Alien Director's Cut Analysis
By SFMZ Webmaster
For the casual DVD consumer, seeing the label "Director's Cut" may equate to something 'extra' or it truly is a version that the film's director had a hand in remastering the original cut more to their vision. In many cases this is true, we see a version that has a more cohesive presentation and or clears up inconsistencies in the flow of the story.
Is that the case for Ridley Scott's Alien Director's Cut? Well first of all, Ridley has gone on record stating that he still considers the theatrical cut his best representation of his vision. . . .
"The traditional definition of the term 'Director's Cut' suggests the restoration of a director's original vision, free of any creative limitations.
It suggests that the filmmaker has finally overcome the interference of heavy-handed studio executives, and that the film has been restored to its original, untampered form. Such is not the case with Alien: The Director's Cut. It's a completely different beast." . . .
Ridley Scott, December 2, 2003 - Alien Quadrilogy (DVD booklet).
Ridley: "Upon viewing the proposed expanded version of the film, I felt that the cut was simply too long and the pacing completely thrown off. After all, I cut those scenes out for a reason back in 1979. However, in the interest of giving the fans a new experience with Alien, I figured there had to be an appropriate middle ground.
I chose to go in and recut that proposed long version into a more streamlined and polished alternate version of the film. For marketing purposes, this version is being called The Director's Cut."
SFMZ takes a look at what the Alien Director's Cut brings to the table starting with the scene of Brett's death. A small clip is added to this scene and we will provide a break down and let you decide if it adds value.
Let's pick up where Ripley, equipped with the motion sensor (IMAGE 1), and Parker equipped with a net and the electric prod, went on to search for the chestburter, while Brett went off to search for Jonesy the cat.
Brett, alone in the 'chain room,' finally corners Jonesy. He turns around to see a horrifying sight - the alien in it's full size grinning a mouth full of nasty metal-looking teeth streaming with a generous supply of saliva. The vicious attack ensues, Brett screams in agony and the creature has it's way with him. . . end of scene.
The films cuts directly to the scene of Parker and others in one of the ship's compartments discussing the creature after the attack on Brett. Keep in mind the theatrical cut gives no indication Parker and Ripley were anywhere near the scene of the attack. Parker tells the others, "Whatever it was, it was big."
My first viewing of Alien was the theatrical cut and as I sat there on the edge of my seat fully absorbed in the dread this film presents, I wondered how Parker knew how big it was since they were never seen anywhere near the attack.
I dismissed it with the off screen possibility that they eventually went into the chain room after hearing Brett's scream, saw the blood but no body. The last time they saw the creature, it was just a tiny critter. There was no other evidence for them to think it wasn't still small . . . . until Brett's death.
If the body is missing, it had to be something large enough to haul away a full grown man. I just assumed he drew that conclusion because of the absence of Brett's body. But the added clip of the Director's Cut changes the dynamics of that scene entirely.
The added clip is only 15-16 seconds long and shows Parker and Ripley running into the chain room within a fractional second after Brett's scream. They were standing at the very spot of the attack within a second or less as they both call out for Brett to no avail.
The upside of this clip, this likely confirms that they did indeed see the creature or at least a glimpse of it as it took off upwards. It's near instantaneous that Parker and Ripley enter the room and Brett's body is being pulled upwards. It seems impossible that Parker and Ripley would not have seen anything regarding the creature's ascent with Brett's body in tow.
This provides a more solid indicator to reinforce Parker's claim later that it was big. Additionally, Parker and Ripley look up towards the ceiling almost immediately (IMAGE 2) as they enter the chain room, another indicator that they caught a glimpse of the creature.
However, this clip adds a couple inconsistencies and it's a possible reason why it was deleted from the original version other than just pacing. When the two run into the chain room Ripley is not carrying a motion sensor (IMAGE 3). No visual sign she dropped it or anything, her hands are bare. Additionally, Parker was still holding the net. One actor remembered to grab their prop, one actor forgot?
Also, adding that clip implies that Parker and Ripley had to have been within just a few feet at the moment Brett was attacked considering they entered the room in a fraction of a second upon the creature's attack.
It seems odd that they send Brett off to find the cat, but Parker and Ripley follow him within such a close range of just a few feet. If they were tagging behind him so closely, there was no need for them to suggest separating in the first place.
Of course it's up to you, the viewer, to decide which inconsistency you wish to dismiss. Off screen events are really open ended where the viewer can fill in the blanks to their liking.