Day 234: Don’t Look Around, But…

There’s something big and ugly behind you, Newt. Oh, and an alien…

august 22 main

One day I’ll figure out how to do Sole Of Sci-Fi’s tribute to the chestburster scene without making you throw up into your cornflakes (or more importantly, without making it look crap, which is more of a problem). Until then you’ll have to make do with black Vans making a cameo in Aliens.

One day I’ll also get around to doing my “What Your favourite Alien Film Says About You” infographic. I’ll give you this spoiler from it for free: if your favourite Alien film is Alien Vs Predator: Requiem, you need to donate your brain to medical science. You don’t need to die first. Donate it now. You won’t miss it.

My fave is definitely Alien. I adored Aliens at the cinema, and I still think it’s a classic, but it hasn’t aged as well as the Ridley Scott film. The first Alien still looks like it could have been made last week, whereas Aliens is quite clearly a product of the mid ’80s. It’s not just the FX that date Aliens; the whole way it’s shot and edited (and even the hairstyles) scream ’80s Action Film! Admittedly, Cameron helped established that style so that’s no shocker, but Scott established a new sci-fi aesthetic too with Alien and Blade Runner which has barely dated at all.

prometheus davidThat’s another reason why Prometheus was such a disappointment, besides all the scripting problems. Visually, it’s a films that’s following sci-fi fashion rather than raising the bar. Sure, the FX are excellent and the Prometheus itself is a great design, but there were few images in the films that didn’t have a whiff of familiarity about them, if not from other movies, then from games. Scott was competing not only with his own reputation, but 30 years of imitation.

I actually didn’t hate Prometheus as much as many other people. As regular readers of this blog will know, I tend to look for the good in films and TV shows rather the most punters on the internet, who appear to sit there, expecting everything to be crap and going, “Come on, impress me.” I go in thinking everything will be a five-star film or TV show, then reluctantly take points off when things annoy or disappoint me.

So, yeah, Prometheus had a lot of points knocked off, a lot of them for populating the Prometheus crew with the stupidest people in the universe (honestly, did they all lie on their CVs?). But Michael Fassbender’s David was a simply awesome performance – a character in search of a much better film.

alien 3Alien 3 I would love, except that the first five minutes put me in such a bad mood that I can never lose myself in the rest of the film. You know what I mean: that casual culling that makes the punch-the-air ending of Aliens go all sour.

If I can ignore that (it’s difficult, but I’m a pro) then I’m actually quite fond of Alien 3, even down to the rather cheesy funeral/birth montage. To be honest, I really like the cheesy funeral/birth montage. I like the claustrophobia of it; some of the action sequences in the dark tunnels of the prison are breathtakingly shot; and the climax is tense as hell. I also can’t work out if I prefer the theatrical cut or the director’s cut, but comparing and contrasting the two is a fascinating experience; in fundamental ways, they are very different films, and it’s amazing David Fincher shot enough footage to make both versions possible.

On the work front, I’ve made that mistake that all newly freelance writers make: saying yes to every piece of work that comes my way. The next week just suddenly got very, very busy. Bank Holiday weekend? What Bank Holiday weekend?

See you tomorrow.

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