Revisiting the Classic
As Alien Isolation hits shelves, a lot of people will probably be revisiting the first movie in the franchise, Alien, to refresh or renew their grasp of the events before the game. We thought It’d be valuable to provide a bit of a recap and review of the original film, out now on digital stores like iTunes and Google Play, so as to tell you, frankly, why this film is so great in the first place, even thirty-five years after it’s theatrical release.
The narrative follows the crew of the Nostromo; a commercial ship on its way back to earth that makes a stop on a nearby planet to investigate a distress signal. What they discover there throws them into a nightmarish scenario; isolated in space being picked off one by one by a mysterious and terrifying creature. The beauty of the story is its overall simplicity that lets the atmosphere take over.
The crew is made up of seven people, featuring the talents of Sigourney Weaver, Jon Hurt and Tom Skerritt among others. As they try to work out exactly what they’ve stumbled upon on this planet, and what they’ve indirectly allowed on their ship, we see the cast really come into their own. The central character’s role, that of Ripley, has come to be one of the best bets and iconic performances in sci-fi film, and set the trend for a lot of the female leads we see in more modern films.
The aspect of terror in the piece is the Xenomorph, or ‘Alien’. Even in it’s singular presence, this creature is such a powerful being, near invisible but huge, strong and beyond deadly. As it sneaks around the ship, killing the crew one by one, we are presented with a model for how scary unknown creatures could be. The camera shots used, and the close-ups of the alien in the dark are scenes that even up to today retain a surreal horror. This really is a film that doesn’t feel as old as it is (aside from all that 70’s tech!).
The notable improvement in the Director’s Cut version of this film is the audio. Besides the few inconsequential scenes and the touched up video, the sound design has been given a new life, which is exactly what is needed to keep this film relevant against its more modern counterparts. From the little creaks and jitters of the ship, the subtle change in tones of the score, right down to Ripley’s heartbeat, all of these little details form a part of the iconic atmosphere this film has become known for.
When all of this comes together in one film, it’s nothing short of a triumph. It revolutionised sci-fi horror at the time, and even know continues to show it’s influence. The original 1979 Alien film is an example of near perfect sci-fi; it manages to create an atmosphere of terror to keep audiences on edge even with the outdated special effect thanks to it’s retouched audio, and its something that even new viewers will get a jump out of.
The release of Alien Isolation is the perfect chance to revisit this film, with the two working quite well together as complimentary pieces, continuing the tale of Ripley on to her daughter, Amanda. The game works well to capture the vision of the original film, retaining the same atmosphere, and may be the first Alien game truly worth of it’s namesake.
Review conducted via DHD Download Code supplied by Frank PR.
Jayden Perry ©2014