Alien

Great news, I’ll be appearing in SF Sketchfest this year in three shows. I have all the dates. I’ll give those out in another update.

Also, I’ve lost my voice. Will probably write about that later, too.

For now, I just re-watched Alien at the recommendation of Joe Tobin. This was always one of my favorite sci-fi movies but it’s been a while since I last sat down and enjoyed it. All I’ve gotta say is, man, what a fantastic-looking fucking movie. I mean, I always loved the tone, atmosphere and slow-pacing, but on this viewing I really found myself admiring the cinematography and set design. The Nostromo is a kaleidoscope of lights, buttons and switches, some that do nothing and others that self-destruct the vessel. There are two particular parts of the ship that I find really impressive. There is one near the main controls that has a pentagon-shaped light source on the ceiling, casting great halos around the crew while the light from the consoles illuminates their faces. The other is the white, “lite-bright” room where the crew communicates with the computer, “Mother”:

Yea, there’s no good reason I can think of as to why the room looks like that, but damn it looks good nonetheless. Then there are the alien planet sets that appear absolutely massive. In an era where matte paintings and miniatures were the only way of executing these types of effects its pretty amazing how seamlessly everything looks. Pair this with the dark lighting, occasional lens flares and haunting sound design and you have yourself one really sensory-satisfying film.

Most people I talk to about the Alien franchise tend to say that James Cameron’s “Aliens” is better than Ridley Scott’s original. I (and Joe Tobin, apparently) feel like its comparing apples and oranges. “Aliens” is a mile-a-minute thrill ride with colorful characters and a great, wider-reaching story. “Alien” is a slow burn; it’s classic 70’s pacing that takes a long time to set the stage and then gives you a massive payoff at the expense of a larger narrative. Given the awesome look of the film, it deserves the shuffling and plodding. We need the time to take in just how awesome each shot looks.

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