Alien (film series)

In space no one can hear you scream
In space no one can hear you scream
ALIEN (18)
D: Ridley Scott
20th Century Fox/Brandywine (Walter Hill, Gordon Carroll & David Giler)
UK/USA 🇬🇧🇺🇸 1979
117 mins
 
Science Fiction/Horror
 
W: Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett
DP: Derek Vanlint
Ed: Terry Rawlings & Peter Weatherley
Mus: Jerry Goldsmith
PD: Michael Seymour
Cos: John Mollo; H. R. Giger
 
Tom Skerritt (Dallas), Sigourney Weaver (Ripley), Veronica Cartwright (Lambert), Harry Dean Stanton (Brett), John Hurt (Kane), Ian Holm (Ash), Yaphet Kotto (Parker)

The terror begins when the docile crew of the freight spaceship Nostromo investigate a transmission from a desolate planet and discover a life form that is perfectly evolved to annihilate its prey. One by one, it kills each crew member until only one is left, leading to an explosive conclusion.
So often imitated since its release, Alien remains one of the landmark science fiction/horror movies simply due to Ridley Scott's atmospheric direction, austere production design, notable performances and amazing special visual effects long before computer generated beasties became the norm. If anything, it grows better with age, and is worth returning to just to remember how good it is, especially after watching some of later films in the series, which substitute atmosphere, tension and well-written characters for special effects eye-candy and not much else.
A subtle theme of rape runs through the entire movie as a subplot and it features one of the all-time classic movie deaths in a moment dubbed 'the chestburster scene'. 
When they say "they don't make them like they used to", they're referring to movies like Alien. Personally, I think this is the best horror movie in cinema history, and it will never be bettered, certainly not in style and craft.
10/10

Alien
Alien
Did You Know:
In the chest bursting scene, Veronica Cartwright (playing Lambert) screams when blood splatters on her. Her screaming was genuine, as the director withheld information from the cast as to what was going to happen when the take was filmed. The scene was also captured on four different cameras, so they could capture all the actor's reactions.

Award Wins & Nominations:


MILSTEAD MOVIE AWARDS:

Wins: 3 (Best Picture; Best Production Design; Best Visual Effects)

Nominations: 9 (Best Director; Best Actor in a Supporting Role; Best Actress in a Supporting Role; Best Ensemble Cast; Best Screenplay - Original; Best Film Editing; Best Original Dramatic Score; Best Sound; Best Sound Effects Editing)


OSCARS:

Wins: 1 (Best Visual Effects)

Nominations: 1 (Best Art Direction)


BAFTAS

Wins: 2 (Best Production Design; Best Sound)

Nominations: 5 (Best Actor in a Supporting Actor; Best Costume Design; Best Film Editing; Best Music; Most Promising Newcomer)


OTHER WINS:

Saturn Awards (Best Science Fiction Film; Best Director; Best Supporting Actress); Hugo Awards (Best Dramatic Presentation)


This Time It's War
This Time It's War
ALIENS (18)
D: James Cameron
20th Century Fox/Brandywine (Gale Anne Hurd)
USA 🇺🇸 1986
132 mins (director's cut: 148 mins)
 
Science Fiction/Action
 
W: James Cameron [based on a story by Walter Hill & David Giler & characters created by Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett]
DP: Adrian Biddle
Ed: Ray Lovejoy
Mus: James Horner
PD: Peter Lamont
Cos: Emma Porteus
 
Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), Carrie Henn (Newt), Michael Biehn (Cpl. Hicks), Paul Reiser (Burke), Lance Henriksen (Bishop), Bill Paxton (Pte. Hudson), William Hope (Lt. Gorman), Jenette Goldstein (Pte. Vasquez), Al Matthews (Sgt. Apone), Mark Rolston (Pte. Drake)

Officer Ellen Ripley, the only remaining survivor from the spaceship Nostromo, is found by a deep salvage operation after floating in space for 57 years. 
Having lost her family and everything she remembers, she joins a team of high-tech marines sent to investigate the disappearance of space colonists in planet LV-426, the very same planet which the crew of the Nostromo visited in the first movie.  What awaits the team of space soldiers however, is not one creature, but thousands!
It's incredibly rare that you find a sequel which equals it's predecessor and even rarer to find one which nearly betters the original movie and James Cameron's Aliens is just that! Sigourney Weaver reprises her role as Ellen Ripley and is rewarded with a character with more back story than in the original installment, thus evoking sympathy and making us really root for her character, one of the strongest female heroines of all time. Sigourney Weaver received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress, almost unheard of for a performance from an action or sci-fi genre at the time.
Paul Reiser is also perfectly cast as the slimy Burke, who secret objective is not to obliterate the seemingly endless horde of beasties, but to capture and study a specimen for the 'company' and their weapons programme.
James Cameron reflects Ridley Scott's atmospheric direction and handles the action sequences with flair and suspense, especially in the final scenes with a virtually unstoppable alien queen.
A subplot theme of motherhood runs through the movie, especially in the dramatic scenes concerning Ripley and a young girl, Newt, who survived an alien attack which killed both her parents and younger brother.
One of the best sequels in cinema history.
9/10

Sigourney Weaver in Aliens
Sigourney Weaver in Aliens
Did You Know:
The knife trick scene was not in the original shooting script. According to Lance Henriksen, the adding of Hudson's hand to the knife trick was discussed with almost everyone, except Bill Paxton.

Also, this is the only acting role for Carrie Henn (Newt), who settled on a career as a teacher.

Award Wins & Nominations:


MILSTEAD MOVIE AWARDS:

Wins: 2 (Best Sound Effects Editing; Best Visual Effects)

Nominations: 7 (Best Picture; Best Actress in a Leading Role; Best Director; Best Film Editing; Best Original Dramatic Score; Best Production Design; Best Sound)


OSCARS:

Wins: 2 (Best Sound Effects Editing; Best Visual Effects)

Nominations: 5 (Best Actress in a Leading Role; Best Film Editing; Best Original Dramatic Score; Best Production Design; Best Sound)


BAFTAS

Wins: 1 (Best Special Effects)

Nominations: 3 (Best Makeup; Best Production Design; Best Sound)


OTHER WINS:

Saturn Awards (Best Science Fiction Film; Best Actress; Best Director; Best Supporting Actor; Best Supporting Actress; Best Performance by a Younger Actor; Best Writing; Best Special Effects); Hugo Awards (Best Dramatic Presentation); Golden Reel Awards (Best Sound Editing)


ALIEN 3 (18)
D: David Fincher
20th Century Fox/Brandywine (Walter Hill, Gordon Carroll & David Giler)
USA 🇺🇸 1992
115 mins

Science Fiction/Horror

W: David Giler, Walter Hill & Larry Ferguson [based on a story by Vincent Ward & characters by Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett & James Cameron]
DP: Alex Thomson
Ed: Terry Rawlings 
Mus: Elliott Goldenthal
PD: Norman Reynolds
Cos: Bob Ringwood

Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), Charles S. Dutton (Dillon), Charles Dance (Clemens), Paul McCann (Golic), Brian Glover (Warden Andrews), Ralph Brown (Aaron), Danny Webb (Morse), Christopher John Fields (Rains), Lance Henriksen (Bishop)

***SPOILER WARNING***
Upon its original release, Alien 3 was judged to be a huge disappointment and was considered to have made a glaring error with the (off-screen) death of characters Newt & Hicks at the beginning of the movie.  I have to actually agree with this; after the importance of the motherhood subplot in the second movie (Aliens), it really wasn't necessary to kill off such an important character, especially so early on in the proceedings.
It has to be said however, that this third part to the Alien saga, set in an all-male prison, carries with it a subplot of faith and it's not altogether bad, mostly due to David Fincher's dark, gothic vision and the majority of the performances (Weaver reprises the role as Ripley again). Unfortunately, a lot of unnecessary studio involvement and constant re-writes hindered the production (including a teaser trailer which hinted that the setting would be on Earth), resulting in Fincher quitting before it went through the editing process, leaving a messy theatrical cut. The film only really comes together in the special edition, released on DVD & Blu-Ray several years later, as this is closest to what Fincher had envisaged.
In either version, one of the few surprises it carries, is that it seems arbitrary which characters will be killed off, and in what order, much like the previous two films, although the characters aren't as fleshed out here, with only a handful given an interesting backstory.
It's by no means anywhere near as good as the first two films, but the alien effects are decent (although some unconvincing CGI effects are implemented as well as model and miniature work).
After viewing the travesties of Alien: Resurrection and the diabolical AVP crimes against celluloid, I'm willing to forgive this third movie for being disappointing on its original viewing. For me, this is where the saga really should have stopped.
6/10

Sigourney Weaver in Alien3
Sigourney Weaver in Alien3
Did You Know:
$7 million had been spent on sets that were never used thanks to the ever-changing script before filming had even started.

Award Wins & Nominations:


MILSTEAD MOVIE AWARDS:

Wins: none

Nominations: 4 (Best Original Dramatic Score, Best Production Design; Best Sound Effects Editing; Best Visual Effects)


OSCARS:

Wins: none

Nominations: 1 (Best Visual Effects)


BAFTAS

Wins: none

Nominations: 1 (Best Special Effects)


OTHER WINS:

Golden Reel Awards (Best Sound Editing - ADR)


ALIEN: RESURRECTION (18)
D: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
20th Century Fox/Brandywine (Bill Badalato, Gordon Carroll, Walter Hill & David Giler)
USA 🇺🇸 1997
108 mins

Science Fiction/Action

W: Joss Whedon
DP: Darius Khondji
Ed: Herve Schneid
Mus: John Frizzell
PD: Nigel Phelps

Sigourney Weaver (Ripley), Winona Ryder (Annalee Call), Ron Perlman (Johner), Dominique Pinon (Vriess), Michael Wincott (Elgyn), Dan Hedaya (General Perez), Gary Dourdan (Christie), J.E. Freeman (Dr. Wren), Brad Dourif (Gediman)

200 years after the events in the third movie, Ripley is brought back to life in a cloning experiment to try and resurrect the alien creatures for Weyland-Yutani's weapons programme and a team of rebels try and stop the experiments, allowing rogue creatures loose on a spacecraft heading back towards Earth.
This third sequel just insults intelligence. The saga should just have been left alone after the third movie but greedy Hollywood executives seem keen on flogging dead horses to the cinema-going public. The worst thing of all is the involvement of French director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, a hugely talented filmmaker on his own soil, but his wacky style simply doesn't fit with this film, making it feel more like a cartoon than any other genre, particularly with some of the pathetic death scenes.
The terrible performances in this are only just less laughable than the comedy monster which turns up in the film's final moments. 
2/10

Alien: Resurrection
Alien: Resurrection
Did You Know:
Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to have a scene where a mosquito stings Ripley, then vanishes into smoke because of her acid blood. Eventually, he dropped the idea after the SFX team told him how much it would cost.

Award Wins & Nominations:


MILSTEAD MOVIE AWARDS:

Wins: none

Nominations: none

Worst of the Year: 7 nominations (Worst Film; Worst Director; Worst Screenplay (Adaptation); Worst Excuse for a Horror; Worst Sequel/Prequel; Worst Original Score; Worst Visual Effects)


OSCARS:

Wins: none

Nominations: none


BAFTAS

Wins: none

Nominations: none


OTHER WINS:

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards (Favourite Supporting Actress - Science Fiction)


Run
Run

ALIEN: COVENANT (15)

D: Ridley Scott

20th Century Fox/TSG/Scott Free/Brandywine (Walter Hill, David Giler, Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam & Michael Schaefer)

USA/UK 🇺🇸🇬🇧 2017

122 mins


Science Fiction/Horror


W: John Logan & Dante Harper [based on characters created by Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett]

DP: Dariusz Wolski

Ed: Pietro Scalia

Mus: Jed Kurzel 


Katherine Waterston (Daniels), Michael Fassbender (David / Walter), Billy Crudup (Chris), Danny McBride (Tennessee), Demian Bichir (Lope), Carmen Ejogo (Karina), Amy Seimetz (Maggie)


**SPOILER WARNING**

Bridging the gap between Prometheus (qv) and the very first Alien movie, Ridley Scott's prequel trilogy is not only getting bogged down in evolution and existentialism mumbo jumbo, it's doing a major disservice to the original series of films.

The first Alien film really didn't need a prequel and the discovery of the planet with the alien eggs could have just been a matter of consequence, but Prometheus was released in 2012 to explore more into the expanded universe behind the 'Space Jockey' creatures which feature briefly in the first film. However, Prometheus was met with a lot of criticism by people who expected a direct prequel to Alien, so now we have this movie, which doesn't expand the universe at all. The alien is not a deadly creature from the furthest reaches of the galaxy, it's a science experiment gone wrong by a rogue android with a God complex.

Alien: Covenant begins on a vessel full of colonists and human embryos, destined for an Earth-like planet which can support life. A handful of the crew are woken from their cryosleep by a solar event which consequently kills the ship's captain (James Franco has never made easier money).

Acting captain Billy Crudup alters the flightplan to investigate a nearby planet with an Earth-like atmosphere and the rest of the crew tag along. Because they're stupid.

There's little time invested in character development before some of the crew members become infected and alien creatures start bursting out of their innards, and when their shuttle is blown apart by terrible gunfire aim, the survivors are left stranded. 

They are rescued from an alien ambush by David, the cyborg from Prometheus, who provides exposition before inviting him into his cave to bear his creations.

Though some of the questions left hanging at the end of Prometheus are answered, this film only poses more questions which will be answered in the next film because 20th Century Fox want even more money from this franchise. 

Unfortunately, it appears that Ridley Scott wishes to destroy his legacy with these prequel films, in the same way George Lucas did with his. This series of films really should have ended with part 3, which has been heavily criticised with its handling of the continuation, but it really starts to look a masterpiece with each new movie

4/10


Alien: Covenant
Alien: Covenant
Did You Know:
The original treatment for this movie, as revealed by Ridley Scott in 2012 when the film was still in development, was to be a more faithful sequel to Prometheus (2012). Titled "Paradise Lost," it would have drifted even further from the "Alien" mythology, and focused almost exclusively on the backstory of the engineers, the origins of humanity and how the engineers created humans and xenomorphs. The prequels would then conclude with a film that ties itself in to the original "Alien" movies. Scott pursued this idea because he felt that the "Alien" franchise lost its touch and was overdone and overexposed, and as such he wanted to try a different approach. However, due to the divided fan reactions to "Prometheus", he abandoned this direction and took a different approach instead, specifically to reintroduce the "Alien" mythos much sooner.

Award Wins & Nominations:


MILSTEAD MOVIE AWARDS:

Wins: none

Nominations: none

Worst of the Year: 1 nomination (Worst Sequel/Prequel)


OSCARS:

Wins: none

Nominations: none


BAFTAS

Wins: none

Nominations: none


OTHER WINS:

none


Also See:
Alien vs Predator (2004); Prometheus (2012)