ALIEN: Directors Cut
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10 REASONS TO SEE ALIEN ON THE BIG SCREEN
1 Alien was filmed in Panavision widescreen 70mm, a film format exactly twice the size of regular film. This means that when the film is projected on a cinema screen, it is twice as crisp and sharp as normal film, replicating digital quality.

2 The fact that Alien was filmed in widescreen (ratio 2.35:1) means that roughly 50% of the screen image is lost when presented on normal-sized television, the ratio of which is 4:3 - ie, almost square. Even widescreen televisions have a ratio of 16:9, meaning that either 33% of the image is lost, or - if the image is reproduced in full - black bars still appear across the top and bottom of the screen.

3 Filming Alien in widescreen gave director Ridley Scott the ability to use the entire frame of the film to his advantage, hiding movement in every darkened recess of the screen. Most of this disquieting effect, which adds greately to the chill factor, is lost on the small screen.

4 Many of Alien's ground-breaking special effects were achieved using 'physical' effects such as miniatures and full-scale sets, rather than post-production effects. This means that, when viewed on a cinema screen, Alien special effects - notably, the terrifying alien creature itself - look even more realistic than they do on the small screen - and twice as scary.

5 The claustrophobia and sense of dread which Ridley Scott carefully built in filming Alien is partially lost when the film is viewed in the environment of, say, a living room. The darkened environment and relative dearth of distractions of a cinema makes it the perfect venue to watch one of the scariest movies ever made.

Film - 10 REASONS TO SEE ALIEN ON THE BIG SCREEN
Film - 10 REASONS TO SEE ALIEN ON THE BIG SCREEN
Film - 10 REASONS TO SEE ALIEN ON THE BIG SCREEN

6 Alien was released in 1979, at a time when cinema sound systems were virtually unchanged since the inception of the first 'talking pictures' half a century earlier. Today, the film has been remastered in THX digital surround sound, making Alien far scarier than it was when the original version was released.

7 Although Alien certainly has its fair share of shock moments, what Ridley Scott biographer Paul M Sammon has described as "Scott's meticulous attention to the mechanics of cinematic unease, including long, quiet, protracted 'takes' suddenly shattered ... by unexpected shrieks of sound or jolting slashes of movement" which make Alien one of the scariest movies ever made. Naturally, there is no better place to experience this than a cinema.

8 Ridley Scott's almost unprecedented melding of the conventions of science fiction and horror make Alien one of cinema's true milestones. Seeing it on the big screen is the only way to re-create the fear and dread with which cinema audiences were first greeted when the film became one of the first major science fiction films to follow George Lucas's Star Wars, released two years earlier in 1977.

9 One of the most important elements for Ridley Scott was Alien's production design. Scott deliberately hired different artists - production designer Ron Cobb and Swiss surrealist H R Giger - to conceptualise the human and alien elements of the film, resulting in one of the most distinctive looking films of all time. The spacecraft Nostromo, its environments, uniforms and electronic equipment, all attest to a 'used future' - something virtually unseen in the shiny and sleek science fiction up to that point. The alien creatures and the derelict ship, meanwhile, have an otherworldly look which has often been copied but never improved upon. As might be expected, the cinema sceen is the only place such attention to detail can truly be appreciated.

10 In addition to being restored and remastered especially for the cinema, using state of the art THX digital sound, Alien: The Director's Cut incorporates several minutes of footage never before seen in cinemas: notably a scene in which Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) discovers Dallas (Tom Skerritt) cocooned by the alien creatures.


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