This year marks the 24th anniversary of the sci-fi classic Alien. For the occasion, FOX has offered it an elixir of youth, re-releasing the movie in a digitally re-mastered format, throwing in a few never-before-seen scenes. Apart from that, the plot remains the same.
On their way back from a commercial mission, seven astronauts intercept a signal from a nearby planet. What they discover is a deserted alien ship surrounded by eggs. Upon returning to their very own ship, the astronauts notice that they have brought something with them. Before long, they realize that this alien intruder wants far more than just to “phone home.” The crew then embarks on a fight not only for their survival, but for all of mankind’s.
Back in 1979, Alien jumpstarted Ridley Scott’s career. This movie made it obvious that he had mastered the art of creating nail-biting suspense and genuinely intense atmospheres. Scott knows where the line between good and bad taste is and he makes sure never to cross it. He uses just the right amount of blood and gore to satisfy the viewer, but leaves enough to the imagination. If there had not been Alien, there might not have been Blade Runner, Gladiator, and Black Hawk Down, just to name a few of his amazing contributions to the seventh art. His work has been mimicked time and again, but never matched.
This movie also rocketed Sigourney Weaver to stardom. As she landed the part of Ripley, the unlikely heroin, her career was about to take the boost she needed. She gave wit and attitude to her character, making her one of the most memorable ladies to kick butt. She later returned as Ripley in the three sequels, her salary in the fourth installment exceeding the entire cost of the original movie.
Of course, in 2003, one look at the ship’s computers will make anyone cringe and some of the special effects might seem out of date, but they were eye-popping back then. The key to fully enjoying this movie is to keep in mind that it was originally released in the late 70s.
One of Alien’s special effects that work best, even after more than twenty years is the alien itself. Forget about the slimy, yet friendly E.T., this acid-bleeding creature is nothing friendly, as it will give shivers to anyone with a flash of its impressive dentition and chilling shriek.
So, how different is this new version? The differences are so slight, most people will not notice them if they have seen the movie more than a year ago. Some scenes have been extended, very few have been added. Apart from those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scenes, the main difference is the quality in both sound and picture.
This Alien revival is the perfect occasion to discover this classic for the first time, or to see it like never before. After all, this movie revolutionized the science fiction and horror genres. It is time this classic gets the recognition it deserves from younger generations who have not witnessed the original masterpiece.