I'm going to re-watch the first four Alien movies


#41

It has to be the Director’s Cut. There is no other. The theater version is so cut down that the story makes little sense and all of the drama is sucked out of it. It would be like trimming Inception down to just an hour long. It can not effectively be done.

Kingdom of Heaven is probably in my top 10 favorite movies for many reasons but one of the most primary is that is so beautifully shot. Every scene is visual candy.


#42

Definitely highly recommended. I think I mentioned it in another thread, but whenever I see a glimpse of this on tv, I can’t stop watching it, despite having seen it at least 7 times now. Mind you, that does not necessarily mean it is a good movie…


#43

William Monahan, who wrote Kingdom of Heaven (as well as The Departed, for which he won an Oscar), also wrote an unproduced script about the early-1800s Barbary Coast War called “Tripoli.” Of the ~2000 unproduced scripts I have read, it’s probably the best. It has tonal similarities to Kingdom of Heaven but is tighter and more entertaining. It was at one point set up with Ridley to direct; I’m actually relieved that version didn’t get produced as it had Keanu attached for the lead role and he would have been all wrong. It now floats in no-man’s-land, as far as I know.


#44

Just to clarify, Monahan wrote the screenplay(of the Departed0. This was an adaptation(cough copy) of the Hong Kong Movie Infernal Affairs.

Since you’ve read so many scripts, you were likely well aware of this, but almost everyone else I’ve talked to about the departed was unaware of its origins…


#45

Yup, in fact I was given Infernal Affairs to watch as a possible remake before The Departed was written.

The Oscar that Monahan won, obviously, was Best Adapted Screenplay.


#46

You’ve seen the movies -
You’ve played the games -
Now RIDE THE ROLLERCOASTER

OK so it’s not a real thing but come on, wouldn’t that be awesome?


#47

Stop.

Do.

Not.

Tease.

Me.


#48

This took me ages to figure out, as I didn’t know of a movie called Legend directed by Cameron… turns out you meant the Legend directed by Ridley Scott with Tom Cruise in it? :)


#49

Doh, yes. Alien franchise director confusion.


#50

We desperately need likes around here.


#51

MU-TH-UR.


#52

Amusingly enough, this popped up in my Twitter feed today - cool stuff!


#53

Thanks everyone for contributing to the thread!

And now… Aliens!

So, let me tell you this story. When I was a freshman in college (this is 1988 we’re talking about now), the guy in the dorm room across the hall from me had a VCR and a TV in his dorm room. This was incredibly extravagant at the time. He had three movies on tape: Conan the Barbarian, Terminator, and Aliens. So, we watched those movies a lot. So, there was probably a time when I had this movie memorized.

But that was a long time ago, and memory fades. I certainly remembered all the one-liners (“Game Over Man!”, “Have you ever been mistaken you for a man? No, have you?”, etc.), and most of the highlights of the plot, but I’d forgotten most of the overall flow of the movie, and a lot of the character details, locations, and events.

I have to make a confession here: when I first saw this movie (and I honestly don’t remember when that was), I was somewhat put off by the massive shift in tone between this and Alien. Alien was a horror movie; a claustrophobic scare-fest with an unkillable monster. Aliens is a straight-up action film, with bunch of Marines who go toe-to-toe with a horde of these monsters and mows them down by the score, sometimes with nothing but a pistol.

Anyway, I now feel like that was a silly objection. Aliens is a fantastic action movie, which does more than hold up, it outshines nearly every action movie to come since. It actually doesn’t lean very much on its predecessor anyway; it borrows the lifecycle of the Alien (and introduces the term “Xenomorph”), the character of Ripley (and her distrust of Artificial Persons), and… that’s about it. In retrospect, if they had just done a repeat of the first Alien, I’d have complained that they didn’t do anything new.

Aliens is a much more sprawling, expansive movie than Alien. Where Alien takes place 90% in the cramped corridors and chambers of the Nostromo, Aliens takes place in a wide variety of locations: Ripley’s shuttle; the Earth-orbiting station, the Sulaco, the drop ship, the colony complex, and the terraforming station (and probably a bunch of others). I wouldn’t say all of those locations got the same level of detail treatment as the Nostromo in the first movie, but they’re all pretty damn good. I love Ripley’s crappy apartment on the station after she loses her flight license. Newt’s hideaway in the vents. The nightmarish Giger-style corridors of the alien hive.

Again, the aliens themselves appear in the movie less than you probably remember. They don’t show up for about an hour (depending on if you’re watching the original or the 1990 Director’s Cut). Then we get the firefight, where, I don’t know if you’re keeping up with current events, but the Marines just got their asses kicked. Then a while later the escape from the colony complex with the aliens close behind. And then of course the third act, which is almost wall-to-wall Alien Queen (they spent a lot of time and effort building that damn thing, they’re gonna use it!)

Now, you might think that with so much non-Alien screen time, what the hell is going on? But there is no dead weight in this movie. (In fact, the added scenes in the Director’s Cut, where we find out RIpley had a daughter who died of old age while she was in cryo, and we see Newt’s family discover the derelict alien spacecraft, and the predictable results, are great, but probably unnecessary.) Ripley’s nightmares. Hudson’s flip-flop from testosterone-laden braggart to quivering jelly as soon as he sees the aliens. Burke’s gradual reveal as a slimy, corporate, greedy, murderous coward. Bishop’s heroism. Hicks falling asleep on the express elevator to Hell. As well as Hicks emerging as the leader that Lt. Gorman didn’t turn out to be.

I want to talk about Newt. Putting a kid in a major role in a movie is always a crapshoot (just ask Shane Black), but Carrie Henn just knocks it out of the park. She delivers lines like “It won’t make any difference” perfectly, just the right combination of “I’m a kid” and “I’ve seen shit you wouldn’t believe”. She’s badass (she crushes a facehugger against the wall with a piece of furniture), but still a kid (she usually just gives a high-pitched scream when something horrifying happens).

It’s not surprising she won a Saturn award for her performance. What is surprising is that she never acted in anything else, before or since. I don’t know if she just had a terrible experience, or just wasn’t interested, or what. But I suppose if you’re going to give one performance and bow out, at least it was one she can be rightfully proud of.

Since there was talk above about the Ridley Scott/James Cameron switch… I did think it was interesting that these four movies were all made by different directors; all very high-profile directors with very different styles. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the guy who made Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, and Amelie, made Alien Resurrection, so that has to be good, right? But next up, Fincher’s Alien3. He made Fight Club, so what could go wrong?


#54

and The Duelists just before Alien, also perfect.


#55

I saw Aliens in the theater when it came out in 1986. When the credits rolled I literally almost started crying because it was the most perfect movie I thought I had ever seen up to that point.


#56

I remember seeing Aliens in the theater as well - in 1986, I was 14, too young to see the movie on my own. My mom was a huge movie buff and had no problem taking me along to an R rated movie luckily - but my best friend really wanted to see it too, and his parents would go nuts if they knew he was going to see it. So we tried to hatch a clever scheme - what exactly does ‘parent or legal guardian’ mean anyway? Sure, I know now, but at the time I was looking at all the angles. As it turned out, we needn’t have bothered - the ticket taker barely glanced at us.

I remember that experience distinctly though, that movie was intense. I remember Roger Ebert remarking that his forearms ached from gripping the arms of his seat so tightly, and that’s what I think of it. I have seen the movie so many times since and I still love it, even though I think I could pretty much recite the movie beat by beat.

I still can’t say whether I like the first Alien or its sequel better. They’re so different and so good in their own ways. The first movie was a slow burn, turning up the heat gradually. And the alien was a mystery, what the heck was going to happen next? Cameron didn’t have that luxury - we knew what the characters were getting into even if they didn’t, so he just cranked the heat up to maximum early and didn’t let up. I don’t know if Aliens is perfect but it’s damn good.

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#57

Can polls only be done in an opening post?

I’d like to know the consensus on which ‘version’ of each film is best to watch. Especially for a first timer.

I’ve got the quadrilogy on dvd, and I’m always aghast when my partner says she’s never seen it… I’ve yet to get round to educating her. (There’s too many others in thr at first: Star Trek, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Rocky… )


#58

Which version of each movie should a first-timer watch?

  • Alien: 1979 Theatrical Version
  • Alien: 2003 Director’s Cut

0 voters

  • Aliens: 1986 Theatrical Version
  • Aliens: 1991 Special Edition

0 voters

  • Alien3: 1992 Theatrical Version
  • Alien3: 2003 Special Edition

0 voters

  • Alien Resurrection: 1997 Theatrical Version
  • Alien Resurrection: 2003 Special Edition

0 voters


#59

Zero votes for Resurrection because no one should watch it?


#60

My daughter and I watched Alien and then Aliens over the summer and she really liked them, so just yesterday we watched Alien 3 and I opted for the special edition. I remember re-watching this probably 10 years back and thinking “this isn’t so bad, why do we fans hate this so much?” and even watching it again, what a gorgeous movie! Well, outside of the terrible CGI on the alien of course, wow that was shockingly bad, but the sets, the scenes, the costumes and characters all looked so good! And the story was a really bold choice, and I think worked well as a finale to a trilogy, actually. The daughter liked it a lot, as well, so that’s saying something.