A Sci-Fi Masterpiece
After the success of Star Wars in 1977 20th Century Fox hoped to find another science fiction story to captivate audiences an would soon find that film with Alien. Written by Dan O'Bannon and helmed by Ridley Scott Alien broke the scene in 1979 and set a new benchmark in both Sci-Fi and Horror.
There are so many aspects of this film that I find to be truly fantastic. Visually, the film is astonishing and absolutely captivating, pulling the viewer in from the opening title sequence. Ridley skillfully guides us through the seemingly deserted Nostromo and the musical score matches everything shown on screen perfectly. The time and effort spent on constructing the Nostromo is something that is also evident and results in a stunningly detailed interior. This helps create a sense of realism to Alien that many other Sci-Fi films lack.
The characters are another wonderful aspect of this movie. They have a very common-man feel about them and are very easy to relate to. To borrow a common analogy, they are "truck-drivers" in space, doing nothing more than carrying out orders for the mysterious "Company". The chemistry amongst the cast and characters is superb. The film builds slowly at first, gradually introducing us to the characters and revealing that they haven’t arrived home as they had originally believed. The pacing of the film is perfect, allowing us to take in every detail and really invest ourselves in the movie.
The Alien itself is one of the greatest creatures to ever grace the screen. Designed by H.R. Giger, the Alien is a beautiful blend of both organic life and biomechanical design. Giger also constructed the derelict spacecraft discovered on the planetoid object, as well as the Space Jockey inside. His style is very unique and it works perfectly here. The development stages of the Alien are also something completely new and foreign. Its “birth” left audiences with one of the most shocking and well-known scenes in cinematic history. From there the movie transforms itself into an action packed and adrenaline pumping thrill ride, building suspense as it goes.
I really have trouble finding flaws in this film. Certain special effects shots look a slightly dated but overall they are executed with very fine precision. Scott’s vision is amazing and his talent really shines through with this film. The actors, as well as everyone behind the scenes, do a great job piecing this film together. I would indeed be remised if I didn’t mention the beauty of the score that creates the perfect atmosphere. Alien, from the famous tagline to the finished product, is one of the greatest films off all time - a perfect blend of Sci-Fi and Horror.