Alien (1979)

Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Dan O’Bannon
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto
[I am sure that I already saw this film, probably about 10, 15 years ago or so, but I really couldn’t remember a damn thing about it, so I’m not labeling this as a re-watch.]

The crew of the Nostromo – a commercial mining ship – are woken from hypersleep in the middle of their journey after the ship received a distress call from a planet they were passing. They land to investigate. While Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) and Kane (John Hurt) head out on the surface, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) discovers that the distress call was actually a warning. But by then Kane already stumbled on a nest of alien eggs…

I loved Alien. It’s a tense, scary, exciting film that has an absolutely outstanding main character in Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley. It’s simply a must-see.

With Alien, Ridley Scott has made an excellent, well-paced and extremely exciting film that just draws you in straight away. There’s not a boring minute there, also thanks to the script and the great characters – even though there was a few times I wanted to yell at the screen to just leave the fucking cat of doom and make safer choices! But when you get me to a point where I’m so invested in the characters and the story that I want to yell at the screen, you’ve already won, so I’m not complaining.

Plus the soundtrack and the special effects are great, as is H.R. Giger‘s design. I mean, just look at the image below:

But the film’s man selling point is Sigourney Weaver and her Ripley and the hours of gender politics material you can get from this film.

Even if you’ve never seen this movie, you probably know some of the stories about it. Like that the script was written without any of the character having a specific sex – that was only determined by the casting; though it still turned into quite a surprise that a woman got the role of Ripley. But what an inspired thing to do! It just gives us one of the best heroines in modern cinema.

Even the actually rather gratuitous “Ripley undresses to her skimpy, skimpy underwear” scene becomes rather empowering in this context. Because it’s in that instant that Ripley actually gets to be entirely female – and no less kick-ass for it. She even gets all motherly with Jones (the cat of doom) and it doesn’t hurt – instead its one of her strengths.

Which is not to say that the rest of the cast is bad. Especially John Hurt and Ian Holm are awesome. [SPOILER] And I was completely blown away by Holm’s character being an android. One of the things that made me feel like I saw the film for the first time because I couldn’t remember them at all. [/SPOILER] But Ripley is just so wow that she overshadows everything else.

Summarising: Absolute classic.


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