Alien

Scenes We Love: Alien

If you haven’t guessed it by know, this weekend is all about the release of Prometheus. With Ridley Scott’s long-awaited return to the genre where he got his beautifully executed start, the Alien franchise has been reborn with a prequel/side-story that is a clear beneficiary of modern visual technology. In short, Prometheus is a gorgeous film filled with all kinds of sci-fi visual pornography. It even looks great in 3D. But to truly enjoy what has come to pass this weekend as 20th Century Fox rakes in the cash from Scott’s return to Alien, it’s important that we look back to where it all began — to a sci-fi/horror franchise so iconic that mere mention of its name drives nerds into fits of heated discussion. What were the greatest moments in the films by Scott, Cameron, Fincher and Jeunet? What are the great scenes from each of the Alien films? We sat our resident experts, Robert Fure and Rob Hunter, down in a room and refused them food and water until they emerged with the answer. In legit geek fashion, they emerged five minutes later. Because even with so many great moments in this franchise, the answers all seemed quite clear… Obligatory Spoiler Warning: If you have not seen the entire Alien franchise and would rather not have these decades old films spoiled for you, do not read any further. Many of our favorite scenes are the likes that you should see within the context of the film the first time.

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“Who doesn’t love an orgy, Jack?,” Prometheus co-writer Damon Lindelof asked me, possibly being the first person to ask me such a thing. But, really, who could disagree with Mr. Lindelof? Ridley Scott‘s sci-fi opus is filled with all kinds of beings, making for the vicious and high-minded brand of orgy. What does the film have to say about if we, our creators, and our creations all got together and “partied” for a few days? In short: we’d eat each other. Prometheus is a story of characters making mostly questionable decisions, leading to horrific events. Even at the end when a character acknowledges humanity’s greatest flaw, that said character continues to do what they all get wrong in the first place, which is: asking too many questions. The film is about the dangers of searching for answers, a hurdle Lindelof, as a writer, has famously faced before. Here’s what the screenwriter had to say about the dark and hopeful side of Prometheus, the egoism of David, and the Mad Libs-esque storytelling he’s drawn to in our spoiler-heavy discussion:

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Science fiction has long been considered by some experts to be a lesser genre than traditional dramas and character studies. Because it lends itself so easily to exploitation, science fiction isn’t always given the respect it deserves. Sure, it tends to be a box office winner, as evidenced by the fact that more than half of the all-time domestic grossing films fit easily in that genre (with at least two more – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Shrek 2 – marginally related as genre films). Still, some still consider science fiction something not to be taken seriously. It is for this reason that “legitimate” film directors might shy away from science fiction in lieu of more important or significant projects. However, many directors got their start or their earliest fame from working in science fiction and other allegedly exploitative and pulp genres. This week’s release of Prometheus reminds us that even though Ridley Scott has directed historical epics (Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven), military action films (Black Hawk Down), crime thrillers (American Gangster) and straight dramas (Thelma & Louise), he got his start in science fiction with Alien and Blade Runner. Scott isn’t the only director to begin a successful career in science fiction. Here are seven other directors who started out or received some of their earliest success in this genre.

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Ridley Scott Alien DVD Commentary

Prometheus is Ridley Scott‘s latest magnum opus, a groundbreaking cinematic achievement beyond our wildest imaginations. At least that’s what we’re all hoping for with the film. At the very least we’ll take a return to the sci-fi terror Scott unleashed on audiences earlier in his career, but Prometheus is a film moviegoers all over will be talking about. We’d love to hear Scott talk about it, probably along with screenwriter Damen Lindelof. We’ll take Jon Spaihts just because he comes with the package deal, but it’ll be a commentary that delves into the depths each man had to go to craft yet another legendary, sci-fi tale. That will be amazing. Anyway, here’s the commentary for Alien. Seriously, though. How can you introduce Alien?

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Ridley Scott on Alien Set

Of the directors we’ve covered in this feature, Ridley Scott might be the most forward. He’s brash an unorthodox, and when speaks, you get the sense that he threw his filter in the trash years ago. At this point, brass buttons are well-deserved. Alien, Blade Runner, Black Rain, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Black Hawk Down, and a popcorn bucket-full more prove the man’s vision as a storyteller. A movie fan from a young age, Scott first found success as a commercial director. His first flick, The Duelists, was hailed at Cannes but made it to few screens beyond. It was a science fiction journey featuring a seven-member crew woken from stasis to explore a strange signal that made him a major name, and this weekend he dives back into that world with Prometheus. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a bloke from South Shields.

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Expectations can be dangerous things. Ridley Scott‘s twentieth feature film is a return to a genre that he hasn’t visited in thirty years, but it’s also one that’s simultaneously been quite good to him. Alien and Blade Runner are seminal works of science fiction that went on to influence a multitude of future films, and by any stretch of the imagination they set an impossibly high bar for anyone to reach (let alone the director of A Good Year). Like some ambitiously misguided mash-up of those earlier movies Prometheus features stark futuristic settings, scenes of graphic biological horror and grand questions on what it means to be human, but while its pieces excite and engage its whole fails to form anything resembling a finished thesis. Instead we have big ideas in the form of casual statements destined to go unchallenged. It can’t be overstated how frustrating this is when so many of the film’s smaller elements leap from the screen (in 3D or 2D) to make our eyes widen, our pulses race and our minds quiver at the possibilities. Stunningly beautiful visuals, both natural and effects-wise, help create a dangerously seductive world that wraps viewers in slime covered tentacles and thoughts. Call-backs (call-forwards?) to Alien tease us with answers and even more questions while other parts offer enticing glimpses of creation itself. This is epic science fiction storytelling that too frequently forgets it’s telling a story and yet still manages to be worthwhile spectacle in spite of itself.

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Shaun of the Dead

We all know what it feels like when a film touches on events yet to come. Usually it’s the best when it’s something that you could only pick up on after already watching the film once before – it’s like a little inside joke you get to have with the filmmakers, a reward for sitting through the movie more than once. At times it’s not even the fact that it foreshadows event in the films, but rather that it’s so subtle that it takes a few goes to even pick up on. Other times are less subtle, but just as fun. This is probably going to have spoilers in it. Just to be clear.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a thing that happens nightly, bringing you news from the world of film, television and pop culture. Mostly film. Thus, the name. We begin tonight with a shot of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad? Quick show of hands: who among you is not excited about this movie? Those with their hands in the air can kindly leave the room, while the rest of us do more news.

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Drinking Games

More than thirty years ago, Ridley Scott directed the groundbreaking sci-fi/horror film Alien. Now, this summer, he’s prepping the release of the sister film Prometheus. As is the case when any sequel, prequel or remake comes out, fans will want to revisit the original film. Whether you’re planning on watching the entire Alien series (including the odious Alien Resurrection and the batshit crazy Alien vs. Predator: Requiem) or just the first – and possibly best – of the run, here’s where you’ll start. And what better way to enjoy this classic monster movie in space film than with a frosty drink in hand?

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The site’s most anticipated film of the summer, Prometheus, has long been kept under lock and key for sometime now. “Is it an Alien prequel or isn’t it?” Obviously, the film shares stylistic and world ties to Alien, but would we see the origin of the Xenomorph? That’s a question which remains a mystery, a big question mark that the film’s co-writer Jon Spaihts may or not have taken on with his work. The questions Spaihts, director Sir Ridley Scott, and Damon Lindelof are exploring are clear: searching for answers we should not have the answer for, what it means to be human, and the mystery of the Space Jockey. Answering some of those major questions can’t be easy, but, as Jon Spaihts put it, although Prometheus will shed light on some burning questions fandom has, it could possibly create new ones as well. Here is what screenwriter Jon Spaihts had to say about building a whole world, the thematic and visual importance of a female protagonist, and why Prometheus is more 28 Days Later than 28 Weeks Later:

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Prometheus

It’s okay, everyone, our long national nightmare is over – we finally know that Ridley Scott‘s heavily anticipated maybe-prequel to Alien, Prometheus, will be rated R. So much for toning down the “sci-fi violence” to get a younger crowd into theaters (though the odds of scads of thirteen-year-olds showing up for the film seem somewhat slim). After a few weeks of chatter revolving on whether or not the film would end up with a PG-13 rating to presumably pull in larger crowds, a pre-sale ticket posted on IMDb (thanks to Collider) revealed the film to be rated R, with 20th Century Fox confirming the news. The film will be rated R for “sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language.” Language! Heavens me! 

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Avoiding Prometheus trailers, images and information was just too taxing. They’re just putting out too much great stuff. Ridley Scott and his team should be proud of what they’ve shown so far, and that June 8th release date just cannot come quickly enough. A new international trailer has debuted thanks to the UK’s Channel 4 (via Film Stage). It brags a lot of Charlize Theron, a screaming Noomi Rapace and three full minutes of crazy sci-fi action. Check it out for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of links from around the movie blogosphere that is impressed with the rest of the FSR staff’s ability to cherry pick all the really good news for full articles. That just makes it have to dig deeper. So lets do this. We begin this evening with a new image from The Dark Knight Rises. One of six, to be exact. This one shows Anne Hathaway as Catwoman doing some of her cat burglary with her high-tech ears on. There’s another with Batman and his iPad, which you can see if you click over to /Film and check out the gallery.

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If you’re “too old” to skulk around all hunch-backed in your own yard looking for the painted eggs your little cousin hid for you, why are you holding that remote with the Pause Button at the ready? We all love hunting. It’s in our nature. Just like we love discounted Criterion titles, free scotch and foot massages that don’t mean anything sexual. So here are some Movie Easter Eggs to hunt down. Bonus one? They involve movies, so you have a solid excuse to just watch movies all week. Bonus two? If you can’t find them, they won’t smell rotten after a few days. And be sure to add your favorite in the comments section for fellow hunter/gatherers:

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It’s called a character arc, and everybody has one. It’s the progression of a character throughout a film as they go from “A” to “B” and change emotionally, intellectually, and physically along the way. It exists because nobody sane wants to watch two hours of some dude sitting in a chair…which just so happens to be the story of how this very list was made. When it comes to action, horror, and any other fast-paced genre of film, one of the best things about watching the characters adapt is that since the environment they exist in is so do-or-die, there is a incredibly steep learning curve – so by the end of the film, you most likely have a completely different person you started with…and considering that they are still alive, they probably got way, way more badass along the way.

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Boiling Point

The full length trailer for Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus recently hit the … broadband? I don’t know how the internet works, but regardless if you would so choose, you could join the legions that have hit play on the new trailer or you could be like me and decide not to watch it. What is the purpose of a trailer, really? I think it’s a fairly straightforward deal – to entice people to see a movie. Once you’re already enticed, do you really need to see more? There are some movies that I would never have even known about if it weren’t for a trailer. Equilibrium comes to mind. Never had any clue about this movie until I saw a trailer online and it looked awesome. I was lucky enough to then catch the movie in theaters. Sometimes it takes several trailers to wear you down. At first glance, you might not care about Wrath of the Titans because the first one was so mediocre. After watching a few other television spots, they won me over. Now, here’s the thing about Prometheus….

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Mondo

Tomorrow will see the grand opening of Mondo’s new gallery space in Austin, Texas. Mondo, the art boutique offshoot of the Alamo Drafthouse, has been creating t-shirts, posters, and other movie-related items for several years now. In light of the new gallery opening, it seems as good a time as any to take a look back over their illustrious career. Many current poster hounds may not realize that the Mondo legacy goes back as far as it does, but old school fans will remember the phone booth-sized storefront Mondo enjoyed at the original Alamo Drafthouse on Colorado. No bigger than a postage stamp, the Mondo room was packed to the gills with t-shirts and posters. Mondo recently put up an online archive of all of their prints dating back to 1998, which frankly made this article much easier to put together. But it also serves as a window into their fantastic past, showcasing many prints you probably missed and will now furiously try to track down. Speaking of tracking down prints, here’s the top 13 on our radar.

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This has to be one of the more cooler and inventive pieces of viral marketing in quite sometime. With Prometheus less than four months away from hopefully blowing our feeble minds, we’re still slightly in the dark on Alien prequel. The teaser relied on atmospheric “Holy hell!” visuals, while this viral video actually gives insight into one of the film’s characters, Peter Weyland, of Weyland Industries. Guy Pearce‘s role has been one of the production’s best kept secrets since he joined the project, but now we know he’ll be one of the core links to the Alien franchise. If you recall, Weyland’s company plays a big part in the Alien mythology. Prometheus writer Damon Lindelof wrote this short and Ridley Scott served as a supervisor. Hopefully we’ll be getting more of these from Weyland Industries. Watch it after the break.

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Boiling Point

The 84th Academy Awards have come and gone: let the bitching begin! As someone who is more of a genre fan than anything, I’ve never really cared too much about the Oscars, but that sure as hell doesn’t prevent me from complaining about them. Granted, over the years, some great films have won. I’m a big fan of Unforgiven and I dug Shakespeare In Love. I just think far too many good films are ignored in favor of “Oscar movies.” I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with any of the films nominated this year, but there were a few categories were I feel like the little golden man statue when to the wrong film. Luckily, the internet exists and I can complain about it!

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Merch Hunter - Large

This week, in place of the usual triptych of found items and a T-Shirt of the Week, Merch Hunter is dedicated entirely to the mighty tee, the single most versatile member of the wardrobe family. Why 12? Well, science has proven that 12 is the magic number in terms of tee ownership (don’t look it up, it was published in a science journal you probably won’t know of…), allowing the owner to rotate nicely across two weeks, while taking a three day slot for whichever design is the Featured of the Week. After a few months of this rotation, throw in a few wild cards, thanks to supplemental purchase, and you’ll have a winning formula for T-shirt success. And yes, it really should be that mathematical. I seriously had to resist the urge to just make a list of the 100 Star Wars T-Shirts You Need To Own Now, but that will no doubt appear in the future, given how many incredibly impressive designs there are out there (and hardly any of them lining George Lucas’s pocket). For once, my inane wafflings are not needed at all to sell the inclusions below, just look at the pictures and see how many of them you can resist. I’d advise buying them all obviously: but try to only wear one at a time.

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