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After 40 years, this sci-fi horror masterpiece still feels lethally contemporary. With screenwriters Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett, Ridley Scott created an essay on the hell of other people, the vulnerability of our bodies, and the idea of space as a limitless new extension of human paranoia. Alien also functions as a nightmare parody of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which had happened just 10 years previously, and the biological weapons industry.
Sigourney Weaver stars in the movie that was to make her name. She is Ripley, a crew member of a mining spaceship trudging back home, which is forced to make a detour on receiving a mysterious SOS signal from a deserted planet. Her colleagues include Parker, played by Yaphet Kotto, petulant and resentful Brett, played by Harry Dean Stanton, and Dallas, played by Tom Skerritt; John Hurt is Kane, an eager volunteer for the job of exploring the planet’s surface, and Ian Holm is superb as the scientific officer Ash.
Their response to the distress call results in the appearance on board of an unwanted guest. Weaver begins the action looking girlish and serious, but changes into the toughly self-reliant woman who defined her subsequent roles. Her career evolves before our very eyes.
Interestingly, the famous, heart-stopping moment where the alien embryo jumps out of the egg happens much more fleetingly than you might remember. Scott cuts away from it quickly, leaving the negative image impressed on our retina.
Editors Terry Rawlings and Peter Weatherley cut the film so cleverly so that we never have a clear notion of what the alien actually looks like until the very last shots. The idea of it starting the size of a toad, then emerging the size of a bus with multiple rows of razor-teeth is skin-crawlingly horrible.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Alien review – Ridley Scott’s masterpiece is lethally contemporary | Science fiction and fantasy films