Alien Review

For the purposes of this website, I try to watch a lot of movies.  Sometimes, after I’ve watched a bunch, it takes me time to get caught up on my reviews of movies I watched weeks prior, so my memory gets fuzzy.  Sometimes, after I’ve watched several movies, I can’t remember anything about the one I watched a month ago.

This is one of those times.

As I recall, at the time, I was highly impressed with the film and thought I’d have to consider it as a contender for my next “100 Favorite Movies” list, but now I’m not sure why.  I would estimate that I was thinking of the use of the camera, which is clever, or just how nicely the science fiction is married to the horror here.  It’s high-quality horror with a high-quality monster, and I respect that, but I’m starting to wonder if perhaps the reason why I’m struggling to remember what happens in the story is that there’s really very little to remember.

Ridley Scott has a tendency of making long movies out of very little story.  From Blade Runner to Legend, his movies tend to be slow and “minimalistic” in terms of plot.  I’ve often suspected that this is because he likes to do movies in the vein of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and this movie confirmed my suspicion since a good percentage of it is just ripping off Kubrick – lovingly, of course.

I suspect, then, that I must have really enjoyed it because I was in a Ridley Scott mood, which makes it very easy to appreciate the brilliance of what is in the film, whereas now I might wish there was more.  That being said, I still greatly appreciate it.  The version of the future that’s created here is quite smart, particularly in terms of its political situation, and the information that slowly reveals itself throughout the film about what’s really been going on the whole time makes for a perfect intellectual counterpart to the fun spectacle created by the outstanding visual effects.  One thing I can say for this film that I can’t say for 2001 is that its characters are good – due to both the casting and the dialogue – and I think that’s why the film series is so popular.  And I’m glad it’s popular.  Even if I don’t find it entirely entertaining or memorable, it’s always nice when the masses recognize a work of quality craftsmanship as something worth celebrating.

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