The Intentional Fallacy in Alien - Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog




Baby Name Voyager graphs baby name frequency by decade.

Social Security Administration: Most popular names by year.

Name Trends: Uniquely popular names by year.

Reverse Dictionary Search: "What's that word that means....?"

Facebook Name Trees Match first names with last names.


Archives

April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In CRAFTY SCREENWRITING, I wrote:
Alien is a well-crafted story about a bunch of human beings in danger of being eaten by a monster. While we find out that an evil corporation put them in danger, the movie isn't really about the danger of evil corporations. It's about people trying not to get eaten by a giant bug. We come away from the film with just the adrenaline rush.
A Friend of the Blog writes in:
When I was a film student, Dan O'Bannon came to speak after a screening of that film, and he actually worked himself into a lather over this exact topic. "Everyone thinks this movie is about an alien, and it isn't. It isn't! It's about the evil corporations and how they only care about the bottom line, not human life!" He became so angry and vehement (without anyone provoking him) that I remember the scene rather well.
Heh.

5 Comments:

I've casually observed that Alien is the first movie in which a space ship is represented as a workplace crewed by workers, as defined by their relationship with the Corporation that pays their wages. Even their motivation for going down to the planet isn't some sort of sciencey exploration - it's because if they don't go, they'll lose their bonuses.

I've not seen it in years, I'll have to go to the shop and rent it sometime. the Evil Corporation comes through loud and clear in the sequels. Have we just forgotten about it 'cause the 'haunted house' story is so well done?

d

By Blogger daz, at 10:39 PM  

I always understood 'Alien' as a feminist statement. The hero is a woman and the villain a phallic-headed creature who reproduces without the need for females.

Granted, the sequel introduces the 'queen alien', but this wasn't part of the original 'Alien' concept (there's even a deleted scene where Tom Skerritt's character is cocooned with a new egg).

The 'evil corporation' stuff is definitely there, but within the context of the first film the story is about a woman fighting for her place in the universe. Thoughts?

By Blogger Nick, at 12:15 AM  

I thought it was about how we should all fear the Easter Bunny. Was I wrong?

By Blogger DMc, at 11:26 AM  

It seems to me that this is a classic argument based on semantics.

When someone in the industry asks you what your script is "about," they're almost always referring to the plot.

However, when a writer answers the question, they'll almost always refer to the theme.

Bit of a disconnect. But who's right? They both are.

By Blogger Trevor Mayes, at 5:22 AM  

I kind of think both views sort of miss what makes Alien stand out from most other "people get eaten by a giant bug" or "corporations are evil" stories.

The Alien is a parasite. It lives and procreates within a human host. It plays on a very primordial human fear. The movie exploits this fear.

The corporation subplot is a human analog of how parasitic humans can be. While the aliens are screwing us for their life cycle -- we're screwing each a better weapon. Or survival -- but not many people talk about that part of the plot. There's debate whether or not they should even let the infected people back aboard the ship.

You can lose the corporation storyline, replace it with something else, change the look of the monster, but without the parasitic nature of the Alien, you got nuthin.

By Blogger James, at 3:15 AM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.



This page is powered by Blogger.