I have decided to watch Alien. I just had a long, busy, day, and was sort of at loose ends. I was just getting myself worked up sitting around in my house. I went for a walk. It was a great move, it made me feel a lot better immediately. And then on top of that, I started thinking about what movie would be good to watch.
First I thought Children of Men, which was excellent. But then I thought it was a bit too much of a perfect artifice or some trippy logic like that.
So then I thought back to the best movie experience I’ve had while tripping: Jurassic Park. It is just such a great, fun, movie. My problem with other movies is that I get too caught up in the movie history and get taken out of it – Star Trek Into Darkness was awful for this. Jurassic Park was great because it was original, producing all these dinosaur tropes fresh that would then later pervade the culture.
So then I thought Alien. I had also read this review of Aliens that morning, which I now realize likely put it on my mind. I figure it’s the same sort of “lots of cool, reasonably original stuff”
Shit think about ancient alien artifacts floating in space. Presumably any civilization is just throwing out an ever expanding cloud of probes and dead ships and whatnot, drifting through space. So any civilization that died would likely leave behind a lot of that sort of thing. Millions of years later it could be drifting all over the galaxy in deep space, waiting for future civilizations to find it.
I guess the real obstacle is I have a hard time seeing how a legit space based civilization could go extinct. Once you’ve got the ability to live and extract resources in space, what’s going to stop you? Even if there are huge disasters, I can’t imagine anything would be so severe as to get down below the level of there being intelligent life all over the place.
I guess it’s sort of a trope because we look out and see a sterile universe, or at least one with no obvious signs of not being sterile, so you have to deal with the Fermi paradox and all that. If the way that it works is that space faring civilizations never go extinct, then there have not yet been any space faring civilizations, because where the fuck are they?
Ridley is such a badass for refusing to open the door for the away team. She says there’s a 24 hour quarantine, and that they could all die. The rest of the crew yells at her but she stands firm. Then they go around her and override her to let them in.
It’s such a cool defining character moment: she’s the one who will make the ruthless move to go by the book and leave her buddies out in the cold, for the greater good. In other situations, in other movies, that would be a dick move. Here if they had listened to her everyone’s lives would be saved.
Oh crap, and then she gets suspicious of her robot crewmate because he doesn’t agree with her… awesome. Compare this to most other ‘badass’ heroines. Ripley shows her mettle when she’s just being a regular Joe, well before she shows she can do the action hero thing too if needed.
Ahh, what a great movie to watch! I reaffirm this decision. It doesn’t let any part of the production slide, it’s all just super-well made. You’ve got the great used future working class in space aesthetic for the humans, you’ve got the crazy Giger shit for the aliens, you’ve got the badass female main character, it does some good stuff with the AI and there are probably lots of great bits I haven’t even gotten to!
(and of course the horror aspects!)
Oh shit I’m watching the chestburster scene right now. They’re eating… uh oh! Problem.
Starts thrashing on the table.
They do Doctor stuff
Blood spurt and everyone freezes.
Oh my god it looks around at them for so long.
And then it bolts and just silence.
That can ruin your whole day.
The only problem with the working class in space thing is that it’s nonsense. For a civilization at anything like our technological level, a spaceship is going to be an expensive project. This portrays the people as like what I’d expect to find on an oil rig in North Dakota or something, which I assume is the sort of look they were going for. It’s really awesome, but I just don’t buy these guys as astronauts entrusted with a multi-billion dollar interstellar spacecraft. Why skimp on crew costs when they’ll be a tiny fraction of the total?
I guess that just calls into question the whole economic system of whatever they’re supposed to be doing out there. Hauling ore? I guess the point is just to get them into the space setting, don’t focus on the specifics. Very wise.
Man, Ash the robot. It’s funny, he’s very human seeming. He even smiles and laughs with the crew. But then he has software built into his brain, carrying out orders.
The ship is its own little concern, with a captain and command structure, but they care about the company Ash represents. It’s sort of like a smartphone, which you own, but really it’s still working for Apple or Google or whoever. I was recently stymied trying to do use adblock on my phone because Android has reduced the number of settings they give you access to, it seems in order to prevent apps like adblock from working. They don’t want you to block ads after all.
Imagine building straightjackets like that into an artificial personality, instead of just the phone’s OS.
And then imagine selling that artificial personality, or renting it, or whatever.
Fuck and then Ripley finds out that orders have been given to treat her and the rest of the crew as expendable if that’s what it takes to recover an alien specimen.
I don’t think the name has come up, but I find myself needing it: the Weyland-Yutani Corporation is the puppet master. What motherfuckers.
Oh they didn’t know that Ash was a robot? That was weird, they bashed him to pieces and then were all surprised that he was a robot? It’s funny watching these movies with relatively vague memories of them.
“I can’t lie to you about your chances, but you have my sympathies”
Hahaha oh Ash you asshole.
Actually until the very end (the part I’m now getting to) Ripley doesn’t really do much action hero stuff this whole movie. I guess its another memory coloration thing, that was more in Aliens.
Ripley carrying the cat around at the end is pretty great I admit. It’s just such a ridiculous situation, but then you think, what are you going to do, leave the cat behind?
Oh my god this scene of Ripley undressing on the shuttle is great. Super-hot, but also just great in the unself-conscious ragged, everygirl sense. Great little moment to throw in before the final alien attack.
The Alien is awfully smart to have gotten on to Ripley’s shuttle with her. What conception did it have of the ship they were on? Did it know they were going to self-destruct and get on the shuttle to escape? Is it just trying to kill Ripley and so went and hid on the shuttle to wait for her? But then it would have to know she was planning to use the shuttle at least.
So is the Alien smart? It’s hard to tell. I guess it didn’t hack into the computer mainframe or anything… though now that you mention it the mysterious corporation represented by impersonal machines does seem to be doing the alien a lot of favors.
Haha oh no, suddenly there’s a brief outer space scene with unbelievably bad special effects. Like obvious guy in a costume swinging on a rope.
Oh Ripley, what a great representative of humanity. Your life is driven by vast impersonal forces and terrifying entities outside of your control, but you are just making it happen, working your dumb job, getting by, and ready to do whatever it fucking takes to survive when the rubber hits the road. Keep on keeping on Ripley.