Still can’t vanquish that formaldehyde stench left behind by the botched science experiment that was Prometheus? Well feel free to breathe easy now, because “the perfect specimen”, ‘Alien’ is returning to the big screen this Friday for an exclusive screening at the IMA’s Summer Nights Film Series.
Although I never had the pleasure of seeing Ridley Scott’s iconic film during its theatrical run, I, like many in Generation Y grew up watching Sigourney Weaver fend off face suckers through countless syndicated cable T.V. viewings. Once your clicker caught it – you were parked until Ripley’s final Nostromo report.
However, prior to the Prometheus release in June, I felt it was time to get reacquainted with Alien. It had been quite a few years since I last watched it from opening credits to closing, and since then my filmic tastes have evolved as radically as a chest-bursting monster (trust me, that’s an apt metaphor for film graduates). I knew Alien was a classic, but would it hold up today?
Long story short, I wish more movies these days were constructed with the same patient grace, elegance, and atmospheric horror. Classic? Try masterpiece. Like only Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ before it, here we have a genre film ambitious enough to plumb the mysteries of the universe. Too bad Scott didn’t keep better notes for his latest sci-fi flub.
Perhaps what I appreciate most in Alien is how convincingly it puts you on the spaceship with the crew. Take for instance, the debate over whether or not to follow protocol and answer a mysterious S.O.S. transmission from a foreign rock before completing the final leg of a seven-year mission. “It’s not in my contract to do this kind of duty,” one of the maintenance men argues. These are blue-collar jockeys that unwittingly end up in over their heads. Gradually, deliberately, we’re swallowed into their doomed misfortunes, and it’s as convincingly unnerving today as it must have been in 1979.
So I can’t think of a more appropriate venue to revisit ‘Alien’ than beneath the endless mosaic of stars on a temperate summer night at the IMA outdoor amphitheater. Hard telling what might be up there in the grand expanse, where no one can hear you scream.
‘Alien’ is showing this Friday, July 13th at 9:30pm on the outdoor grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Visit here for more details and ticket information.