Happy birthday to Dutch Girl in London! Not the website that is, but the actual person behind the website 🙂 To celebrate this extraordinary occasion, film director Ridley Scott has been so thoughtful to premier his latest instalment of the Alien franchise in the UK today! This post has nothing to do with any free publicity for the distributors, but is written out of pure love for the acid-dripping, double-jawed alien life-form with its characteristic elongated head (which in my imagination feels like an aubergine upon touching it) created by H.R. Giger.
Why am I so excited about this? What can I say, from the hundreds (or more likely thousands) of films, I’ve seen in my life, Alien (1979) is one of the films that still stands out for me, even having seen it dozens of times. (I wrote a paper on it at uni for a Visual Culture course and re-watched the crucial chest-bursting scene over and over again, for at least 80 times. Yes, I am a sick person.) From all the sequels and now prequels, Alien is by far the superior. In fact, from all sci-fi films, it’s one of the most sophisticated one as it doesn’t need to rely on CGI tricks to draw in the audience or to convince them of being in outer space. Whenever I watch the film, I am astounded at how it manages to fascinate me and have me sitting at the edge of my seat, especially considering pretty much nothing happens till almost an hour into the film. I appreciate the evolution of cinema and film-making, but Alien once again demonstrates (at least for me) that the use of CGI and an abundance of special effects creates a distance between me and the plot unfolding on the screen in front of me, but more than anything it dates a film just horribly. Considering it was made in 1979 already – actually my birth year so I really think today’s release of the new Alien film is a personal message from Ridley Scott to me! – Alien pretty much stands the test of time. I think it (together with the Star Wars series) might have also set the tradition of strong female roles in sci-films.
So, what can we expect from the new Alien film then? To be completely honest: I don’t have a clue! I’ve been so out of touch with the real world for the last months, that I kind of missed the upcoming release of this new addition to the series! (‘And she claims she is a fan’, I hear you smirk.) I was surprised more than anything for a moment, because it was only last summer that I wrote I was dreading Neil Blomkamp’s expected Alien 5 film. Perhaps he or the movie studio read that post and decided to pull out of the project, but fact is that there are no sequels in the pipeline for the near future. Alien: Covenant is situated between the first prequel Prometheus (2012) and Alien and should help us decipher the mythology of the Alien and the reason for its creation, which in fact has an awful lot to do with the human race! I read there are plans for six more of these prequels. I’m not sure if that’s just overkill, but it seems to be the trend to make prequels, sequels and spin-offs of previous box office successes. These mostly annoy me and confuse me more than anything else. And although I haven’t been convinced of Prometheus nor any of Ridley Scott’s latest films, I remain ever optimistic (or else I’ll ask J.J. Abrams to get in the mix).
On another note: curiously enough I went to see the new British comedy Mindhorn in the cinema this week without having a clue what it was actually about and I was so surprised to see Ridley Scott’s name appear in the credits as one of the executive producers. He was a very clever man for supporting this film as it’s highly entertaining and a definite must-see! It even has a Dutch character in it (albeit with an eastern European sounding surname rather than Dutch) whose accent sounds pretty much like Goldmember. Scott is tied as a producer to more interesting projects such as the highly anticipated Blade Runner 2049 and the mini-series 3001: The Final Odyssey. This actually reminds me of an older interview I did with Brian Johnson, the man responsible for the special effects in so many of these classical epic films including 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Alien and The NeverEnding Story (1984).
Attention all sci-fi fans! Make sure to visit the big exhibition Into the Unknown at the Barbican (3 June – 1 September 2017) which will look at the genre from the perspective of art, film, literature and design!
All Hail the Alien Queen, and Happy Birthday to me 🙂
And I know this was quite a random post, but hey it’s my birthday! 😀