Alien (1979)

Heresy! Blasphemy! Doesn't everyone like this movie? I didn't. If a film is going to scare me, it has to make me believe what's going on in order to set me up for a good fright. I stopped believing in the plot and characters of Alien very quickly. Some of my issues:

o Nostromo is a deep-space ore ship? Did we use up all the minerals on the moon and in the asteroids?

o What's the safest way for non-explorers to investigate something on an unfamiliar, hostile planet? You all get into the shuttlecraft and crash on the surface, leaving no one back on the ship except the cat. Brilliant.

o Speaking of the cat, could someone tell me how he closed himself in that small locker so that he could jump out and scare the crewman? Do cats evolve thumbs and sense of humor in the future?

o The final scene aboard the escape shuttle is a real puzzler. Apparently a well-designed shuttle contains an assortment of poisonous gases that you can easily release into the passenger compartment...just in case.

I really wanted to like this movie; it remains a visual wonder. But I left the theater that day feeling cheated. I think we're all accustomed to cutting film-makers a bit of slack, but there were just too many times during this movie when I thought, "Oh, come one!" One faux pas was not fatal, but together they ruined the movie for me.

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Replies to This Discussion

lol well... i suppose it was ok... i laughed at it though and only appreciated it for its place in film history. It was supposed to be scary though so the original purpose of the film is what escapes me.
Nosferatu--I can imagine it was scary to people who hadn't already seen 7.000 horror films.

John Wayne--I was never that crazy about him, either. You just have to accept him as a given, like a big boulder that's part of the scenery and you can't move around it. The original Stagecoach (his breakout film) was good, and I love Hatari--not for him, but for Red Buttons, the incredible African footage, and the wonderful Hank Mancini music.

I've known people who similarly criticized Clark Gable and Katharine Hepburn: "They always played the same role." In Kate's case, I'll forgive her almost anything. (Except maybe Sylvia Scarlet.) I love that woman.

You go to a James Bond film expecting reality? There's your first mistake, right there.
LOL well there is a difference between not likely and just horribly impossible.

I at least liked Casino Royale better because he got so fucked up and bloody and scarred that it was actually believable given what he went through.
The Daniel Craig Bond movies are by far the best of the franchise. I'm pretty happy they finally cut out most of the stupid "quips". The nadir was "I thought Christmas only came once a year." You could tell that one gave Brosnan indigestion.

I do miss Q, though. "Try to pay attention, 007..."
Johnny: most of the James Bond movies (comes out of fight scenes like he just took a shower? really? hair perfect? really? no scars? REALLY????),

That's funny. I had a "Bond" dream a few nights ago. It went like this -

I was an assistant in a crew working on a very-low budget action movie. Pierce Brosnan, wearing his traditional Bond outfit, enters a small room, a katana in each hand. Four Asian-looking thugs assault him. My job was to throw buckets of ketchup and mannequin limbs on the scene while (supposedly) Brosnan frantically slices arms and heads off. In the end Brosnan stands, as cool and clean as ever, in front of a fully "bloodied" wall (except for the perfectly matching silhouette just behind him), on top of a knee-deep heap of mannequin limbs and heads. I woke up while I was collecting and sorting the parts (I remember I had found 89 right arms and only 2 left ones - I found this so improbable it scared the shit out of me, I think that's what awoke me.)
Sexed-up graphic violence (especially those mindless brawls and chases) always put me off. Threatening monsters and rogue robots I find annoying - especially the gigantic critters who can't help roaring a couple times before attacking (Is it a genetic trait? They all sound the same - half-tiger, half-elephant). Usually my rating of movies is inversely proportional to the number of blown-up things they feature.

I wish there'd be more movies like Gattaca. Not that I consider it perfect.
Sorry, I consider Gattica one of the most boring movies ever made.
I also found it boring at times but I was interested enough to watch it entirely. On the other hand Alien, The Matrix, Star Wars, or LOTR made me yawn and quit way before the end. I'd rather be waterboarded than watch the whole series.
really? the first matrix???? that could only be boring if you had already studied most of the philosophical themes beforehand. Leave some flexibility for the younguns ;)
The first Matrix movie was a simple take on common themes, but stylistically and energetically, it was pretty bitchin'. The lobby shootout was terrific. But, seriously, it's hard to think of less efficient batteries than human bodies. Particularly if you have to spend a lot of that power computing the individual realities for all those Cartesian Brain-in-a-Vats(TM)

The second two were unbelievably stupid. I mean, giant mechs with Gatling cannons and no enclosed cockpits or even eye protection? And they totally wussed out by not having the final reality actually be a simulation in another computer. As it is, Neo's god-like powers outside the matrix made zero sense.
there is tremendous power in brains. enough to power a grid for a day i think or something like that. just because we have no way to harness it efficiently doesnt mean that the machines couldn't invent a way that could.

um.... the second one was ok and i have a reverence for it because it was the first thing that really made me ponder cause, effect, and the absence of free will in the convo with the Merovingian.

Also, that motorcycle chase scene is one of the most ambitious and awesome I've ever seen. I mean, I really cheered when she started driving backwards through traffic. that was awesome.
the third one was horrible. pretty much consensus.

OOH YEAH that would have been SICK if the new reality was a way to control the people who tried to free their minds! and the real world was an extra program!!!!!! That alone would have made the third movie awesome!
Well, it would have rescued the third movie from the trash bin, but the franchise ran out of steam after the first movie.

As to brains having power, think of it this way. The whole human body uses about 100 watts, maybe a little more. See this calculation. But in order to generate any power, they have to be fed 2,000 calories a day, give or take, which would in turn require power to create. So let's say the brain uses most of the energy. How is that being used to power anything else? Where would you hook up the battery cables? Why wouldn't you just use the food-growing energy to power the machinery directly, rather than running it thru humans first? Now, it's possible that the pod-humans were being used as computer nodes to provide processing power to the machines, but that's not really clear from the films. And if that's what they meant, well, I still think it would be easier and cheaper to get computing capacity in other ways.




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