What's new

Alien films - An interesting observation... (1 Viewer)

MichaelPe

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 22, 1999
Messages
1,115
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. ;)
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". :)
(Although I've been reading rumors that either James Cameron or Ridley Scott may return to direct it.)
 

Artur Meinild

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 10, 2000
Messages
1,294
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!
 

Micah Cohen

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 8, 2000
Messages
1,161
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
 

MichaelPe

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 22, 1999
Messages
1,115
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.
 

Garrett Lundy

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2002
Messages
3,763
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.
 

Greg_Y

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 7, 1999
Messages
1,466
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.
I hope german shock-director Jorg Buttgereit gets to direct Alien 5.
The guy sure knows how to make the most out of plastic, veiny appendages that spurt fluids that's for sure. A perfect fit for the Alien series. :)
 

Jack Briggs

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 3, 1999
Messages
16,805
Ridley Scott heavily alluded to a certain previous "science fiction" film in Alien. Free :) icon to the first person to guess which film. :)
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.
 

Iain Lambert

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 7, 1999
Messages
1,345
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 ;):);)
 

Cees Alons

Moderator
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 31, 1997
Messages
19,757
Real Name
Cees Alons
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 :).
Cees
 

Heinz W

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 5, 2001
Messages
415
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! :D), or have 'em get loose on Earth and wreak havoc!
 

MickeS

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2000
Messages
5,058
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
 

Micah Cohen

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 8, 2000
Messages
1,161
provide some kind of understanding as to the basic nature of the creature.
Do you really want that? Isn't one of the reasons that the first film is so effective, is because the thing is not given any explanation? It's like a raging id, something so utterly unexplainable that it effectively crosses the line of what frightens us. I have seen websites where fans try to "provide biological science" for the "xenomorph," and for me it just subtracts from the total fascination with the thing itself; to paraphrase Ash, so pure, so uncluttered with human explanations foisted upon it that it becomes "a thing of beauty."

Once filmmakers and writers try to explain the fear in horror films, provide backstory or that nonsensical scientific "reason" for some horror in a movie, it always becomes sort of laughable.

The ALIEN, with absolutely no pseudo-science to ruin it, is not laughable at all.

Just my O.

MC
 

Anthony Hom

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 24, 1999
Messages
890
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.
 

Rex Bachmann

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 10, 2001
Messages
1,972
Real Name
Rex Bachmann
Micah Cohen wrote:
Do you really want that? . . . to "provide biological science" for the "xenomorph," and for me it just subtracts from the total fascination with the thing itself . . . . Once filmmakers and writers try to explain the fear in horror films, provide backstory or that nonsensical scientific "reason" for some horror in a movie, it always becomes sort of laughable.
Some of us have very serious doubts about all these sequels to begin with, but if the question arises of whether there are going to be further sequels in the Alien series, then one must ask: what are they to be about?
With exception of the introduction of a giant queen mother, we've essentially seen nothing new about these creatures in the subsequent films. It's mostly been about how afraid people are, or how greedy the corporations and space smugglers are, or how foolish the scientists and the military are. (Sigh.)
The whole subtheme of the aliens' human-like intelligence has been raised repeatedly in every single one of these films, but its implications have never been explored. Why not? . . . . . .
(Pregnant pause)
Because the Hollywoodites(!) have taken the easy way out in these films (as usual). It's very difficult to "imagine" an otherness such as these creatures represent. It's just easier to talk about people. But, what more (or other) can the filmmakers say about people's reactions to the aliens? "They're nasty and hostile, and we're afraid of them." Or "We want to turn them into gold, or weapons, or outre furniture (or whatever)." Boooooring!
You come close to what I feel is a valid point, but miss by just that much. There's a danger, as you observe, of taking the "mystery" out of these beings by "overexplaining" ---first rule of monster-story making: you never take the "monster's" point of view ('cause you can't get it right!)---but if I had my druthers, I'd rather risk that and find out:
What these creatures want, since they can and do cut off their enemies' power and supplies (Aliens), avoid obvious entrapment (in a leadworks chamber in Alien 3), not just kill, but kill with "payback" to their tormentors (the liquid-nitro killing requiring them to push the right button in Alien: Resurrection), etc.
The exploration of what a species almost as intelligent as man (and certainly more intelligent than most ape species) would ultimately want, besides killing, would be interesting science fiction indeed. That's what I want to see in a "science fiction" film or tv program, just as I would if I were to read an sf story. I don't buy that it has to be dull to general audiences just because it includes a, to my mind, necessary "cerebral" component.
Apparently, "Hollywood" doesn't agree, so, instead, we get slightly varied remakes labelled as sequels.
 

Kevin M

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2000
Messages
5,172
Real Name
Kevin Ray
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.
 

Micah Cohen

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 8, 2000
Messages
1,161
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
 

Rex Bachmann

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 10, 2001
Messages
1,972
Real Name
Rex Bachmann
Micah Cohen wrote:
Alien said:
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.)
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
347,098
Messages
4,802,413
Members
141,992
Latest member
DFH
Top