Alien is classic sci-fi/horror film that has not been diluted with age.
The crew of a mining transport vessel, carrying cargo from a distant planet back to earth, are in cryostasis. They are woken by their ship's computer, Mother, to what seems like a distress beacon. The crew land on a desolated to investigate, but bring back a strange and extremely aggressive creature who only cares about its survival. Like with any classic horror film, the alien picks off the crew members one by one, until Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the only crewmember left.
The futuristic visuals, set design, as well as the creepiness of the alien creatures are still as effective as ever. Even though the ship's computer seems a bit dated, the way it is presented (as an extremely intelligent AI being) is clever. The pacing seemed a bit slow to me, but it certainly gives one enough time to enjoy the cinematography. This is a classic film that's worth watching on the big screen.
As an aside, It is not clear to me if there is indeed a survival advantage to a predator like the one showcased in Alien. While a creature may certainly be willing to kill all humans, killing off all its food sources will only result in its starvation and eventual extinction. Most species learn to exist in an equilibrium with their environment in this regard.
Alien: Resurrection is the fourth installment in the Alien movie series. There are a lot of positive and negative aspects to this movie. However, I think the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones, but just barely.
Most of the negative aspects are due to the derivative nature of the plot, especially considering that some of the events don't change very much compared to the first three movies. After a 200-year absence Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is back, thanks to the wonders of genetic engineering. This time, she is the involuntary host/mother of a new alien queen. And there's a conspiracy here to boot: all this is occurring on a huge spaceship under the auspices of the government.
Of course, man cannot mess with nature and get away with it (sound familiar?), even if the purpose is noble (in this case, the plan is to use the aliens for gene therapy, vaccines, what have you). Soon enough, the aliens are out there dripping acidic saliva and munching at everyone's heads. Ripley allies with a band of rag tag rebels delivering cryogenically frozen human bodies that serve as hosts for the alien embryos. It's up to Ripley and her compatriots to escape and destroy the aliens before it's too late.
This movie is interesting in that there are plenty of plot-holes that can be called into question, but when watching the movie, it is the suspense and action that drive it while logic and consistency are relegated to the back seat. It's only after I left the movie that I actually thought about the suspension of disbelief required. Fortunately, I suspect that for most people, during the movie, the lack of consistency won't make much of a difference. Alien: Resurrection provides exactly what we've come to know and love about the Alien movie series, even though it is repetitive.
The acting is decent by all concerned, but Alien: Resurrection is Weaver's baby and she carries it all the way through. Winona Ryder as Annalee Call, while providing a pleasant visual distraction, is essentially wasted here. Worth the matinee fare.