No love for Gladiator here?
Gladiator was OK but I bear a grudge against it for a blatantly undeserved best picture win.
Yeah, Gladiator has its moments but I don’t think it’s a great movie by any stretch, and certainly not worthy of Best Picture (though many another film has committed that particular sin).
For Ridley-historical-epics I prefer Kingdom of Heaven, mainly because of its superior script by William Monahan, although even that film gets pretty leaden in places.
No, in fact I have a decent amount of hatred for Gladiator because as far as I can tell it inaugurated the absolutely awful era of cameras bouncing around in fight scenes so that you can’t see anything at all or tell what the hell is going on, something that appears to have reached its Apex with the Bourne Supremacy. I think the pendulum started swinging back on that when action became more or less entirely CGI.
When I saw Gladiator at the time I thought Ridley was aping Saving Private Ryan. I believe Kaminski’s work in the Normandy sequence involved a lot of handheld, but I would need to rewatch it to make sure.*
*The camerawork in Saving Private Ryan’s opening scene is amazing, whatever its lesser imitators may have inflicted
Alien is one of my comfort food movies. The sequel is as well, but I generally prefer the slow burn of the original. My Blu-Ray comes with an audio track that features the isolated score (both the original and then the one that made it into the movie). I like to just fall asleep to it sometimes. It’s just a fantastic piece of music, and it lends the film this perfect feeling of cold isolation and beauty.
My favorite little bit of the movie might actually be when the crew is on the planet and goes out to investigate the ship. Ridley filmed the footage, put it on VHS tape (or just recorded it on VHS to begin with, I don’t remember), brought it home, and then filmed his TV while messing with the tracking on the VCR to give the footage that “piss poor signal” look when Ash and Ripley are watching the crew from on board the Nostromo. It’s things like this, along with the leaky-underbelly of the ship that really give the film texture. It would not have been the same movie if they had tried to keep that pristine aesthetic briefly shown during the intro with Kane waking up.
I do think it’s Ridley’s best movie, just barely edging out Blade Runner (another one of my favorites).
I’d agree that they’re on the next tier down, but I also really liked Thelma & Louise, Matchstick Men, The Martian, Blackhawk Down and Gladiator. Now, granted I didn’t like Gladiator and Blackhawk Down as much as my roommate. He looooooved those two movies. He dragged me to Gladiator 3 times in the theater. It was good but it wasn’t 3 times in a theater good. And for me Blackhawk Down wasn’t in the same league as Saving Private Ryan, but my roommate hadn’t seen SPR, so Blackhawk was the first movie that really made him feel like he was in a war zone. It didn’t have quite the same impact on me.
Matchstick Men is very underrated.
I still need to see Kingdom of Heaven.
Sometimes when I’m home alone I just put the blu ray on to have it in the background. I’ve been having recurring Alien dreams since I was a kid. Usually some weird mixed-up version of the movie or sequels that never got made, but my mind just keeps going back to that world.
And yes, Goldsmith’s score is amazing, albeit a bit hacked-up in the final cut (some people are still very angry that they spliced in Hansen’s Romantic Symphony at the climax).
I guess this is a bit of a tangent but I love Alien because of how it makes me feel. I don’t know if it’s a factor of growing older but I don’t feel fear like I used to. (I guess I don’t feel joy or anger quite the same either, but I’m going to at least take a pass at staying on the topic I’ve set for myself.)
But Alien reminds me of the way things used to scare me, when there might be a monster around any dark corner, up in a tree, hell maybe under my bed! I remember the first time I saw Alien, at too young of an age I’m sure, and I couldn’t blink during Kane’s “birthing” of the creature. It was the first time I considered that exploring the unknown might not always be a lark, and maybe you shouldn’t go poking your face into every cool looking open object, you never know what’s going to give it a hug.
Kane’s too curious for his own good, but his encounter felt believable in a way that
… did not.
Although, given what happened to the Crocodile Hunter, maybe I’m being too harsh.
Ohhhh! I’m just about giddy with excitement to talk about Cameron’s perfect movie!
Oooh yes, I’m a HUGE fan of Titanic! Not sure if it belongs in this thread though!
Alien is as good as it is because of the script; Scott’s other movies (Blade Runner included, and maybe especially) suffer from not starting from as solid a foundation. Good taste in production designers and visual flair can only take you so far. (Legend, anyone?)
I actually think the only Cameron movie that might be called “perfect” is Terminator, but Aliens is of course doubleplus awesome.
Fixed that for you.
I think you misspelled Legend.
Although I do inexplicably and un-ironically love Legend.
Highly recommended, though Orlando Bloom, who plays the main character, is the weakest link. Be sure to watch the Director’s cut, not the theatrical release.
I love T2 but “perfect” is not a word I would use to describe it.