Gaining XP: Alien (1979)

Welcome to “Gaining XP,” a segment in which one of our 6NC writers attempt to build up their nerd cred by trying things they might have missed out on as kids. This time around, Jess watched Alien, the story of a lost alien just trying to find its way back to its ship.

For my Gaining XP experience, I watched the 1979 original Alien. For those of you who were like me and have not seen Alien yet, this movie takes place in space aboard the Nostromo. The film follows the crew of the ship as they deal with a stowaway alien they picked up at a crash site. A very murderous stowaway alien.

I had never seen this movie for reasons unknown to me. I have watched scary monster movies since I was little, but the Alien franchise has seemed to pass me by. I have a huge thing for aliens and alien movies in general, so I really have no excuse for why I haven’t seen them. In the last few years I have really gotten into aliens, especially after becoming obsessed with X-Files and Star Trek. So going into this movie, I had really high hopes.

My hopes were not dashed! I did really like this film. I loved Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley. Throughout the whole movie, she was badass and in control. I yelled at my screen more than once about the men not listening to Ripley. She literally could have saved their lives at least three times! I mean, when someone says quarantine, do not open the door. You really shouldn’t open the door. Granted, Ian Holm’s character Ash (who opened the door) did turn out to be a robot, and robots do not follow gender norms, so we can let that one slide. Speaking of Ian Holm, I loved the robot twist! I knew something sinister was brewing with him, but I had no idea how much so. It was refreshing to see a movie from the late seventies be so empowering for this woman. I feel like it really was ahead of the game, and it is no surprise that Ripley is such an iconic female power figure in the scifi world.

Alien, 1979, Ripley, Sigourney Weaver

In regards to the “classic” parts of the film, they were good, but I was not scared at any point.  I think some of the suspense and horror got lost from 1979 to now, but it held up. The alien bursting from John Hurt’s Kane character was pretty gruesome, but then I laughed because that little alien took its sweet time looking around the room before jumping out of the guy. I also thought the alien grew up really fast. There really isn’t any good measure of time in the movie, but from what I figured, the alien stomach baby grew to black demon in just a few hours at the most. It makes me wonder what their natural life spans are. The grown alien is pretty cool. There is a lot of drool and a lot of teeth, and I really do not understand why it was so moist (lots of dripping). I have obviously seen images and clips of the alien before, so it was not a surprise.

Alien, John Hurt

Some lasting feelings:

I actually feel bad for the alien. It was an egg in a crash-landed ship, its mom was dead at helm, and then it got trapped in a strange ship with no sense of what was going on. It was essentially a lost teenager with anger management issues. This is typical of my Hufflepuff heart though.

I would also like to talk about the cat, Jones. Jones actually plays a big role in the film, which I loved. Ripley would not leave him behind. Even when being chased by the alien, she stuck that cat in it’s carrier, and made it work. I loved that the writers had the foresight to include a cat carrier; as we all know, cats should not be held while running. It would be a horrible idea.

Jones. Alien, 1979, cat

I was also grateful for the imagery and imagining of space and the spacecrafts in the film. As a fan of space science fiction, it fit right in with what I hoped it would be. The visuals were great for the time period, and the design crew did a great job with the Nostromo and the crashed alien ship. They made my scifi heart happy.

I am super pleased with this movie, and I actually am eager to watch the rest of the Alien films!

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Jess Walls

Jessica is the awkward one. Her hobbies include reading YA novels, having conversations with her dogs, and creating her own cosplay. She loves America almost more than Captain Steve Rogers himself. Her current life goals are to finish watching the entire Star Trek saga, pass her nerdoms onto her high school students, and be involved in an X-file.

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