After waking from a routine mining expedition, the crew of a spacecraft finds that their ship has been re-routed to find a signal it picked up. What they actually find however is an alien life form that becomes loose on the ship. They have to decide how to handle the situation and still make it home.
I’ve been putting this one off for the longest time for no real reason. I’ve actually tried watching it several times and every single time I fell asleep. It’s not that it’s boring, though it is very slow. I guess I was just tired before I started watching. But I finally finished it and I have to say, I don’t really feel like it was worth it. I mean don’t get me wrong, visually this movie is stunning. The atmosphere it creates and the creature designs are top notch, especially considering how long ago this was made. But pretty much everything else just feels very basic and soulless by today’s standards.
The characters are likable, I suppose. They could have locked the audience in with a bunch of really horrible people and made us not care if they get killed or not, but for the most part anyone who dies has a little bit of emotion behind their death. They do a lot of character development in subtle ways, only enough to let you understand how people will react in certain situations but not enough to make you honestly want to see them again once their gone. I guess I’m happy that they didn’t fill the movie with exposition and feel like they needed to come up with stories just to make the characters relatable. They’re relatable on their own.
The movie does drag a lot, with the characters spending half the movie looking for a cat on board. Why did they even bring a cat on a ship in space? I have no idea. Why are they all apparently willing to risk their lives to save this stupid cat? I really don’t know the answer to that one. There are a lot of other minor questions I had about the logic behind things, but it’s mostly nitpicking. Honestly though, it feels like this could have been a much simpler film but they decided to throw a gigantic pile of money behind it. It worked for the art of it all but then it makes the story look inferior to itself.
I guess what I’ve been saying this whole time is that this movie is very safe by today’s standards, regardless of how innovative it may have been at the time. I’m glad they went with the choices they did and not the choices so many have made since, but I’ve also seen a lot of much greater sci-fi thrillers since this one. The film Moon was obviously influenced a lot by this movie and it did a far better job characterizing its main character and giving you a reason to want to see him survive. In fact, that one was even slower than this one but never had me asking, “Can we please move this along already?” I liked Alien. I’d probably watch it again. But I’m feeling a little more apathetic toward it than I expected of myself.