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Alien is not a masterpiece. (There, I got that off my chest…)
No pun intended. Of course, I make that statement having loved this movie for longer than many of today’s social-media-saturated fans have breathed air.
The Cinefex article linked below brought back my own early memories of Alien. I realized that they are blurred, but not due to age and the indulgences of youth.
No, it’s because I was too busy being scared out of my teenaged wits by the disquieting atmosphere the film presented: from the eerie emptiness of the Nostromo with its crew’s anti-Star Trek conflicts, to the queerness of the derelict’s geometry and the mute witness of its desiccated pilot…
…and the fear of a creature that changed shape, growing more terrifying with each deadly encounter.
Who had time to notice details?
By the time Dallas had bitten the dust and we’re presented with Lambert’s amped-up panic, I was cowering behind the seats in front of me.
Those were the days before hi-definition digital, when productions got away with making things just good enough to fool the camera. Watch the movie in Blu-ray if you doubt me: you will see effects shots in space that have no stars, bad ADR, the Ash head cut, the cross-editing of footage from Harry Dean Stanton and Veronica Cartwright’s death scenes, and even a stage crewman hastily hiding behind a bit of set dressing as Ripley flies past (A treat you’ll miss on the Director’s Cut).
But none of those things spoil it for me. In fact, the theatrical version is my favorite.
I approach with caution articles that include superlatives like “masterpiece” and “perfection”, since they are all too often followed by the regurgitated points of a thousand click-bait “things you didn’t know” lists.
Graham Edwards’ (Cinefex Magazine) blog post stands above such. He seems to have seen the film at about the same age as me, though across by the Pond.
The difference ends there. As I read Edwards’ trip down memory lane, I wondered if many of today’s fans of Alien would have their own similar reminiscences of Prometheus or Alien: Covenant. I certainly hope so. There is much in those films on which to build them, despite fannish cynicism that is less of the credible and more of the “squeaky wheel”, if you get my meaning.
No, while Alien is certainly enduring, it is not a masterpiece, which may be where the last two films fall short.
Trying to be masterpieces.
Enjoy the article at the link below, and may it bring back your own memories of Alien, with a smile…
…and a shiver!
P.S. Cinefex‘s premier issue includes a feature on Alien, available on the iPad.
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