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Alien (1979): how did the company know about the alien?

 
 
Inuit68
 
Reply Mon 14 Jan, 2013 11:47 pm
The film makes it clear the crew was awakened to investigate the signal being broadcast from LV-426. Ripley later discovers the special order that details the company's desire to bring back the alien at all costs, presumably to weaponize it for profit. The question is this: how did the company know about the alien in the first place? When the crew of the Nostromo visit the derelict ship, the only evidence of a victim is thousands of years old (well, he's fossilized at least, something that would take a long time regardless of environmental conditions). When did the company first have knowledge of the alien and when did the company write the special order? Thanks for your consideration.
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 5,285 • Replies: 28
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Telamon
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 07:29 am
@Inuit68,
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1446714/
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 02:09 pm
@Telamon,
While that answer (Prometheus) may technically be correct, it's sad that such a wonderful and groundbreaking film as _Alien_ should owe any of its backstory to such a shallow and jumbled disappointment like _Prometheus_.

Prometheus should be completely redone by someone who can write a story which respects the intelligence of the sci-fi audience.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 02:10 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

While that answer (Prometheus) may technically be correct, it's sad that such a wonderful and groundbreaking film as _Alien_ should owe any of its backstory to such a shallow and jumbled disappointment like _Prometheus_.

Prometheus should be completely redone by someone who can write a story which respects the intelligence of the sci-fi audience.


I enjoyed Prometheus, and while it did have some technical problems, I didn't find it to be jumbled - at all.

Cycloptichorn
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 02:17 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Fair enough. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

But I found it to be the second most disappointing film (with regard to the intelligence) that I have ever seen, topped only by the horrifyingly insipid, ludicrous and meaningless finale of Battlestar Galactica (the recent version).

Also, I hold these films up in comparison to their associations. In the case of Prometheus, it was associated with Alien and Aliens and directed by Scott. *Should* have been a forumla for success, but wasn't. In the case of Battlestar, it was associated with the first few seasons which were spectacular and nearly flawless, resulting in a loft perch from which to crash mightily, as it did.
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 02:26 pm
@rosborne979,
In the interests of conversation, can you tell me what you didn't like about the film? I have a few quibbles with it, but overall I believe it was pretty successful; and, there is no greater sci-fi fan than I.

Cycloptichorn
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 02:48 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:


I enjoyed Prometheus, and while it did have some technical problems, I didn't find it to be jumbled - at all.

Cycloptichorn

Ditto this perfectly fine sentiment on the very good and highly underrated Prometheus.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 02:53 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
IMO, Prometheus failed as both SciFi and horror. The effects were good, but story made absolutely no sense.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 02:55 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
whew, there are so many problems with this film it's hard to know where to start, but I'll pick just a few...

(Spoilers below, so if anyone hasn't see it yet, stop reading)

The implication that the "Engineers" genetic code infected ours, or even originated our is ludicrous.

The idea that a bunch of cave drawings could lead us to a distant planet and that "scientists" would read into the meaning of those drawings as an invitation to visit them is painfully simplistic.

A bunch of scientists going into a strange alien structure on a new planet and take their helmets off to test the air. Then they get lost. Then they argue. Then some of them become assholes and others that start out as wimps suddenly get brave when an alien snake shows up.

A lady has a squid baby by C Section and then recovers well enough to run around a few minutes later. A robot infects a crew member with black goo, which causes a "thing" come out of his eye, he then has sex and fathers the alien squid.

It's endless.

Here, these guys go it better...

DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 02:58 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 03:02 pm
@DrewDad,
This sums it up pretty nicely, IMO:

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 03:09 pm
Essentially, then, the question is a good one in that at the time of the release of Alien, there was no back story, no explanation of how the company knew the beast was there. I've not seen Prometheus, and now, thanks to you gents, i probably won't bother until it's on teevee for free.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 03:10 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

whew, there are so many problems with this film it's hard to know where to start, but I'll pick just a few...

(Spoilers below, so if anyone hasn't see it yet, stop reading)

The implication that the "Engineers" genetic code infected ours, or even originated our is ludicrous.


Well, I certainly don't agree with this. Then entire point of the opening scene is that the 'Engineers' started ALL life on our planet. There's exactly zero evidence showing something like that didn't happen (indeed, the 'genetic material hitting the earth via comet' theory is a widely-accepted possibility).

Quote:
The idea that a bunch of cave drawings could lead us to a distant planet and that "scientists" would read into the meaning of those drawings as an invitation to visit them is painfully simplistic.


Yup, that part was stupid. You wouldn't be able to identify the correct star system based on drawings like that.

Quote:
A bunch of scientists going into a strange alien structure on a new planet and take their helmets off to test the air. Then they get lost. Then they argue. Then some of them become assholes and others that start out as wimps suddenly get brave when an alien snake shows up.


That part I'm okay with, as it's long been my experience that people do stupid and illogical things on a regular basis.

Quote:
A lady has a squid baby by C Section and then recovers well enough to run around a few minutes later. A robot infects a crew member with black goo, which causes a "thing" come out of his eye, he then has sex and fathers the alien squid.


I think this is based on a misunderstanding of the plot and what the weapon being developed by the Engineers really was. The 'weapon' they developed was a rapidly evolving biological agent - tiny bits of DNA/whatever, that when exposed to the proper environment rapidly self-replicated and directed their evolution towards creating the weapon we know as the Alien. Once the weapon was in the dude's body, it rapidly took over - and apparently was transmitted to another's body via the impregnation process, something that makes sense given the later version of the Alien's method of reproduction: implanting a rapidly-growing object into the body of a living host. The crewmember who got infected wasn't the father of the 'alien squid' at all - which was just a mega-sized version of the Facehugger from Alien.

Re: the c-section thing, we all laughed about that a bit, but the robo-doc did stitch her back up and administered a shitload of pain meds, so it's at least possible that she could move around a bit.

To me, these are pretty small quibbles compared to the biggest two problems with the movie:

1, the timeline was - as many of these sci-fi movies tend to be - totally off. We won't see development of those technologies in 60 years from today. It would have been a lot more believable to have the movie set a hundred years after that.

2, there was never any discussion or explanation for the fact that Humanity apparently had control of artificial gravity by that point, a feat which would bring about such a revolution in human technology and advancement, in a wide variety of ways, as to make many of the plot points obsolete.

Cycloptichorn
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 03:11 pm
@DrewDad,
I posted that about 10 seconds after you did. Then I had to delete it of course.

That thing is a riot. Even for those who liked Prometheus (you must be insane, but what the heck) the Honest Trailer is pretty funny Smile
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 03:22 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

Well, I certainly don't agree with this. Then entire point of the opening scene is that the 'Engineers' started ALL life on our planet. There's exactly zero evidence showing something like that didn't happen (indeed, the 'genetic material hitting the earth via comet' theory is a widely-accepted possibility).
The geology depicted is inconsistent with the engineer being present early in geological history.

Cycloptichorn wrote:

I think this is based on a misunderstanding of the plot and what the weapon being developed by the Engineers really was. The 'weapon' they developed was a rapidly evolving biological agent - tiny bits of DNA/whatever, that when exposed to the proper environment rapidly self-replicated and directed their evolution towards creating the weapon we know as the Alien. Once the weapon was in the dude's body, it rapidly took over - and apparently was transmitted to another's body via the impregnation process, something that makes sense given the later version of the Alien's method of reproduction: implanting a rapidly-growing object into the body of a living host. The crewmember who got infected wasn't the father of the 'alien squid' at all - which was just a mega-sized version of the Facehugger from Alien.

I think your "reading between the lines" of what was happening is a stretch from what we can give the film credit for. But I do think that what you are suggesting is a much better story, so I think they should hire you to repair the remake Wink

Cycloptichorn wrote:
To me, these are pretty small quibbles compared to the biggest two problems with the movie:

1, the timeline was - as many of these sci-fi movies tend to be - totally off. We won't see development of those technologies in 60 years from today. It would have been a lot more believable to have the movie set a hundred years after that.

2, there was never any discussion or explanation for the fact that Humanity apparently had control of artificial gravity by that point, a feat which would bring about such a revolution in human technology and advancement, in a wide variety of ways, as to make many of the plot points obsolete.

Those are two of the standard failures in many films. Don't get me wrong, I give films a pass on a lot of stuff to. I don't think every sci-fi movie out there should be a NASA documentary and I'm happy to give some poetic freedom to stories, but the loose ends and pregnant pauses (ack, I can't believe I said that) went too far.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 03:25 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Essentially, then, the question is a good one in that at the time of the release of Alien, there was no back story, no explanation of how the company knew the beast was there. I've not seen Prometheus, and now, thanks to you gents, i probably won't bother until it's on teevee for free.

Yes, I believe the original question is valid. I don't believe there is anything in the original Alien film that answers the question of why the ship's computer and the android were programmed to put them in contact with the Alien.

And even the information implied in Prometheus isn't a direct link because we never see an infected engineer leave the planet, presumably to crash land on the planet from Alien. And even if we did, how would Earth know where the Engineer went.

0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 03:34 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Then entire point of the opening scene is that the 'Engineers' started ALL life on our planet.

I'm pretty sure that the landscape had plants on it, before they showed him dissolving.

And then to claim that humans are a genetic match... that defies belief.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 03:38 pm
@DrewDad,
I should also say that my complaints about the film are regarding plot. I thought the acting was great, especially Fassbender's David.

It seemed to me that the plot was just a framework on which to hang various horror scenes.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 03:41 pm
@Inuit68,
Inuit68 wrote:
When did the company first have knowledge of the alien and when did the company write the special order? Thanks for your consideration.

I think this may be the opposite of a "refrigerator horror" moment. During the movie, it's a mentally horrible moment in that they were cold-bloodedly betrayed.

After the movie, when you looking for something in the refrigerator, you think, "wait a minute... that made no sense."

Edit: Sorry, it's a prime example of Fridge Logic

Quote:
Half an hour after the show is over, a random viewer is staring into his refrigerator, vaguely bemused by the fact that his six-pack of beer has somehow become a two-pack of beer. Rather than work out how this might have happened, it occurs to him to wonder how in the hell Sydney Bristow went from Hungary to Melbourne, Australia, then to LA, all within 24 hours.

It didn't bother him during the show. It wasn't until he discovered he was running short of beer that it became an issue.

...
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jan, 2013 03:47 pm
I didn't have a problem with a lack of explanation about how the company knew the critter was there. One suspends belief for such stories in the first place, and, as the droid was put on the ship before it left on its mission, the company obviously knew then, long before they're awakened and diverted to the planet (moon?). At one point, Ripley (?) seems to have decoded the beacon message enough to surmise that it's a warning of some sort, so it's not implausible to suggest that the company, commanding more resources and more time, would have figured it out and set the whole thing up. At any event, i didn't find that a huge flaw in the original movie.
 

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