Soon, here in 2012, Prometheus will be a movie directed by Ridley Scott delving into the pre-history of the Alien movie franchise (and the origins of us mere mortals within that universe).
It looks to be a great science fiction/horror classic, that uses the future and slightly disguised metaphors to explore who we are and how we came to be (classic science fiction topics, to be sure), and stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pierce, Sean Harris and Logan Marshall-Green.
Well, the first Alien movie came out in 1979, (also by Ridley Scott), with Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Kotto, there was little excitement (and less fanfare) about horror movies and sci-fi movies in general, and certainly more “just for kids”. This movie burst onto the scene and changed the face of science fiction and horror in general, allowing for the intelligent exploration of dark themes and a darker tone for the future, when people realized WHY “In Space, No One Can Here You Scream”. This wasn’t the polished world of Star Trek, but instead just the average workers in space, completing a job, and…finding something out there, that wasn’t all that friendly to humans.
And, this movie was a huge success, and it warranted a sequel!
The second movie of the Alien franchise ended up being called Aliens, came out in 1986, and was directed this time by James Cameron, who came at the movie in an entirely different way. Picking up where the last movie left off with Sigourney Weaver‘s character, it added a more military presence to the movie, and instead of one Alien facing a crew of a mining spaceship, it faced a whole planet of miners, which had gone missing, and a military troop that was sent to rescue them. The crew on this movie included Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, William Hope, Mark Rolston, Ricco Ross, Colette Hiller, and Cynthia Scott.
With the additional military might, the humans held their own a little better, but lingering questions about why the people kept finding these aliens remained.
Next up, because it was getting too easy for the humans…director David Fincher had Sigourney Weaver‘s character of Ripley end up on a prison planet to fight an Alien horde in Alien 3 with Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Paul McGann, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown, Danny Webb, Christopher John Fields, Holt McCallany and Lance Henriksen.
This movie…lacked in several pieces, and was a much darker turn than people really wanted to deal with….yet still, the Alien thread lingered, as did the secret government agenda and the use of secret robotic forces…and, in spite of what you might have seen within the movie, hope remained as well….and, even after this 1992 failure, another Alien movie was on the horizon.
With the fourth Alien movie, in 1997, things changed even more. Sigourney Weaver returned, but was a little different this time around, and had help from Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, Michael Wincott, Kim Flowers, Dan Hedaya, J.E. Freeman, Brad Dourif, Raymond Cruz, Leland Orser, and David St. James in this movie directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
The theme here was resurrection (coming from the last Alien movie), and was titled Alien: Resurrection. Sadly, movie audiences in 1997 found the franchise being played out, and this movie was not enough to breathe life back into the movies, ending the Alien franchise solo run for a time.
And, just so you don’t think they have been overlooked, the Aliens came back along with the Predator in the aptly titled Aliens vs. Predator in 2004, and in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem in 2007, but as they were taking place in the “here and now”, unlike the Alien franchise, they can be looked at as their own franchise….
It seems the innovation that was in the first Alien movie is returning with the invention of Prometheus, which necessitated a look back through all the movies.
All of which is a long winded way of asking….what was your favorite Alien movie?