Now, I say I’ve never seen the Alien quadrilogy, but that’s not a hundred percent true. Yeah, I’ve not seen it per se, but I’ve seen The Thing, I’ve seen Sunshine (that bizarre film where Cillian Murphy goes into space to blow up the sun), and I’ve seen pretty much every episode of Doctor Who, which I’m pretty sure that, combined, counts as having seen Alien. They’re all more or less the same thing anyway – you know, scientists go into unexplored territory to do science, and end up all dying horribly at the hands of some kind of pig-blood-soaked prosthetic alien. It’s one of those common facts of life that only science-fiction can teach us: the grass is green, the sea is wet, physicists get their faces eaten by monsters. To this day, it’s one of the most persuasive arguments for not pursuing a career in science.
Before you all get upset with me for suggesting that Alien’s not that big of a deal (and you have to believe me when I say I’ve lost friends for saying this in the past), I want you all to answer this question honestly: is there any notable part of this film that hasn’t happened in at least one other science-fiction thing? Unexplained murderous phenomenon? An overabundance of fake blood and prosthetics? Sigourney Weaver? They’ve all been done.
As far as I can gather from my vast knowledge of never-having-seen-this-film-or-even-having-read-the-wikipedia-page, there’s only one true answer to this question, and that’s the chest-bursting scene. It’s Alien’s one saving grace. We all know that scene: the cast has all congregated around a chest (I assume there’s a person attached), dramatic music plays, everything’s very tense, and then, without warning (aside from the dramatic music and the tense atmosphere), a glove puppet pops out of the chest, spraying blood everywhere. Apparently, the main reason this scene is so spectacular, and I know this because I read a lot of articles on cracked.com, is because the director was completely psychotic and didn’t warn the cast that they were about to get a faceful of pig guts. I don’t know about you, but I believe that any film where they had to stop filming for several hours because the actors were too traumatised to continue is going to be a good film.
Otherwise, the entire film seems to be fairly forgettable. I couldn’t tell you a thing that happens before or after the guy’s chest explodes. Does the beastie just kind of hang out in the chest, waving at people semi-menacingly and hissing slightly? Is it like The Thing, where it fucks off with the guy’s head? After such a bad-ass blood explosion, does anyone really care? I doubt it.
There doesn’t even seem to be a particularly memorable cast. Aside from Sigourney Weaver, who bounds about squealing and not-quite-dying, there’s a crew of disposable and utterly forgettable men, and that one woman who, despite being far more practical and sensible than Sigourney, still somehow manages to die horribly while she continues to somehow survive.
All my complaining aside, it must be a fairly decent film, because they decided to make a prequel of it this year. Again, I know absolutely wank-all about the storyline, except that they attempted to one-up Sigourney Weaver by casting people with even more spectacular cheekbones. I watched the trailer for that one a couple of times, and it looked amazing, but in that way where I’m pretty sure nothing actually happened throughout the entirety of the film other than people standing around being beautiful and exchanging tense glances to the accompaniment of an unneccesarily dramatic soundtrack.
My main issue with Alien, though, is that nobody has ever tried to get me to watch it. Not once. People have threatened me, stopped talking to me, and attempted to physically hold me down in an attempt to get me to watch Star Wars. People even get kind of touchy about The Godfather, but not Alien. At the end of the day, nobody really gives a shit about Alien.