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Posted on 5/22/12 11:07 AM
Writing this review is going to instantly make me look like an amateur but my honest opinion of Alien is that it is potentially the most overrated film of all time. I can understand why it has a cult following and although I wish I could love the film as a whole, I simply don't.
Everyone knows the story of Alien so I doubt that there's much point in writing a brief plot summary for you to read. Doesn't the title of the film say it all?
I think the main reason why I find Alien to be so incredibly overrated is that people are blown away by such scenes as John Hurt's encounter with the face hugger and the chest-bursting scene. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love watching both of these scenes but the fact is, so many of the other scenes in the film are prolonged and dull.
Although I find many of the scenes in this film boring, which is the sole reason for me not liking it, the themes and elements explored are quite simply brilliant!
Alien is described by many as being a genuinely scary film. However, I have great doubt that the many people who find this film really scary consider what is actually scary about it. How many times does Ripley's cat make you jump compared to the alien itself? Lewton bus jump-out-of-your-seat moments are used frequently throughout the film to create an intense atmosphere. Then, when something genuinely scary makes you jump, the intensity built up by the lewton buses adds an emphasis on the fear that you feel which gives many audience members the impression that the film is terrifying. Although I make Ridley Scott's technique sound like a negative, evidently it is effective and I think it is brilliant! Compared to most modern horror films, how many could make a ginger cat put you on the edge of your seat?
The 1970s saw horror films contain a frequent theme in which women were sexually exploited and portrayed as being weak. Alien takes this popular theme and bends it backwards which suggests that the film supports feminism. One obvious way in which this is portrayed is by having Ripley, the main character, being a woman who happens to be the leader of her team and the only survivor by the end of the film. The other female character in the film, Lambert, has similar characteristics to Ripley. Also, her deathly fate isn't determined until towards the end of the film. Another aspect as to what makes Ripley and Lambert different to other females in horror films of the same decade is that both of them are desexualised.
Of course, the characters of Ripley and Lambert aren't the only aspects of the film which support feminism. A few subtle aspects are metaphorically portrayed within the film which is aimed at attacking men. More importantly, these aspects take the concept of women being sexually exploited and put men in the position. Firstly, John Hurt's character is attacked by a face hugger in which it inserts an egg down his throat. This is symbolic of a male being orally raped, something that was seemingly forbidden to be portrayed in film. Then there's the concept of the alien developing inside Hurt's character before it breaks through his chest. This is metaphorical for the process of childbirth but more importantly, a male is giving birth as opposed to a woman. Whilst men seemingly never think about being raped or giving birth, Alien forces its male audience to experience the fear and pain that's associated with them.
To conclude this review, I find the scenes used to glue the iconic scenes of Alien together to be considerably boring which has a major impact on my enjoyment of the film but the themes explored within the film are enjoyable to watch are and portrayed in an entertaining manner.