So, did you go and see Prometheus over the weekend? Or catch Aliens last night on Channel 4?
Since the release of Ridley Scott’s mega-budget Alien prequel in cinemas a couple of weeks ago, there’s been almost no escape from HR Giger’s famous interstellar acid-spitters (or their forebears), and every time you open a newspaper, fire up your web browser or switch on the TV, there they are again. In fact the Alien franchise hasn’t been this hot in years but, thanks to Prometheus and Channel 4’s airing of the old films, everyone’s getting interested in the series all over again.
From Ridley Scott’s suspenseful original, through James Cameron’s gung-ho sequel to the huge-scale spectacle of Prometheus, the Alien movies are a curious blend of the mind-bendingly good and the downright dire (anyone see Alien vs Predator 2?) – but which is your favourite of the series?
Below are snippets of our in-house reviews of the Alien franchise, as well as the star ratings our critics awarded the films. Take a look and remind yourself of the strengths and weaknesses of each instalment in the series, then vote for your favourite in our poll and let’s decide once and for all which is the best of the Alien series. After all, while it’s true that in space no-one can hear you scream, down here you’ve a voice to be heard…
Alien (1979) *****
We said: “This revolutionary “haunted house in space” thrill-ride is the classic business, stunning you with shock after shock…There’s also director Ridley Scott’s eye for detail and brilliant way of alternating false scares with genuine jolts, which help to create a seamless blend of gothic horror and harrowing science fiction.”
Aliens (1986) *****
We said: “Surpassing its predecessor in terms of sheer spectacle, this sequel to Ridley Scott’s outer-space nightmare from director James Cameron is an outstanding science-fiction thriller…Cameron exploits everyone’s worst fears and carries them to the riveting extreme in this consummate Oscar-winning fright-fest.”
Alien3 (1992) ***
We said: “Given that the first two films stand up as sci-fi classics in their own right, director David Fincher had a virtually impossible act to follow with this second sequel…while it isn’t in the same class as the first two films, it provides a satisfactory entry in the series.”
Alien: Ressurection (1997) ****
We said: “This enticing helter-skelter ride through space-opera clichés cleverly conceals the fact that there really isn’t anything new of note here… French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s shock thrill-ride does showcase some scintillating set pieces…It’s tense, mordantly funny, very graphic and bloody.”
AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004) ***
We said: “Face-huggers, a defrosted Alien queen, rite-of-passage combat and a goofy explanation for the dawn of Man are all elements of director Paul WS Anderson’s sometimes inspired melding of two sci-fi horror franchises…Slime-encrusted face-offs between monster-movie icons are what this guilty pleasure is all about, and that’s where Anderson really delivers.”
AVPR: Alien vs Predator Requiem (2007) **
We said: “Despite the title’s promise of another bloody showdown, there’s not much Aliens vs Predator in this confusing and tension-free addition to the dual monster franchise…Apart from some cool detailing (the creepy maternity ward sequence) and a few in-jokes, this unscary trudge through the sci-fi horror conventions has all been done before and far better.”
Prometheus (2012) ****
We said: “Director Ridley Scott’s eagerly anticipated return to science fiction shares much of its DNA with Alien, though it’s more of a precursor than a prequel to that 1979 shocker… The thrilling, edge-of-the-seat story is the movie’s beating heart and the well-paced and perfectly structured plot are matched by solid performances and powerfully arresting visuals.”