Hello and welcome to Nerd’s Eye View where movies are watched, not from a casual observer’s perspective, nor with the technical analysis of a professional critic, but from the enjoyment and expectations only a fanboy can give. Today we are going to look at one of the most well known sci-fi movies of all time: Alien.
Now, some reviewers will give you a behind the scenes look into how the movie was made, the brains behind it, the creativity involved, random yet entertaining trivia…yeah, I’m not doing that, at least not this time. This whole review is only based off of what the movie itself gives us and my own observations. And what I’ve observed from watching Alien is…the people in that movie are f@cking idiots.
In Alien, seven crew members are on their way home, bringing with them many tons of mineral ore…from somewhere…for some company (they never name the company in this movie so your guess is as good as mine). The computer in the cockpit starts beeping and they awake from cold sleep. Finding they are not near Earth, and in fact are many months away from home, they naturally want to know what’s going on.
After the captain goes to get answers by typing on a different computer than the one that did all the beeping (I guess they don’t have Siri in the future), they are told that the ship happened to receive an unknown message from an unknown source on an unknown planet (noticing a pattern here?). Company protocol dictates that, despite not being a military vessel nor a science vessel, they investigate this signal or lose all the money they were promised for the work they’ve done these past months. Faced with the possibility of all their hard work going to waste, they all agree to follow the signal and end up on the planet.
While landing, the ship, which was designed to have at least a passing acquaintance with mining operations, turns it’s ankle on a rock, which causes all kinds of shaking, sparks, and other damage that strands the crew for 17-25 hours before everything is fixed, according to the mechanics. Three members of the crew, including the two senior officers, decide to look into the signal while this is going on. Since the planet has no breathable air and is extremely cold, they don black spacesuits and venture where no man has gone before.
Eventually, they find a strange ship. Upon entry, they find a fossilized alien with a hole in its chest that looks like something broke out from the inside. Taking this as a good sign, they continue exploring until they find a hole big enough for a person to drop through. Around this time, Ripley, the star of our show, says the computer has decoded enough of the message to identify it as a warning (as if the alien with a hole in its chest wasn’t warning enough for the audience). But Ash, the science officer, tells Ripley not to worry about telling the away team since they’ll know it’s a warning by the time she reaches them…and about five minutes later, one of the them is getting face raped by a space spider with a monkey tail. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Now you may have noticed that I haven’t named any of the characters other than Ash and Ripley. That is because they’re not important. They are, at best, stereotypes and, at worst, only there to take up space. However, for those who really want to know, their names are Captain-who-makes-dumb-decisions, Angry-black-mechanic, Kinda-stupid-white-mechanic, Chick-who-is-not-Ripley, and Monster-bait. And if that’s not what it says in the credits, it should be.
Anyway, with their mechanical rappelling gear, the captain and Not-Ripley lower Monster-bait into the hole. He finds a large opening full of blue mist and leathery orbs that reminds him of eggs. Expressing wonder at finding the orbs to be completely sealed and containing life (wow, sounds pretty much like eggs), he watches as one orb opens at his touch. Taking this as another good sign, Monster-bait leans over the opening, and surprise! Face rape! Who could have foreseen that turn of events?
Having heard the sounds of muffled screams and Barry White (I assume), the other two realize something is wrong and get him back to the ship where they find Ripley won’t let them in. Protocol dictates that threat of contamination from an alien life form requires a 24 hour wait prior to exposing the ship to potentially dangerous space cooties. Despite the fact that they should have been prepared for being locked out, what with the whole 24 hour contamination deal and investigating possible alien life forms, the captain orders her to open the door because Monster-bait might be dead in 24 hours (he’s psychic!). Ripley refuses saying that if she lets them in they might all die (she’s also psychic!). Ash let’s them in anyway.
The next thing we see is Ash cutting away the helmet and allowing us to get our first glimpse of the space spider. It seems to have melted through the helmet, shoved something down old boy’s throat, grabbed his head with its finger-like appendages, and wrapped its tail around his throat. All attempts to remove it fail as it can’t be pulled off without “tearing his face off with it” and trying to cut it off introduces us to blood acidic enough to burn through at least two decks of the ship. The whole time, oblivious to the acid blood and scalp tearing, dude lies there in a coma, apparently being fed oxygen through alien peen.
Realizing there’s nothing they can do, they decide to leave things to Ash and tell the mechanics to get back to work. What the rest of them do, we have no idea, but we, the audience, are treated to a passive-aggressive rebuke from Ripley to Ash for violating quarantine. His response is, “I got this, b!tch!” (more or less).
This is also when we get more info on what later movies call a face hugger (a much more politically correct term than face raper). It has an outer layer of “protein polysaccharides” and sheds its cells to replace them with “polarized silicone” making it resistant to “adverse environmental conditions”. In other words, it sheds it’s exoskeleton and replaces it with super tough rubber making it “a tough little sonuvabitch”. And he let it in, despite quarantine protocols that dictate otherwise…seems legit.