Directed by Ridley Scott
I feel this is quite possibly one of the best science fiction movies, certainly a standard for the Genre and a film that still manages to stand the test of time. From the opening sequence to the last scene, the ambiance of the film and the changing moods are captured perfectly. Even the old style displays and panels don’t detract from the film, they add to it – this is an ore freighter, not a Star Wars battle cruiser!
Where this film scores most highly is in the characterizations of the crew – the dialog flows so naturally it would seem almost as if they are reciting rather then ad-libbing Yaphet Kotto is particularly good at this, together with Harry dean Stanton – a kind of deep space Abbott ‘n Costello. Tom Skerrit, Ian Holm and Veronica Cartwright are also excellent. Sigourney Weaver’s performance varies slightly, this was after all, her first major role, but occasionally we get a glimpse of a very competent actress.
This film stays closest to the Geiger-esque connotations of the visions of flesh/metal incidences that provoke such eerily reactions from the viewer. The chest-bursting scene where an Alien comes out of the stomach still retains its impact, and even if Veronica’s reaction was unfeigned – she was not told what was going to happen.
The Director employs a technique that many of today’s Horror maestro’s could and should learn from. He desires the Audience to use their imagination extensively. When Lambert is killed, you see the tail moving then the scene cut to Ripley hearing that. You see nothing, but you KNOW what is happening and that has more impact than any special effect could have.
A lot of this film happens in a place that is a dark, and grimy atmosphere that you see copied in such films as Blade runner or the original Terminator.
All in all this is one of the very few films that I would undoubtedly give an 8/10 and will watch over and over again.