Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Old film reviewed

So, I recently bought the Aliens DVD, and watched it for the first time in a long while.

Some random thoughts, which I maintain are (sort of) relevant to contemporary issues.

Obviously, the cries of fandom went up - the Alien from the original movie had fought unarmed civilians - surely, if someone sent in THE MARINES! things would be different. Lo, they went.

I think, I have already commented here on how popular genre movies structurally provide a narrative for militarism, the enjoyment of the pure right to exterminate your foes, with unlimited self defence justification are the preparatory ideological trappings for the military mindset. We fear the monster, and enjoy the justified extermination of it.

The Marines in aliens, though, to make it interesting, are hamstrung - they go into a reactor room, in which firing high explosive 10 mm rounds would be dangerous - they are disarmed by industrial processes (a process the evil corporate Burke points out has a big Dollar value). That is, capital, and the need to preserve it (and, importantly, its literal power to reproduce itself) sets the limits of the unlimited use of destructive fire power. Of course, in the end, the plant is destroyed, and thus the jouissance laden violence allows the nest of Alien eggs to be fried.

What of the Aliens themselves? They are biological, Ripley's threat to their eggs threatens their reproduction, and they cannot attack her when she rescues Newt. Their chest bursting is explicitly compared with birth giving in the dialogue, they come from us. They do not "fuck each other over for a dollar." And, of course, they co-operate, like a hive mind. Obviously, generically, the movie is actually a zombie movie, the colonists have become aliens, overtaken by biological pure need. That is, use values - consumerists in the mall.

Hence the centrality of Newt - Ripley risks all to go back for Newt, because she is an individual, and a value worth fighting for. In the end, she calls Ripley "Mommy", and traditional family values are restored (minus the father - although the hints at Romance with Hicks may be there to leave an impression of a future attachment/family). Ripley, the voice of pure extermination prevails and wipes the enemy out, establishing this new order.

Symbollicly, she battles the Alien queen in a powered lifted suite - open, but high tech, a visible meld of human and machine. Ultimately, the film is a Carlylian repudiation of finance capitalism and collectivism in favour of individual values.

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