Friday, May 19, 2017

Misunderstood Alien

Over at VICE, Corey Atad sez cinematic universes are killing film as we know it, citing the latest Alien chapter as proof.
I haven't yet seen Alien: Covenant, but I'm fairly confident I'll enjoy it more than I would any of the sequels to the original Fast & Furious,* which Atad gives a pass.

This weekend I'll be queuing up the previous Alien films** and giving them another look. I can't say how many times I've watched all except the most recent -- it's likely in the single digits, though the first might well be more than that. I find them all visually interesting and unique. The story architecture is identical throughout, but as Peter Sobczynski points out, "Each film has changed things up each time by taking the basic formula of what one can rightly expect in an 'Alien' film and filtering it through different stylistic, narrative and philosophical approaches, in order to give viewers new ideas to contemplate and new terrors to leave them shivering in their seats."

They're ambitious genre films, in other words. More, please.***

*I saw the first in theatres. Can't say I remember much of what went on -- Michelle Rodriguez excepted, of course.

**Minus the AvP series, which is best viewed through an ironic lens.

***"These creatures are to biological life what antimatter is to matter." Someone please greenlight the William Gibson script for Alien 3.


Joel Swagman said...

Interesting. All the sequels you say?

The common wisdom of the Internet is that Alien and Aliens are classics, but that it went downhill after that. But you are still defending 3 and 4?

On a related note, did you see this article?

Whisky Prajer said...

Thanks for the link -- I totally disagree with the author. In fact, I like 3 better than 2 (if that changes this weekend I'll let you know). So, yeah -- I'm completely on-board with prolonging the enterprise, for as long as the efforts remain sharper and more thought-provoking than the AvP series.

Darrell Reimer said...

Be sure to check out the link to Sobczynski, BTW. He and I share several points of view on the matter.

Joel Swagman said...

Actually I did have a look at that. An interesting read. I'm not sure I'm entirely convinced, but he puts up an interesting argument.
Of course, he makes it clear that he is aware that he's arguing a minority position.
As would be you, if you were to say you liked 3 better than 2.

But then, minority positions are always more interesting to read than people who are simply parroting the dominant view. I sense this could be an interesting blog post on your part. Would you be up for writing a blog post on why 3 is better than 2?

Whisky Prajer said...

Sounds like a good idea to me. I'll have to give them both another look, mind you. If my opinion holds ... or even if it changes, I will post and let you know.

Yahmdallah Bjorknickerfod said...

I still like the original best. Aliens gets a bit old after a couple views.

I watched the Assembly Cut of 3 last year, and liked it much more than the original theatrical version. It was way more cohesive and there was a story arc that the theatrical version barely had. I'm pretty sure the reason the studio had a problem with it is the unvarnished Christianity of the prisoners. Try and see it when you can, though it's not a must before seeing the new one in the theaters.

I'm looking forward to Covenant since the last outing, Prometheus, had supposed scientists acting so stupid (hey, let's take off our spacesuit protection and pet the alien cobra, what could go wrong?) I was miffed for at least a week. I'll go into it with lowered expectations for sure.

What you should totally see, though, is the documentary Jodorowsky's Dune. Since that film never got made, the studio recycled a lot of the ideas and art for the original Alien. Much fun.

Whisky Prajer said...

Man, JD is a flick I've been meaning to get to for some time now -- I'm way overdue. I've seen some of the stills, of course. During this most recent re-watching of A1 I wondered how much carry-over there was from JD.

I prefer the '03 cut of A3 as well, actually. An early version of the script set the action on a monastery planet -- which, same dif, really. There was a lot of subtextual action in that movie, I thought. I remember one of the downtown entertainment newspaper reviewers praising it at the time as the first Hollywood movie to deal with AIDS. Such were the times, I guess.