The massive space-tug Nostromo glides silently through space. Back from the outer reaches of the galaxy, it’s taking its seven-member crew back to Earth. But when the ship’s computer receives a distress signal from a nearby planetary system, it rouses the crew from their cryo-sleep. It isn’t until after the Nostromo has landed on a barren planet named LV-426 and three crewmembers have gone out to investigate a huge derelict spacecraft that the signal is deciphered and found to be a warning. But one crewmember has already experienced a shocking face-to-face encounter with an alien creature while inspecting an egg-shaped pod. And so the horror begins – a horror which will end the lives of six crewmembers and alter the life of the seventh forever.
1979 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
Rating Details: Contains strong language, moderate violence and horror
8.0 out of 10
So anyway, I sat through this entire film convinced I was watching a party political broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party; one that had chosen to spotlight the Party’s views on immigration. Why? 1. Well, for a start it’s called “Alien”, a phrase which seems to sum up a large proportion of everyone the Daily Mail, (which is the propaganda wing of the Party), doesn’t like. 2. It features a crew of people who are “working hard to get on in life”, before having things suddenly buggered up for them by a nasty alien. This is obviously a reference to wholesome, law-abiding Middle England British families having to deal with the effects of uncontrolled immigration. 3. It features a hideous, unstoppable creature that wants what we have and bleeds acid everywhere if you piss it off. (Well, it’s 45 years since Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech, so I guess you have to up the ante these days.) This is clearly an allusion to foreigners, especially the billions of people from Bulgaria and Romania who’re poised to ‘invade’ Britain (or more importantly the Tory heartland of the South East of England) on the 1st January 2014. From what I’ve seen in some of the media recently, I doubt there’ll be anyone left in either of those two countries by the time everyone here goes back to work the following week. Not that we’ll have jobs anymore, because they’ll all have been taken by them instead, whilst they’re simultaneously signing on the dole, having babies and not learning to speak English. And Romanians in particular are all just gymnasts, orphans or vampires, so why should they be allowed into the country? 4. Crewmember Ash turns out to be an android, in the pay of some nefarious organisation, ready to sacrifice everyone to make sure the alien gets back to Earth. Ash just has to be Vince Cable, working for the Lib Dems. His dark, evil plan? To let some foreigners into Britain. Traitor! And what does the android turn out to be full of? Nasty, goo-spewing Cables. Case proved I think. 5. The movie features a lot of people desperately running and creeping about in dark corridors, with a weird device that uses technobabble to find aliens, until they finally manage to successfully track one down. To me that sounds a lot like politicians quoting from random surveys and statistics, in an effort to concoct some evidence to support their views. 6. When they stop worrying about the alien for a few moments, it suddenly explodes out of John Hurt’s chest. I think that’s self explanatory; give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. 7. When they actually manage to find the alien, they quickly throw together some sort of bizarre, home-made weapon to try and get rid of it, which is undoubtedly analogous to their hastily thrown together ideas about caps on immigration; badly thought out, probably illegal, unfair and unworkable. 8. The alien kills everyone off one by one, which is exactly what all foreigners want to do to our way of life. Indeed, that’s their only reason to exist. (And let’s not forget that John Hurt was also Doctor Who). 9. Most things in the film have an alternative, sexual interpretation, which somehow just comes across as eww. Ever seen British politicians trying to be cool, attractive, or in-touch? It’s provides much the same feeling. 10. The alien is killed, after just about everything is destroyed, including the whole spaceship. This is exactly what will happen to the country if the Tories deal with immigration in their way. Babies and bathwater. Apparently there’s a party political broadcast on behalf of UKIP somewhere too. It’s called “Aliens”.
There can’t be much that hasn’t been said or written about this film. So I’m just going to say it’s essential viewing for anyone interested in cinema.
Most of the music used was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, one of the best film composers ever. It’s good. Very good.
Isn’t this a rubbish trailer? Slow, confusing, and sounding and looking horrible, it makes the film seems about as appealing as snogging a face hugger.
Recommended for aliens, foreigners, politicians and anyone that works on a spaceship.
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. Despite providing one of the most famous cat characters in all of film history, Jonsey doesn’t even get a mention in the credits. It must suck sometimes being a cat.
Top badass moment? Vince Cable giving the rest of the Government shit about its approach to immigration. No, wait, I’m mixing this film up with a Conservative party political broadcast again. Malevolent aliens? Bulgarians? Romanians? It’s confusing. Don’t worry, I’ll check the facts in tomorrow’s Daily Mail. (Interesting, when I was 16 I’d have probably said the top badass moment heavily featured Sigourney Weaver’s panties. I must be getting old.)
For the first time on Blu-ray, see the original theatrical version of the film as it was initially released in theatres. A massive alien presence of enormous power enters Federation space destroying three powerful Klingon cruisers and neutralising everything in its path. As it heads towards Earth, Admiral James T. Kirk returns to the helm of an updated U.S.S. Enterprise and sets course to meet the aggressor head-on.
1979 – Certificate U – USA
7 out of 10
At work I often feel like Kirk does in this film. Like him, I’ve been promoted to such an enormously high level that I too haven’t logged a single star-hour in over two and a half years; (or at least our equivalent of them). Also like him, if I went out and tried to do a real day’s work like I used to, I’d not have a clue what I was doing. And I too, have needed to surround myself with people who do actually know how to do things properly, so I can make myself look good and benefit from their abilities. And, of course, like Kirk, I save the Earth on a regular basis. Actually, now I’ve thought about it in a bit more detail, pretty well the only way to tell us apart, other than the fact that he will live 300 years in the future and I’m here right now, is the fact that he did everything with the support of an effectively endless supply of resources; whereas I do the same with almost no resources whatsoever. I guess we’re probably cousins.
It’s hard to imagine there’s anything that hasn’t been said about this film 1,000s of times before. Yes it’s slow. Yes it’s overlong. Yes it’s not really like any other Star Trek movie or TV show. Yes it’s full of plot holes. One the other hand, it is Star Trek. It was the first new bit of Star Trek for years, (especially if you ignore the animated episodes) and we didn’t know then what we know now about the Star Trek Universe. It was a genuine attempt to turn Star Trek into proper, hard science-fiction; (not like that ‘other’ famous sci-fi film from the late 70’s that was clearly made for children). It’s got Klingons in it, (although not nearly enough of them). Both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy give great performances; and Persis Khambatta had great legs and was a very attractive skinhead. It’s also a reminder that three of its stars have now been taken from us. :-( It’s far from the best bit of Star Trek ever made, but it’s had a bad press over the years and I think the passage of time has helped it. I watched it on Blu-ray. At points it looked great, but at others it’s pretty dodgy; some of the special effects are certainly showing their age, although to be fair many of them still look very cool. But it’s far from being a great, high-definition presentation. Another odd thing is that I don’t think any of it was filmed outside; it’s all studio shot, which is quite unusual for a major feature film. The trailer is terrible though; it’s like it’s for a low-budget, 50s, B-movie, sci-fi horror.
Jerry Goldsmith’s sound track is one of the high points of the film. From the Star Trek Theme through to the great scene where Kirk (and us) first see the new Enterprise, great stuff. The latter bit of music always reminds me of Jurassic Park for some reason. I wish I was talented enough to write music like that.
No cats, decapitation or chainsaws. There’re some photon torpedoes though; much cooler.
Recommended for people who seek out new life and new civilisations; even when they’re just down the road shopping.
Top badass moment? WTF? It’s the return of the Enterprise! Nothing could be more badass than that.
Once content to duel it out here on Earth, the eternally scrappy Tom and Jerry now boldly go where no cat and mouse have gone before, when they get trapped on a spaceship bound for Mars. After their mistaken mission goes hilariously out of control, the tables are turned on Tom when, thinking him a giant outer space monster, the Martians attack! But what really bristles the cat’s whiskers is Jerry being hailed as the Martians’ long-long supreme leader! Will the duelling duo put their differences aside long enough to save Earth from invasion? They may need all of Tom’s nine lives to succeed in this extraterrestrially funny adventure.
2005 – Certificate: U – USA
Rating Details: Mild violence
In the first four and a half minutes, (which includes all the opening credits too), Tom has an ironing board smash down on his head, has his head ironed, sets fire to his feet, falls into a food mixer, falls into a liquidiser, gets his head jammed in a toaster and toasted, gets trapped in a dish washer and its associated plumbing, smashes his head into a sink, gets sucked through an aircraft’s jet engine and falls 1,000s of feet though the air onto the ground. I guess that’s the “mild violence” I was warned about. Lucky it’s not a real cat.
I like Tom and Jerry. In fact they’re my favourite cartoon characters of all time. The first part of this film is great, as Tom’s attempts to catch Jerry totally trash a house. Sadly, when we meet a few folk (and aliens) and they start to speak, it all slows down and loses it a bit. I don’t know, but people really shouldn’t talk in Tom and Jerry cartoons; in fact we should hardly see them at all. A few screams and such like are okay, but when they start to have conversations then that’s just wrong. Then again, I’m probably not the demographic that this film is aimed at. If you’re eight years old you probably don’t care about the mythology of Tom and Jerry, you just want to see ‘funny stuff’. Having said that, the big reference to “2001: A Space Odyssey” and the fact that the President looks and sound an awful lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger, are likely to appeal to the more ‘mature’ viewer. The bad guy’s use of a vacuum cleaner as its weapon of choice is somewhat surreal too. What was the originator of that idea on? It’s far from classic Tom and Jerry, but it’s still quite entertaining. The sound is surprisingly good, if a little unsubtle at times and the music excellent. At its best, this film could almost have been made in the 40s, but all too often it falls into more stereotypical Saturday morning cartoon land and dilutes its best down. And how come Tom and Jerry didn’t need spacesuits on Mars, but the astronauts from Earth did? (Okay, maybe I’m overanalysing things a bit now.)
Recommended for the Tom and Jerry hardcore; and little kids.
1 cat (Tom of course), no chainsaws or decapitations. However, a number of heads (mostly Tom’s) do get flattered, burnt, crushed or ‘deflated’.
Top badass moment? I’m told following your dreams in life is important, regardless of the consequences. So I guess Tom smashing up what looked like a really nice house, with a lot of unusual African artefacts it, in an attempt to catch Jerry, is badass then. Jerry’s such a tease and you just know he’s not the one who’s going to get blamed for the mess either; there’re words for individuals like that and they’re not nice words.
Listen up, this is important. I believe the Earth is about to be invaded and taken over by an evil alien, whose sole purpose is to enslave the entire human race and laugh in a really, really annoying way at our suffering. Proof? For a start, this film. The main male character in it is called Zorg. Is Zorg a common name in France? I doubt it. This film is clearly a message from the future sent back into the past, to warn us of the impending doom to come. No one really calls their son Zorg, do they? I hope not, because it’s the sort of name only megalomaniacs in 50’s pulp sci-fi and B-movies should have. Emperor Zorg; Zorg the Mighty; Lord Zorg, Ruler of the Flatulent Empire and 10,000 Worlds; that sort of thing. We never get to meet Zorg’s parents in this film, but honestly, what were they thinking? They must have been smoking something when they came up with that name. Then this evening I had my shopping delivered by someone called Zoltan. Again, another clear example of a Flash Gordon era baddie, who was obviously casing the joint and looking for weaknesses in the Earth’s defences. You shouldn’t allow the fact that he came not in a gigantic spaceship, but in the “cabbage van” (so the text from Ocado said), to deflect your attention. He even had a bit of an accent, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t of this Earth. These aliens, clever people, that’s why they’re ‘here’ and we’re not ‘there’.
1986 – Certificate: 18 – France
Rating Details: Strong scenes of sex and nudity and some strong violence
Clocking in at almost three hours (it was the Director’s Cut), this is a loooong, French, romantic movie that takes us on a trip with young couple Zorg and Betty. From painting beach houses, through to working in a pizza restaurant, writing books and selling pianos, it chronicles their relationship and the effect Betty’s (undefined) mental illness has on it. Having a friend with the latter, I found it intensely saddening at times. But I also enjoyed it in a rather Thomas Hardyish way, in the sense that I knew the relationship was probably doomed from the start and I was just waiting for it to crash and burn. Now having just compared it to a quintessentially English author, it’s actually a very French film. There’re plenty of examples of tasteful love-making (because the French are supposed to be good at that), as well as lots of ‘unconcerned nudity’ in it, most of it of the male variety it has to be said. It also had several somewhat bizarre and funny scenes of what you might consider to be almost slapstick comedy too. The ending is somewhat inexplicable as well, which seems to happen a lot in French films. Ultimately though, it’s a downer of a movie and after spending three hours with the characters, sharing virtually every aspect of their relationship with them, it’s hard not to be affected. I really felt sorry for them both. It’s a nice looking film too (and I’m not just talking about the main characters) and the mono soundtrack is actually pretty decent.
Recommended for those who are willing to invest an evening in lusting after Betty or Zorg.
1 cat, no decapitations or chainsaws. The cat, a lovely white one, appears in three scenes and has a pivotal role right at the end, including a bit of (dubbed) dialogue.
Top badass moment? Betty throwing a bucket of pink paint all over Zorg’s boss’s car. He was a serious asshole and quite frankly a load of paint on his car was the least he deserved. When you’re boyfriend’s being a wimp and not sticking up for himself, someone has to be badass about it. And let’s face it, who hasn’t thought of doing something like that to a crappy manager at one time or another?