Today we had a lecture with Phil where we watched 'Alien', one of Ridley Scott's earliest films, Originally released in 1979 (Only a few years before 'Blade Runner' with Harrison Ford) The film has stood the test of time, and is still huge in popular culture, for various reasons.
Firstly, the set design is fantastic. The majority of the film was set on the same ship - the Nostromo, a mining vessel on its way back to Earth. The production of the set is so detailed and refined, that even thirty years later it looks futuristic and cutting-edge. Each panel in the ship seems to be expertly crafted, each with its own control panels, pumps, pipes.. all details that make Ridley Scott's world come alive.
Apart from the ship, there are also some scenes set on an asteroid planet, the enviroment design is also brilliant, showing a very inhospitable land. The scenes show three of the vessel's characters battling through thick gas, exploring a deserted space-ship, and ultimately, finding the Alien eggs. The lighting is very well done throughout these scenes, convincingly showing the characters as being deep in space, on a barren rock.
The plot, is of course, the main attraction of this film, and the main reason why this film is so fondly remembered. The first thirty or forty minutes of the film is a build-up to the outbreak of violence and action. After being infected by an 'organism', 'Kane' played by John Hurt, acts out the famous and iconic scene, where an Alien bursts from his chest. This accelerates the whole plot, into a fight for survival, eventually, leaving Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, left alive alone in an escape pod after defeating the Alien.
As Phil mentioned after the film, the whole decision to create a sole-surviving heroine makes the film more unique, as there are many more films with a strong-manly hero. I also thinks it made the viewing of the film more enjoyable as the last fifteen-minutes or so, it makes the viewer hope for her survival, and brings a certain amount of vunerability to the character.
Overall, I can see why this film is important to our unit. It shows how putting great design, in both the set, the characters and the enviroments alongside a plot, can create a amazing film, owing it's success to its careful production.
Another film Ridley Scott had input into, was 'Tristan and Isolde', from 2006. I bought this film a few weeks ago,and I really enjoyed it. It features James Franco (from Spiderman) and Sophia Myles (Outlander). I thought this film was very under-rated, it was only in cinemas breifly and had a very discreet DVD release. It is definitely worth a watch.