The Kids Talk Film: ALIEN

Contributing Writer; Toronto, Canada (@triflic)
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The Kids Talk Film: ALIEN
Imagine the opportunity to go back and watch Ridley Scott's Alien, for the first time again. 

Willem (age 10) got his first exposure to the horrific piece of science fiction as he continues his tour through the genre with his father (yours truly, and also the disembodied voice in the Kids Talk Film videos.) This one proved too scary for his sister Miranda (age 9) to attempt, so he flies solo in discussing the experience of long tracking shots down quiet corridors, dripping water and saliva, xenomorph life-cycles, and the keen suspense of not always seeing exactly what is happening.

Twitch has been on the Internet long enough that many of its writing staff have children old enough to understand and consume media in a way that is both raw and fresh. It might even come with an inkling of consideration afterwards -- it's true that many of us fall in love with the movies when we are very young. Thus, we are offering you the perspective of smaller children as they react to seeing classic filmmaking on the big screen.  

In the past, Willem and his younger sister Miranda have discussed David Lynch's Dune and Darren Aronfsky's The Fountain, as well as Alfonso CuarĂ³n's Gravity and Stanley Kubrick's 2001:  A Space Odyssey. Many of these these episodes, including a 15 film series on Studio Ghibli can be found in the ScreenAnarchy archives or at the Kids Talk Film Channel on Vimeo.

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AlienkidstalkfilmRidley ScottDan O'BannonRonald ShusettTom SkerrittSigourney WeaverVeronica CartwrightHarry Dean StantonHorrorSci-Fi

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MichaelMarch 24, 2014 11:25 AM

I only watched Alien for the first time several years ago as an adult. It was a huge disappointment and does not compare to Cameron's vastly superior sequel. I think this may be a movie that is best enjoyed by children who have yet to experience more sophisticated filmmaking. It would be a safe introduction if I didn't feel it's still too violent for 10 year olds.

Kim Newman had a scathing review in his original Nightmare Movies (spoiler):

"Sigourney Weaver may be an independent, gutsy heroine, but the spaceship Nostromo also carries Veronica Cartwright as a representative of red-nosed sniffing and feminine panic at their most demeaning. With the exception of the character who turns out to be a scheming robot, all the men on the ship are the kind of dorks who loiter in dark corners waiting to be pounced on. It's impossible to resist 'I wonder who's gonna get it next?' game while watching Alien."

"The grimy space freighter crewed by bitching incompetents who've obviously signed up for the trip because no one on Earth can stand them. The film's overdrive pacing probably comes from Hill and Giler. Scott's contribution is an extension of his TV adverts - an accumulation of telling details that obscures illogicality. Alien is a dumb film, but you'd never guess that from watching Scott's prettified-visuals." (p. 236)

As this was a revised edition, he does add a note expressing concern that he was unduly harsh. Comparing the film to its many weaker sequels, "the virtues of the original are thrown into sharp relief." Yet he once again sums up my feelings when he concludes that "once the killings start, Alien still turns into a body-count picture."

KurtMarch 24, 2014 2:15 PM

Strange that the same critic, Kim Newman, praises the film (admittedly for its visuals and production design) here at EmpireMovies: