Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…
I consider Alien to be the Citizen Kane of sci-fi horror. Ridley Scott brings the dark, industrial, uninviting future that’s also on display in Blade Runner to this scary, claustrophobic space thriller. Alien is perfectly constructed to have an extremely slow build in the plot leading up to scene after scene of tension as the xenomorph picks off the crew of the Nostromo one at a time. The cinematography is great, keeping the alien in the shadows until the film’s finale, and lingering on the details of the hulking, lumbering spaceship so that the viewer feels like they’re on board as well. Moisture, steam, and cold, black metal define the look of Alien, and the movie holds up perfectly, even when viewed thirty years after its creation. I’d call Alien a masterpiece, but that might be putting it lightly. In my opinion, this is the best that Ridley Scott has ever been.
5 out of 5
A surprisingly perfect sequel. James Cameron brings all his trademarks to Aliens – a team of military badasses, spectacular action sequences, and, of course, giant robotic suits of armor. Aliens follows the rules of successful sequel making to such a degree that it almost outshines its predecessor, expanding the world of the first film but telling a different story in it using new characters and even changing the genre up a bit, from sci-fi/horror to sci-fi/action. The cast is great, with excellent turns by Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and, of course, Sigourney Weaver, and a climactic final fight scene that was the coolest thing I had ever seen when I first watched this film. Highly quotable, suspenseful, action-packed, and occasionally pretty damn funny, Aliens is everything a sequel should be. And, as a fun little bonus, you can totally imagine the space marines in the movie being part of the same military that waged war against the indigenous species on Pandora in James Cameron’s later film Avatar.
4.5 out of 5
Unfortunately, the third instalment of the Alien franchise is where things began to go awry. The problems start before the opening credits are even finished, with the characters of Newt and Hicks – the only human survivors of Aliens besides Ripley – being killed off-screen, thereby proving that none of the events in Aliens mattered at all. The harsh, dulled colours of Alien and Aliens are also tossed aside in favour of bathing everything in orange light, which, in my opinion, killed the atmosphere that the series had built up so meticulously. The cast is largely made up of white, bald, British men, which makes them difficult to tell apart since they spend so much time in the shadows. What’s more, there are many notable names among the cast, such as Charles Dance (Tywain Lannister from Game of Thrones), Ralph Brown and Paul McGann (both from Withnail & I), and the late, great Pete Postlethwaite (who is in this movie, apparently, but I couldn’t point him out if you asked me to), but sadly all of them are wasted here. In the end, Alien 3 is like a collection of the ventilation shaft scenes from the first movie, but without any of the nuance or complex character development. The end of the film could have been a good capping off point for the series, but sadly they went ahead and made a fourth movie, so once again, nothing that takes place in this movie is of any consequence as of the next one. The movie itself isn’t terrible, but when compared to Alien and Aliens it’s a bit of a disaster. The fact that director David Fincher has disowned this movie is pretty telling.
2.75 out of 5
See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!