Ridley Scott knows that the original Alien is one of his best-looking films and Scott is right about why the film has aged so well despite its age.
Ridley Scott is right about why Alien (1979) is still so influential and highly appreciated today. Alien is a science fiction horror film that follows the crew of the spaceship Nostromo as they awake from their cryo-sleep and find a mysterious spaceship. As they explore the spaceship, they find themselves trapped with an aggressive extraterrestrial creature whose nest of egg seem to have taken over the ship. The attacks of the antagonist, the Alien Xenomorph, prove deadly and kills several of the members of the crew as the film progresses, creating a tense and terrifying atmosphere throughout the movie. Alien was Scott’s first horror film but its success, both commercially and during the award season, cemented Scott’s legacy in the horror film tradition. According to the director himself, Alien is one of his best-looking films which even today hasn’t really dated, as he stated in the DVD commentary of the film. Scott is right in his assessment of the film: Alien’s popularity has not declined; the film is still good and is seen as a masterpiece even today. In fact, Alien is often talked about as one of the best science fiction films of all time. It was ranked seventh in the ten best films in the science fiction genre as part of the American Film Institute’s 10 Top 10 in 2008, almost 30 years after the film was originally made.
Why Alien Aged So Well
While older horror and science fiction films can easily begin to feel outdated, due to the rapid changes in technology, this has not happened with Alien. The latter is not just one of Scott’s best films, but it also managed to age so well because of its simple and clean design, to the credit of the designers and Derek Vanlint, the film’s cinematographer. The film and its technology are able to stand the test of time, perhaps because it is not the technology itself, nor the spaceship Alien is set in, that is the focus of the film. On the contrary, the film focuses on the threat posed by the presence of its titular villain, the Xenomorph, and the feeling of terror that it evokes throughout the film.
Why The Alien Xenomorph Aged So Well
The alien Xenomorph not only looks but also feels real which perhaps is what makes Alien so scary to this day. In fact, while most other horror villains lean heavily into the supernatural and fantastical, this does not happen with the Xenomorph, the perfect living organism. This is thanks to its design and premise, an alien from the unknowable depths of space which still appears believable thanks to Giger’s work and the use of real-life puppets rather than solely relying on CGI and visual effects. Furthermore, the Xenomorph may be an alien on a spaceship, but it provokes a very real fear, that of the invasion of the human body, which has resonated with audiences since before the making of the film. Although Alien has been able to keep its horror aesthetic timeless and remains to this day one of the most appreciated and loved horror movies, the same can’t exactly be said for the rest of the series. Despite their more updated technology, the later films may have tainted the extraterrestrial creatures to some viewers as the plots grow thinner, which could be one of the reasons why the Alien franchise is not as successful as it once was. However, there is a chance for Scott to save the franchise if he were to ever return, and as the director reflected on the reason why the first Alien is still so popular and praised, he could be interested in revisiting the franchise.