So I was watching the iconic Alien for the umpteenth time the other day, and there’s always been one significant aspect of the film that made no sense to me. In fact, it bothered me immensely. But before I get to that, I’m sure you’ve probably seen at least one of the “Everything Wrong With…” YouTube videos which dissect your favorite (and not-so-favorite) flicks for stupidity and other faux pas. I decided to see if one for Alien existed that covered my main issue with the story.
Sadly, it did not. Well, mostly it didn’t.
While their vids hit on a lot of good points, they frequently count things as “wrong” just so the narrator can get another silly zinger in. For instance, the Alien installment includes commentary regarding the shape of the Nostromo (no, there’s no need to be aerodynamic in space), its interior design (“like Mr. Coffee”) and the fact that Ripley brought her cat on board. Sadly, these outnumber the legitimate (and somewhat humorous) tidbits such as this:
Now granted, Alien came out in 1979, and we didn’t know that it was supposed to be taking place in an era about 100 years from today. And it’s certainly logical to assume a 22nd century computer would understand English colloquialisms. Of course, a computer that can do that also would be able to understand human speech much like our smartphones do today, and wouldn’t have to rely on MS-DOS-style keyboard input for communication.
The “Everything Wrong With” narrator also suggests that just because the ship discovered by Dallas, Kane and Lambert was ancient (we know now it was piloted by the Engineer from Prometheus) , it shouldn’t have been investigated. As if human explorers would discard hard evidence of a highly intelligent extraterrestrial race because the signal they detected was centuries-old. However, he’s certainly correct about the part where Ripley discovers that the ship’s signal actually was a warning; why would she acquiesce to Ash’s poo-pooing of it?
Which leads to my aforementioned stupidest facet of the whole film, and which the “Everything Wrong” nails down at least in part. Aside from the fact that Kane was beyond dumb to take it upon himself to investigate the Alien eggs in the Engineer’s ship’s basement, what followed was even worse: Dallas, the captain of the Nostromo, orders Ripley to violate basic quarantine regulations when they return with the now-Alien-infected Kane.
Worse, once inside the ship’s medical bay, Dallas treats Kane like he’s merely got a bad case of flu or something, merely donning a face mask… which he knows is no protection from the damn face-hugger given that it had melted right through Kane’s fucking helmet.
“Everything Wrong” completely avoids the whole Alien gestation process, a big mistake and my big beef. Both Dallas and Ripley ask Ash about what the face-hugger is doing to Kane, and both get ridiculously unsatisfactory responses. Dallas inquires “What’s it got down his throat?” to which Ash says it’s “probably feeding him oxygen” (um, why would Kane need a parasite to do that for him?). Ripley, who walks in on Ash examining via camera the baby Alien in Kane’s chest, says “That’s interesting, what is that?” and gets no answer… while Ash quietly turns off the camera. By the way, the supposed 22nd century graphics of Kane’s full-body scan are incredibly poor, which probably led to Dallas’ and Ripley’s questions in the first fucking place.
The fact that both Dallas and Ripley actually saw that the face-hugger was doing something to Kane should have led to a complete avoidance of this scene:
“Oh, hey look — Kane is awake and talking! Thank God everything’s cool. Let’s go get something to eat!”
Watch it now.