Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Re-watching Alien

As Prometheus is hitting our screens in only days this seemed like the ideal time to re-watch Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece, here are some notes on what I feel makes this film great.....

Ridley Scott has always created wonderfully diverse worlds, but Alien remains his greatest achievement. Fairs fair, he doesn't do it alone, H. R. Giger's monster is a terrifying specimen and production designer Michael Seymour created sets of astronomical scale. But its Scott's direction that makes the difference, in and amongst all of this detailed design he generates an atmosphere of such claustrophobic horror that it has yet to be matched. Take the first hour, for example, we see very little of anything except the crew. And yet by the time the Chestburster makes its appearance the tension is bursting (what better word?) at the seams. Performances are also all top notch, especially Ian Holm in what is perhaps the most subtle portrayal of a robot ever seen.

As thrilling as it is beautiful, Alien remains the perfect showcase for how timeless the combination of stellar direction with fantasy handy-work can be.

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