Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation | Release Date: June 22, 1979
Universal acclaim based on 1018 Ratings
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MovieGuysSep 15, 2013
Except for the occasional jump scene, this movie was slow, ponderously directed, and banal. Nothing really happened in it except for a couple of climax scenes. It was nothing more than average fare. Such a shame, since I really love someExcept for the occasional jump scene, this movie was slow, ponderously directed, and banal. Nothing really happened in it except for a couple of climax scenes. It was nothing more than average fare. Such a shame, since I really love some other Ridley Scott movies (Black Hawk Down, American Gangster, Gladiator) Expand
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Timbuck2Aug 2, 2006
This movie can never bee made into a decent film, it will always be pathatic and nothing but fake gore, annoying script and stupid scares...awful in every match for "The Descent".
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PeteCarterSep 17, 2017
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The storyline of this pathetic excuse of a movie is so filled with nonsense that it's hard to find something that DOES make sense. But I should point out at the start that I have a PhD in Physics, so the analytic side of my mind is automatically on and can't be "turned off" whether I want to or not. So let me enumerate the big "goofs":
1. The Nostromo is an interstellar towing vessel --- it travels from earth to a planet around a distant star, mates with a "barge" containing 20 million tons of ore, and returns to earth (with of course a little detour). So why is a crew needed? This entire round trip could be easily done robotically.
2. Stars are, on average about 7 light years apart. From the fact that they make a detour to another star to checkout this signal, the source of the ore has to be at least 20 light years distant. Also, the remaining duration of the trip from the planetoid they had to stop at was a few months, thus the total trip was on the order of a couple of years. To make a 40 light year trip in 2-3 years would require traveling at close to the speed of light. This would require extreme acceleration and the expenditure of more energy than all the world's power plants have generated since the beginning of the industrial age, "more" means by a factor of at least a trillion. The cost of this energy would be so high that, if they were hauling 20 million tons of polished diamonds, it would be a money loser. However, if they traveled at a more realistic 1% of the speed of light (still 2000 miles/sec), the trip would take 4000 years, a little long for a crew who'd like to return to a familiar world.
3. The beginning scene of the interior shows a display monitor coming on, with technical words and numbers showing. Since the crew is still in cryosleep, what's the point?
4. If the last living member of the crew of the doomed ship wanted other vessels to keep away (as Ripley mentions "it [the signal] looks like a warning"), why send out the signal? And to call the transmitter an "acoustical beacon" (Dallas's words) is ridiculous --- there are no acoustics in space.
5. The on-board computer (mother) is a joke. You'd think they'd have voice recognition by then and could just talk to it (as in Star Trek). And Dallas's inquiry as to mission status:"What's the story mother"? Gimme a break.
6. After landing, three of the crew exit the ship and enter the alien ship --- amazing that they had such an easy time getting in. Then Kane rappels down a cable to the main hold, seeing all the "eggs" arranged in neat rows. Although knowing that they could pose a hazard, when he sees one open its "mouth", instead of taking a defensive stance, he bends over and puts his face right over it --- something only an idiot would do, and of course he pays for this recklessness.
7. When Kane recovers from his "nap", he feels nothing unusual in his abdomen, like an infant alien about to hatch, and his midsection looks pretty flat. And then the alien bursts out and quickly scuttles away. What is more ridiculous is that, without consuming anything, and within a couple of hours, this little guy has somehow "expanded" to a towering monster that attacks and consumes Brett. What you could call a blatant violation of conservation of mass-energy. Not only is it huge in that scene, it seemingly has the ability to shrink down to a tiny version of itself, as it had to have done to be a stowaway that hides among the plumbing in the shuttle Ripley uses to escape before the ship detonates. And WHY would the builders of this towing vessel feel a need to install a self-destruct system of thermonuclear caliber?
8. One of the most nonsensical parts of the plot is the "outing" of Ash as a robot. Wasn't he eating with the crew? What does a robot do with food, excrete it just like a human excretes waste? And Ash's human-like artificial intelligence is quite a contrast to the very primitive "mother" supposedly running the ship. At the minimum they should have "her" at least at the level of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
9. And a couple of minor points that i found irritating: In the latest version, Lambert the navigator tells the crew that the signal is coming from a planetoid 1200 kilometers (about 750 miles) in diameter, but it's gravity is 0.86 (that of earth), which is a ridiculous value, it should be more like 0.1. So why not have it as 12,000 km in the script, or almost earth-size? And when the Nostromo begins its descent to the surface, the rockets fire the wrong direction --- to reduce altitude, speed must be reduced, so the rockets should retro-fire instead. But of course it just looks neater to fire the way they did, like, who would know?

I could go on with a few more non-sequiturs and faux pas' but I might be accused of nitpicking. I just think it's sad that people who make scifi movies seem to have total disregard for the most basic facts of science --- there's really no science in science fiction, at least not in that turkey.
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