MovieChat Forums > AliensĀ (1986) Discussion > Very good film, but I prefer Alien

Very good film, but I prefer Alien


I prefer the stately elegance and dreamlike mood of the original Alien. I feel like the production design and world building was superior. When the camera slowly drifts through the corridors of the Nostromo in the beginning, I feel immersed in a fascinating and strange world. When Cameron tries to evoke the same mood aboard the Sulaco in the Special Edition of Aliens, it does not land with impact; there's too much open space, and the design isn't as spectacular - it looks like footage of a big garage. Simply put, when Aliens invites DIRECT comparison with Alien, it just demonstrates how Cameron can't match Scott's gift for composition and eye for detail. Ripley also feels a bit one-note (yes, I know she was nominated for an Oscar). She's pissed off and ready to mow down EVERYONE: Burke, Bishop, Gorman, Xenomorph, etc. It's a bit much. Ripley was a strong character in Alien, but she didn't quite behave that way (granted, she had not yet endured the horror of the xenomorph). I feel like Weaver delivered superior performances in both Alien and Alien3, which really show off her range as an actress and her ability to create a resilient, but psychologically credible heroine. Okay, I'm done picking the movie apart. It's technically very accomplished, and perfectly structured, in terms of narrative. I think the Ripley's Rescue sequence is the best thing in the franchise, and can watch it over and over again, out of context. It's a great, great film, just slightly overrated in my humble opinion.

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Well, without Alien there would have been not Aliens after all.

I liked the feeling of the Alien movie. I remember the day I saw it when it came out with my girlfriend in one of the Century domed theaters. The screen was so big and the theater was so packed we had to sit in the front row. In the opening scenes I felt like I could have gotten up and walking into the corridor or the ship when the lights flickered on.

Then the elevator down to the planet surface, the ship landing and busting that boulder, and finally making it to the Alien craft, and what the hell was it? Great movie.

BUT, the thing for me that knocks Alien down a peg or two was the haunted house mentality. Let's go off alone. Let's do the dumbest thing imaginable. The movie was so tense and unusual that I completely ignored it. It was a great movie, but it was a haunted house movie.

Aliens, true, it did not recreate the same mood, but it was different, just like Terminator 2 was different from Terminator. Both excellent movies. I could not choose a favorite between any of them.

Do you mean the rescue sequence in the beginning of Aliens? I'll always remember the thunk of that door falling in. If I had to go to a deserted island, I'd either want both movies or neither.

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I mean Ripley driving the tank into the complex to rescue the Marines. That part is extremely badass.

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Yeah, guess so, typical woman driver though! ;-)

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I can see that. I personally "prefer" Aliens but Alien is a flat-out amazing movie and probably objectively the better made of the two. Just masterful on all levels, from the gorgeous art direction and cinematography to the tense atmosphere and realistic performances.

Which I'd rather watch differs day by day for me. Both are in my top twenty favourite films, though Aliens is the one I'm probably more likely to pop on to be honest and I'd seriously put it in my top three "desert island" films. I also love Alien 3 despite its obvious and glaring flaws.

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Nice to meet another person who liked Alien 3

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I first saw the Alien movies when I was in high school in the 90's, when the Special Edition of Aliens came out (and gave the series a bit of a resurgence in popularity for awhile, including the Dark Horse comics run), so I watched all three for the first time within a few weeks of each other. I fell in love with the movies, characters and the franchise instantly!

I'd also read the novelizations and also bought a shooting script to Alien 3 not long after seeing it (along with the rejected William Gibson script; this was before the internet was a "thing" really, so scripts were things you bought in collectable shops or at sci-fi conventions!). The shooting script and novelization pretty much filled in the blanks to what was "cut" from the movie (they're both pretty close to what we got in the assembly edit many years later). So, what I consider the biggest issue with Alien 3 - the cutting of several characters and plotlines (Junior and Golic's arcs, most notably) - wasn't an issue for me.

Despite it being my least favorite of the original trilogy, Alien 3 is easily the 3rd best IMO and I like that it - for the most part - does it's own thing, when it would have been much easier to ride the success of Aliens and make another action movie. The characters are flawed and interesting, the art design gorgeously atmospheric, and I adore the score. I hated the killing off of Newt and Hicks (especially as a Dark Horse comics fan, where those characters spun off into their own post-Aliens story) but mostly because it was off-camera, and their deaths worked if this was the final film in the series, as it was closing the book anyway. The climax and ending still makes me emotional to this day.

Yeah, I like Alien 3. It's not perfect, but the assembly edit fixes most issues... back then, I never would have dreamed we'd get a proper release of that!

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Thanks for your amazing reply! I adore this series as well. Alien 3 is unique in its own way. It introduced the most exciting and impressive ability of xenomorphs - they take features of their hosts. I agree, its soundtrack was fantastic and the acting was great

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The abilities of the xenomorph to me are kind of irritating.
They are nightmare creatures. Concentrated acid for blood ...
and they grow huge fast without anything to eat, but they
still eat humans ... I guess for the fun of it or to exercise
their elaborate choppers! ;-)

The more the xenomorphs become the creatures from hell,
the more horror-like and less science-fiction-like the movies
become and the harder it is for me to get into.

If these creatures can grow without any food or energy
inputs, why do they need the teeth and why do they need
to be so vicious ... from an evolutionary point of view, and
if they can develop or have an intelligence, why do they have
to be hostile? Answer: just to make a scary movie.

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What did you like about Alien3? It was so long ago I don't remember
anything but that it was a rip-off exploit of Alien with nothing there,
and it was boring. The whole company arc in the Alien series always
seemed weak to me. Maybe I need to give Alien 3 another watch.

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I saw Aliens as a kid many years before i even knew it was a sequel and liked it well enough. I eventually saw the original Alien and re- watched Aliens and I'll say that I can totally see why many people prefer one over the other as both films are very different. I personally prefer the first for it's ambiance and tense build up but I still greatly enjoyed Aliens and felt it had more memorable characters as well as expanding Ripley as a character.

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yes, just different kinds of movie .. one horror, one science fiction.

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I see your point.

The reason is that to me, fun and brilliant as Alien was, it was essentially
a horror movie, a kind of haunted house movie with a science fiction setting.
Brilliant visuals and that dreamlike quality was amazing. I still remember
vividly the landing on the planet, and the landing pod crushing the rock,
and then the elevator down to the surface with all that wind. It was
transporting us to a new world in a way that had never been done before.

And so I cannot say I really like one movie more than the other. Aliens was
more of a Science Fiction movie. A whole intergalactic universe was created
with humans moving out into the strange unknown. Personally I like the
Science Fiction genre much more than horror. I won't really watch horror
movies, unless they are mostly or strongly based on science fiction.

I thought one thing about Aliens that still bugs me is how stupid the people
are, a trait that was kind of missing in Aliens, but picked up again in anything
that Ridley Scott does. I wouldn't say it ruined the movie, because Alien
is just so good, but it is like a glaring flaw for me. What kind of an idiot
goes down alone inside of the air vents with a flame thrower, alone!?
And then all do that basically. And then there is the oddness of the
android Ash ... but it was just the right amount of creepiness to add
to the movie ... something I doubt was even planned, it just seems like
luck that it worked out so well.

Not even close to being recreated with Prometheus or Covenant, or whatever
silliness lies ahead.

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