Since I enjoyed "Alien: Covenant" so much, I decided to go back and watch the original trilogy that somehow escaped me back in the day. The reason why I never bothered earlier is perhaps because I was so familiar with the image of sweaty Sigourney Weaver waving weapons around the spaceship that somehow I just assumed that I have seen it - wrong, I have actually never seen it before and as for everything there is a season, obviously the right time for this. And the right frame of mind.
It would be safe to assume that almost 40 years old SF movie will appear dated because technology improved so much in the meantime that whatever special effects artists had at their disposal at the time is quaint nowadays. Wrong - because "Alien" don't depend on special effects and director Ridley Scott insisted that everything is hidden in the shadows and only hinted at, the fear and horror is still genuinely gripping. Of all the movie directors I know, Scott resembles Stanley Kubrick the most in a sense that he follows Kubrick's certain atmospheric uneasiness, the space is cold and foreboding, people are basically small and vulnerable in all that emptiness. The plot is by now too-well known to go into details, in short we have space ship with coffee-guzzling, cigarette-smoking crew that appears strangely mismatched (therefore very realistic, just as any regular team forced to work together) and as they find strange signal coming from a small planet, they are obliged to follow the procedure and investigate its source. Just in my worst nightmares, alien life proves not to be peace-bringing and wise, but malevolent and dangerous indeed.
The movie is still indisputably scary and disturbing - it is perhaps more horror that SF, come to think of it - and Scott plays with audiences not unlike Hitchcock, where we are watching something, fully understanding that unpleasant things might happen just around the corner. It kind of starts slow but it builds the tension to almost unbearable degree and once the action start rolling, I smoked almost the whole pack of cigarettes and was occasionally glancing at the dark around me.
When the movies are really good, I start imagining myself in the story and this one had me totally involved. Sigourney Weaver became world-famous overnight because of this movie and deservedly so, it is quite unusual role that has nothing to do with meek girlfriends or quietly suffering mothers usually depicted on screen, she is serious kick-ass authority and someone capable of holding that position. Just leave the fucking cat! Aaargh!