WARNING: SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen this film yet and don't want to ruin the experience then please do not read any further. I will not be offended, I'd much rather you enjoy the film properly.
If you have seen it, then do read on ...
Although I'd never seen the Alien movie in its entirety, I knew of its reputation as one of the iconic films of its era. It's always one that I'd been meaning to watch but never did, and when asked I'd always say I'd seen it. It's a bit like people admitting to reading all the 'classics' when really they've only seen the film/television adaptation. It makes you seem more knowledgeable if you've seen or read these things. The looks I'd get when I said I'd never seen Alien were incredulous.
This is the main reason why my film challenge started really, to get a bit more up to date with all these films that, supposedly, I should have seen by now.
When I finally sat down to watch this film I was full of anticipation for it being amazing right from the start. I must admit though that it took a while to get in to, I wasn't as hooked as early on as I expected to be.
It wasn't until the crew of the Nostromo landed, to investigate the 'distress' signal that had awakened them, that I really started to get interested. I think I was expecting the action to be there pretty much from the word go and the slower start was unexpected.
When John Hurt first enters the cavern where the eggs are resting I started to move towards the edge of my seat. There's some value in not knowing anything about a film, it means you really don't know what to expect at any point in the film. As he was moving closer to them, and then fell through to their level, you just know that something is going to happen to him; it's just a case of what and when. Needless to say I did jump when the alien finally leaped out at him.
I was familiar with the chest bursting scene before watching the whole thing, in fact it was the only part that I'd actually seen, so it wasn't a huge surprise to me when it happened. I always delight in watching the faces of the other actors, knowing the story behind the scene.
From then on it was a case of wondering who was going to 'get it' next. To find that Ian Holm was actually an android, in on the whole thing was a surprise. Up until that point there hadn't been any mention of their existence, as far as I could tell anyway.
I found the film more intriguing when I hadn't actually seen fully what the alien actually looked like. Once its full size and appearance was shown, with its two mouth sections for killing, I couldn't realy take it all that seriously. I blame this completely on the GELF from Red Dwarf. Having seen those episodes so many times it really ruined some of the Alien experience.
By the end of the film, the battle in the escape pod, I'd gone a long way to getting over this so I could appreciate the film as it should be. It was edge-of-the-seat stuff again seeing whether or not Ripley was going to make it.
Overall I really enjoyed the film, it had plenty of tension to keep me guessing as to the crews fate and I wasn't looking at the timer constantly to see how close to the end it was (something I always do if a film is particularly dull). When the end of the film came, I was definitely looking forward to watching the next one, which I think is a good reflection on the film as a whole.