The first chapter in the terrifying Alien sci-fi saga!
When the crew of the space-tug Nostromo answers a distress signal from a desolate planet, they discover a deadly life form that breeds within a human host. And so the horror begins – a horror which will end the lives of six crewmembers and alter the life of the seventh forever. Sigourney Weaver stars as Ellen Ripley in one of the most suspenseful and powerful science fiction films of all time.
eyelights: Dallas trapped in the alien’s “web”.
eyesores: the pacing. the added shots of the alien.
Released for the first time on October 31, 2003, this “Director’s Cut” of ‘Alien‘ only exists due to 20th Century Fox’s insistence on releasing a new cut on DVD – essentially, to pad the Alien Quadrilogy boxed set.
Ridley Scott saw the version that Fox had prepared for release and decided to take the matter into his own hands, all the while stating that as far as he’s concerned the original was perfect and that there were now two director’s cuts of ‘Alien’.
Clearly, financial concerns, not art, was the chief reason for this exercise. And it shows.
This 2003 edit of ‘Alien’ brought absolutely nothing to the original film. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, it hacked the suspense, diluted the mystery and pretty much toyed with a perfect formula just for the sake of offering a “new” product.
The fact is, most (all?) of the material that was included in this cut was available separately in the deleted material section of previous home video releases – there was absolutely no need to reintroduce it into the film. As Scott himself says: “I cut those scenes out for a reason back in 1979”.
But, worst of all, they actually removed material that was in the original film to make room for the new stuff. And this version is actually shorter than the original (and here I wondered why the 2003 version felt like it was slightly faster-paced than the original. Duh…).
Anyway, since I don’t really feel like dissecting the differences between the two, given that I think it’s a poorer motion picture anyway, here are probably the most anal-retentive analyses of the changes made to ‘Alien’ for this so-called “Director’s Cut”:
Armed with those two pages, you can explore every single excision and addition that was made to the slightest degree. Have fun!
You’ll be amazed to see how the “new” sequences that show the alien frequently look really poorly-staged, as though they included test footage of some goofy guy wandering about in the costume on set. Let’s just say that it’s not nearly as subtle as the original; and sometimes less is more.
Quite frankly, this cut of ‘Alien’ didn’t seem that well-put together; clearly Scott didn’t pore over his work this time around. And the sequences that were added in didn’t actually contribute anything. As far as I’m concerned, there is only one ‘Alien’. And this one isn’t it.
Date of viewing: November 7, 2012