“Ash, that transmission… Mother’s deciphered part of it. It doesn’t look like an S.O.S.”
“What is it, then?”
“Well, I… it looks like a warning.”
Alien tells the story of the starship Nostromo, and its crew, who after finding what they believe to be a distress signal far out in space, proceed to the unknown call, only to jeopardize themselves by bringing aboard a creature that’s hell-bent on killing them. This year, Alien celebrates its 40th anniversary, and re-introduces itself as one of the must-see sci-fi horror films. The first time I watched Alien, I was unimpressed, to be honest. It wasn’t the sci-fi film that I had grown up hearing so much about. But then recently, I had the urge to see it again. And there I was, watching it, glued to the television wondering what tragic event would happen next. And in that moment, finally realizing how good Alien really is.
Let’s get down to it and really understand what makes Alien the catalyst of sci-fi films. And to be honest, we look no further than Sigourney Weaver. Her performance is simply incredible. Though I believe her true talents are shown in other films, Alien marks her fresh-face arrival to blockbuster cinema. Weaver never wavers in her performance of Ripley, a strong bad-ass woman, who knows a thing or two about commanding a ship. Ripley is the brains of the whole operation; the backbone. The one that has her crew’s safety at heart. It’s not every day, or even back 40 years ago, that a female character would take the reins of an action movie. Weaver’s performance is one to be in awe of. In addition to her outstanding performance, the cast of supporting characters does something that only a short-list of films has been able to achieve. Each character, no matter how big or small their part is, drives the film in each and every scene, making this a true ensemble film.
Director Ridley Scott, whose prior directing credits were episodes on various television series, solidifies himself as a great director with Alien. Since the original release in 1979, Scott has gone on the re-release, and re-release, with the most recent version being the 2019 Director’s Cut, which has changed from the original 2003 Director’s Cut. But no matter how many times this film may be re-edited, there’s a certain horrifying concept that will never change. The most recent sci-fi films have only gone as far as to be thrilling, or heart-pumping, in its narrative. But Alien brings about the bleakness of space travel, while also providing a truly terrifying story.
Alien is a sci-fi horror movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and I don’t mean that in a cliché way. This film will have you glued to your television with your eyes wide open. Within the past year, a high school production of Alien was put together with great time and effort. It was so good, in fact, that Weaver herself attended the low-budget play. It’s moments like this that show how Alien, not only made an impact 40 years ago, but will continue to scare audiences for many, many years to come.
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, and Ian Holm