Alien films - An interesting observation...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MichaelPe, Apr 29, 2002.

  1. MichaelPe

    MichaelPe Screenwriter

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    I was chatting with a friend of mine this evening, and we were discussing the "Alien" films. All four films were directed by completely different filmmakers, with entirely different styles. At the time, these directors were virtually unknown to the world, but it's interesting that the careers of these four directors jumped to new heights immediately after making these films.
    Alien - Ridley Scott - His next two films were "Blade Runner" and "Legend".
    Aliens - James Cameron - After "Aliens", he went on to direct "The Abyss" and then "Terminator 2: Judgment Day".
    Alien³ - David Fincher - Enough said. [​IMG]
    Alien: Resurrection - Jean-Pierre Jeunet - Although he had already directed "Delicatessen" & "La Cité des enfants perdus" prior to this point, his success climbed to new heights with his film that followed: "Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain".
    I'm sure that others have noticed this lucky trend as well, but I can't wait to find out who will be directing "Alien 5". [​IMG]
    (Although I've been reading rumors that either James Cameron or Ridley Scott may return to direct it.)
     
  2. Artur Meinild

    Artur Meinild Screenwriter

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    Yeah, it's no coincidence that the first three are among my favorite directors...

    I don't care much for JPJ or Alien Rez for that matter!
     
  3. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

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    What you don't mention is clearly how influenced each of the subsequent directors was (and is) by Ridley's original film. You find echoes of it in all the other director's films, and you shouldn't be surprised that they would have jumped at a chance to use their "Ridley-isms" in an actual Ridley vehicle.

    MC
     
  4. MichaelPe

    MichaelPe Screenwriter

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    Micah,

    You're totally right... It's been a while since I've watched all 4 films, but I have noticed Scott's influence in some of their other films.
     
  5. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    I hope german shock-director Jorg Buttgereit gets to direct Alien 5. No, actually I hope it doesn't get made at all, the last two weren't upto par with the first two.
     
  6. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    I suppose it matters what your definition of "virtually unknown" is. I don't think Cameron was unknown after The Terminator. And Fincher already had a reputation for videos, if I remember correctly. Also, neither Fincher nor Jeunet were/are that much more well-known, outside of fans of film.
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Ridley Scott heavily alluded to a certain previous "science fiction" film in Alien. Free [​IMG] icon to the first person to guess which film. [​IMG]
    As for the next flick, shouldn't the studio/hired-gun-of-a-writer by now do the right thing? A little background information about the species would be interesting. You know, the studio has had four opportunities to provide some kind of understanding as to the basic nature of the creature.
     
  8. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    How about an even more radical idea? Take someone's idea and not wreck it. Its a rare feat to read an interview with either Fincher or Lord Joss where they don't describe just how much the producers subjected the last two films to death-by-commitee.
    But, as Jack points out, Scott stole all those 'Ridleyisms' from Tarkovsky's Solaris in the first place [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  9. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Jack,
    You mean a Sci-Fi movie with Outer Space in it... and a Spaceship with a crew... and Something is discovered that will change most concepts of mankind as we know it... and to survive in the first place and return safely home they have to take out a robot brain that's in the ship... No, can't think of any other movie like that [​IMG].
    Cees
     
  10. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    "Yes, it's puzzling." [​IMG]
     
  11. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    Arthur C. Clarke's "Rendezvous With Rama"? [​IMG]
    DJ
     
  12. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    Mario Bava's PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES? [​IMG]
     
  13. Heinz W

    Heinz W Second Unit

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    It... The Terror From Beyond? Or something like that?
    If they do another film it should either go to the alien's home planet (where the crew discovers that the alien's are the NICEST creatures on the planet! [​IMG]), or have 'em get loose on Earth and wreak havoc!
     
  14. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Cameron wasn't unknown. He had "The Terminator" under his belt, which was a big success. I remember being really excited about "Aliens" before it was released, precisely because it was directed by Cameron (and also thanks to those terrific teasers).

    Jeunet wasn't unknown either, "Delicatessen" was a hit and so was "City of Lost Children".

    /Mike
     
  15. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

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  16. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    It's not a coincidence. the producers Giler and Hill decided on different approaches for each film. It was decided by Fox that Alien would be the film franchise, like Paramount has Star Trek, after the success of Aliens.

    The problem was that Giler and Hill noticed is how different the first two were. Alien is a gothic horror film set in a sci-fi locale, while Aliens was a slam bang action film. They felt it was necessary to maintain the franchise by approaching a new vision each time, but maintaining the recognizable elements that make up the Alien films.
     
  17. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Micah Cohen wrote:
     
  18. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958)
    &
    Planet of the Vampires (1965)
    ..are definite inspirations for this film (as well as numerous Haunted House films & stories) However one film that no one mentions as an inspiration for Alien is
    Night of the Blood Beast(1958)
    Plot Summary for
    Night of the Blood Beast (1958)
    An astronaut returns from space dead. The base that recovered him is then cut off from the outside world by an alien. The revival of the dead astronaut, the death of a scientist, and the discovery of alien embryos inside the resurrected astronaut's body bodes ill for the survival of those trapped at the base and the rest of humanity.

    ..sure, sure they may have taken the idea from the insect world and other sci-fi stories but nonetheless the idea wasn't exactly "new" before Alien
    Anyway, from the very first time I read about this film around 1978 in magazines such as Starlog, Fantastic Films, Famous Monsters of Filmland & the like, it was the dark mystery surrounding the creatures (and the film itself) that was exiting about it & I agree that when you explain "the fear" and bring it out into the harsh sunlight it looses it's power & fascination.
    To explain the fear (in too much detail anyway) is to kill the fear IMO.
     
  19. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

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    Rex, I see your point. I just think that I'd personally be less interested in the mechanics of some made up alien's internal workings and "thought process" than I am in the human side of the story. Scott takes AN HOUR to get us involved with the humans in the story before the Alien even becomes a major factor in the story. It's a story about humans having to deal with an effed up extreme situation, to me. The Alien itself is merely the human's motivation.

    When subsequent films tried to give the Alien "intelligence," or ascribe to it some sort of motivation of its own, I always heaved a sigh and thought, "Oh come on." Not in a bad way, in the way that recognizes that this is SCI-FI after all. But that's one of the reasons that the subsequent films never lived up to the human intensity of the first film for me. (I mean, I laughed thru the fourth one, and I take my Alien way too seriously as you can see.)

    While I agree with you that the easy way out for Hollywood is to not come up with anything exciting and original for these films, I believe it needs to search for that exciting originality in the human story. I think making up Alien stuff -- even complex alien social & cultural histories -- is the easy way out.

    I believe that most of the best SCI-FI is less interested in the monster itself as in how that monster motivates the humans in the story to react to it.

    Maybe?

    MC
     
  20. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Micah Cohen wrote:
    Well, you have a right to your opinion, but in any event I would say the best angle for such a story would be to see how the aliens' motivation(s) impel(s) the humans' reactive motivations. To get there we still need to know the aliens' motivations. After all this time, if they're just kill-hungry beasts with no driving goal except to reproduce, I, for one, find that neither interesting nor worth continuing with since we've seen it now over and over and over (and over!) already.
    Like it or not, the producers have already introduced the subtheme of human-like intelligence in these creatures. Either do something with that or shutter the series. (The latter is probably in the best interest of any artistic integrity at this point.)
     

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