Ultimate 70s Blogathon Kick-Off: Alien (1979)

Ultimate 70s Blogathon officially kicks off today.

To get things started, my lovely cohost Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews and I will be starting things off at both of our blogs today. To kick off the blogathon, I am reviewing Alien, a movie released nearly 40 years ago and started off a franchise that has been getting a revivial in the last few years. For that, it deserves its spot in this blogathon! For myself, this movie holds a significant spot as one of the first 70s film that I ever saw.

Lets check it out!

Alien (1979)

alien

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto

After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun. – IMDB

Alien is a 1979 sci fi horror thriller directed by Ridley Scott. Everyone knows that but I honestly had no idea how to start off this review about such a popular movie. As much as it kicks off a franchise, the debate of whether this film or its sequel Aliens is better is almost inevitable. However, while both are very good in their own respects, Alien is one that has always got my heart. It really is quite iconic from both the perspective of its story, the atmosphere, the iconic female protagonist and its impeccably brutal alien Xenomorph, it hits a lot of elements perfectly.  Alien can sometimes feel slightly slower in its pacing but this also is where its tense thriller and horror-esque atmosphere is built so well.The darker environment and the mysterious mists here and there along with the foreign space they investigate create some rather creepy imagery right down to the epic face hugger scene and can only send chills down your spine.

alien

The predatory abilities of the Xenomorph is an unknown and as we follow the different characters and their different encounters, we learn a little more. Xenomorph is one of the outstanding parts of this film. Its a speciman to gain knowledge about and as it develops and transforms throughout the film, making a speechless villain have an incredible amount of presence both psychologically and physically.

Alien

A great villain needs to be met with someone worthy to fight them off amd here we have the femme fatale Ellen Ripley who really is the standout character in the movie. Everyone else just fills a spot but Sigourney Weaver’s role portrayal of Ellen Ripley is done so well. She’s tough and smart. The encounters are tense but she also knows how to feel quite real. You can almost say that she breaks the mold of the leading men and their badass role but taking on this tough lady role who fights for survival against this monster alien. As much as Ellen Ripley is a great character and the other supporting roles here as the other six crew members feel dispensable, there are still some decent performances delivered. Ellen Ripley played a voice of reason and the consequences of not listening to her eventually was what caused the disaster on the spaceship.

Revisiting older movies are tough to review. On one hand, its inevitable that some will not carry well over time especially sci-fi films because technology has changed so much over the years. Somehow, as much as technology changed and the tech here seems out of date along with some of the effects, Alien still carries itself really well. The horror moments with the face hugger and the Xenomorph are still creepy and believable. The ship feels real enough to be immersed in the events happening on the spaceship. Overall, Alien as a rewatch delivers itself really well and is still an immersive and thrilling watch and shows how before its times it was when it was released in 1979 with a bunch of unique elements that fit so well together.

Head over to Drew’s Movie Reviews to check out his review to kick off the Ultimate 70s Blogathon some time today!
For the rest of the blogathon, posts will be showing up alternate days between our blogs.
Remember to follow us to not miss out on any of the fantastic entries!

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Monday was a holiday for us here in Canada as we celebrated Victoria Day. I had taken an extra day off on Friday with my accumulated overtime from April’s deadline turning it into a four day weekend and it was still incredibly busy and hectic however, my husband and I did manage to take some time to go see Alien: Covenant. The goal this year is to at least see all the anticipated movies in theatres, so far I have only missed one which is pretty good for an almost half year mark.

We both love the Alien franchise. To be more accurate, I love the Alien franchise because my husband sat me down years ago in our early dating days to watch it and it was awesome. We both enjoyed Prometheus and now, time for some Alien:Covenant.

Lets check it out!

Alien: Covenant (2017)

alien covenant

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz

The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape. – IMDB

 Alien: Covenant is back and it takes place 10 years or so after the events of Prometheus. The crew and their ship of 2000 colonists is on their way to a planet called Origae-6. After many tests, Origae-6 has proved to meet all the tests for colonization. Despite taking years upon years, the crew is set on cryosleep. However, in a not so routine way of waking up, they are intercepted which affects the functionality of the ship, Covenant which ends up hearing signs of civilization in a fuzzy transmission and with the simple analysis, their new captain Oram (played by Billy Crudup) ends up making the decision to land to scout out the area despite the reluctance of his second, Daniels, played by Katherine Waterston. As part of the crew stays in the ship and the rest land, the crew on this remote planet ends up finding a familiar scene that we all know from Prometheus. Here is where the link starts and they start getting weird occurences that as the audience, we get to see have started affected the crew and people who know about the franchise already know very well which this direction will be. Except, Alien: Covenant takes a turn to make sure that its story isn’t all about aliens but rather its a new direction to hint towards advanced technology and android versus humanity and playing God. Whether that is a good change or not? I guess that depends what you expect from Alien: Covenant. For us, it does make a nice change because it gives the Alien franchise a new direction instead of their rather predictable Xenomorphs slaughters the space crew storyline. Xenomorphs are fantastic and if you are a fan of them, they are also wildly underused here. However, their presence can invisibly be felt in the latter half as they have been yet again changed a little more.

Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant is a hard one to review and its taken me a few days to sit down and think about it a little more to let me feelings sort out further. The results of my thinking is there are pros and cons to this movie. It is important to say that I have seen and enjoyed (for the most part) the Alien franchise. We are huge fans of Prometheus as well as the first two movies and we honestly don’t have a huge issue with the 3rd and 4th although we do acknowledge that it is rather flawed in many ways however, the entertainment value is still there. With that said, Alien: Covenant has a lot of good, in fact there are some great moments here. One of the biggest pros here is the visuals. Visually, this movie is fantastic. There are so many scenes that build so much atmosphere and character to the remote planet they land on. It is incredible to see. There is quite a bit of detail as well. Leading to that, Ridley Scott, whether we are talking about Alien or Prometheus and even in Alien: Covenant is masterful at building tension and creating atmosphere. There is a lot of that here as well. The world is elevated mostly because of these two elements. Finally, the cast here that gets more screen time does a good job. There is no doubt that Michael Fassbender is a great actor. He has been in many movies that has proved that he can do a wide array of different roles and capture what the character he needs to portray and deliver something great. In Alien: Covenant, he is one man with two roles. If you were wondering what happened to David from Prometheus, you will get your answer here. He also plays mostly as Walter, who is the resident android on Covenant, as he calls himself an updated version which has its pros and cons as well which the movie will slowly let you learn. In this case, Michael Fassbender as David and Walter create some of the most engaging scenes as well as create depth for the story they want to tell here.

Alien: Covenant

However, the one thing I’m hesitating on being incredibly enthusiastic about here is the story arcs they choose to take. It definitely doesn’t fall in the fault of execution because like I said, the tension and atmosphere was done well and if in the hands of someone less capable than Ridley Scott, this might be less appealing. Here’s where my dilemma lies. An Alien movie should have more aliens, the Xenomorphs here are far and few. They have some pretty generic scenes that are pretty predictable at this point. They almost mirror the first movie such as the Xenomorph hanging out in the ceiling before attacking or the egg with the face huggers and then we have the little creatures breaking out of bodies. I don’t think these are spoilers mostly because they are expected in this franchise at this point, however, perhaps playing with the audience’s anticipation of these moments comes in the equation here where we know more than the characters in the story and if we connected with those characters, we would feel more tense and stressed out because we already know what is going to happen. Maybe this is where the uneasiness comes as well because there are a lot of characters and the only reason I even know their names is thanks to IMDB because they completely went over my head while I was watching it. It also says something about how memorable they are especually when our femal protagonist Daniels played by Katherine Waterston did a good job but somehow everyone was overshadowed by what seems like the main plot with Michael Fassbender who was a much better developed character(s). Somehow with a mesh of characters that didn’t quite get the depth they deserved and a plot that was rather predictable and familiar but also lacking in the appearance of the Xenomorphs. Especially when it attempts to surprise in some parts and yet somehow didn’t manage to do it for myself. 

While it sounds like I didn’t like the movie, I honestly did. Alien:Covenant does a lot of good. I’m a sucker for movies with great atmosphere and beautiful settings because its not only visually appealing but a thrilling and engaging world. While I might have liked more Xenomorph appearances, I do like that they are trying to expand the story to give it another fresh direction. Plus, even if some characters did lack depth for the most part, the few that got the development was done well. Not to mention, it still felt self-contained despite linking back to a previous movie. 
Have you seen Alien:Covenant? Do you like the Alien franchise? Which is your favorite movie from the franchise?