Posts Tagged ‘Alien’

Alien: Covenant Movie Poster*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On the far side of the galaxy the colony spaceship USCSS Covenant takes a detour and discovers horrors on an uncharted planet.

Opening with a flashback of David being activated by Peter Weyland we are treated to an Alien-style title sequence. After a shocking neutrino burst opening we are then introduced to the characters brought abruptly out of hyper-sleep by Walter a synthetic model. Soon the crew land on a planet and after a series of hostile events meet David, a survivor of the Prometheus mission. David and Walter (Michael Fassbender in dual roles) are put centre stage. To Ridley Scott’s special effects team credit the androids are exceptional and you never question the illusion of the two characters being on screen at once.

Whereas Prometheus felt somewhat innovative and charted a different direction to the Alien series if you are a fan be warned, Covenant takes a step back with the Engineers and Shaw’s story thread ending abruptly. Aside from Guy Pearce’s Weyland’s cameo, ties from Prometheus are broken and even Noomi Rapace’s Shaw who appeared in Covenant’s promotions is substantially cut in the final film. This is in place of a standard three act Alien affair, without the suspense of Alien but all the brashness of Aliens, still director Scott’s moody, thoughtful style shines here. Naturally the aesthetics, cinematography, production design are of Scott’s high standards and Covenant moves at breakneck speed, from ship, to planet, back to ship à la Alien format borrowing also from Aliens and his own Prometheus and even a line from Blade Runner. In addition, Jed Kurzel’s soundtrack takes all the best cues from Jerry Goldsmith’s 1979 Alien score and hones a reminiscent hybrid of sorts.

Lead Katherine Waterston’s Daniels (terrible hair cut aside), does her best with what she’s given. James Franco appears briefly and like Rapace his part aside from body and video footage is left promo material hell. Waterston offers enough emotion to keep Franco’s Branson spirit alive throughout and you buy into her loss. Logical straight talking Callie Hernandez’s Upworth is notable along with Billy Crudup’s to the book Oram and Demián Bichir’s tough solider Lope is memorable. Fassbender’s dual performance is excellent. However, he unjustly steals the show and his position of prominence takes away what made (certainly David) so interesting as a secondary character in Covenant’s predecessor.

The various looking aliens on display are highly aggressive from the outset. The Alien effects are first rate and the introduction to a H. R. Giger style creepy white Neomorph alien (born from spores that grow inside you into a Neomorph Bloodburster) gives Pan’s Labyrinth chills. Nevertheless, there’s not enough suspense or stalking from the aliens, but plenty of running around. It felt like too many CGI beast shots and not enough practical effects. However, when the Neomorph stood upright in front of David it was quite impressive. When the traditional albeit upgraded version of the Alien turns up it’s a joy. There’s a missed opportunity to face off the old Xenomorphs Alien with the new Neomorph. Or even solely focus on the Neomorph as there is some interesting communication between David and the Aliens that is never fully explored. There’s also the thread that David may or may not have gone stir crazy due to his humanistic characterisations. (Incidentally, the novelisation through various passages and additional dialogue fill in the blanks, e.g. why they leave the landing ship without helmets, what happens to the other Neomorph, Shaw’s cross necklace and many more, it’s a shame these moments were either not filmed or cut.)

When things go pear shaped there’s plenty of blood and gore, the alien eggs, Chestburster and Facehuggers are finely tuned for screen, Scott also throws in fighting androids and Aliens-like shoot outs – there’s plenty to like about Covenant. Waterston along with Danny McBride’s pilot Tennessee look comfortable going head to head with the pesky Alien, even if it all feels somewhat rehashed and rushed. However, die-hard Alien fan’s will have to buy into facehugger embryos (?!), David creating eggs and incubation times. This is topped of by handful of writers who offer a frustrating ending which teases another follow up.

Overall, Scott plays it safe and delivers a sci-fi horror with a typical series of action setups that is basically there to appease action fans rather than create suspense which was the originals finest quality.

dark skies

An everyday American family with money troubles are harassed by extraterrestrial beings who plan on experimenting and eventually abducting their first contacted host.
 
Dark Skies is in the vein of Signs (2002), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), The Fourth Kind (2009), Fire in the Sky (1993) and so on. Nevertheless, director Scott Stewart’s traditionally shot offering is more reminiscent of Paranormal Activity and Poltergeist (1982) in its format. It’s a slow burner, household items are mysteriously stacked, surveillance cameras are set up in the home and the occupants encounters with the ‘Greys’ become progressively more terrifying each night. Of course they seek help from the local expert played by J.K. Simmons who appears briefly.
 
The few special effects that are on display are finely done, hollowed out eye sockets, birds smashing into windows, the glimpse of the aliens themselves to name a few. The makeup bruises on the children and nose bleeds are effective. Actress Keri Russell is impressive as the concerned mother, Josh Hamilton is adequate as the doubting father, with both child actors Kadan Rockett and Dakota Goyo doing a good job. There’s are a few subplots involving the eldest son teenage struggles, suspected domestic abuse and the family financial troubles which prevent Dark Skies from becoming stale.
 
Stewart builds the tension nicely throughout and delivers a few jump scares, essentially it’s a crafted suburban chillier, with the home-invaders or ghosts antagonists replaced with aliens.
 
In a genre saturated with really bad films, this is well made – if you like alien mysteries especially from a family perspective this is probably one of the best of the bunch.
 
 
 
Dark Skies on IMDB

“There is very little involvement with the characters themselves…a generally good cast in cardboard roles.” – Variety

 
“An overblown B-movie…technically impressive but awfully portentous and as difficult to sit through as a Black Mass sung in Latin.” – Los Angeles Herald Examiner
 
“An empty bag of tricks whose production values and expensive trickers cannot disguise imaginative poverty.” – Time Out
 
“There’s not enough writing for proper characterisation, not enough plot development for the mind as well as the senses to bite on” – The Guardian
 
These are not Prometheus reviews but those for Alien (1979) also directed by Ridley Scott. I’m a huge fan of Alien and a fan of Prometheus, both have their flaws. Like it or not Ridley returned to the universe and the vision he created. If he had made it prequel like The Thing (2011) that lead right up to the events of the first film, it no doubt would have been dubbed a rehash and/or met criticism as did The Thing. Certain effects aside, I thought The Thing was a worthy prequel and complemented the original it was like watching the Titanic, you were watching ghosts. While it had surprises it was made by deconstruction of the original Thing and its events which as a fan I warmed to.
 
 
Prometheus is set in the same universe, the same world as the Aliens series but as it also stands alone. Prometheus is under discussion, dissection and criticism arguably more so than Alien ever was on its release possibly due to hype, anticipation and interest. But ‘Space truckers’ investigating an Alien ship, Kane examining an egg, the search for Jones while a dangerous little critter on the loose. It’s all science fiction, fiction the key word and entertaining imaginary tale to. Alien was also mocked for characterisation and lack of plot development and is now hailed as a classic.
 
Prometheus is what it is. It’s no use comparing the two. Both films could have opened with the lines “you know what, let’s not go down to that moon it could be dangerous.” They both have debatable flaws without which there wouldn’t be a story.
 
Prometheus raises questions but this adds to a tantalisingly unknown direction for Prometheus. It raised a lot of the debate and has a marmite effect. I’ve put together a Q and A to make the film palatable for some, dot some i’s and cross some t’s so to speak. Be warned there are spoilers.
 
When is Prometheus and Alien set?
Prometheus – Undisclosed date (opening) 2089 and 2093, Alien takes place in 2122.
 
Does this take place on LV-426, the planet from Alien and Aliens?
No, this is set on the moon LV-223.
 
Where in Prometheus did they say that this was LV-223?
The holographic pictogram shows a planetary system containing LV-223.
 
Was the ship from this film the one found in Alien?
No this ship is docked, again it is set on a different planet. The ship in Prometheus only crashes when it collides with the Prometheus, 30 years before the events in Alien. The ship in Alien landed on LV-223 and had been there enough time for the jockey to fossilize (thousands of years).
 
Is the Space Jockey from Alien in this?
No, the fossilized Jockey is not, but an ancient Space Jockey/ Engineer does (in the opening), in addition a living Jockey (awoken by the Prometheus crew) and 2000 year old fossilized remains.
 
Do the Alien or Face Hugger seen in Alien and Aliens appear?
No, but a variation which shares similarities do.
 
Is Meredith Vickers an android?
While her demeanour may suggest otherwise Vickers is not an android. She is no more android than Janek, Chance and Ravel could be. It has been stated by the creators she is not. It as ambiguous as Blade Runner’s Deckard . Even though Scott stated Deckard was a replicant, fan folk still debate the matter.
 
Why do Janek, Chance and Ravel crash the ship?
Janek tells Elizabeth Shaw that he will do anything to stop the Engineers. The pilots have nothing to lose from the time they left Earth, effectively on borrowed time. This is hinted when Meredith Vickers asks David if anyone died during the hyper sleep, substantiating that the crew knew they may not even reach LV-223 alive. Given Shaw’s convincing reasoning with Janek and their services background sacrifice for the greater good of mankind was not beyond possibility.
 
How old was Peter Weyland?
103, born in 1990 according to the viral videos.
 
How do Fifield and Milburn get lost?
Fifield being panicked, intoxicated and because “it all looks the same” he/they get lost because of the static electrical storm that Janek references is interfering with the equipment.
 
Why did the Engineers decide to destroy humans?
According to Sir Ridley Scott: “If you look at it as an ‘our children are misbehaving down there’ scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armour and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, Lets send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it. Guess what? They crucified him.”
 
Why does Milburn occupy himself with the Alien?
Milburn is a botanist, he’s just getting stuck in herpetologist Steve Irwin style.
 
How does David know there are more ships?
Other structures, the same as where the Space Jockey/ Engineer’s ship is concealed can been seen as they land in the Prometheus on LV-223.
 
What Did David Say to the Engineer?

 Scott removed translation (it works better dramatically). Apparently the line that David speaks to the Engineer is from a longer sequence that didn’t make the final edit. Dr. Anil Biltoo (who appears onscreen as the holographic linguistics teacher) of London’s SOAS Language Centre and taught Fassbender (David) how to speak in Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language. Says: ‘This man is here because he does not want to die. He believes you can give him more life’

David did as directed by Weyland. Engineer is infuriated.

Is that first planet in the prologue Earth?
Ridley Scott says: No, it doesn’t have to be. That could be anywhere. That could be a planet anywhere. All he’s doing is acting as a gardener in space. And the plant life, in fact, is the disintegration of himself.

Was David’s basketball toss a nod to Alien Resurrection?
Writer Lindelof says: Nothing is an accident in Prometheus. Every single decision that is made by Ridley Scott is made for a very specific reason and purpose.

What are the different effects of the Black Goo/Bio-Former?

  • Engineer + Goo + Water = Human life
  • Goo + Human = Human Mutant
  • Goo (ingested) + Intercourse = Giant squid/face hugger-like Trilobite
  • Trilobite + Engineer = Alien form (similar to that in the Alien Series)
  • Goo + Animal(worm)/Insect = Animal/Insect Mutant

Is Peter Weyland related to Charles Weyland and Bishop II, is there a link with Bishop?

  • Peter Weyland (Prometheus)is the founder and CEO of Weyland Corporation and is not related to Bishop II.
  • Bishop (Aliens/ Alien 3) is an android built by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.
  • Bishop II (Alien 3) is the man who designed the Bishop Android.
  • Charles Weyland (AvP) is not linked in any way to Peter. The Alien Versus Predator film series is considered a spin-off and not canon to the Alien or Predator franchises.

Note: Although a debate among fans whether Bishop II is a real person or an Android filmmakers confirm he was indeed human. However, in some of the expanded Alien universe “Bishop II” is referred to as Michael Weyland, so if that’s the case he could be a great-nephew of Peter Weyland’s. (Peter Weyland mentions he didn’t have any sons, so unless he had daughters who kept his name, Michael Weyland would likely not be a direct descendant)

 
If you have any questions give me a shout and I’ll try to track down the answers. in the mean time my thoughs on Prometheus…
 
Prometheus (2012) Review
 
The near future 2089 Earths historical artifact’s and ancient paintings prompt an expedition into space to find our makers but puts the crew of the Prometheus in grave danger when they land on LV-223 in 2093.
 
Veteran director Ridley Scott gives Prometheus its own unique look and rightly so as the action, suspense takes place on LV-223 not LV- 426 as in Alien(s). Without getting bogged down with Alien (2122A.D) comparisons, this is a science expedition not a mining vessel.
 
This change in location allows Prometheus to sit as a stand alone film.Questioning our origins in a reasonable intelligent way the story written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof is intriguing and makes this film stand above your average sci-fi. That said, Prometheus does raise more questions than it answers yet it’s ambiguity is what makes this film special and allows set-ups for future instalments.
 
It’s excellently cast and includes international actors Guy Pearce (who is sorely underused) Idris Elba as everyday man Janek and Logan Marshall-Green to name a few. Charlize Theron is astounding as Meredith Vickers, a hard nosed corporate mission director. Notably is Michael Fassbender as David who is every bit as interesting as Bishop and Ash with added a quirky ‘fondness’ for Peter O’Tool. Main protagonist Elizabeth Shaw played by Noomi Rapace is not your typical Ripley clone and carries much of the emotion for the film.
 
The effects are first rate, with the Space Jockeys, scenery, ships and Aliens wonderfully realised and rendered. Some of the effects are practical and look organic for the most part. The location and environment feels real and makes everything more palatable. A nod should go to Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography and Pietro Scalia’s editing.Scott delivers a few standout creepy scenes some particularly gut turning, notably the arm breaking, infection and decontamination scenes- it captures some xenomorph magic.
 
Marc Streitenfeld’s music score is an effective mixed bag although is a little over used. Both writers and Scott ensure to include a few character twists and wisely incorporate some elements from the Aliens series (in keeping with that world) whether it be a vehicle, a line or setup to possibly appease die-hard fans but for the most part it feels fresh. That said, some character motivations need to be teased out by the viewer for clarification, not all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted.
 
The film took the Alien series in a direction I was not expecting. As a long-time fan of the Alien series, and with this new Prometheus course I can say I’m satisfied, it’s edge of your seat, gory-suspense – director Ridley Scott is on pretty good form.
 
Prometheus tackles themes of origin, mortality and biological warfare to name a few and although it feels a little rushed it’s a grower just like the spores themselves.
 
Promethus Continues…
 

 
A viral campaign has become part and parcel to accompany a film these days. A rule of thumb though is that its viral campaign ends when a film opens. However, this is not the case with Prometheus…
 
Ridley Scott‘s started in advertising and he’s obviously played a big part in this little spin. After the end of the credits of Prometheus it features the Weyland logo with the date 11th October 2012. Then there popped up a website called What Is 10-11-12? This featured another viral video of Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce, who was sorely underused in the film) after this short vid directed by Scott’s son a link appears to http://www.weylandindustries.com/timeline
which seems to be the first part of several chronicling the history of the Weyland company.
 

Is this date setting up an announcement at Comic Con or just a novel way to plug the DVD/Blu-ray release? Only time will tell, but with Prometheus being a financial success and rousing lots of debate amongst fans, a sequel seems somewhat inevitable.

The near future 2089 Earths historical artifact’s and ancient paintings prompt an expedition into space to find our makers but puts the crew of the Prometheus in grave danger when they land on LV-223 in 2093.Veteran director Ridley Scott gives Prometheus its own unique look and rightly so as the action, suspense takes place on LV-223 not LV- 426 as in Alien(s). Without getting bogged down with Alien (2122A.D) comparisons, this is a science expedition not a mining vessel. This change in location allows Prometheus to sit as a stand alone film.

Questioning our origins in a reasonable intelligent way the story written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof is intriguing and makes this film stand above your average sci-fi. That said, Prometheus does raise more questions than it answers yet it’s ambiguity is what makes this film special and allows set-ups for future instalments.

It’s excellently cast and includes international actors Guy Pearce (who is sorely underused) Idris Elba as everyday man Janek and Logan Marshall-Green to name a few. Charlize Theron is astounding as Meredith Vickers, a hard nosed corporate mission director. Notably is Michael Fassbender as David who is every bit as interesting as Bishop and Ash with added a quirky ‘fondness’ for Peter O’Tool. Main protagonist Elizabeth Shaw played by Noomi Rapace is not your typical Ripley clone and carries much of the emotion for the film.

http://1.gvt0.com/vi/EjYp116AXfU/0.jpg

The effects are first rate, with the Space Jockeys, scenery, ships and Aliens wonderfully realised and rendered. Some of the effects are practical and look organic for the most part. The location and environment feels real and makes everything more palatable. A nod should go to Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography and Pietro Scalia’s editing.

Scott delivers a few standout creepy scenes some particularly gut turning, notably the arm breaking, infection and decontamination scenes- it captures some xenomorph magic.

Marc Streitenfeld’s music score is an effective mixed bag although is a little over used. Both writers and Scott ensure to include a few character twists and wisely incorporate some elements from the Aliens series (in keeping with that world) whether it be a vehicle, a line or setup to possibly appease die-hard fans but for the most part it feels fresh. That said, some character motivations need to be teased out by the viewer for clarification, not all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted.

The film took the Alien series in a direction I was not expecting. As a long-time fan of the Alien series, and with this new Prometheus course I can say I’m satisfied, it’s edge of your seat, gory-suspense – director Ridley Scott is on pretty good form.

Prometheus tackles themes of origin, mortality and biological warfare to name a few and although it feels a little rushed it’s a grower just like the spores themselves.

If you have any burning Prometheus questions head here for answers.

20120111-192303.jpg Face eating monsters run amok in a facility. The survivors try to escape the horrors of the creatures but the horror maybe within.

Also known as the marketable Alien Undead Gregory Connors offering is an overlooked interesting piece of low budget film making.

Although borrowing an assortment of ideas and dialogue from many sci-fi’s, heavily from Aliens, The Cave and Event Horizon, Connors film has an odd alluring charm. Underneath the overpowering score uneven script and badly delivered dialogue there’s plenty to like. The effects, make up and gore are for the most part effective. Stark white sets, grim corridors, rain drenched foliage and computer control rooms all add to the films interest. While some of the set ups are less effective than others and The Dark Lurking throws too many ideas in the pot it does for the most part deliver especially in atmosphere.

The cast are a mixed bag, notable are Tonia Renee, Bret Kennedy and Ozzie Devrish as Kirkland.

There’s some well executed gun play, great lighting and camera work. Connors and the editor are wise not to linger too long. When the relentless imposing score is working it compliments the many great visuals perfectly.

Although lacking pace and originality its one of the better low budget sci-fi,s and certainly worth viewing.

I watched alien comedy Paul (2011) recently which got me thinking about E.T (1982), where my dad would make me wear his Parker, hold a torch and say “phone home” – those warm a fuzzy days eh. It got me thinking about alien films in general. There’s been some turkeys recently The Fourth Kind, The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) to name just two. I’m a sucker for alien invasion films, call me a geek (but it’s hardly surprising coming from the guy who still recall the lyrics to the 60’s Iron-Man and Captain America cartoon theme tunes,the re-runs). I must say I wasn’t a fan of Independence Day (1996) or Men In Black (1997) maybe it’s that watered down/appease the masses/play it safe middle of the road stuff that entertains but doesn’t excite or entice. Whereas Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks (1996) was all out dark comedy and Invasion of the Body Snatchers tackles the subject ominously sober for me it’s those films that are just more appealing.
Check out the Cellulord’s blog where he wonderfully breaks those Invaders down into five sub-genres.
Here’ a few thoughts on those mass invasion stories that you may have missed or simply avoided from various reasons.
Battle: Los AngelesBattle: Los Angeles (2011)
A platoon of U.S. Marines during a global alien invasion try to stay alive and take hold of Los Angeles while extracting a group of innocent civilians.
Battle: Los Angeles shares of much of the look and relentless extraterrestrial attack of Skyline (2010). However, where Skyline portrayed it from civilian point to view this is very much a story from the perspective of the Armed Forces.
Chris Bertolini’s screen-play pushes heroism and all its clichés to the limit, at times the film plays as a training or recruitment U.S. Marines video with each character needing to plug the name of every type of weapon used. Although there is a consistent overuse of a shaky handy-cam effect a credit should to go to director Jonathan Liebesman as the set ups are well covered with a feeling of geography so you never feel lost in the quick pans or sharp movements. It’s a serious stab at the subject matter and the effects are outstanding, mirroring the realism of Monsters (2010) and District 9 (2009) to name a few.
Both Ramón Rodríguez and Michelle Rodriguez are notable but it is Aaron Eckhart as a veteran SSgt. Michael Nantz who carries the most credence.
Reminiscent of Cloverfield (2008), Black Hawk Down (2001) and Saving Private Ryan (1998) – if there’s room for another alien invasion with a war element flick this will appease but if you feel you’ve seen it all before it’s probably because you have.
Overall, formulaic but still mildly entertaining.
V: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray]“V” (2009-2011)
Before Alien Nation, before Independence Day, there was V. A race of human looking extraterrestrials arrive on earth. These ‘vistors’ led by alien Anna come in peace, however, behind her smile is a sinister plan to take over the world.
The latest ‘reimagining’ of V is a competent rework of the original 80’s TV show. Despite some ropey CGI effects, the story, characters and script carry some weight, there are shades of grey, not everything is black and white… Unorthodox alliances, double crossings, morale choices and sacrifice are just some of the themes amongst a cloak and dagger alien invasion. There is action, drama and of course it’s played possibly as realistic as you can get considering it a show about lizard aliens.
Jane Badler the original female protagonist appears in season 2 as ‘Diana’ which is a nice nod for fans of the predecessor albeit as a different character with the same name. And also Marc Singer gives a cameo. Notable are actors Scott Wolf and Laura Vandervoort. Worth mentioning is Anna’s right hand man played by Morena Baccarin and tough guy Kyle Hobbes played by Charles Mesure.
Evil executives at ABC have cancelled the series after season/series 2 which is a crying shame as there were plenty of places V could have been taken with the right story writers and good characters already established such as FBI agent Erica Evans, played by Elizabeth Mitchell and Joel Gretsch as Father Jack Landry.
It’s said that it ends on a cliff hanger but that depends on who’s side your on, there is one winner, if no more are made… Worth seeing, I’ll now finish this sentence as abruptly as ABC’s cancellation.
MonstersMonsters (2010)
For six years large aliens have been on earth and inhabit the ‘infected zone’ between the US and Mexico border. After a monster destroys a hotel the daughter of an executive is injured and under instruction from his boss a photographer must ensure she gets back to the US. However, after a series of events it becomes more difficult than expected and they both must journey through the infected zone.
Début leads Whitney Able and Scoot McNairy are impeccably first-rate and would put any A-lister to shame. Any lesser casting could have ruined the film but the realistic portrayal they deliver, packed with emotion is easy to relate to, it’s surprising how they command the screen and keep you enthralled. The rest of the uncredited cast are exceptional and everything is played for realism. Note worthy is the ticket selling desk clerk.
The dreamlike score is fantastic, Jon Hopkins’ beats and hums capture and heighten the moments – it’s very memorable, reminiscent of John Murphy’s 28 weeks later subtler moments.
Credit must go to director/writer Gareth Edwards for the fantastic subtle script, great locations and fantastically executed effects. Whether intentional or not there’s plenty of social commentary, political values and society reflective parallels going on but those aside Monsters is a journey of two people finding themselves.
At first I was expecting another War of the Worlds rehash, District 9, a grounded version of ID4, or even a better version of Skyline but what I got was a journey story with aliens as the back drop. If only Jurassic Park could have been filmed in this style. Monsters took me by surprise, I didn’t expect it to be such a wonderful film.
Gareth Edwards is certainly a multi-talented individual and not one to watch – as he’s already there. Immersible cinema.
SkylineSkyline (2010)
Stop me if you heard this before. Aliens invade earth and a handful of survivors try to escape their impending deaths. It’s another War of the Worlds-esque invasion flick and what’s nice about this is that it’s played straight with no comedic one-liners and there’s not a teenager in sight.
Directors Colin Strause and Greg Strause are no strangers to special effects after bringing to life the Predators and Aliens in AVPR (2007) and the rest of the team behind Skyline’s extraterrestrials are clearly talented making the best out of a budget. It’s visually wonderful, the special effects are fantastic. Nevertheless, Aliens (1986) designers and suit wearers Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. creature designs appear to be an unoriginal mix of The Fly, Independence Day, Cloverfield and The Matrix.
The acting is above average and the leads including Eric Balour and Brittany Daniel carry the emotion well. David Zayas is notable but his screen time is limited. That said, the script lacks enough meaty dialogue to keep you enthralled and you find yourself waiting for more glimpses and shenanigans of the alien invaders.
Overall, it looks great but it fails to connect and grip you. The Brothers Strause will hit gold but Skyline just isn’t it.
They Live Poster Movie 11x17 Roddy Piper Keith David Meg Foster George "Buck" FlowerThey Live (1988)
Humanlike, skeleton looking, extraterrestrial’s have taken over the Earth and walk among us, but are cloaked by a transmitter that makes ‘them’ appear like us. A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allows him to see what is being hidden.
Halloween’s (1978) horror legend writer/director John Carpenter does his best with a limited budget. The film for the most part has an urban realistic look, due to the on location shots, however, at times it appears very cheap and lacks the production values of The Thing (1982) or The Fog (1980). In true Carpenter tradition there’s a heart pumping and relentless score.
Amongst all the 80’s cheese there is a fantastic story based on Ray Nelson’s short story. They Live themes reflects consumerism, class and corruption to name a few. Underneath, Carpenter’s bland screenplay lay a fear that we are not in control and our society is led by ‘them’, echoing Invasion of the Body Snatchers and ‘V’. To join them would be to give I and we would benefit but we’ll pay a greater price. They Live is high concept sci-fi with great ideas, the sunglasses touch is genius, that’s original and allows some great visuals and interesting moments. There’s also the intriguing secret society aspect and space travel.
Suffering from the 80’s macho testerone Roddy Piper is entertaining as the lead but he’s no great actor, lucky there’s the likes of Meg Foster and Keith David to gives the film some weight and there are some good performances from the supporting cast.
Carpenter though a simple story immerses the viewer in the conspiracy and connects us with the heroes search for the truth which has a fantastic, un-Hollywood brave and downbeat ending. In addition, the effects are of the time but are still effective, there are some stand out set-ups, the supermarket, the underground segment and the discovery of the sunglasses. I’m hesitant to use the word, but They Live is cool.
With so many remakes in recent years They Live would benefit from a serious and heavier version. That said, taken at face value it’s a great fun ride, with one-liners, action and aliens.
The InvasionThe Invasion (2007)
An alien lifeform crashes to Earth, spreading tainted debris this in turn infects people bringing them under the invaders control.
Remake of remakes and based on Jack Finney novel, thankfully The Invasion borrows more from Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and as a plus doesn’t try to recreate its daring chilling ending, coming up with its own penultimate finish.
The supporting cast are great and include ’78’s Veronica Cartwright. It is a fine cast ensemble that reunites Jeffrey Wright and Daniel Craig in two effective roles as they help Carol Bennell played by Nicole Kidman find her son and stop a virus that is turning humans into ‘perfect’ emotionless shells of themselves.
Already off to a head start, based on such excellent source material director Oliver Hirschbiegel brings David Kajganich interesting screenplay to life. It’s subtle at times but injects plenty of foot and car chases. The on location shooting sells the tension as you see the city’s people change. Make up effect are fantastic and not too overboard. The good use of lighting, camera angels backed up with a nail biting score helps to heightening the paranoia as everyone Bennell knows becomes one of ‘them.’
Kidman’s endless supply of unnecessary fitted clothing and botox aside, she gives a good performance and despite some surprisingly already dated effects shots of microscopic virus the film is well crafted.
Overall, if not compared to its predecessors, The Invasion ticks all the boxes as a retelling of a character driven, sharp, thrilling sci-fi.
John Carpenter's The Thing - Movie Poster (Size: 24" x 36")The Thing (1982)
After being freed from its ancient crash site an extraterrestrial life form infiltrates an Antarctic research station, imitating taking the appearance of the researchers that it kills.
An atmospheric understated sci-fi at it best. I’ll never understand how Carpenter lost the lustre in some of the other film he made, nevertheless, his Thing is one of his best movies and also once of the best sci-fi movies ever. Despite being based on the same source material (before remakes were popular) the thing has a look and feel of it’s own and is very different from its 50’s counterpart.
The isolated setting, the astounding cinematography and scenery creates intrigue; drawing you in from the very beginning. It’s a perfect horror/sci-fi cocktail of Ennio Morricone’s haunting foreboding score, Rob Bottin and Stan Winston’s benchmark practical effects (which are to-date arguably unsurpassed) Carpenters claustrophobic set ups and Bill Lancaster screenplay.
It’s rare that every single actor is exceptional and supplied with effective dialogue. All the cast from Kurt Russell to Wilford Brimley as Blair are all captivating, great casting by Anita Dann. The characters have their own issues and as the paranoia sets in relationships are forged and other broken, building to a bold and satisfying conclusion.
This is more than just a cult film with a ‘monster’ hiding in warm places surrounded by snow, it’s a finely tuned science fiction horror masterpiece.

If history has taught us anything it’s that father of three director/ producer Ridley Scott knows how to make a gripping movie.

Self proclaimed perfectionist born in 1937 Tyne and Wear, nominated and winner of Numerous Oscars, Scott is now surprisingly in his 70’s.

Rid’ Scott started in the TV commercials and become known for his stunning visuals, weeping landscapes and backdrops, at times coupled with a close-up of a character’s face in foreground. Scott has an array of films under his belt covering many genres which include The Duellists (1977), Legend (1985), Black Hawk Down (2001), Hannibal (2001) and Body of Lies (2008) to name a few.

While not part of the 70’s 80’s Hollywood in-crowd like heavy weights Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola and Scorsese, Scott’s seems to be the dark horse, a British, dry, witty guy and above all intelligent with a good business sense who loves a good cigar.

He has personally brought me hours of entertainment and if you are reading this he’s probably captivated you too.

Below are my thoughts both good and bad on a fist full of Ridleys finest moments.

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Possibly one of Scotts most intricate and underrated films. Orlando Bloom plays Balian of Ibelin who after a committing a murder travels to Jerusalem during the crusades of the 12th century. Soon he finds himself defending the city and its people.

Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]With a fine cast including the likes of Philip Glenister, Liam Neeson and David Thewlis to name a few it’s a casting directors dream. Marton Csokas performance as Marton Csokas is exceptional and Michael Sheen has a small part and pivotal part (especially in the directors cut). Eva Green, Jeremy Irons and an unrecognisable Edward Norton are a great support. However, Bloom desperately wrestles with the substantial script and size of the film appearing a little uncomfortable at times. That said, even though he is the main character, the story, really revolves around the other characters. Balian appears more as a narrative tool.

The locations are breathtaking, from the misty woods and shores of France – to Holy sites of Jerusalem. Again Ridley, incorporating amazing sets and utilising visual effects, production designer Arthur Max, set decorator Sonja Klaus and crew painstakingly recreate the period. Janty Yates costumes are fantastic. Weapons, flags and props look authentic, all this attention to detail coupled with Harry Gregson-Williams score and John Mathieson Cinematography give the film a wonderful look and atmosphere.

All in all, one, if not the best crusade film ever.

Alien (1979)

Space, spaceships, androids and aliens, and no it’s not Starwars or Startrek…

Alien (The Director's Cut)Alien is a perfect blend of characterisation, visual effects, sound and score. What separates this from the two franchises above is the gritty realism, a brooding atmospheric and claustrophobic feel that has given the film both cult and classic status. So much so it spawned its own franchise.

The acting is provided by a perfect heavy-weight cast that includes John Hurt, Sigourney Weaver and Tom Skerritt. Dan O’Bannon’s screen-play, coupled with Ridley Scott’s visuals stop this becoming just another monster alien movie or space film. The subject matter is delivered completely seriously and you become immersed in the dread, fear and uncertainty as even the main characters get killed off (which has become common place these days). Who will be the hero or the heroine?

H.R.Giger creature designs of the face huger and Alien is the ace in the hole and Jerry Goldsmith score mixed with the sound effects gives the film a nightmarish feel that build up the tension to breaking point. Scott’s direction is outstanding, creating the most fantastic and memorable moments in film history which push your fear threshold.

Compulsive viewing for Sci-fi fans who want story over action or in this case a steak to digest instead of fast food. If you’ve never seen Alien what it treat it will be to watch it fresh.

Blade Runner (1982)

I must admit I’m a huge fan of Ridley Scott’s and Blade Runner is one of his finest moments, panned by critics and by most on its release, it was ahead of its time on every level.

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Complete Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]Whichever version of Blade Runner you prefer, it has atmosphere, great costumes and a mood of gritty realism about it. The neo-cityscapes, the dark street life and polluted air; all paint a grim futuristic picture complimented by a Vangelis score; which is touching and haunting. The lines are memorable and there are fantastic performances from Rutger Hauer, Sean Young and Edward James Olmos. Harrison Ford is perfect as the moody ex- Blade Runner and Joe Turkel should have won an award as the Frankenstein -like creator.

Blade Runner is quite a simplistic tale that is complicated by the fantastic visuals and effects. Lying beneath the plot that many writers contributed to, there’s heart and soul, questions of what it means to be human and even delves into our own mortality.

Its edgy hi-tech art-house that brings science fiction to life and while it’s not the most fulfilling sci-fi film it certainly is a fantastic visual experience.

American Gangster [Blu-ray]American Gangster (2007)

Consistent Ridley Scott recreates 1970s America in the true life story of Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), a heroin kingpin from Manhattan. Russell Crowe plays Richie Roberts, an incorruptible detective, who works to bring down Lucas’s drug empire.

An interesting and contrasting character study on many levels, Russell Crowe performance is excellent, his personal life is in turmoil, yet he is totally focused on his work. Where as Washington’s character is in control of both his personal and ‘work’ life. Washington is on top form, equalling if not surpassing his Oscar winning performance in Training day (2001).

The costumes and makeup are excellent. The supporting actors give weight to the production and there are some memorable performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin and Ted Levine to name few.

I’ve seen both the theatrical version the 175 min extended version that includes approx. 19 minutes of additional footage. While the extra footage doesn’t jump out at you, the ending is notably different but just as captivating. For a lengthy film America Gangster zips along at a fast pace, accompanied by a great music soundtrack and a enhancing score by Marc Streitenfeld.

The 1970’s is painstakingly created with amazing realistic set design. Scott’s direction coupled with Harris Savides cinematography captures the feel and tone of the time. Scott not only recreates Manhattan but also Vietnam and the war is at it’s height. Credit deservedly should g to Steven Zaillian’s

A perfectly crafted film and gratifying cinema.

Robin Hood (2010)

I hold Ridley Scott in the highest regard, one of the most creative and demanding directors of his time. However, Robin Hood is an unequivocally unnecessary prelude to a timeless folk tale of a man who fights against the Norman invaders. The direction, subtle effects, locations and so on are remarkable and are what you would expect from the director of such films as Gladiator and The Kingdom of Heaven to name a few.

Robin Hood [Blu-ray]The cast is superb, a mix of old greats and new comers that include Max von Sydow, Cate Blanchett, Scott Grimes, William Hurt and Russell Crowe as Robin the legend himself. With a heavy laden script for the seemingly padded out story the high calibre actors’ graft their way through the latest incarnation of Robin Hood with ease. There are a few droll moments but the screenplay appears unsure if it wants to be another Disney, Costner Robin Hood or a serious war movie tackling issues of the time of corrupt politicians, generals and monarchy.

With an estimated budget of $200,000,000 and the acting talent and creative people behind Robin Hood, you’d thing Scott would have suited to tackling a period piece not centred around the rise of Robin Longstride. Due to this it leaves the viewer unsatisfied.

It’s a lengthy movie and there is much to enjoy, the score, performances, cinema photography, action scenes are admirable. However, as a Robin Hood film it’s a bit of a miss, and you can’t help feel that as the last reel runs that that’s where the story should have begun.

Gladiator (2000)

Despite it’s historical inaccuracies Gladiator without a doubt deserves it’s 5 Oscars. The story follows Maximus, a Roman general who’s family is murdered after he is betrayed and left for dead. While the story is echoes The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Gladiator revenge theme is far more ambitious and poignant.

Gladiator (Sapphire Series) [Blu-ray]Meticulous portraying the social and political issues of the time, proved director Ridley Scott united with David Franzoni story and screenplay single handily bring back the sword and sandal epic prompting a flurry of copycat films. The opening scene is astounding, the fights are incredibly choreographed, however, Gladiator is far from perfect, let down by a variety of CGI shots, the lack of grandeur that other epics have and several hollow palace scenes. That said, Lisa Gerrard and Hans Zimmer score is exciting, emotionally moving as much as the actor’s performances.

Thankfully, Mel Gibson turned down the part of Maximus that Russell Crowe portrays with such conviction and energy. Even though it was Oliver Reeds last great performance and one of Richard Harris finest, as Marcus Aurelius, the new comers hold their own and are just as effective. Juaquin Phoenix. Connie Nielsen, Derek Jacobi and supporting actors are perfectly cast. Aside from the magnificent sets and locations to the cast credit it’s the ability to render the viewers concern for these characters is what separates Gladiator from being an run of the mill flick.

It’s no masterpiece but far from a gladiatorial coup de grace. Scotts compelling Gladiator is impressive, moving and exciting.

Prometheus (2012)

The near future 2089 Earths historical artifact’s and ancient paintings prompt an expedition into space to find our makers but puts the crew of the Prometheus in grave danger when they land on LV-223 in 2093.

Veteran director Ridley Scott gives Prometheus its own unique look and rightly so as the action, suspense takes place on LV-223 not LV- 426 as in Alien(s). Without getting bogged down with Alien (2122A.D) comparisons, this is a science expedition not a mining vessel. This change in location allows Prometheus to sit as a stand alone film.

Questioning our origins in a reasonable intelligent way the story written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof is intriguing and makes this film stand above your average sci-fi. That said, Prometheus does raise more questions than it answers yet it’s ambiguity is what makes this film special and allows set-ups for future instalments.

It’s excellently cast and includes international actors Guy Pearce (who is sorely underused) Idris Elba as everyday man Janek and Logan Marshall-Green to name a few. Charlize Theron is astounding as Meredith Vickers, a hard nosed corporate mission director. Notably is Michael Fassbender as David who is every bit as interesting as Bishop and Ash with added a quirky ‘fondness’ for Peter O’Tool. Main protagonist Elizabeth Shaw played by Noomi Rapace is not your typical Ripley clone and carries much of the emotion for the film.

http://1.gvt0.com/vi/EjYp116AXfU/0.jpg

The effects are first rate, with the Space Jockeys, scenery, ships and Aliens wonderfully realised and rendered. Some of the effects are practical and look organic for the most part. The location and environment feels real and makes everything more palatable. A nod should go to Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography and Pietro Scalia’s editing.

Scott delivers a few standout creepy scenes some particularly gut turning, notably the arm breaking, infection and decontamination scenes- it captures some xenomorph magic.

Marc Streitenfeld’s music score is an effective mixed bag although is a little over used. Both writers and Scott ensure to include a few character twists and wisely incorporate some elements from the Aliens series (in keeping with that world) whether it be a vehicle, a line or setup to possibly appease die-hard fans but for the most part it feels fresh.

Prometheus tackles themes of origin, mortality and biological warfare to name a few and although it feels a little rushed it’s a grower just like the spores themselves.

Science fiction, a long, long time ago in space the final frontier…
Way back in the USA 1916 a pioneering underwater film based on Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was made. In social commentary contrast the European Metropolis(1926) followed. Then the atomic bomb caused a renewed interest in science, a boom in science fiction happend in 1950’s,  1968 saw the Planet of the Apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey and the rest is history as they say. Is so difficult it pick out sci-fi films because there are so many and they such an array of topics.
I’ve covered some of the mainstream ones, including Alien, Blade Runner, Moon and Stars Wars in in my previous posts
and

So below are some modern notable Sci-fi films that are either underrated or overstated, that is in my personal opinion.

Ultraviolet (2006)
The opening few minutes of Kurt Wimmer’s Ultraviolet is a rip roaring, pulse pounding set up of action sequences and chases. Then the film calms down for a little breather until the next amazing fight sequence.
Following a holocaust some humans have become Hemophages, a sub-species with enhanced physical abilities. Violet, must protect a nine-year-old boy who has been marked for death by the human government.
In the wake of 2005’s disappointing Aeon Flux, underrated Kurt Wimmer director of Equilibrium (2002) writer of The Recruit (2003) and Salt (2010) set about creating an up-to-the-minute Sci-fi.However, after shooting wrapped Kurt left after being pressured to deliver less emotional PG-13 rated film. In turn, Ultraviolet was completely re-edited by the studio and unfortunately this lowered the quality of the film significantly. Acting wise, William Fichtner puts in an unusual performance, Sebastien Andrieu and Nick Chinlund both seem unsure what’s going on.
With an abundance of forgettable bad guys, Milla Jovovich excellently plays Violet who has enhanced speed, incredible stamina and acute intelligence. Her character at first seems very one dimensional as she plays her usual Resident Evil kick-ass self. But even in the short running time her character develops, you’re given glimpses into here past, as she bonds with six played well by Cameron Bright.
There’s great effects, stunts and a thumping score. A lot of reviews have criticised the CGI usage, however, it’s stylised, hyper-real and sleek. It’s not meant to be faithful representation of a real world. Holograms, swords, a new invented language, gun-fighting and martial arts. It’s science fiction entertainment, set 21st century, nothing more, nothing less.
It’s fast, it’s fun – Ultraviolet is an pleasing sci-fi action but possibly could have been so much more if Wimmer was allowed to deliver his cut.
The Road (2009)
The Road is a touching film of a father bonding with his son in post-apocalyptic setting where stealing, gangs and cannibalism has become the norm’.
John Hillcoat delivers a breathtaking dark vision, and while the story is emotionally engaging it never becomes captivating. It is excellently written and Viggo Mortensen is first-rate as the troubled father, who tries to educated and prepare his son for this new harsh world. However, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce are sorely under utilised.
Its not a film to be enjoyed and you need an acquired taste. Nevertheless, it is arguably the most truthful and touching post-apocalyptic film to date, but also the least rewarding.
Thirteenth Floor (1999)
Made the same year as The Matrix, Thirteenth Floor was lost in ‘bullet time’, leather coats and guns and sadly failed to be appreciated or reach a large audience.The set decorations are of a high-quality, the CGI effects are very subtle and mostly used to recreate L.A.
The cast are excellent, notably Armin Mueller-Stahl as Fuller and the charming Gretchen Mol. Writer/Director Josef Rusnak delivers a perfect vision of a virtual reality simulation of 1937 Los Angeles against the distinguished cold sleek computer enterprise. The contrast of the past and present is astounding, this murder mystery oozes atmosphere.
Craig Bierko plays Douglas Hall who cannot recall the night his colleague was murdered. Now a suspect he tries to uncover the truth, but the reality is harsher than he could ever imagine.With a twisting script based on the book by Daniel F. Galouye it is a well made grounded sci-fi that is sorely underrated and overlooked.
It’s must see for those who don’t need big bangs and explosions in their Science fiction.

Æon Flux (2005)
Æon Flux was lost in the flurry of 2005’s sci-fi films, including Doom, Star Wars: Episode III, Serenity and War of the Worlds. Not even Terminator producer Gale Anne Hurd or Charlize Theron in tight outfits (even though less revealing than in the cartoons) could draw in the crowd.
Looking back fans of the MTV animated Æon Flux felt short changed, and I don’t blame them. The character of the film adaptation is very different to what fans had grown to love, an amoral, egotistical, volatile and sharp Æon. Where as the movie incarnation of Æon is plain moody and vulnerable. However, if you view Æon Flux as a standalone movie it’s a more rewarding experience.
Æon is assigned to assassinate the leader of last city on earth, but she uncovers a world of secrets and conspiracies. Packed with styled sets and costumes, there’s plenty to enjoy on screen. It’s different to most films set in the future, no grit, everything in 2415 is bright and hopeful but there is an atmosphere of something lurking under the facade.
There are some great special effects and action sequences. Marton Csokas is the perfect protagonist and Theron delivers a physical performance that she clearly put a lot of time and effort into. Nevertheless, the usually great Pete Postlethwaite is wasted and Jonny Lee Miller appears subdued throughout.
The film is competently directed by Jennifer’s Body’s (2009) director Karyn Kusama, it’s packed with some great sci-fi idea’s, including an array of weapons, genetically enhanced characters and gadgets. However, the screenplay is full of clichés and some jarring editing that’ll make you feel a lot of interesting stuff maybe on the cutting room floor.
While Kurt Wimmer’s Ultraviolet (2006) is slightly better and more fun and if you put aside the fantastic animated series, Aeon flux is still entertaining.
Avatar (2009)
Zoe Saldana (Star Trek) as Neytiri is fantastic, as usual Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) is well cast in a strong lead role. Giovanni Ribisi, Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez’s brief appearances are welcomed. Also Stephen Lang, as the tough Colonel Miles Quaritch gives a great performance.
Avatar is a visual spectacular with great acting and effects. It’s a moralistic tale, of following orders or protecting an alien world. However, the story is lazy, reminiscent Cameron’s own Aliens, Dances with Wolves, Apocalypto and Pocahontas to name a few. It mirrors Custers last stand, Vietnam and many other conflicts throughout history.
While the effects in creating the moon Pandora are mind-blowing, the lack of originality leaves you disappointed. I’m sure teenagers will teens love it, it’s the perfect money maker. James Cameron is a fantastic director and is instrumental in pushing industry movie techniques forward. However, in all the special CGI effects the great writer Cameron appears to have forgotten about his older fans, who wanted a meatier, original and complex story.

Carriers (2009)
Carriers follows a group of young survivors who make some tough choices after an infection has spread worldwide bringing civilisation to its knees.
There are a few harrowing and emotional parts in Carriers but it fails to connect with the viewer. Unusually pretty Piper Perabo and Chris Pine (of Star Trek fame) leads an excellent small group of unknown actors in a well directed virus survival film. However, Carriers is simply an anomaly, there’s no gloss, it has the spirit of big budget ‘The Road’.
The cinematography is great, the music and the script are fine but it feels too long and flat. It’s missing that impending doom atmosphere considering the characters hopeless situation.It is by no means a bad film, it explores morals and values, however, its just not very engaging or entertaining.
I’m sure directors/writers Àlex Pastor and David Pastor will go on to do something really great, but this just isn’t it.

Star Trek (2009)
J.J. Abrams incarnation of the phenomena known as Star Trek, wisely sticks closed to the spirit, look and fun of the original TV series. It follows the young James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew-members as they battle in space against a time travelling alien species.
With a star studded cast including Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, funny man Simon Pegg, reliable Karl Urban, and the exquisite Zoe Saldana as Uhura, it really is a pleasure to watch.
If you’ve never seen Star Trek it doesn’t matter as the story can be viewed as a stand alone sci-fi adventure film. However, die-hard fans will love the references to earlier Star Trek stories and characters.
Recommend, new version of a sci-fi classic.

The Alien film series produced by 20th Century Fox led to movie sequels, plus numerous books, comics and video game spin offs.

In addition to the franchise are the “Alien vs. Predator” films which I’ve left out as they don’t feature Lieutenant Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver).

Four very unique and visual directors brought the Alien to the screen giving a diverse visions of one subject matter, below are my comments and thoughts on the series that made aliens scary… and the latest spin off/ Prequel Prometheus.

Alien(1979)
Space, spaceships, androids and aliens, and no it’s not Starwars or Startrek
Alien is a perfect blend of characterisation, visual effects, sound and score. What separates this from the two franchises above is the gritty realism, a brooding atmospheric and claustrophobic feel that has given the film both cult and classic status. So much so it spawned its own franchise.
The acting is provided by a perfect heavy-weight cast that includes John Hurt, Sigourney Weaver and Tom Skerritt. Dan O’Bannon’s screen-play, coupled with Ridley Scott’s visuals stop this becoming just another monster alien movie or space film. The subject matter is delivered completely seriously and you become immersed in the dread, fear and uncertainty as even the main characters get killed off (which has become common place these days). Who will be the hero or the heroine.
H.R.Giger creature designs of the face huger and Alien is the ace in the hole and Jerry Goldsmith score mixed with the sound effects gives the film a nightmarish feel that build up the tension to breaking point. Scott’s direction is outstanding, creating the most fantastic and memorable moments in film history which push your fear threshold.
Compulsive viewing for Sci-fi fans who want story over action or in this case a steak to digest instead of fast food. If you’ve never seen Alien what it treat it will be to watch it fresh.
Aliens (1986)
The planet from Alien (1979) has been colonised, but contact is lost and a rescue team is dispatched. This 1986 sequel is action packed, bigger, louder, very gung-ho with Vietnam parallels.
I’m torn… I must say that at the time Aliens was the best action sci-fi films ever and probably still is), but overtime, I have grown less fond of Aliens and prefer the first Alien and re-edit of the 3rd.
What is superior about Aliens is that it builds on what Ridleys Scott created in first film, (even though some of Aliens ideas are based on cut scenes) surprise killings, misdirection and so on. The design and movement of the Alien is greatly improved, making the Alien far more menacing and agile than before.
There’s no doubt that James Cameron is an exceptional director and writer. All the characters are built up slowly, Lance Henriksen as the synthetic Bishop and Paul Reiser as Burke give subtle performances. Michael Biehn as Hicks and Sigourney Weaver are terrific. Ripley as a character is fleshed out further and the effects and sound are amazing (winning Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Effects).
Aliens is an unsurpassed solid sci-fi horror sequel packed with action and suspense but in retrospect it really is Alien pumped with testosterone and guns.
Alien³ (1992)

After a fire on the Sulaco an escape pod crash-lands on a refinery/prison planet killing everyone aboard except Lieutenant Ellen Ripley. As Ripley recovers she realises that fire was no accident and an Alien begins a killing spree that she must stop.The idea of coming away from Cameron’s Aliens (a fantastic mix of action, suspense and special effects) and go back to the gritty atmosphere basics of the first film was debatably a good idea. Producers, though misunderstood what director David Fincher was trying to achieve back in 1992.Plagued with creative differences, production and script problems the film was released… It seemed very disjointed and didn’t deliver the goods that the first two did…

After watching the new assembled version of Alien 3 I was pleasantly surprised. With the new version what you get is expanded and alternative scenes, more character development and a new subplot making it a more enjoyable Alien movie.

Like the previous version the Alien effects are still the same and not very well executed. That said, this version without a doubt is an improvement on the 1992 version coupled with a nice score, great performances, especially from Charles Dance and the sadly missed Brian Glover. Sigourney Weaver plays a very troubled shaven head Ellen Ripley convincingly. This time around with expanded scenes the supporting cast
get to show off their acting skills within the fantastic sets. Explained in the new cut is where and why some of the characters disappeared.

Overall with these adjustments the film finally sits nicely in the series. It’s dark, eerie and atmospheric.

Alien: Resurrection (1997)

I viewed the directors cut of Alien: Resurrection, it includes a few added bits – Lt. Ellen Ripley Clone #8 refers to Newt a few times, an alternate title sequence, a landing on earth and a few extra seconds here and there add to the mood making all the difference.
The down side though – some of the acting is too hammy, the Alien effects are computerised in parts which is just as distracting as they were back in 1997. They should have stuck to practical effects until CGI effects were perfected.
The New born is great and still gets my sympathy vote. The whole film isn’t a gritty as the previous but the sets are fantastic. Some characters do get developed,there are some memorable moments which usually include Perlman or Weavers characters.
The film including the extra bits bridge the earlier films making Resurrection a more enjoyable ride for Alien fans but to date, despite some good scenes it is the still the weakest of the series.
Watch if only to witness the resurrection.
Prometheus (2012)

The near future 2089 Earths historical artifact’s and ancient paintings prompt an expedition into space to find our makers but puts the crew of the Prometheus in grave danger when they land on LV-233 in 2093.
Veteran director Ridley Scott gives Prometheus its own unique look and rightly so as the action, suspense takes place on 233 not LV- 426 as in Alien(s). Without getting bogged down with Alien comparisons, this is a science expedition not a mining vessel, therefore differences in technology between the two is explained away at a drop of a hat. This change in location allows Prometheus to stand on its own.
Questioning our origins in a reasonable intelligent way the story written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof is intriguing and makes this film stand above your average Sci-fi. That said Prometheus does raise more questions than it answers yet it’s ambiguity is what makes this film special.
It’s excellently cast and includes international actors Guy Pearce Idris Elba and Logan Marshall-Green to name a few. Charlize Theron is stupendous as Meredith Vickers the cold hard nosed corporate mission director. Notably is Michael Fassbender as David who is every bit as interesting as Bishop and Ash with added a quirky ‘fondness’ for Peter O’Tool. Main protagonist Elizabeth Shaw played by Noomi Rapace is not your typical Ripley clone and carries much of the emotion for the film.
The effects are first rate, with the Space Jockeys, scenery, Weyland, ships and Aliens wonderfully realised and rendered. Some of the effects are practical and look organic for the most part. The location and environment feels real and makes everything more palatable. A nod should go to Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography and Pietro Scalia’s editing.
Scott delivers a few standout creepy scenes some particularly gut turning, notably the arm breaking, infection and decontamination scenes- it captures some xenomorph magic.
Marc Streitenfeld’s music score is an effective mixed bag although is a little over used. Both writers and Scott ensure to include a few character twists and wisely incorporate some elements from the Aliens series (in keeping with that world) whether it be a vehicle, a line or setup to possibly appease die-hard fans but for the most part it’s all new and fresh.
Prometheus tackles themes of origin, mortality and biological war fare to name a few. It’s a grower just like the spores themselves.