BOOK REVIEW: ALIEN THE ARCHIVE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE CLASSIC MOVIES / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The Alien saga has had its fair share of books and articles written about it. There was even one of those ‘Vault’ efforts with all manner of paraphernalia included. Now comes this enormous (really – it’s over a foot tall) book from Titan that covers the quadrilogy through a series of interviews, insights and an awful lot of photographs.
One would be forgiven for thinking that everything that could be seen has already been seen – particularly when it comes to Ridley Scott’s first film, but the selection of behind the scenes photos and production sketches presented here is astonishing. There’s whole sections on every aspect of the making of the film, from the design of the alien (with some incredible shots of H.R. Giger working on prototypes to the Nostromo and the smaller vessels. In lieu of a preface, there’s an enlightening – if not particularly in-depth - interview with iconic star Sigourney Weaver.
The later films are given just as much as attention as the original, with some incredible design sketches of the initial design for Alien3’s penal colony; meant to be a wooden planet, much akin to a lo-fi Death Star. There’s so much to devour and absorb that it’s a book you’ll keep coming back to. The oversized nature of it may not make it incredibly practical, but it certainly is a joy to behold.
What’s surprising (more so than no author being credited) is the absence of both the Alien vs Predator films and the spiritual ‘prequel’ Prometheus. We say surprising, but it’s actually a pleasant one since those films really don’t sit right with the saga as it stands, and by focussing on the four original films (even taking into account the fact the last two leave a lot to be desired) the book is much better balanced and the scope for including more material is greater.