Alien: The Director’s Cut

Film review by: Witney Seibold


I have expressed in these hallowed pages before the unfortunate preference of James Cameron’s 1986 sequel “Aliens”, over Ridley Scott’s 1979 original, “Alien.” Sci-fi fans generations over site the action and humor and tough trucker-like alien-blastin’ heroes as being more entertaining than anything the original had to offer. This is a pity. While “Aliens” was a bloated, over-moneyed, over-long, shallow, slimy, explosion-fest (it is Cameron after all), “Alien” is one of the finest science fiction films ever produced. Now, it has been re-released with a few extra minutes cut in, a tweaked score, and an opportunity to be frightened in a theater once again.

The story for those who don’t know it: The seven members of The Nostromo, a mining ship, are awakened from stasis to investigate a mysterious distress call. They discover an abandoned ship full of leathery eggs, which end up being the means, through a human incubator, for a hostile animal creature onto the ship. Who will survive?

(musical sting)

This is a sophisticated, quiet, and truly frightening film. It helps that the cast (Tom Skerrit, Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, and Ian Holm among them) is not a group of ignorant fighters or horny teenagers. They’re grown-up working stiffs who are truly not prepared for a situation like this like this. They’re good actors (Hurt played John Merrick a few years later in “The Elephant Man,” Holm has extensive Shakespeare under his belt). The film’s design of long corridors, low ceilings, cramped travel compartments, and dirty mining equipment, adds to a reality rarely seen in science fiction. It’s a real place, The Nostromo. This design would inspire all space-set dramas that followed. The monster, famously designed by Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger is one of the most, well, alien things to have come along in film.

The added footage, unlike the horrible miscalculation of “The Exorcist” a few years back, was not an intrusion. It did, as it inevitably would, feel slightly clunky at times, but the flow of the film was not significantly interrupted. The 20-odd minutes were mostly a few seconds here and there.
Don’t miss this one.

"...Then I'll ram my ovapositor down your throat, and lay my eggs in your chest. But I'm not an alien."

"...Then I'll ram my ovapositor down your throat, and lay my eggs in your chest. But I'm not an alien."

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 1:44 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. You had me until you said you didn’t like Aliens. I’m going to search your blog for an answer as to why… I thought Alien was a great film, perfected by the “Director’s Cut” additions/subtractions, but to consider it a superior effort to Cameron’s masterpiece is like saying you prefer Roger Rabbit to Bugs Bunny.

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