Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 180 reviews(4 star)show all reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2007
"Aliens," James Cameron's hit 1986 sequel, was advertised as being "the scariest movie, ever," but good as it was, it's more of an action flick than the unmatched horror/suspense thriller that ad line suggests--and which "Alien" was. The 1979 original, which is offered here in both the 117-minute theatrical cut and in Ridley Scott's slightly amended 2003 re-release, is difficult to top for tightening the screws until the tension is just about unbearable. Yes, nearly an hour passes before the creature begins picking off the crew of a space-going freighter, but Scott and Co. do a masterful job of gradually ratcheting up the anxiety--even if it's simply by setting the camera prowling around the ship's empty, underlit corridors while ominous music plays, as in the movie's first few minutes. It's an elegant, dark response to "Star Wars," which had been released two years earlier, and the incremental buildup just makes the confrontational scenes with the title character that much more nerve-jangling. (Partly this is because by the time the cat-and-mouse game begins, we've actually gotten to know the characters as seven distinct individuals.) Some reviewers (on this site and elsewhere) have said it's slow going, but that's not how it affected me when I first saw it. And if some consider it a relic of the 1970s, well, the 1970s were a golden age for movie horror.

A few (but not many) of the effects have dated in the quarter century-plus since the movie was new, and watching it at home isn't the same as seeing it on a 60-foot movie screen in a 70mm blowup, as I had the privilege of doing 28 years ago. However, the picture and sound quality are excellent in both the 1979 and 2003 cuts, preserving most of the eerie visual and aural atmosphere, and there are plenty of extras, intelligently organized. A fan of the 1979 original, I'm glad to have the 2003 version on hand as well; I could imagine preferring it for its seamless integration of reinstated scenes and an unnoticeably faster pace (it's actually a minute shorter despite the added material, which Scott apparently accomplished by trimming out a fraction of a second here, a fraction of a second there). On the other hand, the 1979 version is clearly what Scott had in mind at the time the movie was originally released.

Incidentally, the product description on this site errs in a couple of ways, at least if we're talking about the two-disc collector's edition. One, unless I simply haven't been looking in the right place for it, there IS no 137-minute extended cut in this set; two, the correct aspect ratio is 2.35:1--as it was released to theatres in 1979--not 1.85:1 as listed here. I'm not sure what the reviewer who was disappointed after receiving a 2-disc set in the 2.35:1 ratio was expecting.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2012
Alien (1979)
Science Fiction, Horror, 117 minutes
Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Ian Holm and Tom Skerritt

I first saw Alien during its original theatrical run in 1979 and appreciated it even more on the big screen. The first half of the movie is the best part. It's dark and atmospheric and there is an element of mystery. We are introduced to the crew of the mining ship and learn the relationships and personalities involved.

The computer screens on the ship seem dated now, but the overall effect of the movie is just as powerful. The story gathers pace when some of the crew investigate the surface of a moon and find a ship from an unknown species. The way this sequence unfolds is almost worthy of Hitchcock.

The purpose of the mission isn't immediately clear, but I won't reveal the details in case you haven't seen the movie. This is essentially a story of survival. While an actual encounter with an alien race might involve peaceful interaction, Alien never suggests for a moment that peace is possible. The creature is a killer and pursues the crew one at a time. Eventually, the battle focuses on Ripley (Weaver) and the alien. The second half of the movie doesn't quite live up to the promise of the first because most of the mystery is gone, but it's still a gripping story.

Like many movies featuring unknown creatures, we rarely see shots of the whole creature. We are shown glimpses as it evolves and our imagination fills in the gaps. When we are eventually shown the whole thing, it adds to the effect and comes as quite a shock as we realize its strength and resilience.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2007
Many sci fi films are dated by the time they are released. New technological advances and (especially) the vast increases in computer power make such sci fi classics as 2001 look hopelessly dated (not to mention the hairdos!). In contrast, Ridley Scott's Alien has a timeless look of a worn and used (one might say "used-up") technology that mostly stands up to today's standards. By going with simple sets and lines, simple interfaces and basic colours, the Nostromo looks like it could exist anytime between 1950 and 2150. Besides, the science fiction underpinnings of the story are practically irrelevant. This film is the classic closed-system horror film: the monster is loose on the ship (or house, island, whatever), there are a limited number of characters and a shortage of weapons. The monster starts killing them one-by-one. How will our heroes face up to the challenge? Will they all be wiped out or will someone figure our how to kill the monster? Will they turn on each other while simultaneously battling the monster?

In Alien, the monster is an alien brought aboard the ship in contradiction to standing orders. It looks relatively harmless at first - although attached to the face of the hapless crewman who discovered it, it seems more parasite than aggressive hunter-killer. Unfortunately, it grows and is soon large to kill and threatens the entire crew. With a total of only 7 humans (and one cat) on board, we get to know the characters well. There's the unflappable captain, the pragmatic first officer, the one that "loses it", the tough guy, etc. Scott takes a lot of time and effort to set up the group (and 1-on-1) dynamics between the crew members. If it feels slow, it's necessary to immerse us in their world and make us feel their claustophobia and fear.

As a monster movie, Alien feels very much like Spielberg's Jaws. The Alien is only seen in glimpses through most of the film, hidden in the ducts and dark of the ship (just as Spielberg's shark is hidden in the water). A speech by Ash (the science officer) in which he reveals his admiration for the alien is very reminiscent of Quint's speech admiring sharks. The 3 men in the boat hunting the shark parallels the 6 men and women in the spaceship hunting the alien. I happen to like Jaws better, but both are masterful manipulations of the standard formula, and are timeless classics.

As an historical anachronism, Sigourney Weaver is given second billing, even though she is the main character. Fortuately, films like this helped break the chauvenistic billing rules, although actresses often still get the short end of the stick in money and billing.

As Amazon.com does not group reviews by DVD edition, I will point out that I have the 1-disc version from the boxset after they started selling them individually (I think it's the "20th Anniversary" version). It contains an interesting director's commentary by Ridley Scott (who took the effort to re-acquaint himself with the film before coming into the recording studio) and a number of cut scenes and 2 unfinshed scenes. It's good value for the money, and the cut scenes are especially interesting as they give further insights into the tension between the crew members. The video looks great (on my LCD screen) and the sound is good as well (albeit through the TV's speakers, I don't have a real sound system).
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2004
Probably one of the best suspense- films ever. Ridley Scott masterfully blends the two very popular genres of horror and sci-fi together in what could be considered one of the greatest films of its kind. As well as making you look at the screen in awe at the visual delights this film has to offer, it also makes you stain your pants! Okay, maybe not after the hundredth time of viewing, but it still packs a wallop.
I'm not really going to explain the films story, but I will list why I believe it is truly a phenomenal piece of work.

The silence. It takes a good eight minutes for us to actually hear the first few lines of dialogue. This helps to build the atmosphere, and gives the film a spooky feel to it almost straightaway.

The characters. You actually care for these characters. The film doesn't take time making them talk about irrelevant things. You actually hear them talking about normal things all the time like pay and the quality of food. This factor actually makes them seem like HUMAN BEINGS, something that a lot of films seem to forget.

The way that the violence is implied more than shown. When ether the Alien actually kills someone, you never actually see it. Ridley Scott leaves it up to your own consciousness (a much more violent place) instead of letting you witness it. The only time when we really do see any blood (and it is quite a lot) is in the famous "Chestburster scene". But really, though, we do actually have to see this part. It is relevant (we need to know how the Alien actually gets to come aboard the ship), and we need to see what is essentially an impossible birth.

The way you don't actually see the Alien. We don't really get to see the Alien in a whole body shot. All we get are a few shots of maybe its hands, or its tale, or its head. I'm pretty sure that this is down to the fact that the film was quite low budget, and as a result Ridley Scott didn't want the audience to know that the Alien was no more than a man in a rubber suite. But as we all know this works to the films advantage. It genuinely does make it that much more horrifying to not actually see what is killing the characters.

So all in all, this film is extremely chilling.

Enjoy people.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2006
This movie is one of the best science fiction movies there is.An unexpected alien invader stalks the passengers on board a ship headed for somewhere.It kills many people and tracks down Ripley.Will she survive the alien attacks,or die trying?
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2013
Alien(1979) is a classic science fiction-horror film from director Ridley Scott and writer Dan O'Bannon. The film has good casting, elaborate sets and a ghastly, scary biomechanical xenomorph alien designed by H.R. Giger. The Nostromo, a commercial spaceship, is ordered to search a derelict spaceship on a planet. A deadly lifeform sneaks aboard and hunts the crew one by one. The pacing in Alien is slow. It gets faster when someone gets maimed or killed. Jerry Goldsmith's music score for Alien is very good. The CD version preserves most of it. Scott and the editor left out large chunks. A stock music cue from a Howard Hanson concert is used when Ripley(Sigourney Weaver) fights the alien. Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto, Veronica Cartwright, John Hurt, Ian Holm, and Harry Dean Stanton are good in supporting roles. Alien is visually stunning and makes you feel like you're in deep space. The scene where the alien bursts from the guy's torso is still shocking. The story continues in James Cameron's Aliens(1986).
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2000
Sigourney Weaver deserved her instant rise to fame for her portrayal of Ripley, which snapped you to attention and kept you on the edge of your seat. The fairly predictable disaster plot has its share of significant, and often-discussed, surprises, and, for a Ridley Scott movie, features some interesting character portrayals, given the sketchiness of their development. Still, Mr. Scott has no rival when it comes to the art of pure visuals: the Nostromo, and the environs of the abandoned planet, those hideous eggs, and the sinewy, LIVING interiors, dripping...alien saliva? or water?...are rendered with consummate care, and, save the last twenty minutes, are the most interesting things to watch. Along with 2001, this is the most gorgeous science fiction movie ever made.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 1999
This is the movie that forever changed the sci fi genre!!!! On board the nostromo, it's crew members awaken to find a distress signal. Their curiosity leads them to an unknown planet. What they discover could mean pure terror for the human race!!! When a crew member returnsinfected by a parasitic alien species, all hell breaks loose!!!! After witnessing a horrifying ordeal with a creature which eruptingly rips from the infected crew member's chest, all plans go into action. One by one the crew members are wiped out, until only one woman, Ripley survives!! Now she is the only hope for mankind!!! This movie is a top classic!!! Sigorney Weaver should've won an oscar for this!! By all means, BUY IT!!!! Also check out it's sequels!!!!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 1998
Should we go down to the planet? Should we let the infected crew member back into the space shuttle? Should we expect mayhem? Of course!! this is Alien, the creature who was allowed entry by our Science Officer. But wait, they telegragh every monster scene, but who cares.
An excellent movie with great special effects (1979). Still stands up with today's Sci-Fi.
Not 4 stars, but actually 4 1/2 *
Uncle Lar END
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2011
The prior review states it is barebones. That is not true. The individual Alien films are getting released with whatever extras were released on the discs that were in the anthology. The only thing you will not be getting is what is on the 2 supplemental discs. For exact info check out the 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment web-site.
33 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed

Prometheus
Prometheus by Noomi Rapace (DVD - 2012)
$4.99

The Thing (Collector's Edition)
The Thing (Collector's Edition) by Kurt Russell (DVD - 2004)
$5.00
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.