Finally got to watch Ridley Scott's original Alien made in 1979 - perhaps responsible for the most memorable sci-fi alien film everyone loves and fears. Who could forget the gripping terror of a full scale Alien? Or the revolting image of the face hugger?
Being a 20 years old film, I found it amazing how contemporary it still looks. Not once was I drawn out of the experience by quirky special effects. Presenting the alien mostly in shadows while moving with deadly intent really created the sense of being hunted, especially with the claustrophobic confines of the ship. Despite several confrontations, the majority of the horrors is left to the imagination of the mind which is particularly effective similar to that of The Haunting. Less is more as they say, effective in the fact that we barely see the Alien in full detail in its complete glory. One would be imminently slain before panning away with screams of agony, only to return a curious lack of gory mess (with the exception of a few scenes) that compels the sense of unknown and foreboding even more.
The whole film brimmed with atmosphere and sense of foreboding that was consistent throughout. The environment reflected the tone of film perfectly, with the cold harsh contrast of the ship and uncharted planet making for two complete different worlds.
I also loved the contrast of sci-fi themes and vintage technology; binary codes and the objective displays of cold green text grounds the film with an edge of reality. A prime scene being the motion scanners with simple rudimentary dots representing the hunter and prey was just simply brilliant in ramping up the terror.
The questionable final scenes of Sigourney Weaver is a touchy subject to unpick. In the context of the film, I believe it reinforced and returned to the vulnerable nature of humanity in contrast to the abundance of technology and depths of space. Or in the crudest sense, one could deem it contrived as simple fan-service. Ultimately, I didn't feel it intruded on the film as a whole too much, though I would say it was not essential to have such a scene either. It felt more like a cliche ploy of a 'Ah it's all over...' scene, only to be jumped by the fact that its 'not over yet!' with one more threat to contend with.
Overall, I simply loved the film being a first for me to see it in its entirety. The plot, pacing and characters worked well together for a truly foreboding tale of the terror of being hunted. I can understand why people adore Alien so much and the timeless classic that the first original Alien presented. Just how could they go so wrong with the latest Alien/Predator movies of the like!