Ten Thousand Bytes of Cinematic Critique
Out of the Alien series of movies, the one film I never saw was the first. When I finally got around to seeing Alien, I was surprised out how heavily it was into suspense and atmosphere. The alien itself, designed by H.R. Giger (the dude that made the Dead Kennedys penis in the butt poster), looks really bad ass, but is hardly in the film. When the alien does strike, a lot of the gore and violence cuts away quickly. Because of this, the movie can really drag in spots. I love the cast, who all do great jobs (everyone is awesome), and the ship is very cool (worn down, industrial feel with retro 70s computers), but at nearly two hours, it feels slow. In fact, after watching it, I could have sworn it had gone well over two hours. Most people can agree that Ridley Scott is a quality director, for the most part, but he really should have trimmed the film. Tension can be stretched so far before the wave settles and then it's just waiting. I wouldn't suggest more alien appearances, because that is pretty much just right, but less time between appearances would have been good, I wager.I would have loved to see Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) have a lesbian sex scene, but I guess that really has nothing to do with the movie. So long story short (get it? ho ho!), Alien is a slick suspense-thriller that would have benefited from a shorter running time, a tad more blood, and more of Sigourney Weaver's taut tits.
I just saw this a couple months ago myself for the first time. It does drag a bit, especially in the beginning. All special effects are (relatively) simple but very effective. I like how this and Aliens are two somewhat different types of films but work very well together.
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