Author Topic: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019  (Read 3645 times)

Re: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019
« Reply #180 on: March 07, 2019, 07:24:40 PM »
Sure, but I always assumed that order 937 had been transmitted to nostromo during their mission, a mission which takes years. After all they so that they are still 10 months from home (or the outer rim?) when working out where they are in space.

The conversation between Dallas and Ripley, which I only noticed for the first time in the cinema, suggests that Ash was planted even before the mission took place. That the company planned it all along.

Somehow I like the idea that the company learned about the signal while they were away, transmits the order and information. It could have been any ship, it was just that nostrolo was unluck enough to be closest.

That the company put an android on this ship, specifically briefed to check out this new life form, makes it pretty certain that they planned it all along. Your original interpretation doesn't really stand up, unless they have Ash counterparts on loads of ships.

However it still could have been any ship. Nostomo just happened to have a job coming up which took it close-ish to that area of space so that the company could divert it. Hence Ash joining them, just before this mission.

St_Eddie

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Re: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019
« Reply #181 on: March 07, 2019, 07:24:59 PM »
Somehow I like the idea that the company learned about the signal while they were away, transmits the order and information. It could have been any ship, it was just that nostrolo was unluck enough to be closest.

An earlier draft of the script mentioned that Ash had replaced the original science officer, as the Nostromo was refueling at Thedus, in preparation of their return to Earth.  This switch was indeed carried out by Weylan-Yutani, as they were aware of the signal emanating from LV-426 and indeed the Nostromo was the closest ship to the source of that signal.  I believe the reason that the company didn't inform the crew at large was because, let's face it, they wouldn't have wanted to investigate and there may have been dissent and possibly even a mutiny.  Better to let them think they're returning home and then bring them out of hypersleep once they've arrived at LV-426, at which point their plant (Ash) can ensure that the crew follow company orders and investigate the source of the beacon.

In my experience people don't want to stop at "that's just my take", they end up going against the creator's wishes :(

Indeed.  It's not that the artist's wishes and intent trumps someone's personal interpretation but rather that it's wrong to place your own interpretation into the artist's mouth, so to speak.

ToneLa

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Re: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019
« Reply #182 on: March 07, 2019, 07:27:28 PM »

Indeed.  It's not that the artist's wishes and intent trumps someone's personal interpretation but rather that it's wrong to place your own interpretation into the artist's mouth, so to speak.

They do for me... Mind you, I'd also say Ridley Scott's "creative" ideas aboot Blade Runner often have no place in the BR universe! But some of his ideas are fuckin' rum. Melding universes together is shite too. Sometimes even the creator is talking shite.

St_Eddie

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Re: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019
« Reply #183 on: March 07, 2019, 07:31:06 PM »
They do for me...

That's fine.  Whatever works for you.  Which was my point.  I only take umbrage with those who start insisting that one's own personal interpretation is invalid because it doesn't align with the artist's intent.  I don't think that there's a 'correct' way to interpret art.

Sometimes even the creator is talking shite.

Which is why personal interpretation is such a wonderful thing.  There's plenty of art which I love but would leave me completely cold, were I to follow the artist's intent to the letter.

buzby

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Re: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019
« Reply #184 on: March 08, 2019, 12:07:52 AM »
I forgot to say as well, I hate the nostromo explosion effects at the end. Like some sub 2001 homage. Had all the money already been spent?

Also I love the font and clarity of the mother screen compared to the standard ship screens. How did they do it?
If you enlarge the first picture of the Derelict under construction I posted on the previous page, you can see there are some pictures from 2001 (the EVA pod and a copy of the 'Orion shuttle emerging from the space station' picture used for the poster) on the model shop wall. The use of large-scale miniatures was  pioneered on 2001, and was a big influence on the British model effects scene afterwards. Lucas' gang at ILM went in the other direction, using smaller models so their multi-axis Dykstraflex motion-controlled camera could move round them more easily (recreating the aircraft movements from the WW2 dogfight footage Lucas put in as placeholders until the model shots were completed).

The explosion scene was partially done using slit-scan photography, just like Douglas Trumbull had used for 2001's Stargate sequence. One of the hardest things to replicate on model effects shots is a realistic-looking explosion - ILM managed it with Star Wars' fighters by making special lightly-built 'pyro' versions of the main 'hero' miniatures that were packed with det cord and built so they would basically fly apart or vapourise. Their small models and relatively powerful explosives produced an impressive effect. However, even they struggled getting a realistic-looking explosion for something that was supposed to be the size of the Death Star.

There were three Nostromo models built for Alien - a 12-inch model used for long shots and where it was coupled to the refinery model (which was 14 feet square and 5 feet high, and was meant to evoce a Victorian Gothic cathedral)

A 4-foot model with engines plumbed with freon gas  (a technique carried over from Space:1999, where most of the model effects crew learned their trade) for shots of the rear engines firing and the 12-foot, fully-illuminated 7-ton 'hero' model, made from plastic plated solid wood sections mounted on a steel armature:

It was originally painted yellow in reference to heavy plant equipment and the model unit had started filming it.

Scott had seen the test footage and rushes and wasn't happy, so when principal photography wrapped at Shepperton he moved over to  Bray (where he was editing) and took over the supervision of the model effects shoot. He disliked the yellow and got them to respray it grey, which meant the shots they had already completed were scrapped. He also asked fro changes to be made to the models, particularly the refinery, removing the tall needle-like spires from the tops of the towers with a hammer and chisel (the parts were reused as the sensor probes and antennae Scott asked to be added to the large-scale Nostromo).

There was also a plywood 'dummy Nostromo' built by Dennis Lowe, as the script had called for the ship to turn on a barrage of landing lights (like the ship in Close Encounters) as it approached the surface. The plywood blank was fitted with real aircraft landing lights and masses of neon tubing and took 2 months to build:


Scott came over to Bray to see the test shoot for it, and when it was illuminated lead modelmaker Bill Pearson remarked 'It looks like Blackpool Tower in the illuminations'. Scott then took the decision to scrap that shot, and the landing was filmed using the 12-foot model being lowered to the surface by a forklift.

None of the Nostromo models or the refinery were suitable to be rigged for explosions (the small one was too small, and the large ones were too big and heavily built which would have required a huge amount of explosives), so rather than build some more 'pyro' models (a number would have to be built for retakes) it was decided to produce the explosion optically.

The opening titles, explosion and Mother's terminal animations were subcontracted to a company called Filmfex, who specialised in optical effects and animations (it was run by Bernard Lodge, who created the original Doctor Who titles)  It was all stop-frame animated:
Quote from: Bernard Lodge
How did that lead to becoming involved with Ridley Scott and your work on Alien?
Through Filmfex really, but I’d first met Ridley at The Royal College of Art years earlier. He was two years below me and I think I saw him one day inking up a woodcut or doing a bit of typography. Then he joined the BBC as a production designer.

He’d nearly finished the live action on Alien and was looking for some sort of different effect for these warnings that came up on the computer screens. They’d had it done in America, but Ridley wasn’t happy so asked us to come up with something. It was the same with the explosion at the end. They’d had it shot in America, but it wasn’t really what he was looking for. We looked at some old film of the atomic bomb tests in the 50s and that smooth movement that the explosion has. We rigged up a piece of glass raised up on film bobbins, some tracing paper and black card and produced the explosion, animating it with small movements on the rostrum camera. It was a bit of a lash-up, but when Ridley saw it he said, “That’s it” and apart from adding a little bit of slit-scan, our first go is what you see in the film.
(from this Radio Times interview)
The font used for Mother's terminal text was an optically-stretched version of Berthold City Light:

The test will have been printed  (or dry-rub transferred) onto paper. A large-format B&W negative will then have been taken of it which would be placed on a light box and the text would be gradually covered and photographed a frame at a time. When the film is reversed it then shows the text being 'typed' onto the terminal. The exposure would have also been controlled to produce the 'phosphor glow' effect. It would have been shot at normal 35mm aspect ratio,, which was then stretched optically to match the widescreen ratio of the film for the final edit.

Scott would return to Filmfex to produce the Esper photographic analysis sequence for Blade Runner.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 01:01:00 AM by buzby »

St_Eddie

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Re: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019
« Reply #185 on: March 08, 2019, 12:46:54 AM »
Another great post, buzby.  I consider myself to be very knowledgeable when it comes to the making of Alien but even I'm learning a lot from your posts.  Great stuff.

Re: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019
« Reply #186 on: March 08, 2019, 09:13:01 AM »

Amazing - never tire of this kind of stuff, not buzby’s posts. Thank you.

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Re: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019
« Reply #187 on: March 14, 2019, 08:27:37 AM »
Has anybody else noticed how weirdly most people pronounce “Aliens” when they are listing the films in order?

“Alien,” they say.  Correct.  Tick.

“AliUNS,” they continue.  Wait, why did you change the entire pronunciation rather than just add the ‘s’?  What’s wrong with you?  Your emphasis was weird.

When they get to “Alien3” it’s all fine and back to normal again.  So what went wrong?


Honestly, see for yourselves next time you’re out and about.  It’s astounding.

ToneLa

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Re: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019
« Reply #188 on: March 14, 2019, 08:46:28 AM »
They're probably emphasising it thinking, Ah, this fellow has never heard of the film Alien, let alone its sequel! They are stupid I must make it very very clear to them that I am saying different words not the same word over and over.

Ah Lee en
Ah Lee UNS
Ah Lee en cubed

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Re: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019
« Reply #189 on: March 14, 2019, 09:50:41 AM »
So what went wrong?

Aliens.  Aliens went wrong.

(awaiting response from Claude...)

St_Eddie

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Re: Alien 40th Anniversary - Cinema re-release in March 2019
« Reply #190 on: March 14, 2019, 02:28:38 PM »
Has anybody else noticed how weirdly most people pronounce “Aliens” when they are listing the films in order?

“Alien,” they say.  Correct.  Tick.

“AliUNS,” they continue.  Wait, why did you change the entire pronunciation rather than just add the ‘s’?  What’s wrong with you?  Your emphasis was weird.

When they get to “Alien3” it’s all fine and back to normal again.  So what went wrong?


Honestly, see for yourselves next time you’re out and about.  It’s astounding.

What annoys me is the sheer number of people who refer to it as the "Aliens series".  Fucking Cameron fanboys.  The series doesn't start and end with pulse rifles, power loaders and bloody space marines.