Alien: The Director's Cut (18)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

Review byMatthew Turner17/10/2003

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 123 mins

A welcome re-release for Scott’s classic sci-fi horror, with a couple of directorial tweaks for good measure.

Occasionally, someone will re-release a film and you can’t help but wonder why they bothered (the original Italian Job, for example). In the case of Ridley Scott’s Alien, however, it’s much more a case of wondering what took them so long.

At any rate, the wait was worth it, as the print and sound have had a good digital scrubbing and Scott himself has trimmed about five minutes of material (mostly pauses, people taking too long to come into a room etc) and replaced it with five minutes of previously unseen material (though some of it is on the DVD).


Naturally the plot stays the same. The crew of the cargo ship Nostromo are awakened from deep sleep and diverted to another planet in order to answer a distress call. They find no survivors, but one of the crewmembers (an extremely young-looking John Hurt as Kane) investigates a strange egg-like thing and winds up with a creature attached to his face.

Against the wishes of science officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the crew bring Kane back aboard and, to everyone’s surprise, he makes a complete recovery. Until dinner-time, that is, when he starts to develop a few unusual stomach problems…

Amazingly, the film hardly seems to have dated at all and the theme of the controlling, faceless corporation (“Mother”) sacrificing lives for their own ends seems more relevant than ever. In addition, the current Matrix-inspired trend for retro ‘green on black’ computer screen imagery means that even the computers don’t seem too out of date.

Terrifying Creation

The acting is excellent, particularly in the scenes where the crew sit around talking, which seem natural and unscripted. The strangest thing is seeing how young Sigourney Weaver is (this is the role that made her a star and you can see why) and wondering how Tom Skerritt didn’t become a major leading man after this.

The effects are terrific, too, with Scott expertly building tension by wisely deciding not to fully show H.R.Giger’s terrifying creation until the very end – this is a lesson that should have been learned by every monster movie made since 1979.

Essentially, then, if you’ve never seen the film before, then you’re in for a real treat. Meanwhile, fans of the film should rewatch the original film beforehand so that the extra scenes ‘leap out at you’ (so to speak) that much more. An absolute classic. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 20/04/2019 23:58

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