Time: 117 mins.
Genre: Science Fiction/Action
Won Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. Nominated for Best Art Direction.
SYNOPSIS: A mining ship, investigating a suspected SOS, lands on a distant planet. The crew discovers some strange creatures and investigates. What they find is a heap of trouble when an alien creature assaults one of the crew and then begins to come after the rest of them.
BOTTOM LINE: I find the first 30 minutes of this movie to be excruciatingly long and boring, but once it gets going it cranks up the creepiness level so high you'll be squirming in your seat. I personally prefer it's adrenaline pumped, kick-ass sequel ALIENS, but for sheer terror in space it's hard to beat the original. Much like Hitchcock's PSYCHO, this film packed an inconceivable surprise, not even the actors were let in on, that must have scared original audiences to death. Since I saw the second before the first, I knew what was in store and it still chills me to the core, though not for the same reasons.
Directed by Ridley Scott, this is a haunted house in space with very, very bad things lurking in the darkness. What the first one lacks in action it more than makes up for in suspense. After seeing Weaver's performance here, it's no wonder they decided to make more. She's strong and vulnerable with a will to survive that just won't quit. Becoming a host to these evil creatures wouldn't exactly be on the top of my life goal list either, but I know I'm not half the fighter her character is. Ripley is one of the best female roles ever and the reason Weaver has such a great career.
The supporting cast is also great with each actor adding their own particular piece to the whole. Ian Holm's performance is so brutally calcualting he's almost meaner than the alien. The art direction, sound design and special effects create a frightening world I am only too happy to leave after 2 hours, but am consistently drawn back to. Made before the "Bigger is Better" theory became the norm, the film actually is forced to have a well-crafted plot that doesn't need to rely on splashy effects to entertain. It shows what a tight story and great acting can do. This is first class sci-fi filmmaking that will have you cautiously looking around corners for days and question the safety of space travel.