The 5 Obstructions Blogathon (#1): Alien (1979)

The5ObstructionsBlogathon1

Earlier this month fellow film blogger Nostra posted a very interesting idea for his latest c0mmunity-building blogathon that I thought would be a neat exercise in writing.

This is what the creator had to say:

“This is not a blogathon where you write one post and you are finished. This is a blogathon for which you have to write 5 posts (1 per month) with 1 restriction in place each time. The goal? To challenge yourself as a writer and force you to get out of your comfort zone (hopefully) resulting in lessons learned to improve your blogging in various ways. If you are worried, I have some fun obstructions in mind which I think you will enjoy.

At the beginning of each month I will post the obstruction for that month and you will have the whole month to write your post. You can do it immediately or take your time, but it has to be done before the month ends. You can send me the link to the post or leave it in the comments underneath the obstruction. At the end of the month I will check who has managed to pass the challenge and post an overview of the posts. This will be repeated for the other 4 obstructions”

Obstruction1

I thought it would be a good exercise to write a NEGATIVE review of one of my favorite films of all-time: ALIEN

Here it goes:

alien

Hiding at the end of clunky dark sterile hallways inside a futuristic spaceship lies a monster, a horrible monster. One minute a tiny creature bursting through someone’s chest. The next an acid -slobbering dark-skinned creature with a long tail, a weirdly shaped head and small but powerful hands.

Like most other horror flicks before or after, Alien resorts to the kind of cheap scares that jump at the audience for no more than a few seconds before they dissipate into a stale, and overly predictable storyline that pits a group of men (plus two women) vs. one bad-ass monster. The characters, with the exception of Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), are one-dimensional, used as little more than props full of guts and blood that serve the violent rampage that takes place when a monster feels pissed and tad bit claustrophobic. One by one, the crew begins to be exterminated in a systematic fashion, always gruesomely. As capable as this crew might be at what they do, their intelligence seems to lack when faced with the prospect of danger. This is yet another horror film that simplifies death, diminishing its impact and emphasizing violence over emotion. At the end, we do not feel empathy, nor can we relate to anything that happens on screen. It is easy to understand why everyone ends up siding with the monster, being the only one deserving of a second chance.

As imaginative as the Alien creature and its context is, the intricacy of the environment and the unique aesthetic remain at surface level. The script and the cinematography don’t come anywhere near the level of the sci-fi construct, failing to maintain the sense of wonder that is created within the first few minutes of film.

More than 30 years after its release, Alien shows signs of aging, most especially on its most famous sequence, when a much smaller version of the final creature literally bursts out from the chest of one of the crew members . Not only does the sequence feel forced and unfinished, but it is a great example of poor acting and gratuitous gore. The scene is merely a device to shock audiences in order create an indelible image that has and will continue to outlive the rest of the film.

To add insult to injury, Alien does not bother to explain just how does a creature grow so large in such little time. The device allows for the film to keep moving forward but at what cost? Are we supposed to just throw common sense out the window? after the film has already asked us to believe every damn scenario it has thrown at us, it asks us to dispense of basic questions that surely jumped at audiences as early as 1979.

In the realm of sci-fi films, Alien falls short of the accomplishments of artistic marvels like 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Kubrick masterpiece preceded Alien by 11 years, still looking as innovative and profound as it once did. In comparison, Alien looks cheap, dated and extremely overrated.

Xeno

Uff. This was tough. Believe me when I say Alien is one of my favorite films ever.

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3 thoughts on “The 5 Obstructions Blogathon (#1): Alien (1979)

  1. Wow, that must have been extremely hard to write…I feel for you! Have added it to the overview post and you have passed your first obstruction!

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