Saturday, January 24, 2004

Alien: Quadrilogy

Well for the first time in a long while I have partaken in the complete Alien Quadrilogy. The NINE disc DVD set is mindboggling. After the whole hideous thing I have come to some conclusions about the Alien

  1. What makes the original scary:
    The unkowability of the creature in all its various nasty forms, the low key performances, the non-heroic nature of most all the cast.
  2. What makes the other movies not very scary:

The more the story teller trys to pigeonhole the alien into the insect catagory the less scary it is. By the end of the second film the aliens aren't very alien. By the end of the 4rth movie it was all just a graphic novel on screen. The whole bio-weapons aspect was beaten to death. The governement conspiracy was beaten to death. Ripley should have been beatn to death.

Studio concocktions suck. The three films that followed Alien were very much different in that they have the polished feel of a 'studio" picuture. They give us what they think we "want" to see or "expect" to see; hence the totally predictable plot, the same schtick. The original Alien went out of its way to give us something that we didn't expect and really didn't want to see (until we saw it and couldn't get enough of it)

I am really sick of being shoveled shit that some studio dickwad thinks I want. And this is, to me, the holy grail of movies. All the best films we love were made to surprise us and for the cheif benefit of the filmakers. All the worst films I hate are the ones who try to give me a formula that has worked in the past and is as surprising as finding out in the morning that the sun is rising in the east.

I am sure that LOTR will spawn other films that will be handsomely crafted, of great length telling us nothing we haven't seen before. I like the concept of doing a multi-movie series all at once. It forces the filmaker to take a big risk. To shoot one movie and have it bomb is bad, but to do three? I also forces some continutiy into the storyline and allows for less "hmm? How do I reconcile this problem?" from going on. I would dread another episode in LOTR. Of course it is out of my hands. Tolkien didn't wan't Retun of the King to be called that since he felt it gave away the ending. But it too was out of his hands. Those that create are at the mercy of those that distribute. I don't, as a matter of course, want to put the creators on a pedistal. Look at poor Dan O'Bannon, he scored big in 79' and that was it for him. And George Lucas owes his wad to Gary Kurtz more than to his own "genius" It is odd that the as the SW films have progress he has gotten to have more and more control!?!!?

Filmakers should stay away from "the making of"s I used to like the idea but really it cheapens the film itself and the movies become...well...movies instead of emotional experiences. I don't want to know about the building of Theodan's palace or that of Helm's deep in a rock quarry. After you read a good book you don't want to know if the author wrote it in his underwear.
The Alien DVD's have tons of extra stuff that is all cool and interesting. The volume of the extra stuff undoubtedly exeeds the lengths of all the films combined.