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The A-Z Blogging Challenge is something that I am taking part in for the first time. It has been going for a few years and is more popular that ever. The premise is very simple. Each day in April with the exception of a few Sundays, bloggers from around the world blog for 26 days in April with each day’s blog beginning with the next letter of the alphabet, so April 1st is “A”, the 2nd is “B” and so on. The subject of each blog can be anything as long as it is to do with the appropriate letter. Some people blog about anything, some people theme their blogs. I hope you enjoy reading some of my posts and if I would love to read your comments about my challenge.

And so let’s get started shall we? “A” is for Alien.

ny of you who read my blog already will know that I am a movie freak and I have many film reviews here on Smurfin’ The Web. I decided to make the theme of my A-Z blog posts about movies and figured that movie franchises would be a good way to get a few movies in and perhaps let people know my thoughts about some movies that maybe they haven’t seen or have and they enjoy them as much as I do.

The “Alien” franchise is my first entry into this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge. This is a series of movies started way back in 1979 with director Ridley Scott at the helm. The writing talent of Dan O’ Bannon and Ronald Shusett provided the story and fused with the remarkable artwork by H.R Giger who designed The Alien itself made for a fantastic science fiction story that would spawn 3 sequels and 2 spin offs featuring The Predator.

The first movie is often described as the scariest of the franchise. Its moments of silence live up to the tagline of the movie – “In Space No-one Can Hear You Scream” – and unlike the sequels the scenes that have action are quick and excellently executed. The film is all about tension and Scott serves it up in great big slices. The film also gave birth to one of the most iconic scenes in film history – the alien bursting through the stomach scene.

It was an interesting departure for actor John Hurt to take but he carried off the sci-fi role with his usual professionalism and talent. The rest of the cast is of course well-known and Alien propelled a few actors into the big time. Sigourney Weaver was a virtual unknown at the time but she made the part of Ripley her own and it paid off and the roles came flooding in. Also starring are Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartright, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto.

Of the sequels, I enjoy the first one the most. Aliens (the second movie) was directed by James Cameron who also wrote the story. In a stark contrast to the original movie, Aliens is much more of an action movie with some tension building moments thrown in, although the blend is warranted as the story dictates the pace of the film. This was 1986, and Cameron was a big enough name to give the movie a big budget with huge special effects and a stellar cast list. Weaver returned as Ripley but joining her this time were Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton.

Once again, the franchise gives us one of the best known scenes in science fiction, this time in the form of a line from the script – “Get away from her, you BITCH!” It’s just one of those classic space movies that has pretty much everything in it, guns, aliens (lots of them this time), spaceships, action, drama, tension and it never gets tired. Nor does it age, but for me it’s just a perfect example of a science fiction film done right.

Alien 3 gets a bad rap. I didn’t mind it so much. It follows on directly from Aliens and we find out what happened next to Ripley and Co. The Alien is still on the rampage and seems to have a vendetta against Ripley herself now. The story concerns a prison planet and when The Alien gains access to the prison complex itself, it’s up to Ripley and her new group of acquaintances to attempt to stop it getting back to Earth. Dan O’ Bannon and Ronald Shusett returned as writers with David Fincher behind the camera and while the plot itself is solid, what lets the movie down are some dodgy special effects and some even dodgier one liners from the likes of Brian Glover and Ralph Brown.

The worst in the series has to be Alien Resurrection, the fourth movie in the series. It was also the last to feature Ripley. Personally, I think the franchise should have been left alone by this stage and the film is just poor all round. There are only a handful of recognisable names in the lead roles and I think it was a mistake for Sigourney Weaver to have taken on this project, although it didn’t do her any harm as an actor. If you were to watch these movies, you could leave this one out, but it does offer some sort of closure to the story, albeit poorly executed.

I am pleased to say though that a prequel movie is on the way this year. Prometheus will be released in June and I am hugely looking forward to it. Although it has nothing to do with the Ripley character, the back story has never really been explored and this film, which is back in the hands of its original maestro Ridley Scott, should give us Alien fans plenty to enjoy. Judging by the trailer, it looks like a good blend of Alien and Aliens rolled into one movie in terms of action and tension building and it will definitely be a hit at the box office. Here is the trailer.

I hope you have enjoyed this run-down of the Alien movie franchise and if you haven’t seen the movies, feel the urge to indulge in some excellent science fiction in the near future. Thanks for reading.