towards him puts an emphasis on him becoming the pin pointed 'target'. As Brian McKay says; ''A Claustrophobic spaceship and excellent cast help build layers of atmosphere and dread.'' is everything in a very small space. The audience get the view of what the Alien could actually be seeing, as though they are anxiously watching his every move themselves.

 (Figures 5 & 6: Ripley aboard the Escape Shuttle - Space Suit & Knight's Armour)

When Ripley is aboard the escape shuttle and discovers that she again is not alone, the suit she wears appears to be influenced from traditional suits of Armour. The shoulder pads that were originally created to allow movement to the arm while still allowing protection can be perceived as a metaphor; shutting out the horror and fear of the surroundings but protected by strength and determination. Comparing Ridley's character to Anne from the original King Kong film, she is the first of many independent heroins with a standing role rather than the 'life-less' object that men are seen to protect.

(Figures 7 & 8: Ripley in Hyper Sleep Capsule & Snow White in a Glass Coffin)

Finally rid of the Alien and back to her hyper capsule, Ripley is seen peacefully sleeping with her hands on her chest. Such scene is replicated in Walt Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', both with pale skin and black hair, kept in glass 'coffins' that makes you feel some remorse for what both characters have endeavored. 

From ALIEN's film review by Bryant Frazer, '' It delivers a frightening, visionary look at a cold, inhuman future.'' (Frazer, B) ALIEN will forever be known as the true alien film' for both scale and imagination. Scott has opened up a chapter to another world of science-fiction to forever be influenced and admired by and how possible humans could change and be used as a tool for far more 'superior' races.


Anderson, J.  (2003) ALIEN Film Review. URL: http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_0.23.03/film/alien.html (Accessed on 22.10.2013)

Frazer, B.  (2000) ALIEN Film Review. URL: http://www.deep-focus.com/flicker/alien.html (Accessed on 22.10.2013)

McKay, B.  (2003) ALIEN Film Review. URL: http://www.efilmcritic.com (Accessed on 22.10.2013)

Illustration List:

Fig. 1. ALIEN Poster Art. (1979) From: Alien Directed by: Ridley Scott. [Poster] United States/United Kingdom. Brandywine Productions. At: http://www.listal.com/list/the-ultimate-posters-list (Accessed on 22.10.2013)

Fig. 2. Nostromo Crew Sleep Capsules. (1979) From: Alien Directed by: Ridley Scott. [Film Still] United States/United Kingdom. Brandywine Productions. Athttp://fogsmoviereviews.com/2012/01/09/movies-that-everyone-should-see-alien/ (Accessed on 22.10.2013)

Fig. 3. Prometheus 'Makers' Sleep Capsules. (1979) From: Prometheus Directed by: Ridley Scott. [Film Still] United States/United Kingdom. Scott Free Productions. At: http://www.ausgamers.com/forums/general/thread.php/3216443 (Accessed on 22.10.2013)

Fig. 4. Dallas in the Nostromo Air Shaft. (1979) From: Alien Directed by: Ridley Scott. [Film Still] United States/United Kingdom. Brandywine Productions. At: http://cinetropolis.net/top-alien-saga-moments-part-2/ (Accessed on 22.10.2013)

Fig. 5. Ripley aboard the Escape Shuttle - Space Suit. (1979) From: Alien Directed by: Ridley Scott. [Film Still] United States/United Kingdom. Brandywine Productions. At: http://clothesonfilm.com/moon-the-double-meaning-of-sam-rockwell-costume-design/25439/ (Accessed on 22.10.2013)

Fig. 6. Knight's Armour. (1565) From: Flicker.com [Photograph] Italy. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Kansas City, Missouri. At: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spacecamp/5059944507/ (Accessed on 22.10.2013)

Fig. 7. Ripley in Hyper Sleep Capsule. (1979) From: Alien Directed by: Ridley Scott. [Film Still] United States/United Kingdom. Brandywine Productions. At: http://avp.wikia.com/wiki/Stasis (Accessed on 22.10.2013)

Fig. 8. Snow White in a Glass Coffin. (1937) From: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Directed by: David Hand. [Film Still] United States. Walt Disney Productions. At: http://brontehoroine.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/coffins-glass-and-otherwise/ (Accessed on 22.10.2013)

1 comment:

  1. Great review Heidi, well done! Don't you think it sounds better, introducing the quotes like that? :)
    (You have just forgotten one little reference, (McKay,2003)...but that just proves that I am reading the reviews ;)
    Other than that, spot on :D