Author Topic: Are we on the verge of an Alien renaissance?  (Read 2497 times)

Born Of Cold Light
Sep 26, 2015, 04:47:24 PM
Topic on: Sep 26, 2015, 04:47:24 PM
Q
It wasn't too long ago that the public images of the AVP franchise were glitchy, developmental hell first person shooters and barfing Predaliens running around in poor lighting.  In the last few years, however, we've seen a shift.  I honestly think that this started with Prometheus.  Despite its flaws, its opened up a whole new world of the Alienverse and drastically shifted the franchise away from the Aliens ripoff cycle that much of the media had fallen into, re-injecting a measure of intellectualism into the series.  This was followed up by Alien: Isolation which pleased both old fans and new while not compromising in any way the cosmic horror feel of the first film, washing out the bad taste of Colonial Marines.  After years of being treated like b-slasher movie monster, the Alien is now scary again.

While some aspects of Blomkamp's new Alien series have proven to be controversial in some areas, I do think that there is a serious chance here for new life to be injected into a franchise which has been running on fumes for some time.  If this is successfully tied into Scott's Prometheus/Alien series, I do think that we could truly see the franchise be renewed in a massive fashion.  This is exactly what the series needs as, with the way things were going, Alien/Predator/Prometheus was on the fast track to become purely a nostalgia series, which has a limited lifespan for obvious reasons (the last thing we want this series to turn into in a few decades is the modern equivalent of a bunch of old guys debating what their favorite episode of Flash Gordon was).  But if the high quality of stuff we've seen continues on, and if the movies are unique in their own right, we could maybe see a level of popularity for the franchise that we haven't seen since the mid-90s.

Thoughts?



windebieste
Sep 26, 2015, 10:35:33 PM
Reply #2 on: Sep 26, 2015, 10:35:33 PM
Q
This indeed appears to be the case.  Scott has already openly stated 'Prometheus 2' name change to 'ALIEN: Paradise Lost' and then stated there's going to be an additional 2 sequels beyond that. 

They won't be 'Prometheus' movies - they'll be 'ALIEN' movies.  I believe once the full cycle is released, it will be obvious that 'Prometheus' was always intended to be a Prologue of sorts rather than a complete self contained experience.  All those unanswered questions will possibly have greater meaning and consequence in the next 3 movies. 

How all this ties into the original 1979 movie is anyone's guess at this point; but if all these proposed movies are being treated as an holistic planned experience rather than the loosely tied together slipshod episodic individual releases we have had in the past, then I think that's a good thing.

I'm more than happy to see 'ALIEN' restored as the central focus of the series.  I believe this is what Scott is aiming to do.  Ridley appears to be working towards that goal.

Taking into consideration that Blomkamp's effort is under the influence of Scott producing it, you can believe that movie, too, will follow this path whether it be a direct sequel to 'ALIENS' or something completely different. 

-Windebieste.


Xenomorphine
Sep 27, 2015, 03:54:46 AM
Reply #3 on: Sep 27, 2015, 03:54:46 AM
Q
Artistic, sure. Not sure 'intellectual' can really be applied to the recent film or game, however. The film is relatively dumbed down and the game is basically a very atmospheric fetch-and-carry/hide-and-seek experience.



marrerom
Sep 27, 2015, 03:09:12 PM
Reply #5 on: Sep 27, 2015, 03:09:12 PM
Q
It wasn't too long ago that the public images of the AVP franchise were glitchy, developmental hell first person shooters and barfing Predaliens running around in poor lighting.  In the last few years, however, we've seen a shift.  I honestly think that this started with Prometheus.  Despite its flaws, its opened up a whole new world of the Alienverse and drastically shifted the franchise away from the Aliens ripoff cycle that much of the media had fallen into, re-injecting a measure of intellectualism into the series.  This was followed up by Alien: Isolation which pleased both old fans and new while not compromising in any way the cosmic horror feel of the first film, washing out the bad taste of Colonial Marines.  After years of being treated like b-slasher movie monster, the Alien is now scary again.

you are spot on man.

Sooner or later you can sense that remake coming.

Never! You bite your serpent tongue!


NickisSmart
Sep 27, 2015, 08:55:56 PM
Reply #6 on: Sep 27, 2015, 08:55:56 PM
Q
Artistic, sure. Not sure 'intellectual' can really be applied to the recent film or game, however. The film is relatively dumbed down and the game is basically a very atmospheric fetch-and-carry/hide-and-seek experience.

As far as Alien: Isolation is concerned, the air of intellectualism is there if you look hard. Alien isn't the most intellectual film on the planet, on the surface, but beneath surface there's a lot of themes to be analyzed. Same with the game.


Xenomorphine
Sep 27, 2015, 09:31:28 PM
Reply #7 on: Sep 27, 2015, 09:31:28 PM
Q
The game really isn't intellectual. Definitely artistic, no argument there. Intellectual, no.


Born Of Cold Light
Sep 28, 2015, 12:58:53 AM
Reply #8 on: Sep 28, 2015, 12:58:53 AM
Q
Isolation itself wasn't all that intellectual, but it was miles beyond in that regard to the previous first person shooters where everyone was telling each other to stay frosty all the time.  When I said "intellectual," I was more referring to Prometheus which began to take the series back to its psychological horror roots.



NickisSmart
Sep 28, 2015, 12:30:30 PM
Reply #9 on: Sep 28, 2015, 12:30:30 PM
Q
The game really isn't intellectual. Definitely artistic, no argument there. Intellectual, no.

How would you define intellectual? If you view the game as a haunted house in outer space with a monster that has metal teeth, with lots of hiding and screaming, then by all accounts, Alien isn't intellectual, either. But I think it is, and so is the game. The chief difference is one's interactive.

Is it wrong to say that the game is intellectual because it understands fear and tension? I don't think it is. Sure they pared down certain ideas and the communication is visual, but so what? Does intellectualism have to be isolated to literature alone, or can it extend into any medium, of any of the 5 senses? Can paintings be intellectual to? I think so. What about subject matter? Prometheus may have had a flawed execution, but it appealed to intellectual, academic literature, including Paradise Lost and Frankenstein.

Artists and symbolism can be intellectual, because there's just as much room for interpretation in literature as there is in paintings. There's no "transcendental signified."



hfeldhaus
Sep 28, 2015, 05:00:54 PM
Reply #11 on: Sep 28, 2015, 05:00:54 PM
Q
Didn't Scott say it was always planned to be called Alien: Paradise Lost? But yeah it's a pretty exciting time for an Alien fan. My main hope is that it starts attracting quality writers. I don't have confidence in Blomkamp's or Green's writing right now, hopefully that will change.


Xenomorphine
Sep 28, 2015, 08:07:33 PM
Reply #12 on: Sep 28, 2015, 08:07:33 PM
Q
Isolation itself wasn't all that intellectual, but it was miles beyond in that regard to the previous first person shooters where everyone was telling each other to stay frosty all the time.

Again, that's more to do with presentation style: Level design, sound effects and so on. It's a repetitive fetch-and-carry/hide-and-seek quest system. It's just presented very slickly.

Quote
When I said "intellectual," I was more referring to Prometheus which began to take the series back to its psychological horror roots.

Ehhh... I can't say I found anything about 'Prometheus' successfully unsettling/disturbing/scary.

How would you define intellectual? If you view the game as a haunted house in outer space with a monster that has metal teeth, with lots of hiding and screaming, then by all accounts, Alien isn't intellectual, either. But I think it is, and so is the game. The chief difference is one's interactive.

But you're right - 'Alien' very much isn't intellectual. :) Even Scott famously said it wouldn't have worked if the characters hadn't been stupid.

It's a lot more famous for its artistic presentation than an intelligent story.

Quote
Is it wrong to say that the game is intellectual because it understands fear and tension? I don't think it is. Sure they pared down certain ideas and the communication is visual, but so what? Does intellectualism have to be isolated to literature alone, or can it extend into any medium, of any of the 5 senses? Can paintings be intellectual to? I think so. What about subject matter? Prometheus may have had a flawed execution, but it appealed to intellectual, academic literature, including Paradise Lost and Frankenstein.

Artists and symbolism can be intellectual, because there's just as much room for interpretation in literature as there is in paintings. There's no "transcendental signified."

But you're talking about art. For something to be intellectual, it needs to engage or appeal to the intelligence of its audience. The 'Alien' series is visceral and artistic when at its best, but I'm not convinced it can be regarded as truly intellectual. There are points where it can feel like that, but it's fleeting and illusionary. The whole point of why 'Alien' succeeded was because it was essentially a B-movie which dressed itself up as an A-lister.

And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Something doesn't have to be intellectual in order to be good. Many things which are intellectual can come across as plodding difficult to understand and even pretentious. Having layers of artistic sub-text (mostly in the special effects, not the story they play a part in) doesn't equate to being 'intellectual' - just very talented.


NickisSmart
Sep 29, 2015, 12:42:08 AM
Reply #13 on: Sep 29, 2015, 12:42:08 AM
Q
Why are art and imagination separated from intelligence?

If it's appealing to the intelligence of an audience, then I think that Alien does a fine job of being intellectual because it plays on my fears in an intelligent way. However, one might argue that my imagination is irrational and therefore not intelligent, but I don't believe this to be the case. Intelligence isn't synonymous with rationality. Imagination is always required on some level.

Does the film literally have to ask us questions to appeal to the intelligence of an audience, like a professor to his students, or can it present us material with which to form our own questions and still be considered intellectual? And that's the problem: I think it's wrong to assign adjectives like "intellectual" to a film, which isn't a living, thinking thing. It's not intellectual; its makers are. And the content of a film isn't just words, but images, too, and these can be intelligently created in a way that makes visual sense. If intellectualism is merely the technology of words, of intelligent-sounding dialogue and academic jargon crammed into what amounts to the film makers' thesis, onscreen, then very few films would come close to intellectual. However, movies are first and foremost a visual medium and visuals will always take precedent.

The Iconoclasm of the Renaissance saw the shifting of the Latin texts into the vernacular English, and the visual splendor of the Catholic churches reformed into barren halls, where the knowledge was in the words on pages, not the beauty of stained glass windows. But visual-learning and the acquisition of knowledge come naturally to humans. Written language and the use of technology do not and must be taught. We look at this as an excuse to say that it's intelligent, but past a certain point, the ability to learn language decreases exponentially. Does that mean that we get dumber as we get older? Pictures can be understood at any age and can convey great meaning. And before you say that they are illusory and written words have definitions that do not change, this is simply not the case. Letters and numbers are merely symbols that have no meaning in and of themselves, any more than the Mona Lisa does, or the symbolism in The Last Supper. The meaning of words changes over time. Language is a organic mass that evolves, just like the schools of criticism that attempt to analyze and critique classical literature. These are merely standards that shift and change, much in the same manner as the opinion of someone looking at a piece of art. Perhaps it's because they're one in the same thing.


windebieste
Sep 29, 2015, 01:34:15 AM
Reply #14 on: Sep 29, 2015, 01:34:15 AM
Q
If 'ALIEN' was lacking in intellectual content, then why has there been so much discussion about it for over 30 years? 

Discussions that involve the nature of space travel.  How difficult it is to travel through space.  What we may stand to gain and lose by engaging in such an activity.  how it may be treated as an everyday job for workers in the coming Centuries.  ...and that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of intellectual debates that absolutely litter the pages across this website and others. 

There's the debates of corporate greed and manipulation.  Ownership of vast resources and their abuse by such corporate entities.  I've seen no end of discussion regarding the nature of the technical achievements of space travel and dubious corporate behaviour but the intellectual discourse goes way beyond that.  There's the abuse of human rights for the greater gains of profit.  All of these are intellectual themes and debates that viewers of these movies have engaged in over the years. 

Then on top of all that movie is very much an exploration of the Rational Vs Irrational.  The Nostromo is depicted as a vessel carrying its crew into unknown territory and confronting the Unknown.  Dallas and his crew find themselves in dire straights by confronting an inexplicable and incomprehensible force right from the moment they leave the safe and comfort of the ship.  Mother can no longer protect them once they return.  The movie is rife with this kind of subtext.

There's also the hideous notion of machine intelligence posing as human.  A notion that  explores the nature of deceit by enforcing the very basic premise that 'Any machine made in the physical or psychological likeness of a man is constructed to deceive people'. 

There's a ton of subtextual elements to this movie.  Not just the basic premise of 'Space monster eats crew alive'.  If you think that is that all this movie is about then maybe 'Star Wars' is  more at your intellectual level. 

Because one thing is for certain, 'ALIEN' is not a fairy tale aimed at children.   That's for sure.   

-Windebieste.


 

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