As I’m watching it now, this flick has an attitude. A personality all of its’ own, aside from the actors and plot, that is due to the direction given. All of the beautiful model work, especially when the crew approaches the alien vessel for the first time, is exploited in the perfectly mixed smoke combination to make for a surreal setting that would be hard to duplicate using any computer technology. The lighting used inside the alien vessel was pitch perfect for both the eerie and surreal nature of the environment, a task which I contest is even harder today when directors use blue screen technology for most of their exotic backgrounds. When they encounter the space jockey and they are in that huge open area, or when they are wandering around the massive Nostromo, it feels real because it was fucking there. They built the entire ball of wax from the ground up. Know I now, I now, in the parlance of our time CGI is the “shiznit”, an amazing tool which when used in the right context and under the right skill set can lead to remarkable effect that could not be done otherwise. But in the mind of this reviewer, there is just something about films like Alien and, if I may, Blade Runner due to the fact that the models were physically there and the sets were constructed and enhanced, on the spot, to be filmed as seen by the camera. And as naïve and unqualified as I may be in terms of special effects technology, I tend to agree with filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan who believe that if you can film and photograph something in the real without the use of CGI then it will look more believable.
In closing, you could due worse than to pop this one into your videocassette recorder on a dark and stormy night. The soundtrack alone will make you wish they hadn’t landed on LV-426 and just stayed in hyper sleep. A B-movie plot, written, directed and made by A-quality talent that has often been imitated but never quite duplicated. Bring back life form. Priority one. All other priorities rescinded. This is how science fiction horror should be handled and made. Bludgeon and batter away the awful memories of Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection because the first one is still the best and it had the mother of all sequels in the spectacular Aliens that would follow it. But this story shall also be told . . .