In a direct and simplistic summary, "Alien" is a movie about things that can jump out of the dark and kill you. Share a kinship with movies like: shark, Halloween and others that involve varied spiders, snakes, tarantulas and persecutors. But the looks end many before that.
One of the great strengths of "Alien" and consequently of director Ridley Scott, is his pace. "Alien" takes your time. He waits. It allows silences (the majestic opening shots are underlined by Jerry Goldsmith with only distant metallic vibrations). This suggests the enormity of the team's discovery, building itself up with small steps: the interception of a signal (is it a warning or an SOS?). The descent to the extraterrestrial surface. The bitching by Brett and Parker, who care only about collecting their shares. The master stroke of the dark surface through which the crew members move, their helmet lights hardly penetrate the soup. The shadowy outline of the alien ship. The sight of the alien pilot, frozen in his command chair. The enormity of the discovery inside the ship.
"Alien" uses a tricky device to keep the alien fresh throughout the film: it evolves the creature's nature and appearance, so we never know exactly what it looks like and what it can do. We assume that, in the first place, the eggs will produce a humanoid, because that is the shape of the petrified pilot on the alien ship long lost. But of course we do not even know if the pilot is of the same race as the load of leathery eggs. Maybe he also considers them as a weapon. The first time we take a good look at the alien, when it explodes in the chest of poor Kane (John Hurt). It is unmistakably phallic, and critic Tim Dirks mentions his "open and dripping vaginal mouth."
Certainly, the character of Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, would have attracted readers of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. She has little interest in the novel of finding the alien, and even less in her employer's orders that it be brought back home as a potential weapon. After she sees what she can do, her response to "Special Request 24" ("Return to alien life form, all other priorities rescinded") is succinct: "How can we kill it?" His relentless hatred for the alien is the common thread running through the three "Alien" sequences, which have gradually declined in quality but retain their motivating obsession.
Finally, there is the inheritance that "Alien" made possible to the genre Sci-Fi and in addition and much more besides the franchise films that followed after the film of 1979, glimpses the craft relation of producing a film that could go by the yearnings of the Commercial cinema and also by the relation of not giving up the original embryo and not cliché between suspensions, terror and fiction.
Alien is without a doubt, a true masterpiece in sci-fi, horror cinema. Not only is it extremely iconic, but it is brilliant. All thanks to Ridley Scott's flawless direction.
The reason I say it's brilliant is because Scott putts his full attention on every detail possible. In the first 30 minutes put me in utter awe by the detail. Not only that, but the cinematography.
The cinematography was absolutely amazing. The film is packed with some of the best camera quality I've ever seen, AND THIS WAS RELEASED BACK IN 79!
The story was also captivating. A group of people are on a large spaceship and are trying to survive a xenomorph (alien) which is on it. During this movie, I tried to put myself in the characters shoes. It would be absolutely horrifying to be on that ship with them. Nevertheless, it was an amazing film.
Over all, Alien revolutionized the genera and an abundance of other movies. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.