Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cameron v. Scott

[Words From Here]

I've been on a Sci-Fi kick lately and over the past two nights I've fired up Alien and Aliens. Going into this little movie festival all I could think about was getting to Aliens, because I remember hearing that the sequel was the best of the bunch. I couldn't be further from the truth. Aliens is the #72 movie of all time. Surely you jest. Cameron overdoses on effects - and they're great - but, other areas suffer. Game over, man. Game over.

Alien. #52. The truth. And this from a guy that hates Sci-Fi. Everything from the austere set design to the solid casting (including Yaphet Kotto of Homicide: Life on the Streets fame, Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Harry Dean Stanton and John Hurt) are pitch perfect. The build-up to finally seeing the alien is excellent, especially in the Director's Cut. A wandering kitty. A dark, wet control room. Space. Quiet. A noise. Alien. Death. And then, later, when our anticipation and curiosity cannot wait. Fully grown and of monstrous proportions, we see it in all of its glory.

It's interesting to compare the approach that Scott and Cameron take to suspense and science fiction. Scott stays with the characters, develops them and doesn't show you the beast until it is absolutely necessary. Cameron sends the beasts in by the boatload and let's them dominate the screen.

I prefer the first approach, because it makes me feel like it is all remotely possible. Watching the human reaction to the surreal, you are drawn in. You can relate. Watching hoards of aliens attack a small group of Colonial Marines and I feel numb. It's all action, no substance. It's too surreal. It's a gimmick. And, it's overload.

I'm on to part three, the David Fincher installment, and I've heard the Director's Cut is where it's at. Here are a couple of beast tracks, vaguely related, from some epic albums. The Meaning of 8 is the real deal. I can't say it enough.


MP3: Cloud Cult - "Alien Christ"
MP3: Radiohead - "Subterranean Homesick Alien"

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