Talk:Alien (film)/Archive 1

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Different alien species

Regarding the following sentence from the article:

The alien embryo is discovered in a ruined pyramid on an alien planet; this concept was actually held onto for a long time, and preliminary H.R. Giger pyramid drawings intended for Alien exist, but eventually the producers went with the idea of a wrecked derelict (also designed by Giger, even though the ship was supposed to be that of a different alien species).

What is meant here by "different alien species"? It is my understanding that the derelict was built by a different species than the "aliens", that it was infested with the aliens, and its crew was defeated by them. One of their corpses is seen by the humans as they first begin to explore the derelict. The above passage is very ambiguous, but I suppose you could interpret it to mean that the derelict was built and piloted by the aliens, but that is not the case. In other words, it makes little sense to say that the ship was supposed to be that of a different species, when it was in fact that of a different species. --Yath 20:50, 31 May 2004 (UTC)

Since no one has explained this, and I think it's just confusing, I removed the text from the article: (even though the ship was supposed to be that of a different alien species). --Yath 03:55, 15 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I think what was meant by that was that initially, there were meant to be two seperate alien cultures in the film: the alien on the ship, which was from an advanced, spacefaring civilisation, and the aliens who built the pyramid and worshipped the Aliens, who were a primitive, Bronze-Age level society. The bronze-age Alien-worshippers were subsequently dropped. 82.35.49.147 11:27, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

To be a bit more specific, the "chair like thing" is a member of the "Space Jockey" race.

-Joel

--- 15 September 2005 --- 15:10 EST ---

Standing the test of time

It is quite impressive how well the 1979 film has stood the test of time, visually. Watching a rerun on cable the other week, I found myself musing that, apart from some rather dated computer displays on the Nostromo, the sets and gear could easily be deployed in a new science-fiction film today and few audience members would notice anything out-of-date.

Confusion

Hi there,

Just to let you know that when it talks about the other alien species, it is talking about that thing that seems to be in the "chair like thing", that is all white, when the crew enter the space-ship on LV-426, and then the screen shoots to where Ripley says to Ash that Mother has de-coded the message and that it's actually a warning.

Hope this helps. And oh yeah, now that I have explained this to you, you might want to add in the part of the text that you removed.

Thanks, J.A

--- 22 June 2005 --- 18:16 BST/GMT ---

WikiProject

Would it be a good idea to make an "Alien" project? I am surprised one does not exist already. -Matt 02:06, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Ripley: "Military" or not?

There is some confusion as to Ripley's status; is she military personnel or not, and what is her rank?

In the 1979 novelisation of the original Alien, when Ripley confronts Dallas about taking off from the planet, Dallas clearly states "this isn't a military vessel...standard procedure is to do what the hell they tell you to do". This would fit in with the fact that the Nostromo is a commercial towing vehicle.

Ripley's status in Aliens seems to be as a civilian advisor to the Colonial Marines. She wears no uniform and is not addressed by rank. Lieutenant Gorman and Sergeant Apone (who is called "Master Sergeant" in the novelisation, but in the film wears U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class chevrons; one grade below Master Sergeant in both the Army and Marines) are in charge.

However, in both the movie and novel of Alien3, Ripley is addressed as "Lieutenant" (pronounced "lef-tenant" by the primarily British cast). The novelisation also clearly states "she was military, after all".

So, when did she "morph" from being a "civilian" Warrant Officer to a "military" Lieutenant?--MarshallStack 22:36, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

  • Perhaps the line is meant to indicate that Ripley had previous military experience before working on the Nostromo. However, this is inconsistent with her attitudes among the marines in Aliens, I would think.

24.33.28.52 21:21, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

    • Still unsure. As a former USAF enlisted man, I can add my perspective. The Marines may not have liked her simply because she was an officer (remember that SGT Apone and CPL Hicks pretty much ran things, which is the case a lot of the time in military situations, corporals and sergeants running things with an officer overseeing them), if she indeed was (remember how contemptuous they were of Lt Gorman?), but they would have had to give her an officer's customs and courtesies (salutes, addressing her either by rank or "Ma'am", etc - they addressed her by last name, which would have been a big, big no-no). In the US forces a warrant officer is entitled to the same courtesies as commissioned officers (lieutenants and above), but they still rank below lieutenants.--MarshallStack 22:45, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
i am fairly unfamilar with non-naval meritime(having to do with ships) ranking systems but is it possible that her spot on the nostromo, gave her the rank of lieutenant, or lef-tenant (which if i recall correctly was a british naval rank, not a very high one though) along with her being a warrent officer? -manwithbrisk
    • Again, this is a really grey area. About the only analogy I can draw is officers in the United States Merchant Marine, who, when in uniform, are almost indistinguishable from U.S. Navy/Coast Guard officers (the USMM is closely linked to the USCG) and would have definitely rated a salute from me when I was in the military. The novelisation implies that "warrant officer" was a position, not a rank, but in the U.S. Armed Forces (which seem to be the model for the rank structures), a warrant officer is a specialist officer in between enlisted and commissioned officer ranks. Of course, in the novel of the first film, Dallas is the only one given an actual rank title (captain). The only explanation I can find is that she would have been given honorary lieutenant's rank in Aliens, since they were going into a combat situation. She would have no longer held warrant officer status in Weyland-Yutani's merchant fleet, since they basically cleaned her out in the corporate board of enquiry in Aliens. NB: In the novelisation of Aliens, Burke, when trying to persuade her to go out again with the Colonial Marines, tells her "one more trip and you qualify for a captain's certificate." This would imply to me that she was never truly military, but held a specific position (warrant officer) aboard the Nostromo, which was an unarmed vessel owned by "The Company"/Weyland Yutani. Incidentally, in the USN/USCG there are two grades of lieutenant, close to the bottom of the officer tier (but still outranking warrant officers) and in the Royal Navy and Commonwealth Navies (Australia, Canada, NZ) there are "acting sub-lieutenant", "sub-lieutenant" and "lieutenant" ranks, though the Royal New Zealand Navy follows US precedent in using "ensign" as its lowest commissioned rank. Having said all of this, I still maintain that Ripley was a civilian, though one with considerable combat experience! --MarshallStack 22:45, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Lovecraft

I've often seen Alien and the "cosmic horror" genre of H.P Lovecraft linked, but there's no mention of this in the article. Alien is sometimes used as an example of a Lovecraftian film (example: here, and Giger himself is known to be inspired by Lovecraft's writing.

Is this too slight a fact to warrant a mention? 211.27.72.12 14:02, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I think it would be a great addition. --Quasipalm 16:12, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

The Beast Within: The Making of 'Alien'

Saw it as part of the AMC's DVD-TV special on Alien:Resurrection. Highly recommended to all Alien fans! - Emt147 Burninate! 05:49, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Egg origins in Alien 3

(*) There are two theories about how the egg was found within the Sulaco:

- The Alien Mother laid it there during the escape from LV-426 (which is almost impossible since its tale-like birth-pipe was broken apart during the explosions and left behind, she couldn't laid any other egg then),

- The egg was recovered by Bishop while Ripley came back looking for Newt before the Atmosphere Procesor would explode; Ripley came back to the landing area and Bishop wasn't there. Following his scientific goals, Bishop had enough time to leave the landing area and to pick one of the eggs up to finally bring it back home (Earth) after escaping from the LV-426; Corporal Hicks was on the ship with him but he was knocked down since he got hurt while running away from the Aliens.

Wikipedia is not the appropriate forum for fan fiction or speculation. Can you cite the official Alien/Aliens canon for any of this? - Emt147 Burninate! 20:27, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia isn't a place where only official and canon sources can be cited. I think it was a fine addition, and interesting to boot. As long as it is clearly marked as a popular theory among fans, it is ok to add. See Mulholland Drive (film)#Interpretation and allusions for another example. --Quasipalm 03:33, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Well it wasn't clearly marked as speculation, was it? One user put it in and another began arguing about it right in the article. It's a good movie but it's only a movie. Filling in plot holes is fan fiction. - Emt147 Burninate! 05:04, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Userbox

ALIEN This user will never look at spaghetti the same way again.

Chernicky 19:46, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Serial line

Does this page need to have synopsis for the rest of the series? Dr. No hasn't got all the other Bond Films on it. Please sort out.

I think we need to have a page for the entire series generally (a place for shared information and the entire overview), and then seperate pages for each film. For an example of this structure, see King's Quest (it was the first that came to mind, but I've seen films broken out by that). Perhaps it could be named Alien (film series) -Quasipalm 18:22, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Agree to that. A problem has opened up now that Alien vs. Predator messes plot elements of Alien. I would prefer to have the original represented more as a stand alone.

I think most everyone who edits this page would agree -- AvP is such a tangent that it'd be confusing to mix the two on an Alien series page. -Quasipalm 18:21, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I have added a mention of Jon Finch being cast as Kane in Trivia. This links to a mention on his wikipedia page and is backed up by a quote from John Hurt.

I am off the opinion that AvP is not canon and should not be figured into the extended plot line of the alien series. i personally think that we need to label it as something other than a prequel, and should be listed as a pure crossover is anyone else with me on this? -manwithbrisk

Spin offs

There exist at least three apocryphal novels in Russian, they were published along with the novelisation of the first movie by Dean Forest and of the second one by unmentioned author.(It due time Aliens was the last movie released). Novels continue storyline in different direction, author suggests that those bloodthirsty aliens in the movies are just "wild children", mauglis, raised by Nature rather than by the rather advanced civilisation to which they belong. Ripley visits their planet and stuff.
Interesting -- do you have any links or book titles? -Quasipalm 18:12, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
It is in Russian, alternative novellisation on the first movie called "Одиночка"(Odinochka, = "The Lonely One") by Gleb Kireev,

the second movie novellised by Marina Naumova(in some books she is credited like translator, that was common practice in those years, sometimes she is credited like Marina Tsvetkova) is "Планета отчаяния"(Planeta otchayaniya = "The desperate planet"), Alien 3 novellised by god knows who, some sites credit it to Grigory Panchenko, some -- to Naumova "Наш мир - тюрьма" (Nash mir tyur'ma ="The prison it our world") and original novel by Marina Naumova called "Contact". http://cclib.nsu.ru/koi/tcd/textsf&f/xussr/214/ On my harddrive I have two more novels by Naumova, "Безумие"(Madness) and "Наверху"(Above), but right now I can't find a link.

Also there were novels by Andrey Mart'yanov "Чужие: Русский десант"(Aliens: Russian descent) and "Операция "Рюген""(Operation Rugen) in 1999. Here americans are experimenting with Aliens and brave russian spacetroopeers save the world from them. http://lib.align.ru/authors/1654.html

I've started a section on spin offs on the film series page but see the talk page for suggestions on how it might be split off as it grows. (Emperor 16:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC))

What network and when did Alien debut on TV?

Just curious if anyone knows the date and network that aired the 1st movie Alien on TV?

It may have been USA Network sometime in the late '80s. I definitely remember seeing it on HBO in 1981.--MarshallStack 22:52, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Predator as a prequel??

Why the crap are Predator and Predator 2 listed as prequels?? They're a completely different franchise! Yeah, I'm definitely one of those anal Alien fans who despise the crossover, but are we so technical as to claim that they're prequels to the Alien saga?

If anything, you can throw AvP in there, because it actually featured the Alien in it... Still, does anyone else think it's really weird to suddenly lump Alien and Predator within the same franchise? It's illogical to call something a prequel just because of a crossover. It really didn't lead up to the Alien storyline at all (neither did AvP...that just happened before, and never had any sort of direct effect on the plot of the Alien films)

For this reason, I've removed the Predator films from the list. If I'm mistaken, please, I'd really like to get another opinion in on this.

Note that in Predator2 an xenomorph skull was shown hanging in the Predator's ship.

"It! The Terror From Beyond Space" deserves mention

"It! The Terror from Beyond Space" (1958), starring Marshall Thompson, deserves metion in any discussion about "Alien" (1979). Both films are about an alien that stows away aboard a spacecraft and kill the crew members one at a time, forcing the remainder to hide in a smaller and smaller section of the vehicle. Both monsters are very difficult to kill. In the "It!..." article, it is metioned that the producers of "It!..." sued the producers of "Alien", but, it is not stated what happened in the lawsuit. Many people, including Leonard Maltin and Turner Classic Movies have metioned the simularities between "It!..." and "Alien".204.80.61.10 18:38, 14 April 2006 (UTC)Bennett Turk

Agree to thatPiersmasterson 11:27, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Ditto. It's a great movie and clearly seminal to "Alien". I've added a short note to the "Early Versions" section and a link to the "It.." page. --Oscar Bravo 08:05, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

It has been observed that the opening portion of "Alien" has remarkable plot similarities to the low budget italian film "Planet of the Vampires"

While it is clearly seminal, we need to provide a 3rd party source that has made the link to avoid WP:OR issues. Could we get quotes or cites from Maltin or TCM? Ashmoo 01:44, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Done. Also, The Thing, which Roger Ebert thinks is seminal to Alien. --Oscar Bravo 11:19, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

HR Giger's inspired from a fish!

In a documentary I watched called Deep Blue, they said that Giger was inspired by a fish that lives in the deepest areas of the oceanic floor to design the "alien". What is the name of this fish?--Sonjaaa 16:41, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

I have deleted the sentence in the Alien Resurrection summary that says the Betty landed in Paris on Earth. This only happens in the Special Edition of Alien Resurrection and directly contradicts the ending of the theatrical version. In the theatrical version Ripley utters her final line "I don't know, I'm a stranger here myself" while still aboard the Betty. Also, the Betty is shown flying over an island beach (not a ruined city) and Call comments on how beautiful it is. In the novel Aliens: Original Sin (2005), the Betty lands on a beach in New Zealand, indicating that the theatrical ending is considered canon. Although novels are not canon they are required to be consistent with canon.

Influence Section

The Influence section is terrible. Here are the problems I have with it:

  • There's no introduction to the section. There should be a short paragraph explaining the impact that the film has had not only for horror and sci-fi movies, but for movies in general.
  • It degrades into a list of other movies and games that have merely referenced it. These are less and influence than an homage, and should probably be in a separate section.
  • Some items in the list are neither Influenced Works nor References to Alien, but something else altogether, namely the Helene Cixous item and should be moved. Zepheus 21:55, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree, especially on the second point : it's preferable, for clarity's sake, to split the Influence section in two separate sections : one being a "Reference" section, containing all little references and homages to the Alien movie(s) in games and movies, and the other being the real "Influence" section, containing the works influenced by Alien movie(s). AceNoctali 15:47, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Feature films within the same storyline

This section (Feature films within the same storyline) does not need to be on this page. I'm sure the pages for the other movies have their plots listed there. Here, it's just filling up space. Most of this section should just be deleted. There could be another page with an Alien movie series timeline; such a page might already exist. Zepheus 04:46, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

The plot section seems insanely long to me

Anyone else agree? Do there need to be quotes in there and all that detail? Also, why are there plot outlines for other movies that have entries here?

Agreed! Either I'm wrong, or someone is very confused about a plot section's purpose: I thought it sought to briefly describe a film's story, not to reproduce it in its entirety, dialogs included. This level of detail in a plot's summary is ridiculous in an Encyclopedia. If I had wanted to read the whole of it, I'd bought a book instead.
Administrators, please use your scissors! - AVM 22:16, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree. It needs major cutting. While well intentioned, the plot section should be a summary, not an accurate description of every dialogue and visual effect. Ashmoo 06:32, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
I decided to attempt to try and cut the plot section down to size. It probably could have a lot more taken out if someone wants to try but I didn't want to go too far so thought I'd be cautious for now.--Chrism 17:54, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Redundant Plot Summaries

What is gained by having this information here? Neither Indiana Jones nor Star Wars contain repetitions of their own plots, much less plot summaries of the other movies. They simply have the "followed by" and "preceded by" set appropriately. Star Wars has a "Star Wars Universe" page, but I really don't see what is the point of restating the plots of the movies here, when they are available on their own entries. I can see maybe having a one-sentence summary for each, but it just seems silly. --Davetron5000 16:35, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Why don't we just remove the plot summaries for the sequels then? Many of us have a problem with. I'm going to do it per WP:Bold. I'll archive the text so that we have that information to cull from. Alien/QuadrilogySummary - Zepheus (ツィフィアス) 16:15, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Important note. I moved this summary to the article Alien (film series). Please use that page for information on the Alien universe. Let's work on it, and get it up to a good article. - Zepheus (ツィフィアス) 17:10, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Tagline

DragoonWraith 02:06, 10 July 2006 (UTC): I know that taglines are not generally supposed to be part of the article, but "In space, no one can hear you scream" seems pretty significant to me. I suppose I'm the only one, though, since no one else has mentioned it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by DragoonWraith (talkcontribs).

I absolutely agree. I believe it's one of the most famous (and parodied) taglines of all time. I would say to put it on there. - Zepheus (ツィフィアス) 07:23, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm generally not a fan of long lists of taglines, but this one is so famous that it warrants inclusion. Ashmoo 01:10, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
I added the tagline to the opening section. It needs something showing its significance in popular culture as per Wiki:Films Project guidelines. - Zepheus (ツィフィアス) 19:26, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Precursor work POV

What is with that section, the second paragraph is basically a `no it's not, it's completely different'. Definitely should be rewriten or removed. 21 July 2006

Moot point since this has been reworked now, but to answer the original question: The task when comparing things is to high-light their similarities and differences. If there were no similarities, there'd be nothing to note. If there were no differences, they would be identical. By summing up the differences and similarities, you can judge the level of influence and originality in the successor work. For example, if you wanted to compare Flash Gordon with Alien, about the only thing they have in common is that they both feature spaceships, so you could conclude that Flash Gordon was not an influence on Alien. When you compare It! with Alien, you find many similarities, which implies It! was an influence, at least on the storyline, but also many original features in Alien, which are what makes Alien a much better movie than It!. BTW, try comparing Alien with The Thing From Another World... --Oscar Bravo 07:48, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Space Jocky, or Alien?

I have a problem with the opinion that the Corporation's sole purpose for re-routing the Nostromo to LV-426 was to specifically find the so-called titular alien synonymous with the quadrilogy. Frankly, I think that they (the Corporation) most likely received the same distress signal the Nostromo did, and issued protocol-937 to investigate. However later on, much to Ash's surprise, the true alien presence became the parasitical one, and not the "Space Jockies". --Dark Observer

Is there an issue with the article? - Zepheus (ツィフィアス) 19:52, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Influence

The influence section is, in my opinion, terrible. At this point, it is just a list of movies, games, comics, TV shows and miscellany that have referenced the film (or simply have creatures with a similar design). It is beyond cruft. It is uber-cruft. Alien has had a such a huge influence on not only horror films, but films in many genres, and instead of discussing those influences, we simply have a list of references. I would love to get this article up to featured status, so let's try and eliminate the cruft and put in some good encyclopedic material about Alien's place in movie history. I mean, Alien was deemed "culturally significant" Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Let's show why. Who's with me?! - Zepheus (ツィフィアス) 21:41, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

I dunno what do you mean by "cruft" (neither me nor my English-French dictionary does know that word), but... This is the second time you're complaining about the Influence Section, and this is the second time I'll answer you. Like you, I'd really love to improve that article, since I'm an uber fan of the Alien saga. I already proposed to separate the section in two parts : one being the "real" Influence section, the other being the Reference section.
Here's my new proposition : take out ALL the references, create a new Wikipedia article by the name of "List of references to Alien movies", or a title in that style, and put those references in it. Then, put a link of that article into the "Alien" article. A bit like what has been done in, for example, GetBackers article about the characters' list. And then, create the real Influence section (for this, I'll let you take care of it, since it seems you have an idea about this). What do you think of it ? -- AceNoctali 04:15, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
I completely forgot that I had written that earlier comment...happens to me sometimes, but please don't think that I am ignoring your comments. "Cruft" is a word oft used by Wikipedians to denote things that are only of interest to a small group of people. I think splitting off into a new article is good idea as a temporary stopgap, so let's go for that. I need to find some hard references for this section, so we can make it good. Let me know if you know of any. - Zepheus (ツィフィアス) 02:08, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I've started a user subpage where anyone can add references that involve Alien's influence on films, television shows and whatever else. I've added a few quotes. Whatever you can find and source is appreciated. Please include citation information or web address if applicable. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 21:55, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Feature this!

I believe that we can bring this article up to featured status. We already have a lot of good text and information. It just needs to be organized and sourced. There are a lot of great references at its external reviews page at the IMDb. I think with a focused effort, we can reference many of these claims in a few days. I got started with the Sources section. If anybody would like to help with this, then climb on board. I'm putting an {{Underconstruction}} tag on it to let people know. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 21:49, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

I've been waiting for someone to come along and jumpstart the process to get it featured. I'll work on it some as well, starting with reorganizing the Plot section.--Dark Kubrick 18:03, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Hot diggity! Now I'm excited. I'll get cracking on references. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 21:10, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Should definitely be featured. Majik43 23:31, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Trivia

There's currently a template at the top of the article saying that there's a major overhaul in progress, and there's a template at the top of the trivia section saying that it's too long, so I'm hesitant to actually add anything, but I think it would be very noteworthy to mention that John Hurt satirically reprised his role as Kane in a scene (spoofing the chestburster scene) in the 1987 movie Spaceballs. Since I really don't know what's involved in this overhaul or how long it's going to take, I'll just leave it up to someone more involved in the project to decide if and when to add this note. - Ugliness Man 06:30, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I put both those templates on this page. You are welcome to help out making this article rock socks off. For the Spaceballs reference, check out List of cultural references to Alien. If that's deemed a more significant reference, it can be moved back to the main Alien page at some point. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 16:13, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I just moved some trivia into the main production section. Nice to help out. Wiki-newbie 16:29, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Excellent. By the way, references also help; if you would like to find references for those pieces of "trivia," that would be most helpful as well. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 19:23, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Ref problem

Ref #5 seems to not work. Any way to fix it without putting an "obsolete since" tag?--Dark Kubrick 13:19, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

I just tested it and had no problem with it. What is the problem? - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 06:29, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

When I click on the link, my computer goes nowhere. It doesn't freeze up or anything; it just has that very slow loading bar, and never takes me anywhere.--Dark Kubrick 18:57, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Hmm. Maybe try the link by itself, and see if that works. I suppose it could either be a URL problem or a Reference tag problem. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 21:40, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Whatever. Both the link and the one in the article work for me now. Just a fluke I guess.--Dark Kubrick 02:13, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Template/infopanel

There are two of these Template:Alien and Template:AVP and I'd like to add the information from the latter into the former and update the main one (both format and content). I'll go ahead and do it when I get the time and see how it goes (unless anyone raises any objections). (Emperor 13:41, 16 October 2006 (UTC))

To be honest, I think the Alien Template is too big as it is, and shouldn't include some of the information it already has. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 17:15, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
I think a restlying (like moving the headers to a side column (as on the games one) would help tighten things up. (Emperor 17:20, 16 October 2006 (UTC))
I agree. Something like the music genre infoboxes might even work. See Drum and bass - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 17:29, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Yeah that is one idea although it can't fit much in. I have just worked on this Template:Judge Dredd which is nearly the same size as the current Alien one but manages to fit about 3 or 4 times the amount of information in. See also Template:Battle Royale. We could redo the Alien template, add in the games, add more missing information and still have a smaller panel than we currently have. Everyone's a winner ;) (Emperor 18:10, 16 October 2006 (UTC))
If you can merge those templates and make it look good, go ahead and do it. --Mika1h 16:51, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Hopefully it should still look good as it'll be based on your AVP template - using a table so the headers are on the left will reduce the amount of vertical height each section requires (in the current Alien template) will be reduced so the end result shouldn't take up anymore room that the current Alien one while fitting more information in (Emperor 17:09, 17 October 2006 (UTC))
OK as no one has raised any objections I'll have a crack at it later and we can see how it looks and if it is felt it doesn't work we can revert it. (Emperor 13:50, 21 October 2006 (UTC))
Its now done - as I suspected it is the same size as the previous one but now contains more information as I've added in a lot of missing entries and combined it with the AvP games one. Compare and contrast with the horror show of Terminator template that you can see here: Aliens vs. Predator vs. The Terminator. Granted it may need tweaks but I'm happy with the way the overhaul has turned out. Thoughts? (Emperor 16:22, 21 October 2006 (UTC))

That actually looks quite good. Way to step up. One question. Would it work to put both the Alien and Predator films on the top line? - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 16:32, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

I suppose it depends on what the topmost entry is. If it is this one then most certainly. I went with the film series one as it links off to all the film and can be considered as a higher level entry. A fix might be: Alien, Predator & Alien vs. Predator - although note that Category:Alien series links to the film series entry at the top. I think this will have to be a group decision. I am not really fussed either way although marginally lean towards having it as it is. See what other people think and its easy enough to change. (Emperor 16:53, 21 October 2006 (UTC))

Category:Aliens characters

This category is empty and seems to be redundant as this Category:Alien film series characters contain the characters. Delete? (Emperor 16:53, 21 October 2006 (UTC))

Related-entries requiring attention

There are some Alien series entries that either need a lot of epxanding or merging into other articles:

Anyway just a few thoughts in passing. (Emperor 17:28, 21 October 2006 (UTC))

Long plot section

The plot section is over-long. It needs to be pared down to a short summary of the events as opposed to a play-by-play. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 05:22, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. There are a lot of entries on Wikipedia with very detailled plot summaries and it just bloats an entry. (Emperor 13:41, 24 October 2006 (UTC))

I've cut down the synopsis as best I can. Can Bignole state whether he has any more problems regarding the plot?--Dark Kubrick 17:08, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

It isn't just about the size (though it was overly long). It's also about the "in this film", "at the start of the film" type text. It's just things like those examples that should be removed. I haven't had a chance to read through the whole plot summary, but those are things I just caught in the first paragraph. Sometimes they are necessary to explain what is going on, but usually they are needless text that can be removed. Example, we don't need the "this film mostly takes place on the Nostromo", because that will become evident during the reading of the plot itself. I think you've done a good job of shortening it, but not it needs some copyediting (which, most likely will shorten it some more, but that's not definitive). Bignole 17:18, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
I worked on some of the things that Bignole talked about. It's slightly shorter and some redundancies are removed. I think it's getting there. If anybody else wants to take a stab at it, go for it. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 18:23, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

I just thought I'd say that the plot section seems well written compared to other films I've read about on Wikipedia. Thanks for your work! --Kenneth M Burke 15:56, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

OR

I've cut the following section has it appears to be original research, which is not acceptable. It needs to be fully referenced before being restored. Dan100 (Talk) 07:47, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Themes

Most critics and fans of the film have commented on the theme of the human birth cycle. When Kane, Dallas, and Lambert venture into the alien craft, they enter through giant vagina-like openings and travel up a tunnel that resembles the birth canal. The fossilized alien sits in a long, telescopic phallus-shaped piece of machinery, and the audience can intrepret the egg that Kane finds as an ovum. Such imagery fits with the often sexual nature of Giger's art.

The film presents a version of birth that might seem almost empathetic with that of the woman's experience: the alien bursting from Kane's chest reflects the intense pain that a woman experiences during natural child-birth (birth without anesthesia). The film also more broadly deals with issues of human sexuality, including rape, free love and even homosexuality, although these last two points only emerge in the director's audio commentary on DVD.

Another major theme of the film deals with blue-collar workers faced with extraordinary circumstances. With the exception of Ash (the science officer), all the characters, even the officers, appear as working-class. In contrast stands the image of a corporation that puts profit before the safety of its workers. Ripley speculates that the company wanted the creature for its weapons division. To acquire it, the company makes the lives of the crew members expendable. This may reflect an American view of the economic culture of the 1970s, when millions of blue-collar workers lost their jobs as American corporations shut down factories and other production facilities in favor of cheap, overseas labor. David Giler and Walter Hill added these paranoia themes, much to the chagrin of Dan O'Bannon who thought they had used his film to make a trite statement against the American work-ethic.

The film also explores the confusion of artificial with organic. The initial stress laid on life-cycles and biological processes eventually eases off once the alien births. After it escapes, much weight is given to visually confusing its smooth head with metal piping and its spindly, bristling legs and tail with wires, chains, and grates. The film further explores this theme with the computer system "Mother", with the revelation of Ash as an android, and with the realization that Ash's mission involves regarding humans as accessories or mechanisms in the process of preserving the alien and of bringing it to Earth at all costs.

The name of the ship, "Nostromo", provides a reference to the novel of the same name by Joseph Conrad, an author visited earlier by Ridley Scott in his movie The Duelists. In Conrad's Nostromo, a silver-mining corporation entrusts a dangerous cargo (silver — dangerous because revolutionaries want it) to an audacious anti-hero called Nostromo, tasking him with protecting it from the revolutionaries. This may link with the idea of blue-collar workers facing impossible odds, as mentioned above. Given the eventual destruction of the alien cargo, like the betrayal of the silver in Conrad's Nostromo, one could draw parallels between the eventual corruption of Nostromo and the "corruption" of Ripley. The shuttle Narcissus also comes from Conrad's oeuvre: see The Nigger of the Narcissus.

Special Features

I removed the list of deleted scenes. I did this for several reasons, one is that listing isn't good for an article and another is that listing every deleted scene is unencyclopedic, it runs up there with expanded plots that detail everything that happens in a film. If it was something special, like Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, then I could understand. There is a history behind that film's deleted scenes, steming back 20 years. The scenes that were deleted in this film were done by the original Director for the same reasons that every Director deletes them. Noting that there are deleted scenes, that the Director's cut is actually shorter than the original theatrical, and that the Quadrilogy allows you to view either film is enough to note. Bignole 03:32, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Removed trivia section.

I removed the trivia section per Wikipedia:Avoid trivia sections in articles. I think that this information can go somewhere, but I'm not sure where at this point. Perhaps if we had a Reception and audience reaction section. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 04:40, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

  • The scene where the alien Chestburster emerges from Kane conveyed such violence that it caused some people watching the movie to faint, and others to vomit.[1]
Yeah we should keep that. We don't need a "audience reaction" section, because that borders on "fan reaction" which can't be measured accurately. Just a general "Reception" section with your standard film critic sources, and this tacked on. Bignole 11:49, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
I concur. When I was checking out the article, I noticed a lack of a Reception section. I think part of the problem is that, when I looked, I mostly found reviews of the 2004 re-release. If we can find some reviews of the original release, that would be helpful. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 17:28, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I think both reviews would be good, but the original reviews should be the majority. It will probably be hard considering you don't have many movies that get released 20 years later into the theaters as a Director's cut. Bignole 17:43, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Uncited claim

"Along with launching the career of actress Sigourney Weaver, the film proved to be pioneering as it was the first action film to feature a strong female heroine." There is no evidence provided to support this claim. Many action films prior to Alien featured female protagonists in the heroine role. This was a huge trend in blaxploitation films, notably Coffy and Foxy Brown. Many 60s spy/mod films, for instance Modesty Blaise, also featured a female heroine in an action film. Whoever wrote this is putting forth a false statement of opinion and is using no evidence or sources to back up their argument. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 74.104.58.116 (talk) 23:48, 10 January 2007 (UTC).

Could alter it to mean current action blockbusters. In Ebert's own words from a review of Alien: Resurrection (available at rogerebert.com)- "What impact will "Alien Resurrection" have on the careers of Weaver and Ryder? Financially, it will help: Weaver remains the only woman who can open an action picture."75.39.15.138 17:31, 26 October 2007 (UTC)MD

Stylistic reversions by Dark Kubrick

User:Dark Kubrick commented on 18 December 2006 to User:Pedant17:

Hi. I'm posting here in regards to your several copyedits on the Alien (film) page. I'm sorry to say that I've just reverted for your edits for perhaps the fourth time now, and I thought I should leave a little reasoning here justifying my actions.

As many as four times! - I hadn't noticed the undeclared edit-war had become that prolonged! - Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

While I admire your input and efforts, I believe your edits only make the text seem more vague, awkward, or bloated (sorry, I can't think of a better term).

Thanks for the comments and analysis. I certainly do not wish to make the encyclopedia-text any more vague than needed, though if accuracy makes things awkward, I don't mind "awkward". As for "bloated" -- Wikipedia-space has plenty of room still: we can take the extra bytes to make edits accurate, comprehensive and balanced. - Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

For example, the opening sentence, "Alien is a 1979 science fiction / horror film directed by Ridley Scott, from an original story by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett" you always change to "Ridley Scott directed the 1979 science fiction / horror film Alien from an original story by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett".

I do not "always change" the opening sentence to use the same formulation. On 2006-11-21 I offered:

Alien, a science fiction/horror film directed by Ridley Scott, from an original story by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, appeared in 1979 .

- Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
On 2006-10-27 I suggested:

Alien, a 1979 science fiction/horror film directed by Ridley Scott from an original story by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, takes as its theme human/alien interaction.

- Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
On 2006-10-14 I suggested:

Ridley Scott directed the 1979 science fiction horror film Alien from an original story by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett.

- Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
On 2006-09-14 I used:

Ridley Scott's 1979 science-fiction/horror film Alien launched what would become a successful Hollywood media franchise, spawning three sequels.

- Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
On 2006-08-23 I offered:

Alien, a 1979 science-fiction/horror film directed by Ridley Scott, launched what would become a successful Hollywood franchise.

... and so forth ... - Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Any of the versions I have contributed would satisfy me, and I regard any of them as better and more expressive of NPOV than the bland formula "Alien' is a ... film ...". We certainly can and do treat Alien as a film, but we could equally (and people do) discuss Alien as a cultural icon, as a cinematographic turning point, and or as a watershed in the careers of Ridley Scott and/or Sigourney Weaver. The file Alien "is" all of these things. To use the simple assertion that "Alien' is a ... film ..." belittles the phenomenon and reduces it to a single category. I wouldn't want to see us doing that in the first sentence of any Wikipedia article. (For hints on the arrogant dogmatism and potential confusion resulting from the use of "is" and other forms of the verb "to be", see the article on E-Prime.) - Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Certainly Alien was more than just a film, but I don't think we're "belittling the phenomenon" in the first sentence. We're stating the simple fact that Alien is, first and foremost, a film. But it's not like we're completely ignoring its other attributes, as they're covered in the very next sentences (hopefully), and people don't usually stop after reading the first sentence of the article.
Limitations belittle. The article discusses all aspects of the film, not simply the film qua film. -- Pedant17 05:33, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
As for being bland, it's no more bland than starting with the other angles.
Any use of "is" reduces anything to blandness, whereas active verbs provide color and interest. -- Pedant17 05:33, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Doesn't it sound more professional to make the article's title the first word in the sentence?

I don't know what you mean by "professional" in this instance. - Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
This is kinda related to the next point.
I still have no idea what you mean by "professional". (It sounds like a dirty word to me...) -- Pedant17 05:33, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

With your wording, it sounds like the article is about Ridley Scott, not the film itself.

Possibly, but we already have the article's title written bold and large immediately above, and we have the entire context of the article to restore any perceived imbalance between Scott and Alien. I sometimes use the title as the first word or phrase (see above for examples of my suggestions), but we could make a case for disparaging the practice as repetitive and formulaic. -- Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm meeting you halfway here. I see your point, but I just think starting with the director takes away, however briefly, the focus of the article.
Films don't simply spring into existence: someone makes them. We can highlight a director or a star or whoever functions as an active agent in getting a film made. This article contains the length and detail that it does because of the creative work of Ridley Scott and his people. Otherwise we wouldn't write an article about mere reels of acetate. -- Pedant17 05:33, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

I've also seen you add some "in order to"'s when just "to" would suffice.

I plead guilty as charged. For example, on 2006-12-14 I changed the sentence "The crew split up into two teams to capture the creature" into "The crew split up into two groups in order to capture the creature". My version sounds more euphonious, avoiding the confusing sound-repetition of "into two teams to". My version also by-passes any hint of ambiguity as to whether the phrase "to capture" refers to the "teams" (teams with the purpose of capturing) or to the "split" (splitting in order to capture). We could improve the situation still futher by re-casting the sentence into "In order to capture the creature, the crew split into two groups." - Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
The "in order"'s don't add anything at all-the repetitive "two/to" sounds are still there. But I agree a re-wording is necessary.
The "in order"'s break up at least one of the combinations. -- Pedant17 05:33, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Also, you linked box office as box-office. That doesn't sound right.

On the contrary, changing "box office success" to "box-office success" better reflects the sound of the spoken phrase. The text "box office success" appears ambiguous when out-of-context: the reader cannot tell whether it refers to a success in an office where that success has something to do with a box, with boxes or with boxing; or whether it references a success which has something to do with what we call "the box-office". We hyphenate the noun-phrase "box-office" to alleviate the ambiguity -- especially when using "box-office" as an adjectival phrase, as in this case. - Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Are there other words where this applies as well, because it sounds kinda weird to me.
The general practices apply: see hyphen#Examples of usage. -- Pedant17 05:33, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Again, certainly not all of your changes deserved reverting, but they were so scattered in one edit that reverting was all I could do.

You could have edited and improved each of my changes one by one, in the same way that I made them. - Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I apologize-that was a stupid mistake on my part.--Dark Kubrick 02:36, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Again, thanks for your help, and I hope you understand my reasoning.

Tnanks for you comments. - Pedant17 01:46, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I point to these Featured Articles: Jaws, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and Halloween. Each is culturally iconic in it's own field, and hold just as much popularity, launchment of careers, and impact as Alien. The most important part, they are all featured articles. Also, let's try not to interrupt each statement with a new one, it disturbs the continuity of the discussion and makes it hard to follow. It's best to quote what the person says, than to insert your comment into the middle of theirs.
We can use indentation... -- Pedant17 05:33, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I hope these articles help with the disagreement over the lead paragraph. Bignole 03:12, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
We can certainly improve Featured Articles too. -- Pedant17 05:33, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Look at basically any film article and you'll see they pretty much all read the same in the opening line. The opening line is supposed to be about "what is this film" not what happened to the film. If a film was released in 1960, it's a 1960 film. If it's a horror film, then it's a 1960 horror film. Saying "it went into release in 1960" is not only just verbose wording but implies that the film is still in release today. Maybe that could be understandable to films released in December, which might make them effectively a film of one year and of the new year, but this particular film was released in May.  BIGNOLE   (Question?)  (What I do)  01:58, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Cast section

The alien needs a description to remain uniform to the other character's descriptions. Just wanted to point it out before somebody reviews it for GA. --Nehrams2020 00:15, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

GA nomination on hold

I like what's been done with the article so far, but the article needs some reference notes added in the "Early versions" section. (Ibaranoff24 17:45, 21 January 2007 (UTC))

It looks like the best resource regarding this is in the Alien quadrilogy docu Star Beast. I would do it, but I only have the Alien Legacy set. I think someone needs to look at that doc and verify that this info is correct and cite it. - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 19:55, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
A good reference for this is:
Everything seems consistent with what is said there but (as I'm working from memory) I'll go through it in a bit and double check and drop a reference in to that if it all looks solid. (Emperor 20:14, 21 January 2007 (UTC))
Awesome. Are there any other parts that need work? Should we make a to-do list? - Zepheus <ツィフィアス> 22:06, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Sorry it took me so long. I've expanded on areas like O'Bannon's inspiration and the early aspects of the script and sourced what I could through McIntee's book. There is obviously a lot more material and detail but I think I have struck the right balance and it looks pretty solid. I'll have to read through the relevant parts of the book and see if it can tighten up any other sections. I've also switched a few bits around which seemed to be just hanging there (especially the novelisation bit) and think it flows better although other people should go through it to smooth things out. As of now I can't see anywhere that needs a lot of work, although there is always room for improvement. (Emperor 03:29, 1 April 2007 (UTC))

Failed GA nomination

I got to tell you, the article is pretty well done, but without those footnotes, I've got to fail the GA nomination. Sorry. (Ibaranoff24 06:52, 4 February 2007 (UTC))

Giger's Alien

I've nominated the page Giger's Alien for deletion because it appears to be just a list of names for the aliens in the franchise, aliens covered extensively at Xenomorph (Alien). The deletion debate is at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Giger's Alien, I thought I'd mention it here as the article's creator seems very attached to it... Driller thriller 03:28, 12 March 2007 (UTC)


I just wanted to make a record in the same subject: the statement in the section currently labeled as "The alien" mistakenly states that Giger's facehugger was what he equated to a "chicken." I am changing this, as it reflects the chestburster and not the facehugger (as properly cited in the Alien Quadrilogy portion on Giger's designs for this film, if one wants to verify for themselves). The Chibi Kiriyama

Cargo

From my copy of the Alan Dean Foster novelization, I read that Nostromo is towing an oil refinery, which is processing a full load of crude oil, at the time in which the narrative takes place. I unfortunately have no movie to re-watch, but the refinery makes more sense in light of the explosive ending. Is this not a feature of the movie? Lord Dust 08:40, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

In the movie, it's towing mineral ore. - Zepheus <ゼィフィアス> 17:30, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Space Jockey "Fossilized" Remains

Things don't fossilize in open air. They need to be buried under sediment in order for minerals in the sediment to leech into the dead organism, replacing organic tissue with more permanant inorganic elements.

The Space Jockey is more likely mummified.

74.101.48.139 16:39, 25 April 2007 (UTC)OdV

I was going to comment on this as well. Just remove the word 'fossilized', since it is not made clear in the movie what state the remains are in. They are just remains. - Yarko, 2:05, 5/21/2007

Metroid

I would like to put in a source for a recent edit I made that was undone about how the Alien and the Metroid series contain references to each other, but I don't know how to add a footnote, and I know if I just put the information back up, it will get deleted again. What should I do? —Preceding unsigned comment added by ZackVII (talkcontribs) 13:39, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, you can put the source information here, and I'll try to figure it out. I deleted it because it looked like Original Research, but if you have a source I'll be happy to include it in the article. DurinsBane87 18:08, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

http://mdb.classicgaming.gamespy.com/?g=features&p=alien Here it is. This is mentioned in the article for Metroid, and also mentioned on gamespy's official metroid database, so it isn't just speculation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.197.219.105 (talk) 02:34, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Doom Alien Total Conversion

There is a conversion of the popular shoot em up game for the PC, Doom 'Aliens Total Conversion'. http://www.doomwadstation.com/main/aliens.html http://doom.wikia.com/wiki/Aliens_TC Royzee 20:56, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Hyperspace

I deleted the sentence about hyperspace in the Plot section. As I recall there is no mention of something like hyperspace in the movie. Zarniwoot 01:09, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject Alien

I have proposed the creation of a WikiProject to improve articles related to the Alien series, including this one. If you are interested in participating please go to Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Proposals#Alien and add your name to the list of interested editors. If enough people are interested in starting this project, then I will move forward with it. --IllaZilla (talk) 23:17, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Edit changes - 16th March

16th March - Paged edited - most significant change related to the plot twist that's revealed in the deleted scenes in the new release of the "Alien" DVD. In HR Giger's book, there are photographs of designs and props used for the sequence where Ripley discovers Dallas and Brett - Giger's props are discussed as part of a sequence where Dallas and Brett are turning into eggs. Thus it's incorrect to talk about "cocoons" or Dallas and Brett being implanted, since the props are clearly eggs & Giger's dialogue confirms them as such. This makes the scene subtly different to the "cocooning" sequences in the later movies, where a different, queen-based reproduction method is used.

In this context it's incorrect to talk about the alien "killing" some of the crew members, as they're not killed in situ, but disabled & abducted for the conversion into eggs. This doesn't sit well with the later films, but it's correct in the context of the original movie.

Other minor changes to the page : the plot summary is incorrect in the first paragraph, as there is no "young alien" involved in the implantation of Kane, and Kane is not "infected" - it's a separate, facehugger stage that's involved, and he's implanted, not infected. Other changes to the plot - the eggs aren't "protected" by a forcefield in the traditional SF sense, it's described as a "layer of mist". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.254.68.135 (talk) 23:47, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

other influence: Heavy Metal?

There is an episode in the animated feature film "Heavy Metal" that features the WWII story of a creature aboard a US bomber plane that lurks out of sight and systematically kills the crew one at a time. I was told by someone who worked on the "Heavy Metal" film (as I did, but not back then; more recently) that that story was also an inspiration for the Alien movie. That's rather sketchy so I will not add it but if anyone has any other information that supports this idea perhaps you will want to add it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.46.84.66 (talk) 22:12, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

That seems unlikely, as Heavy Metal came out 2 years after Alien. --Silpion (talk) 06:21, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Tools as an inspiration for the alien?

I clearly remember seeing sketches by H.R Giger, in a making of documentary that showed the facehugger working like a jack in the box or something. I seem to remember seeing other sketches of tools that (I think) were inspiration for the design of the alien. Did anybody else see this on the two disc special edition release or am I just insane? Well, if it was an inspiration then I propose that we put this in (not as its own section though). Yojimbo501 (talk) 16:45, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Could somebody tell me how to put links in the references section?

I dont know how to. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yojimbo501 (talkcontribs) 15:34, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

WP:FOOT should tell you all you need to know, and if you look for existing <ref> tags in the article, it'll help you understand how it works. Drop me a line on my talk page if you've got any questions. --McGeddon (talk) 15:40, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Yojimbo501 (talk) 21:00, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Opening sentence

how does the first line make any sense? the creature is an "unfair" extra terrestrial? how is it unfair?

maybe someone meant to write something else? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.73.194.93 (talk) 15:51, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

It doesn't say that anymore. It was a nonsense edit & was reverted. --IllaZilla (talk) 22:37, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Chris Foss Pyramid Book of Alien.JPG

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  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
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This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --23:05, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Jonesy The Cat

Can anybody please provide some info on whose is the beautiful cat who played Jonesy in the movie? 89.138.86.27 (talk) 12:51, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Why? I don't recall from the film's special features that they discuss the cat much, particularly I don't think they mention who its owner was. Why does it matter? --IllaZilla (talk) 18:53, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh, for no particular reason. I just thought, maybe there are some interesting facts about this cat - like, maybe it belonged to some crew or cast member, etc. Morever, sadly, the cat wasn't even mentioned in the movie credits, and it's like an additional actor, isn't it! :) They had to write its name at least. Jonesy's the only one who alien didn't eat for dinner after he saw it, so Jonesy is very important indeed!217.132.88.212 (talk) 13:36, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, if a source comes up with some discussion of the cat we can certainly add it. At some point if I get around to watching the DVD special features again maybe they make some mention of it. --IllaZilla (talk) 17:28, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks a bunch! 217.132.247.141 (talk) 19:13, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

I have a source on the cat, and I'll share it, but I don't think it should be included. It's in the publication which is also mentioned in the article: James H. Kavanaugh, "'Son of a Bitch': Feminism, Humanism and Science in Alien", in October, Vol. 13, 1980, pp. 90-100. He writes the following weird, hyper-academic gibberish:

A Greimasian semantic rectangle will foreground the structural importance of the cat in the complex of signifiers generated from the notion "human":

SemioticSquare Alien.jpg
The founding term in the film is human (S), represented by the image of Ripley as the strong woman. The antihuman (–S) is, of course, the alien, and the not-human (Ƨ) is Ash, the robot. The cat, then, functions in the slot of the not-antihuman (-Ƨ), an indispensable role in this drama.
(~_^) —Eickenberg (talk) 23:41, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

The credits don't even mention an animal trainer. (^_^) —Eickenberg (talk) 00:09, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes they do: "'Jones' trained by Animals Unlimited". Interesting bit of trivia: 4 matching cats were actually used to portray Jones, and during filming Sigourney Weaver discovered that she was allergic to the combination of cat hair and the glycerin placed on the actors' skin to make them appear sweaty. By removing the glycerin she was able to continue working with the cats. I've included this info in a rewrite I'm working on which should be done soon.
Sources:
--IllaZilla (talk) 04:00, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
(^o^) Yes, you're right! I forgot to look into the Company Credits at IMDb. (~_^) —Eickenberg (talk) 12:27, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Inspirations

"Star Wars. While the world of futuristic science fiction movies taking place in outer space up till that point had been shown as everything was new and fresh, Star Wars made it look like it was old and used, for instance the old Millennium Falcon, the scrap dealing Jawas, and the wild west settings on Tatooine. Influenced by this scenario, Nostromo reminds about an aging and rusty cargo ship with water dripping and trickling in the corridors, while the crew are typical workers dressed in coveralls instead of fine uniforms." This is NOT original research, as IllaZilla claims. It is Ridley Scott himself who says this in an interview in the short documentary called The Force Is with Them: The Legacy of 'Star Wars' . 84.48.35.203 (talk) 06:37, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Unless you attribute the information to a reliable source, then it fits the definition of original research. All information in Wikipedia articles, especially info like this which makes substantive claims, must be attributed to a source. Since you didn't cite the source, or even mention that the information came from somewhere other than yourself, it looked like original research (see the diff: [1]). Please familiarize yourself with how to cite sources in WP articles, then please feel free to re-add the information with a proper citation to the source. --IllaZilla (talk) 09:56, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
OK, I have now added a source to the info and the quote from Scott. Hopefully it makes it a bit better. 84.48.35.203 (talk) 02:09, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Much better. Thanks for that. --IllaZilla (talk) 07:32, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Merger proposal

Merge all 3 (and remove all of the OR). Also, does a merge discussion already exist somewhere else? The merge tag's been there for a while... I don't see any discussion. DiggyG (talk) 04:27, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

The tag was placed to spur a discussion, but nobody's made a comment until now. I'm currently working on some major stuff for this article that will take care of these merge issues and maybe even help it get to GA status. There are a couple more books I'm trying to get ahold of first to use as sources. --IllaZilla (talk) 19:58, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
My 2¢: LV-426 is a designation from Cameron's sequel, with most information coming from that film (e.g. the name of the planet system, the Ilium range etc.). But even if the name had originated with Scott's first film, the moon is still a major element in two separate films, so LV-426 should have its own WP-article. If it needs to be included, it should be included in Aliens (film). It's different though with the Space Jockey: Unlike the Xenomorph it's only a prop by HRGiger, only a dead extraterrestrial. And it only appears in the first film. So it should be worked into Alien (film). If Scott and Weaver actually make a fifth installment and if the Jockey race is part of that film, one can always redo a separate article. Same goes for the Nostromo: To my mind it can be included in this article. (By the way: the Anchorpoint Essays are back online. This may be valuable for certain articles or information: xenomorph, space jockey etc.) —Eickenberg (talk) 23:50, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

2nd Alien warrior?

First up, I'd have to say that this might be a wrong memory. It's not in any version of the film and not in any of the outtakes either. I think I remember reading in a third-party publication on Alien that there was actually a second, young Xenomorph at the end of the film that had hatched from Brett's cocoon. I think it was not in the novel… maybe it was in the comic adaptation of the film. But in any case, that was years ago. So, is this total nonsense, or were there maybe plans like this during the film's pre-production? —Eickenberg (talk) 12:37, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Well that scene is only in the 2003 director's cut, so I don't know. I've read tons of material on Alien in the last few weeks & haven't seen anything about a 2nd Alien at all, even in pre-production stuff. --IllaZilla (talk) 15:12, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Since you've read a lot of secondary material, I have one question: does anyone involved in the film mention the real second alien, i.e. the alien that burst from the Space Jockey's chest? This alien would still be around somewhere, dormant, hiding, whatever. It's only a minor plot hole, but still… a plot hole. —Eickenberg (talk) 03:36, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Nope, nada. Ridley Scott & others offer some of their theories/ideas as to the nature of the space jockey, but nobody says anything about the Alien that burst out of him. A bit of a plot hole, yes, but it would seem that enough time has passed between then & the events of Alien that it's not too much of a consideration. For all the Nostromo crew knows, the space jockey could have been laying there dead for a million years. --IllaZilla (talk) 03:58, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

"Missing scene" from Alien

The paragraph on "Spin-offs" says this: "For many years Foster's novelization provided fans and others with the only known source for the "missing cocoon scene from Alien" (see also above)." However, my original description of said "missing scene" in the paragraph "Special Edition (2003)" was deleted. So the sentence in "Spin-offs" doesn't make any real sense anymore. Either we should delete or rewrite the sentence — or mention the cocoon scene in the paragraph before. I vote for the latter, because the cocoon scene had been an important element of fan lore for a long time. —Eickenberg (talk) 12:37, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

I've written some sourced stuff about the cocoon scene for an "Editing" section in my upcoming update to the article. Give me a few more days, I'm still reading through Beautiful Monsters & looking for more critical reception stuff. --IllaZilla (talk) 15:13, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm looking forward to reading it. (^_^) —Eickenberg (talk) 15:39, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Major rewrite: Sept. 8, 2008

Today I updated the article with a major rewrite that I'd been working on in my userspace for the last several months. It started out as just wanting to improve the production sections by adding in information from the making-of featurettes in the Quadrilogy DVDs, but it eventually turned into something much larger. Before anyone flies off the handle, I'd like to address some of the major changes:

  • Firstly, there is very little information that was in the previous version of the article that isn't in the new version. It's just been tweaked and maybe moved around into different sections, and in some cases better referenced. There were a couple of sources I removed because they didn't appear to be very reliable; in that the sources themselves didn't indicate that they'd been published in a reputable publication or that they had a reputation for fact-checking or accuracy. One example was a .pdf document that appeared to be a journal article, but had no information about whether it had actually been published in any journal; therefore it could just as likely have been a college or graduate student's unpublished essay. Anyway, most of the pertinent information from these sources was also found in the sources I had on-hand and so it was easy to replace the info with a better reference.
  • There's been a ton more information added, with literally dozens of citations. Most of this derives from 3 major sources: The Beast Within: The Making of Alien featurette from the Quadrilogy DVDs, The Book of Alien, and Beautiful Monsters: The Unofficial and Unauthorized Guide to the Alien and Predator Films. These provided lots of information about the origins and production of the film. Some of this was already in the article before, but now it has better citations to specific pages and/or featurettes.
  • I reorganized and moved several sections. The "Origins" section now focuses more on the development of the story and process of getting the film green-lit, and less on intricate details from early versions of the script that didn't make it into the final film. Some of these details are still covered, but in other sections such as "Set design and filming" and "Editing". I also made a clearer distinction between sources that O'Bannon has specifically cited as inspirations and ones that later critics have identified or proposed as antecedents, by leaving the former in the "Origins" section and moving the latter into "Antecedents" (since there's a clear difference between "works the author has cited as inspirations" and "works which later critics have noted as bearing similarities").
  • Some of the old sections have been renamed, split up, and new sections have been created. For example the previous "Spin-offs" section, which I felt was muddled and ambiguously titled, has been split and expanded into sections like "Merchandising", "Sequels", and "Home video releases". I also split the critical reactions/reviews into 2 sections, "Release and reception" and "Lasting critical praise", to give a clearer demarkation between critical reaction to the film at the time of its release, and reaction in hindsight decades later (most of the latter comes from reviews published around the release of the 2003 Director's Cut).
  • I also changed and/or added a number of quotation boxes and images. I happen to like quotes a lot, as they are easily verifiable and, in this case, tended to state the points more clearly than I could have done by paraphrasing. As for the images, most of them were either here or in other Alien articles before, but I did add 1 of Ridley Scott filming the Nostromo model and another of some of Ron Cobb's concept art. The next step is to make sure that all the images have the proper fair-use rationales.

That should cover most of it. As a courtesy and a show of good faith I'd really appreciate it if other editors could read through the article before making any reverts or major changes. Not, of course, that I'm assuming ownership of any kind, and I love working within the collaborative editing process, but I am really hoping to get this article up to GA and then FA status and have spent a lot of time researching, writing, and revising in order to develop it in that direction, so I'd really appreciate the courtesy of people actually taking the time to read the whole thing before hacking it to bits. If anyone does feel that any major changes are in order or that anything has been ruined, it would be greatly appreciated if you could raise the points here first so that they can be discussed. Thanks. --IllaZilla (talk) 08:32, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Theatrical version and Director's cut

The running time of the theatrical version, released on May 25 1979 is 117 minutes, while the Director's cut, released on October 29 2003, is 116 minutes. Does this mean anything to you? AdamDeanHall (talk) 22:51, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

The Director's Cut is discussed in its own section within the article. The infobox covers the original release, as that is the focus of the article. There's no point in replacing the current, referenced information which is actually relevant with unreferenced trivial information about the slightly different (1 minute) length difference between the 2 versions. The infobox need not cover every tiny detail about every version of the film ever released. Referenced info takes precedence over unreferenced, trivial clutter. --IllaZilla (talk) 01:33, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Also, as the reference states, the original film (as shown in theaters from film reels) ran 119 minutes. The later VHS/DVD versions run 116 minutes due to the different frame rates between projected film reels and home video players. I'm assuming that you're basing your numbers on IMDb, but IMDb is often wrong about these sorts of details, and may in fact be basing their numbers on the DVDs themselves. David McIntee, who wrote the book Beautiful Monsters (which is where the referenced information comes from) did his research. His book tells us what the cinematic and home video runtimes were, and why they were different. IMDb doesn't tell us at all what they're basing their numbers on. In this case the book is a more reliable source. As you may not be aware, different VHS and DVD players in different regions sometimes have different frame rates. Your mileage may vary depending on which version/edition of the videotape or DVD you own and what kind of player you have. This really isn't something worth getting worked up over, as it's already referenced to a reliable source that gives some context and explanation for the different runtimes. --IllaZilla (talk) 05:25, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Optimizing the article lead

Continuing the discussion on improving the lead sentence from the archived discussion-page: On 2007-03-07 User:Bignole suggested that 'The opening line is supposed to be about "what is this film"'. Do we have a reference for this interpretation? Does some law confine us to content-free statements of the general form "Film-x is a film" ? -- Pedant17 (talk) 23:43, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

WP:LEAD#Opening sentence is the relevant consensus guideline here. Specifically:
  • "The article should begin with a straightforward, declarative sentence that, as briefly as possible, provides the reader who knows nothing at all about the article's subject with the answer to two questions: "What (or who) is it?" and "Why is this subject notable?" (emphasis added)
  • "As a general rule, the first (and only the first) appearance of the page title should be as early as possible in the first sentence and should be in boldface." (again, emphasis added)
  • "If possible, the page title should be the subject of the first sentence."
Several of your preferred versions of the opening sentence, as presented in the archived discussion, would make the subject of the sentence Ridley Scott, when in fact the subject of the sentence, and indeed the entire article, is Alien. I'm not sure why you think that making the opening sentence more verbose, and adding more subjects to it, is "optimizing". Seems the opposite to me, as it makes it less efficient and more bloated. As Bignole points out the widely accepted practice for film articles, and indeed a vast majority of Wikipedia articles in general, is to format the opening sentence in the manner in which this one currently appears.
For the record, when I rewrote the article I tried to answer the question of "Why is this subject notable?" in the opening sentence by saying "Alien is a culturally influential 1979..." with a footnote at "culturally influential" explaining how the film was inducted into the National Film Registry under the criteria of being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". However this was moved into the second paragraph of the lead by another editor. I'm not at all upset about that, but I do feel that it helped to immediately and succinctly establish, in the opening sentence, why the film is notable. --IllaZilla (talk) 01:34, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
The first sentence should be short and sweet. Sum up the release year, genre, director, and starring cast. Use the rest of the lead paragraph to go into notability, awards, etc. Tool2Die4 (talk) 02:17, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
That sounds like a formula for a movie database rather than for an encyclopedia -- pre-supposing that (for example) we have a clear genre and that directors have more interest than (say) writers or even studios or producers. I doubt that one template flatters all films. -- Pedant17 (talk) 05:51, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Right. I see no justification for the contention that 'The opening line is supposed to be about "what is this film"', so I'll leave that aside. -- The guideline on brevity operates of course in tension with other guidelines, especially the call to "establish context". In such situations it behoves us to select each word with care and to make every word tell -- and even to lengthen the opening sentence. -- Applying all the guidelines we might get an idealized opening sentence of the form: "The 1979 film Alien has become very influential." But fortunately few articles sound quite so lame -- so we pack in more informative detail up front -- as a matter of general principle. I could suggest something like: "The 1979 science fiction/horror film film Alien became a cinematic classic. Ridley Scott directed; Sigourney Weaver starred ..." -- Pedant17 (talk) 05:51, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
To me that sounds too much like peacock terms in the opening sentence, which are entirely unnecessary. I think it also worth noting that the article's recent FA review (which unfortunately did not pass) found no fault with the lead, though there was some concern about prose in other areas. Really, I think you're getting worked up over nothing. This article's lead, especially the first few sentences, looks pretty much just like that of every FA-class film article. I don't really think we need to rehash this anymore, as there are at least 3 editors who think the lead is great as-is, and thus far only yourself in disagreement. --IllaZilla (talk) 06:14, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree that we should avoid peacockery at all times -- even though "classic" can have technical meanings and even though we need to establish notability in few words. Try: "The 1979 science fiction/horror film film Alien marked a significant point in the development of cinema. Ridley Scott directed; Sigourney Weaver starred ..." -- I think it also worth noting that featured articles have the following rubric in their discussion-pages: "XXX is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so." We can and should continue to improve the text -- for all the reasons already stated. -- Pedant17 (talk) 00:12, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Easter-egg links

On 2008-08-22 at 0255 hours a Wikipedian objected to some of my editing work and called on me to stop "using easter egg links". I have no idea what an "easter egg link" looks like. Can anyone explain to the community in what way I have offended? -- Pedant17 (talk) 23:43, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

See WP:EGG. An "easter egg link" is when you use a piped link to create a link that is not intuitive to the reader. For example, piping "1979" to "1979 in film" by typing "[[1979|1979 in film]]" is an easter egg link. When clicking on the link a reader will be expecting to go to an article about the year 1979 in general, not "1979 in film". Piped links are not always easter egg links, because most of the time they are intuitive and contextualized by the surrounding text. In the context of your specific edits, "[[as of 2008 | Today]]" is an easter egg link. It also leads to a redirect, since there's no article titled "as of 2008". --IllaZilla (talk) 01:34, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I would think that a link from a article on a film, to films of that year, would make more sense than a link listing every single thing unrelated to the subject category that happened that year. What an odd rule to have. I always wondered, does anyone actually click on links to years? Not every year had notable events that people would remember, or feel affected the subject in the article. Dream Focus (talk) 12:07, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
That's why the practice of linking dates is largely deprecated. See MOS:UNLINKDATES. It is of course still appropriate to provide a link to the article "1979 in film", but to avoid making it a WP:EGG we have to present it in context. That's why it's in a separate "See also" section. The purpose of this section is to provide links to other relevant articles that aren't already linked elsewhere in the article text. --IllaZilla (talk) 17:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
WP:ASOF seems relevant and useful here, explaining past practice and recommending new guidelines. -- I'll update my operations accordingly. -- Pedant17 (talk) 05:51, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it appears very relevant to this article, as we're not talking about information likely to become dated any time soon. This article is about a 30 year-old movie, after all. In general we should avoid phrasing information in ways that imply recentism or that the info might soon become dated. That's why I usually remove "as of ____" phrasings on sight. --IllaZilla (talk) 06:19, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
As soon as any article -- however historical -- starts making comparisons with "today" or claims of "recent" developments or "modern" views then WP:ASOF becomes relevant. For this reason I usually insert "as of ... " re-phrasings on sight -- pending overall re-phrasing to avoid such recentism where possible. -- Pedant17 (talk) 00:12, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
To my knowledge this article doesn't do that (and I should know; I rewrote it top to bottom). That's why there are separate sections for "reception", which covers the critical reception at the time of release, and "lasting critical praise", which covers later critical analysis up to the present. If you read through the article I think you wil find that recentism is not a problem here. It makes no comparisons with "today" or claims of "recent" developments or "modern" views except for those that are properly contextualized and referenced in sections like "lasting critical praise". --IllaZilla (talk) 00:46, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Pleased to hear it. I do hope such lapses don't creep back in. -- Pedant17 (talk) 23:52, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

GA Review

This review is transcluded from Talk:Alien (film)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

{{subst:#if:This article is in decent shape, but it needs more work before it becomes a Good Article.|


This article is in decent shape, but it needs more work before it becomes a Good Article.|}}

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose is "clear and concise", without copyvios, or spelling and grammar errors:
    {{subst:#if:In the Plot, this sentence ---> "Ripley arms the self-destruct sequence and heads for the shuttle with Jones the cat", "Jones the cat" doesn't need to be in the sentence, since its already stated that Jones is the crew's cat. In the Origins section, ---> "choosing to work on O'Bannon's first", I know what its trying to say, but how 'bout the reader. In the Chestburster section, "In 2007", add a comma after "2007". Same thing in the 2003 Director's Cut and Lasting critical praise sections. In the Awards and accolades section, is there a period missing in this sentence ---> "the Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album, and a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music"?
    Resolved: --IllaZilla (talk) 01:08, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
    Check. --  ThinkBlue  (Hit BLUE) 01:15, 6 October 2008 (UTC)|In the Plot, this sentence ---> "Ripley arms the self-destruct sequence and heads for the shuttle with Jones the cat", "Jones the cat" doesn't need to be in the sentence, since its already stated that Jones is the crew's cat. In the Origins section, ---> "choosing to work on O'Bannon's first", I know what its trying to say, but how 'bout the reader. In the Chestburster section, "In 2007", add a comma after "2007". Same thing in the 2003 Director's Cut and Lasting critical praise sections. In the Awards and accolades section, is there a period missing in this sentence ---> "the Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album, and a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music"?
    Resolved: --IllaZilla (talk) 01:08, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
    Check. --  ThinkBlue  (Hit BLUE) 01:15, 6 October 2008 (UTC)|}}
    B. MoS compliance for lead, layout, words to watch, fiction, and lists:
    {{subst:#if:Well done.|Well done.|}}
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. Has an appropriate reference section:
    {{subst:#if:There's a problem with Reference 4 and its missing a Publisher info., as well as Reference 5.
    Resolved: The website used for Ref #4 times out, so I changed it to the search page. --IllaZilla (talk) 01:08, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
    Check. --  ThinkBlue  (Hit BLUE) 01:15, 6 October 2008 (UTC)|There's a problem with Reference 4 and its missing a Publisher info., as well as Reference 5.
    Resolved: The website used for Ref #4 times out, so I changed it to the search page. --IllaZilla (talk) 01:08, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
    Check. --  ThinkBlue  (Hit BLUE) 01:15, 6 October 2008 (UTC)|}}
    B. Citation to reliable sources where necessary:
    {{subst:#if:|{{{2bcom}}}|}}
    C. No original research:
    {{subst:#if:|{{{2ccom}}}|}}
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    {{subst:#if:|{{{3acom}}}|}}
    B. Focused:
    {{subst:#if:|{{{3bcom}}}|}}
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
    {{subst:#if:|{{{4com}}}|}}
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
    {{subst:#if:Not very good, per the article's history page.
    Resolved: The only issue currently is an IP who re-orders the cast members in the "Casting" section without explanation. In my last revert edit summary I explained that they are listed in alphabetical order. Hopefully the IP will get it. Anyway, this is a minor issue. Most recent changes amount to plot creep by IPs, and have been quickly reverted. There have been no edit wars other than the casting section issue. --IllaZilla (talk) 01:08, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
    Well, that sort of stuff needs to be sorted out. Have you considered adding a hidden note to the section, stating that the cast section needs to be in alphabetical order? I know its mentioned here. --  ThinkBlue  (Hit BLUE) 01:15, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
    Good idea. I will do that. I think I'll add it to the infobox cast field as well. --IllaZilla (talk) 01:20, 6 October 2008 (UTC)|Not very good, per the article's history page.
    Resolved: The only issue currently is an IP who re-orders the cast members in the "Casting" section without explanation. In my last revert edit summary I explained that they are listed in alphabetical order. Hopefully the IP will get it. Anyway, this is a minor issue. Most recent changes amount to plot creep by IPs, and have been quickly reverted. There have been no edit wars other than the casting section issue. --IllaZilla (talk) 01:08, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
    Well, that sort of stuff needs to be sorted out. Have you considered adding a hidden note to the section, stating that the cast section needs to be in alphabetical order? I know its mentioned here. --  ThinkBlue  (Hit BLUE) 01:15, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
    Good idea. I will do that. I think I'll add it to the infobox cast field as well. --IllaZilla (talk) 01:20, 6 October 2008 (UTC)|}}
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content:
    {{subst:#if:|{{{6acom}}}|}}
    B. Images are provided if possible and are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions:
    {{subst:#if:|{{{6bcom}}}|}}
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
    {{subst:#if:If the statements above can be answered, I will pass the article. Good luck with improving this article!|If the statements above can be answered, I will pass the article. Good luck with improving this article!|}}

--  ThinkBlue  (Hit BLUE) 00:36, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Thank you to IllaZilla for getting the stuff I left at the talk page, because I have gone off and placed the article as GA. Congrats. ;) --  ThinkBlue  (Hit BLUE) 01:15, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

A gothic horror entry

I am a disgruntled wikipedian who has been trying to rectify a mistake on this page. Maybe I need to reference it or something it but Aliens is not considered to be predomiantly a scifi horror, the common misconception. It is predominantly a gothic horror piece and the most famous example set in a scifi setting.

The deffiency of the gothic horror article would suggest otherwise but even it makes mention of the terror aspect of the haunted house. ALien is a "haunted house" piece that incorporates a suprising number of elements that characterize this genre in a most innovative way. Ridley Scott himself is particlary proud of this accomplishment- bridging old film and literary genres into a new setting.

Alien is a gothic horror piece. To just generalize it as a mere horror piece is irresponsible and ignorant. Thank you very much and if you need sources just check google or better yet watch the dvd extras in the boxset and see what the creators say of it themselves.

Important to notes: the other films are not truely gothic horror pieces, only the first one is. 74.192.205.207 (talk) 20:36, 3 November 2008 (UTC)Alien diehard fan, Ridley Scott diehard fan

I have watched the DVD features in the box set many times and do not recall any discussion of the term "gothic horror", just "horror". In particular O'Bannon and Scott make reference to other sci-fi horror films, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Jaws as inspirations. None of these are "gothic horror". Read the "Origins" and "Antecedents" sections of the article for discussions of where Alien drew inspirations from. All interpretive claims in Wikipedia articles must be verified by references to reliable sources, otherwise they are considered original research and may not be included. If you can present some sources to back up your claims, then by all means we can look at how to best incorporate them into the article. But you have to actually present the sources. Simply saying "google it" is vastly insufficient; you need to present some specific sources. Not calling it "gothic horror" is not a "mistake"...calling it "horror" is simply more general. The film encompasses many subgenres of science fiction and horror, so simply calling it science fiction and horror is being the most neutral and the most helpful to the reader. --IllaZilla (talk) 20:45, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I know I saw it in the boxset and will rummage it till furthur discussion. WHile the origins of the piece no doubt drew from a myriad of other things that doesnt disclude that the film itself is a gothic horror piece. Jaws and TCSM are no gothic horror pieces. Alien just drew soem inspiration from them. How the film was shot is undeniably gothic horror, if you know anything about gothic horror then this obviously it. I am searching for articles and videos and understand the futility of my statements without the backup. My reason for posting this premptively was to make sure there is record of my dispute so when the change is finnally made somebody just doesnt wipe it clean again. Till then I will content myself with the generalization albeit abhorrent to such a great piece. However when the changes are made I inquire, will I have to put my sources here in the discussion page or credit them on the actual article page. Being a gothic horror piece isnt suitable to be in any of the catergories,not even origins, its just how the film was shot and what elements were present. What I guess Im asking is, what do I do once I have the proof to make sure I dont have any more problems? 74.192.205.207 (talk) 21:24, 3 November 2008 (UTC) Diehard alien fan, Diehard ridley scott fan
If you will present the sources here I will see what I can do to incorporate them into the article if they are appropriate. I think it's also worth noting that Wikipedia doesn't even have an article on gothic horror (it redirects to gothic fiction). I'd also highly recommend creating an account. While anonymous contributions are welcome, registering an account is easy (all it requires is an email address, which is not visible to anyone else) and it affords you a number of advantages such as having a watchlist of articles, the ability to create new articles, and a static talk page for other editors to contact you. Since your IP address seems to change regularly, it makes it hard to keep in contact with you. --IllaZilla (talk) 21:36, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
ty. get back to you soon and thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.192.205.207 (talk) 22:05, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Been awhile, still dont feellike making a wikipedia account. However, I found another source for gothic horror while I was randomly watching tv (I dont really feel like going through the boxset again), one of the directors who was commentating during Bravos 100 scariest movies refers to Aliens as an entry in the gothic horror genre, a genre that is dying out and most people are unaware of especially in the case of a scifi film. Id be happy to cite it for you when I find time (or as passion dictates).68.90.226.38 (talk) 18:34, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Alien, EC Comics, and Weird Tales

Hi! We seem to be having a bit of back-and-forth on the Alien (film) page, so I thought maybe we should talk about it. The item under scrutiny is the sentence "He has also cited as influences Strange Relations by Philip José Farmer (1960), which covers alien reproduction, and EC Comics horror titles such as Weird Tales which carried stories in which monsters eat their way out of people" in the Origins section. The problem is that this statement contains a factual error; EC Comics never published a comic with the title Weird Tales. They did, as you suggested, publish Weird Science (comics) and Weird Fantasy. They also published Tales from the Crypt (comics), and it's possible that any one of these could be the comic for which the reference is meant. I have read a good number of all of these comics, and while I don't remember ever seeing a tale where monsters eat their way out of victims, it is quite possible that such was published; EC Comics were notoriously visceral and gory. On the other hand, Weird Tales, the text pulp in the link you are adding, was more cerebral, not to mention that it wasn't as comic at all, and it is far less likely that this is the magazine O'Bannon intended to reference. I am certain that the comics were the influence, rather than the pulp.

I can think of two ways to reconcile the facts and fix the error. The easiest is what I have been doing: removing the reference to Weird Tales and leaving the reference to EC Comics intact. Since the sentence is a paraphrase, no factual data is lost, but the error is removed. The other way is to turn the paraphrase into an actual quote, which would thereby place the blame for the error in the source's lap and leave Wikipedia guiltless. In order to go in this direction I need to turn to you, as you have done such excellent work on the article. I do not have the source to refer to, and so cannot pull a quote out of it. Do you have access to the source, "Beautiful Monsters: The Unofficial and Unauthorized Guide to the Alien and Predator Films"? If so, can you craft a quote that satisfies the claim of origin? Page 20 is what we're looking for. If you do not have the source or know a way to access it, I do request that option #1, that of removing "Weird Tales" from the paraphrase, be allowed to stand.

Cheers! --Captain Infinity (talk) 21:30, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I do have the book on-hand (well, at my home...editing from work at the moment). I think you're right, there are ways we can re-word in order to resolve the factual error, which is probably on McIntee's end (there are a few other such errors here and there in the book; not enough to undermine its credibility as a source, but minor ones such as this). I think I'd prefer the option of just removing the reference to Weird Tales and leaving it as "various EC comics titles". I'd rather not have the factual error present, even if it is the source's error and not Wikipedia's. Also I can't think of a way to make a direct quote transition smoothly with the preceding text, so I think removing "Weird Tales" is the better option. --IllaZilla (talk) 22:09, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
The direct quote from McIntee, on page 20, is "O'Bannon has also cited the way that Philip José Farmer covered alien reproduction in Strange Relations as an influence, as well as various EC horror comis, such as Weird Tales, which carried stories involving monsters eating their way out of people." As you can see, I didn't paraphrase very much. Again, he very well could have the incorrect title for the comic; it wouldn't be the only minor error in the book. --IllaZilla (talk) 03:24, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
I see, thank you. A further problem with quoting would be that McIntee is paraphrasing O'Bannon. That is, it's not a direct quote from O'Bannon. So we'll never know who messed it up, O'Bannon or McIntee. I think the only solution is to remove the mention of Weird Tales altogether, and just leave it as EC Comics. If you agree I'll go ahead and make the change. Also, would it be OK with you to copy this discussion to the article's talk page, for future editors to see? --Captain Infinity (talk) 17:37, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely. Go for it. --IllaZilla (talk) 18:01, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Too Much Talk About Sex

The articles seems to be edited by someone who has nothing but sex on the mind. Could we erase these juvenile statements about sex and sex organ comparisons throughout this article? 05:27, 23 August 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by MPA (talkcontribs)

Either you've never seen the film or haven't read any critical analysis of it. The imagery in the film is highly sexual (the Giger stuff particularly–and intentionally–so). Every statement regarding the sexual imagery & themes is referenced to either a primary or secondary source. They are not "juvenile" in any way. Wikipedia is not censored and we're not going to remove critical analysis of one of the film's primary themes just because it offends your sensibilities. --IllaZilla (talk) 05:35, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
And for the record, there's a total of 1 paragraph and 3 additional sentences mentioning the film's sexual imagery. Hardly anything at all in an article of 100K size. There's Veronica Cartwrights comparison of Giger's set pieces to sexual organs, renowned film critic Roger Ebert's comment on the Alien's phallic shape and "vaginal" mouth, David McIntee's mention that the Alien is trying to rape the crew members, and the very short "Sexual imagery" section in which 3 critics analyze the film's sexual overtones. I hardly had "sex on the mind" when I wrote it...I got it all from the sources. Also for the record, Ronald Shusett's exact words for his idea about the facehugger was: "it fucks one of the crew" (or "screws", depending on which behind-the-scenes feature you're watching). I chose instead to say "one of the crew members could be implanted with an alien embryo that would later burst out of him". Clearly I wasn't looking to emphasize sex in any way inconsistent with the sources. I'd sure like to know where you're seeing these "juvenile statements about sex and sex organ comparisons throughout this article"...perhaps you're seeing what you want to see rather than what's actually there. --IllaZilla (talk) 05:53, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
The sexual allusions in Alien (and HR Giger's work) are entirely non-controversial. Almost every serious analysis of the movie will mention them. There mention in the article is only a small portion of quite a long article. Ashmoo (talk) 15:45, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Wait till you read some Mulvey. The content in the article is actually pretty grounded in comparison to some of the more...interesting...french structuralist takes on films like Alien. Protonk (talk) 21:18, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
The Xenomorphs reproduce parasitically. Nothing incorrect about that statement. Still, I'm a little scepticle of claims about phalic symbolism, as you can make such statements out of something as simple as a triangle or circle. The alien's head doesn't look like anything to me. Are the people talking about them notable in any way? --IronMaidenRocks (talk) 02:18, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Pretty sure Roger Ebert is quite notable in the field of film critcism and analysis. Being skeptical about the claims is your own opinion and irrelevant, as the sexual imagery comparisons are quite well-sourced to a variety of reliable sources. --IllaZilla (talk) 03:02, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Split proposal

Since this article is getting very large, I propose we split the article in some way. Either a production article or an impact article, though the latter wouldn't reduce it as much. - The New Age Retro Hippie used Ruler! Now, he can figure out the length of things easily. 07:02, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

As the person who wrote most of the current content, I'd like to see what can be copyedited and trimmed down first, and try to get the article up to FA, before we start splitting off sections. When I last nominated it for FA I put in a few requests for copyeditors to help pare down some of the verbage and help with the "brilliant prose" requirement, but I didn't get any bites. It's currently at 100K, and there are FAs that are even longer (Belgium, for instance), and I think that with some editing & trimming it could probably end up about 80-90K. --IllaZilla (talk) 10:19, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
But if we split after featuring, that would be viewed as instability and could hurt its chances, you know what I mean? I think we should basically be "finished" with the article before we think of featuring it. - The New Age Retro Hippie used Ruler! Now, he can figure out the length of things easily. 19:25, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Well I personally think that forking off large chunks of the content would hinder its chances of becoming FA. An 85K-ish FA would be a long read but not detrimentally so. I'm not saying "get FA, then split stuff right away". I'm saying revise, copyedit, & trim until we have a large (but not overly large) FA. Then, down the line eventually, if content continues to be added, we can decide if some stuff ought to be summarized & split. I'm pretty confident that this can be managed without splitting off some of the most important sections. --IllaZilla (talk) 21:21, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
I disagree that the article is getting too large. Well-written Production and Impact sections both belong in the main article. If you think 100k is big for a film FA, take a look at Changeling, its the largest film FA at 118k and is, IMHO, far less significant cinematically than "Alien". I'm confident this article can be FA material.Shirtwaist (talk) 11:31, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Minor Clarification In Plot Outline

The edits I made in the plot outline do not change it from a summary to a "detailed recap". The extra 22 words in the 600+ word outline serve to improve the outline by clarifying plot points that may be confusing to a reader unfamiliar with the film without bloating the outline whatsoever or adding superfluous minutiae. If IllaZilla would care to explain why they are unnecessary, I'd welcome discussion on it. Shirtwaist (talk) 11:59, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Good edits, perfectly appropriate and true to the intent of Wikipedia. Jgm (talk) 13:27, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree, good edits, should be kept. --Captain Infinity (talk) 14:13, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
I've revisited it and tweaked some of the changes. A few of them were things that really didn't need to be explained in such exact detail. For example, we don't need to state that the egg chamber is beneath the jockey, or that the countdown is 10 minutes, in order for a reader to understand the events and how they play out. While clarification is welcome, we also want to stay concise. I know it seems pedantic, but even reducing 5 or 6 words here & there serves to keep the wording tight:
Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.Strunk, William (1918). "Elementary Principles of Composition". The Elements of Style. Bartleby.com. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
Other than that, I delinked a bunch of common terms ("egg", "alien", "captain") that in retrospect didn't need to be linked when I revamped the article last year. --IllaZilla (talk) 18:17, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Hi IllaZilla--first I'd like to congratulate you on getting the article up to this "Good" level. I'm sure with a little work it will become FA material, which the subject richly deserves. As to the edits, my intent was to avoid confusion in a reader's mind who knows nothing of this very complex plot. For example, when Ripley starts the self-destruct sequence it's unclear to the reader what kind of time constraint she's under, and consequently why her predicament with avoiding the alien is so stressful, and therefore dramatic. Does she have 30 minutes? An hour? Two hours? It makes a big difference in understanding the urgency of that part of the plot to know that she only has 10 minutes to leave before the ship blows up. Seems to me like something the reader should be aware of. The "grappling gun" part is even more confusing. What wasn't clear in the original text, and what the reader needs to know, is that the "grappling hook"--which has a tether attached to it and the other end of the tether is attached to the gun--is what hits the alien. This clears up what exactly is happening in the scene and why the gun getting caught in the door matters. Maybe something like this might work better--"She shoots a grappling hook at it which propels it out, but the tethered gun is caught in the closing door, jerking the Alien back toward the shuttle." Every word does tell, don't you think? Shirtwaist (talk) 22:24, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
I wasn't sure about "jerking the Alien back toward the shuttle". I'm recalling the scene and I'm not certain if that's really a good description of what happens (believe me, the last thing I want to get into is another "physics in space" argument). I thought linking "grappling gun" covered the fact that the tether is attached to the gun, as that's typically a characteristic of a grappling gun, but now I realize we don't actually have an article on grappling gun, we have grappling hook, so maybe this wouldn't be obvious to a reader. I think your wording sounds good, minus the "jerking" bit I mentioned already. As for the 10 minutes, I don't see why a reader really needs to know the time constraint. The ship's going to explode...does it really matter how much time she has? It says that she "narrowly escapes in the shuttle as the Nostromo explodes"...I think that makes it clear that there was some urgency involved and that it doesn't explode hours later. --IllaZilla (talk) 22:39, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Fair point about the time, I suppose. But reading the outline, one might wonder how the alien gets from being blown out the shuttle and floating in space to "crawling into one of the engines". Did it pull itself toward the shuttle with the rope or did it just float over eventually? Watching the scene itself, it's obvious that its momentum is stopped abruptly by the tether and it bounces back toward the shuttle with no effort of its own. My version paints a clearer picture in the reader's mind of exactly what is happening while using a minimum of verbage. Isn't that the goal of a well-written plot outline? Shirtwaist (talk) 00:26, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Critical reception

"Reaction to the film was positive" You what? So no mention of reviews such as those from Vincent Canby who said "The roles might have been written by a computer." or from Time Out who said the film was an "empty bag of tricks whose production values and expensive trickery cannot disguise imaginative poverty" or even the great Leonard Maltin who said it "reverts to 1950s formula story ... some people’s idea of a good time." Surely, if this article is going to be FA-Class, it needs a little more elucidation on the mixed critical reception the film received. Prylon (talk) 23:46, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps you could be bold and cite those sources in the article, since you seem to have access to them, rather than berating other editors for not being aware of their existence? Or if you could at least provide links here, or info on where to find these reviews, I will endeavor to track them down and add them to the article. Throwing quotes at us without giving us any sources to work with doesn't help us solve your perceived problem. It really would help to have some contemporary reviews, which these all seem to be. Though to be fair, McIntee does state that contemporary critical reception was positive overall, and that statement is cited. --IllaZilla (talk) 02:23, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Right, I've done it now. I don't really like how there is two parts to the critical reaction now. I think that needs to be thought about a bit more. The way I see it is that you need to incorporate the mixed reviews it received to begin with into the "lasting critical praise" (which is a bit POV) bit. Otherwise it's just confusing. Prylon (talk) 13:47, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
How is it confusing? I think it's important to separate contemporary critical reaction (from the time of the film's release) from reviews that were written many years later. Otherwise the historical context of the reviews is more or less lost. And the reaction it's received in the time since its original release has been almost universally positive...it has a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 71 reviews!!! I hardly think calling it "critically praised" in later years is inaccurate. --IllaZilla (talk) 15:00, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Ok. Maybe calling it POV is a little off. Still, it might be useful to make it explicit how critical reception changed over the years. E.g. The original reviews in Halliwell's and Time Out have been drastically revised. Prylon (talk) 16:41, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Reversion procedure

On February 25, 2008 at 0323 hours a Wikipedian reverted a group of my stylistic improvements to the article with the edit-summary: "why would you change clear wording to vaguer and then add [who?]/[when?] tags? it makes no sense when the wording was specific to begin with. there was never any consensus for changes in the lead." -- Since I made each edit with the intention of bettering the article and making it clearer and less vague, I seek guidance on the specifics in the case. I would appreciate any indication as to where/how I have inadvertently "changed clear wording to vaguer". Specifically, I submit the specific cases where I added "who?" or "whom" or "when?" tags with a view to seeking guidance as to how they made the text vaguer and/or why I should not have done such tagging. -- I changed the text "Alien's sexual overtones have also been analyzed, with the facehugger's attack on Kane being compared to ..." to read "Commentators[who?] have also analyzed Alien's sexual overtones, comparing the facehugger's attack on Kane to..." (I added rather than subtracted detail and precision here in an attempt to pin down which critics have zeroed in on which of the film's sexual elements.) -- I changed the text "The scene has been recognized as one of the film's most memorable" to read "The scene has been recognized[according to whom?] as one of the film's most memorable". (Should I have used a "weasel-inline" tag instead in this case?) -- I changed the text "Around and shortly after Alien's release in theaters, a number of merchandise items and media were released and sold to coincide with the film" to read "Around and shortly after Alien's release in theaters, a number of merchandise items and media were released[according to whom?] and sold to coincide with the film." (I would like to know who did this releasing: the existing text left the matter vague.) -- I changed the text "and [the film] being ranked by the American Film Institute as the seventh-best film in the science fiction genre" to read: "and the American Film Institute ranked it[when?] as the seventh-best film in the science fiction genre". (I inserted the when-tag in an attempt to make the reported ranking more specific: I could not find this information readily in the cited reference; and one can expect that "best-of" lists will date or get revised as genres and the cinema in general develop and produce more and possibly better works.) -- The comment that "there was never any consensus for changes in the lead" also raises questions. I included in the edit-summary of my own edit the relevant phrase "including edit of lead per talk-page discussion". I had suggested a very similar formulation of the lead in the talk-page in an edit on December 14, 2008 at 0012 hours, writing in the context of previous discussion: 'Try: "The 1979 science fiction/horror film film Alien marked a significant point in the development of cinema. Ridley Scott directed; Sigourney Weaver starred ...'. Fellow-Wikipedians had had more than two months in which to oppose or amend my suggestion: I noticed none doing so on the talk-page, and therefore edited the article accordingly on February 25, 2009 at 0218 hours. I appeal to the Wikipedia community to let me know what further practical steps I should have taken to establish WP:CONSENSUS in this matter. -- Pedant17 (talk) 03:56, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

I'll try to address each point here individually:
1) "I changed the text "Alien's sexual overtones have also been analyzed, with the facehugger's attack on Kane being compared to ..." to read "Commentators[who?] have also analyzed Alien's sexual overtones, comparing the facehugger's attack on Kane to..." (I added rather than subtracted detail and precision here in an attempt to pin down which critics have zeroed in on which of the film's sexual elements.)
  • The full sentence from the article is "Alien's sexual overtones have also been analyzed, with the facehugger's attack on Kane being compared to a male rape and the chestburster scene to a form of violent birth, while the Alien's phallic head and method of killing the crew members add to the sexual imagery.[59]" The citation (59) attributes the comments to a specific critic (Adrian Mackinder). Note that the sentence as worded does not say how many have analyzed it or whom, merely that it has been analyzed. Adding "Commentators[who?]" makes it vague because it makes a reader expect that you are now going to name the specific commentators, but then the sentence doesn't do so. If you really wanted it to be clearer, you could simply have checked the footnote [59] and then changed the wording to something like "Critics have also analyzed the sexual overtones of Alien. Adrian Mackinder compares..." Why would you deliberately change it do a wording that requires a [who?] tag? Why not simply answer the [who?] question yourself by changing the sentence?
2) I changed the text "The scene has been recognized as one of the film's most memorable" to read "The scene has been recognized[according to whom?] as one of the film's most memorable".
  • This is part of an image caption, and if you read the body paragraph immediately next to that image you will see that there are several citations and mentions of specific sources which attest to the memorability of the scene. Not everything in an image caption needs a citation, because those citations are (and ought to be) in the body paragraphs that the image merely enhances. In this case the caption is merely summarizing, in a succinct way, the information contained in the paragraph next to it.
3) I changed the text "Around and shortly after Alien's release in theaters, a number of merchandise items and media were released and sold to coincide with the film" to read "Around and shortly after Alien's release in theaters, a number of merchandise items and media were released[according to whom?] and sold to coincide with the film." (I would like to know who did this releasing: the existing text left the matter vague.)
  • Again, if you will read past just the one sentence and on to the sentences following it, you will see that the [according to whom?] question is already answered: "These included a novelization by Alan Dean Foster, in both adult and "junior" versions, which was adapted from the film's shooting script.[58] Heavy Metal magazine published a comic strip adaptation of the film entitled Alien: The Illustrated Story, as well as a 1980 Alien calendar.[58] Two behind-the-scenes books were released in 1979 to accompany the film: The Book of Alien contained many production photographs and details on the making of the film, while Giger's Alien contained many of H.R. Gigers concept artwork for the movie.[58] A soundtrack album was released as an LP featuring selections of Goldsmith's score, and a single of the main theme was released in 1980.[62] A twelve-inch tall model kit of the Alien was released by the Model Products Corporation in the United States and by Airfix in the United Kingdom.[52] Kenner also produced a larger-scale Alien action figure.[52] Official Halloween costumes of the Alien were released for October 1979.[52] Several computer games based on the film were released, but not until several years after its theatrical run.[52]" Each of these items were released by different publishers/manufacturers/etc., and listing each would seem extraneous, but I feel that the [according to whom?] is rather adequately answered and the tag is wholly unnecessary.
4) I changed the text "and [the film] being ranked by the American Film Institute as the seventh-best film in the science fiction genre" to read: "and the American Film Institute ranked it[when?] as the seventh-best film in the science fiction genre". (I inserted the when-tag in an attempt to make the reported ranking more specific: I could not find this information readily in the cited reference; and one can expect that "best-of" lists will date or get revised as genres and the cinema in general develop and produce more and possibly better works.)
  • While I am wary of the possibility of the information becoming dated, I checked the source and could not find a specific date for the list. The web page does give a copyright date of 2008, and the footnote citation gives the date of access, so I feel that the [when?] question is as close to answered as it can be (the possibility of web info becoming dated is the reason that dates of access are required in citations, after all). Perhaps "in 2008" could be added to the sentence in order to clarify it.
5) The comment that "there was never any consensus for changes in the lead" also raises questions. I included in the edit-summary of my own edit the relevant phrase "including edit of lead per talk-page discussion".
  • Here are both threads in which you made proposals to alter the wording of the lead sentence: [2] [3]. In both threads there are no other editors supporting your suggestions, and several opposing (Dark Kubrick, Bignole, myself, and Tool2Die4. There has not been any support for your suggestions, and those of us in opposition to it believe that the current version follows the guidelines of WP:LEAD#Opening sentence and mirrors the lead sentence structure of nearly every FA-class film article. Not a single person has voiced support for your suggested re-wordings, so claiming that it is supported "per talk-page discussion" is misleading and makes it sound as though consensus has been built for the change, which in fact it hasn't. You've been pushing for various re-wordings of the lead sentence for over two years and have failed to gain any support. Claiming that there is some kind of tacit consensus based on the fact that no one replied to your last post in December seems to me to be ignoring the several editors who have opposed the idea of changing the lead. Coming by every couple of months to push the same agenda, and pretending that there is consensus simply because the discussion petered out, does not seem right to me. I highly doubt that re-hashing the issue here yet again is going to gain any support for it. --IllaZilla (talk) 06:24, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
Note: I've made the changes indicated above for #s 1 and 4. --IllaZilla (talk) 06:31, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
No need to try: just address each point. -- Pedant17 (talk) 12:17, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
1) "Who"-tags promote clarity and accuracy. Evidently they have a more restricted scope than footnotes. -- I note that this section of the article now presents its material much more clearly. -- Pedant17 (talk) 12:17, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
2) I agree that this forms part of an image caption. I know of no rule why image captions should escape the rules of good grammar and accurate referencing -- especially as they may drift apart from relevant explanatory text, and thus become even more unobviously referenced. In this case perhaps I should have tagged the whole sentence with the "weasel-inline" tag. Or it might help to eliminate that sentence from the image-caption altogether. -- Pedant17 (talk) 12:17, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
3) Who released Foster's novelization? -- The text doesn't tell us. Who released the two "behind-the-scenes books"? -- We don't know. Who released the soundtrack LP? -- We would have to guess. Who released the "official Halloween costumes"? Somebody else again? -- If the "releasing" process (as distinct from the writing/recording/designing etc) has enough importance to merit a summary sentence, then the detailed text should follow through with information on the releasers. Or alternatively, we could link the summary sentence with the detail with a colon -- optionally followed by bullet-points. -- Again we find a problem with the apparent different scoping of "who/m"-tags and followup explanations. -- Pedant17 (talk) 12:17, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
4) Once again one of my tags has done the job and resulted in a more accurate outcome -- thank you. -- Pedant17 (talk) 12:17, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for referencing some of the previous discussion on this topic. Note that Wikipedia does not evolve by counting opinions, but through editors discussing the applicability of established policies. In that light, the discussion at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Alien_(film)/Archive_1#Stylistic_reversions_by_Dark_Kubrick does not address my complaint about WP:NPOV; I answered all points raised concerning style and format and offered several alternatives -- to none of which anyone raised substantive objections (apart from objecting to one version's use of the phrase "went into release"). So I feel entirely justified in re-shaping the first sentence in accordance with any one of the models proffered. -- As for the discussion in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Alien_(film)/Archive_1#Optimizing_the_article_lead, it too petered out with nobody raising further objections to my suggestions. I believe I have answered points raised in relation to the WP:LEAD#Opening sentence guideline, but I will happily expand on the topic if desired. -- In short, I propose a new version of the lead which conforms to policy and avoids the disadvantages of an unfortunate convention. We should look not at absence of support for my approaches (silence denotes assent) but for the absence of objections thereunto (once again: silence denotes assent). If the current version "follows the guidelines of WP:LEAD#Opening sentence", that does not mean that we cannot improve it, all the while following those same guidelines. If the current lede "mirrors the lead sentence structure of nearly every FA-class film article", all the more reason for improving the standards. -- I note the characterization of my efforts to improve the article as "[c]oming by every couple of months to push the same agenda". I like to give people time to respond. If they don't after a few weeks, I begin to suspect a consensus of acceptance of my drift. My alleged "same agenda" has consisted of several proposed and repeatedly refined revisions rather than a single "agenda". I have yet to see a sound, policy-based opposing view. And I still await a response to my plea as to "what further practical steps I should have taken to establish WP:CONSENSUS in this matter". -- Pedant17 (talk) 12:17, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, if you want to get more editors involved in order to build consensus, you could post a note on the talk pages of the WikiProjects that have this article under their scope. You could also open up a RFC. With regard to point #3, I don't think it really matters who released the novel, costume, etc., just that they were made. The source (McIntee) doesn't give the name of the publisher/toymaker/etc., and I really don't think it's relevant (though The Book of Alien is used as a reference, so it's easy to see who the publisher is by looking at the citation). As for the soundtrack LP, you could always follow the link to Alien (score) given at the start of that section. --IllaZilla (talk) 17:11, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
If we want to get more editors involved, we could certainly profit from the suggestions made. But as WP:CONSENSUS states: "Consensus develops from agreement of the parties involved." We have not even managed to address the points raised here on ways to improve the lede, so broadening the basis of the discussion to involve parties who do not have specific involvement in the Alien article seems premature. This talk-page serves as the appropriate place for discussing improvements to our article. -- I disagree that it doesn't matter or that it has no relevance who "released" the novel/costume/behind-the-scenes-books. Correct credits can give an idea as the the scope of the cultural and market influences. But more importantly, the structure of the sentences used in recounting the releases of merchandising cries out for more detail. Repeated use of the formula "X was released..." or "Y were released..." suggests weasel-wording. As WP:WEASEL suggests, such passive usage "fails to identify who stands behind the opinions or actions it describes". Surely we can do better -- even if it takes more sources to track down the origins of these phenomena.-- I repeat that "I have yet to see a sound, policy-based opposing view" to my proposed edits to the lede. Absent such views, I propose to improve the opening sentence accordingly. -- Pedant17 (talk) 02:07, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Not to belabour the point, but I believe that I have made "sound, policy-based opposing views" to your proposed changes to the lead. Several times, in fact. And so have others. We obviously cannot reach consensus with just the two of us. It is not "our" article merely because we are the only ones who care enough to go on debating this issue (or non-issue, as I consider it). It would be perfectly appropriate, since we seem to be at an impassable disagreement, to post a notice on the talk page of WP:FILMS in order to get other editors involved in this discussion. I suggest that you should pursue that course if you wish to truly build a consensus here. I will certainly do so should you decide to alter the lead again despite multiple editors here disagreeing with your suggestions. Simply because you don't think that anybody else's views have sufficiently refuted your own does not mean that you have consensus for your proposed changes. You have been revisiting this proposal for over 2 years, and in all that time there has not been any support for it, only opposition. At a certain point, when noone supports your proposal and you are only receiving opposing views; consider the possibility that you may be wrong. I, for one, do not see any problem with the lead and believe it is high time to drop the stick with regard to this issue. --IllaZilla (talk) 03:18, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
As the victim of the belaboring (and the reversions) here, I have no doubt that you believe that you have expressed "sound, policy-based opposing views" to at least some of my proposed changes to the lead. Unfortunately, I cannot find any such policy-based views recorded in the talk-page or in its archives. For example: where has anyone discussed in the light of policy my contention of 2007-01-12 that we can improve the neutrality of the article by writing a more expressive lead? Who has shown that all (rather than some) of my suggested texts do not comply exactly with the recommendations of WP:LEAD#Opening sentence ? -- No-one seems to want to discuss style in anything other than emotional and vague terms. Repeated appeals to some sort of fictional WP:CONSENSUS turn out to advocate perpetuating the inadequacies of other articles -- even featured articles. I regard it as inimical to the spirit of Wikipedia not to strive to improve matters. -- The suggestion that references to "our" article suggest exclusive ownership I reject. I have referred to "our" article in the sense that it belongs to all its editors -- in a gesture toward building community with all of us. -- I do not see any "impassable disagreement" here -- merely a reluctance to discuss the issues which I have put forward. We have talked at cross purposes without even addressing the core of my suggested improvements. Without our having refined and actually discussed the points at issue, opening the debate to an even wider audience outside this talk-page seems premature. That said, feel free to involve more editors if you believe that that would sharpen the focus beyond a plodding acceptance of the status quo. Bear in mind that our subject transcends mere film, however, and might equally interest cultural historians and psychologists in their respective talk-forums. -- As pointed out, I have repeatedly suggested and discussed improvements to the lead for many months. One by one, opposing voices have fallen away. Perhaps we have started moving towards a WP:CONSENSUS? -- The suggestion that I "may be wrong" seems to encapsulate one of the problems in this discussion. Rightness or wrongness does not enter into the matter: here we have a difference of opinion about how best to apply the Wikipedia policies and guidelines to produce an improved article. Let's frame our debate in those terms rather than merely counting heads or shying away from the idea of improvement. Some people may "not see any problem with the lead" -- but that does not mean that no problem exists. How will we address the restrictive bland lameness of asserting that "Alien ... is a ... film ..."? -- Pedant17 (talk) 02:55, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
This discussion has grown far to long to really be useful and has descended into vague policy argument. At this point I would suggest stepping back a little and trying to reach some kind of compromise. From what I can tell Pedant wants to add "marked a significant point in the development of cinema" to the lead. Personally I would be opposed to this. It is vague statement, and begs the question what was the significance? It is also unsourced. I'm sure someone could come up with a better change to the first paragraph that asserts the films importance. However I don't think it should be in the first sentence, as I feel it is better to describe the bear facts first before getting into their significance. --Leivick (talk) 03:18, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

First sentence

tl;dr. Was directed here from WT:FILM; is there a discussion or not on how to shape the first sentence of the lead section? Or is this a discussion about various sentences within the lead section? A summary would be nice. —Erik (talkcontrib) 17:11, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

It's difficult to summarize without sounding biased, since I'm involved in the discussion, but essentially:
  • Pedant17 believes that the lead, specifically the lead sentence, is not "optimal". Beginning in this discussion in January 2007 he made a number of suggestions for various versions:
  1. "Alien, a science fiction/horror film directed by Ridley Scott, from an original story by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, appeared in 1979."
  2. "Alien, a 1979 science fiction/horror film directed by Ridley Scott from an original story by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, takes as its theme human/alien interaction."
  3. "Ridley Scott directed the 1979 science fiction horror film Alien from an original story by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett."
  4. "Ridley Scott's 1979 science-fiction/horror film Alien launched what would become a successful Hollywood media franchise, spawning three sequels."
  5. "Alien, a 1979 science-fiction/horror film directed by Ridley Scott, launched what would become a successful Hollywood franchise."
Dark Kubrick and Bignole both expressed objections on the grounds that some versions made Ridley Scott the subject of the sentence, rather than Alien, that some of the wording seemed bloated or confusing, and that most FA film articles' lead sentences follow the formula "Foo is a *year* *genre* film...", typically followed by "directed by" or "starring". The discussion petered out at that point.
  • In this discussion in October 2008 Pedant17, after again being reverted on changing the lead, re-raised the issue, seemingly feeling that it had not been resolved to his satisfaction 10 months prior. I pointed out that Wikipedia:Lead section#First sentence calls for the opening sentence to be straightforward, declarative, say what the subject is and why it is notable, and have the subject as the first word of the sentence. Tool2Die4 agreed. However, Pedant17 still seemed unsatisfied, saying that "I see no justification for the contention that the opening line is supposed to be about 'what is this film'" and suggesting options such as:
  1. "The 1979 science fiction/horror film film Alien became a cinematic classic. Ridley Scott directed; Sigourney Weaver starred ..."
  2. "The 1979 science fiction/horror film film Alien marked a significant point in the development of cinema. Ridley Scott directed; Sigourney Weaver starred ..."
I objected on the grounds that these sounded peacock-ish and that I saw no reason why this article's lead sentence needed to be significantly different from those of our featured articles. Basically, I think Pedant17 sees a problem where none exits. The discussion petered out in December 2008.
  • In February 2009 Pedant17 again changed the lead, and I reverted him, leading to this discussion. He continues to insist that the lead is not "optimal" and that "I have yet to see a sound, policy-based opposing view to my proposed edits to the lede. Absent such views, I propose to improve the opening sentence accordingly." I object to this because the past discussions seem to indicate a consensus that the lead does not need significant changes. Pedant17 disagrees, and says that none of the arguments against his suggestions, have been "sound and policy-based" or have effectively refuted his points. Since we haven't gotten anywhere constructive on this issue, I requested input from WP:FILMS. Daniel J. Leivick seems to also object to Pedant17's suggested changes.
Does that sum it up well enough? --IllaZilla (talk) 19:18, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, thank you very much. :) I agree with the current wording and that Pedant17's proposed re-wording does not belong. It is ideal to start articles off with a basic description of the film. While the re-wording is accurate (at least in the science fiction film realm), we can't dive into such details of significance from the get-go. —Erik (talkcontrib) 21:17, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the thoughts, and especially for the recognition of accuracy. However, these comments do not address the issues raised (and unfortunately omitted from the somewhat biased summary) and do not specify which proposed re-wordings do "not belong". They assume that we treat Alien like a film ("It is ideal to start articles off with a basic description of the film")-- not as something more than that. The contention that ideal articles start off with a basic description sounds fine in itself, but does it have policy-backing? MOS:INTRO suggests we should "avoid ... over-specific descriptions", whereas MOS:BEGIN emphasizes definition and the establishment of notability, -- The insertion of a statement of significance came about due to attempts by editors to fulfill the final part of this recommendation taken from a former incarnation of Wikipedia:Lead section#Opening paragraph: "The article should begin with a straightforward, declarative sentence that, as briefly as possible, provides the reader who knows nothing at all about the article's subject with the answer to two questions: "What (or who) is it?" and "Why is this subject notable?" My suggested minimalist structure for meeting this recommendation might go something like: "Alien, a 1979 film, has become an influential classic." Anything else (additional adjectives, for example) can slot into this structure or come later. Comments? -- Or will I simply boldly start editing the article again? -- Pedant17 (talk) 02:21, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Looking at your "optimal" wordings above, is your main concern simply that the article lead should avoid using the passive voice, and that you're deeply opposed to any lead that would include the word "is"? --McGeddon (talk) 17:15, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
I have no objection to use of the passive voice where we cannot readily avoid it -- though bear in mind that the Wikipedia WP:WEASEL style guideline does appropriately point out some of the disadvantages of using passives. I argue that we can improve the article -- and one of the ways of doing this involves casting out the presumptions and blandness of using structures like "Alien is ... a film". See also the Wikipedia WP:AVOID style guideline which pronounces "Words and expressions should be avoided if they ... 1. are ambiguous, uninformative, or non-specific. ...". -- I've made several editing improvements to the article since 2005-11-23 before getting sidetracked into debating this one point -- for some reason it seems contentious. You can judge any "main concern" from the archives of my various activities, OK? -- Pedant17 (talk) 03:46, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
I just mean your "main concern" on this article. If we're debating alternative wordings, and your unstated motive is to remove the word "is", it's going to be harder to reach a consensus.
Personally, I don't see how the sentence fragment "Alien is a 1979 film" is at all bland, ambiguous or uninformative, and I think we'd actively harm the readability of the article by juggling the lead around so that it starts with a nested, comma-separated sentence. I can see how removing the passive voice helps other parts of the article, but I think it's just too much of a hoop to jump through for the lead "Alien is a 1979 film" sentence. --McGeddon (talk) 10:13, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Re "main concern": as stated on July 2, 2009, "I've made several editing improvements to the article since 2005-11-23 before getting sidetracked into debating this one point". See for example this diff and count the "is"es I could have massacred. And compare the proportions of editing changes in this. If you can detect a "main concern" other than improving Wikipedia, let's see the statistical evidence. -- I deduce that the debate does center on "alternative wordings". Given that, let's focus on the merits and demerits of each individual wording proposal -- because postulating a non-existent red-herring "unstated motive" on the part of a fellow-editor really will make it "harder to reach a consensus". -- One can indeed accept the core sentence "Alien is a 1979 film" as bright, clear and informative if one's personal tastes run that way. But consider how little that core sentence says. In the context of the article title ("Alien (film)") it really only states that "this film is a film". I regard that as stylistically worse than bland -- it actually becomes trite. -- As to ambiguity, that acts as a two-edged sword. If we say "Alien is a 1979 film", someone will take that as a literal definition and quote us. They can take "is" as a matter of exact and exclusive equation -- to the exclusion of other meanings of "is" like "has the characteristics of" or "belongs to the class of" As experienced editors we know that Alien represents so much more than strips of aging celluloid from 1979 -- but our readers may misinterpret our lead if we express it in those terms. The ambiguity remains unresolved -- and often invisible. But we can remove some of that ambiguity by re-wording and making some elements more specific. -- The uninformative side of "Alien is a 1979 film" emerges as the flip-side of the ambiguity. Because the statement contains ambiguity, it lacks definite reference. When we reduce it to "This film is a film" we see more clearly that we have not informed the world of anything not already inherent in the title. Hence the push to get some more informative and specific verb into the lead. -- Characterizing the process of crafting a better lead as "juggling the lead around" hardly does justice to the process. For a start, it appears to imply that we have an existing, perhaps idealized lead, and all else derives from that. On the contrary, if we go back to the first principles of lead-writing and apply the recommendations, we can make that first sentence so much more arresting and fact-packed. For another thing, I've responded to objections and comments by constructing new and better alternatives, but they rapidly get reverted or disparaged in favor of a single formula which nobody has defended for its intrinsic merits (if any). Yet Wikipedia promotes and encourages a culture of dynamic and ongoing improvement ( "be bold", "[i]f you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly...". And as they say in one of the header-templates for featured articles: "it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so." -- It almost sounds as if you disapprove of "nested, comma-separated sentence[s]". The English language thrives on such embedding of descriptive apposition phrases -- does Wikipedia policy or guidelines frown on them? If we operate on the basis of the proposed "Alien, a 1979 film, has become an influential classic" we might have two commas -- the current first sentence has five. The proposed embedded core ("a 1979 film") has brevity and provides an instant, non-exclusive definition without overwhelming the main sentence with extra verbal forms (the current first sentence has three: "is", "directed" and "starring"). -- As for the mention of the passive voice in the rest of the article, it has no relevance to our first sentence, which avoids such awkwardnesses. -- No need to have unreasonable fears about jumping through the hoop of performing a minor edit. I'll happily do so now that I've covered outstanding points and objections. -- Pedant17 (talk) 04:52, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Nested, comma-separated sentences have their place, but this isn't it - it makes the opening sentence slightly harder to parse, for no significant benefit. I genuinely don't see how "Alien, a 1979 film, has become..." is any different to "Alien is a 1979 film which has become" to the average reader - "matter of exact and exclusive equation" and all - once they've unpacked the sentence in their head.
You are correct that Wikipedia policy has no clear ruling on whether we should or shouldn't use words like "is" and "was" in articles, and as such I'd say this was a straightforward (and subjective) WP:TONE issue. I am 100% happy with "Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto." as a lead sentence, and would welcome the opinion of other editors. --McGeddon (talk) 12:10, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
That's perfect. --Captain Infinity (talk) 14:47, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
And that's just a quote of the existing lead. (We could maybe drop a couple of the actors, but "Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and starring..." is fine.) --McGeddon (talk) 15:27, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

←I agree. Can we close the book on this, please? It's been going on for over 2½ years, and only Pedant17 seems to feel that the first sentence needs significant changing. The sentence says much more than "this film is a film". It tells the year of its release, its genres, the director, and the names of the cast members. There is no need to fluf it up with adjectives, nor is there any vagueness in the definition of the word is. Why not say "it is a film"? It is a film...that's what this article is about: a film (or "movie", in more common terms) – a story recorded on celluloid in light and sound and played for the entertainment of an audience. Your objection seems based on the presence of the disambiguator "(film)" in the title, but this is only there for technical reasons. For all intents and purposes, the title of this article is merely Alien, therefore it is important to immediately establish that it is a film we are talking about. Stating that it is a film does not limit one's perception to "strips of aging celluloid", and the extent to which it is "so much more" than a film is subjective. It's certainly an influential film, and a highly regarded film, but it is still a film (and it's the film and its creation and impact that this article is about, not other elements of the franchise). --IllaZilla (talk) 20:53, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Agree completely. Proposed changes by Pedant17 do not seem appropriate or necessary for the lead sentence. Shirtwaist (talk) 11:16, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
(Response to Captain Infinity): The idea of perfection runs quite counter to the Wikipedia philosophies of continuous improvement and collective enhancement...(see WP:BOLD and "if you can update or improve it, please do so".
Should we strive for WP:NPOV or not? Do we need to express an encyclopedic and balanced account or not? Do we as Wikipedians endeavor to revise wherever "appropriate or necessary"? -- If we can prove that my "proposed changes" militate against Wikipedic goals, then we need not worry about how things "seem". Until then, let's discuss these issues.
The appeal from User:IllaZilla to "close the book on this" leaves aside the fact that hammering out a consensus may take time as well as participation in discussion.
The note from User:IllaZilla to the effect that "only Pedant17 seems to feel that the first sentence needs significant changing" may confuse reasoned discussion (over many months) with a mere crude straw-poll (which we have not held).
I agree with User:IllaZilla that the current article version of the "first sentence says much more than 'this film is a film'". But in order to reveal the innate hollowness of that existing first sentence I have reduced it, for discussion purposes, to its essential core grammatical structure. If we get that structure Wikipedia-compliant and WP:NPOV we can hang other details on it as appropriate -- or put them in some subsequent sentence without affecting the overall accuracy.
I disagree with User:IllaZilla over the claim made that no vagueness attaches to "the definition of the word is" -- and Mr Clinton (who, after all, has legal training) might agree with me. The Oxford English Dictionary discusses the meaning of "to be" under no less than 24 major headings. How many vaguenesses can we eliminate at one stroke?
User:IllaZilla's claim that the film "is a film" merely highlights some of the difficulties. Yes, a film called Alien exists, and yes, we discuss this in the article. But we also discuss so much more: the origins (before the film emerged from ideas onto celluloid), the spin-offs, the influence, and the franchise. Etc. Etc.We can hardly strip all that aside and claim merely that filmness "[i]s what this article is about". Sure, the celluloid and the entertainment value hold central places -- but also minor ones in the greater scheme of things. -- I entirely agree that we can and should emphasize the word "film" in our first sentence (and all my proposed wordings do so, do they not?) -- if only to distinguish between this "alien" and other concepts and fictionalizations of alienness. But let's not exclude the rest of the Alien phenomenon from our lead.
In response to User:McGeddon's claim that "Nested, comma-separated sentences have their place, but this isn't it": Speakers of the English language regard nested sentences as normal -- they use them in multiple contexts. Nothing I know of bans simple nesting from Wikipedia articles. Indeed, WP:LEDE gives examples of nested and/or comma-separated lead-sentences: "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK, or Britain, is a sovereign island country [...]" And: "Amalie Emmy Noether, IPA: [ˈnøːtɐ], (23 March 1882 – 14 April 1935) was a German mathematician [...]" -- In the light of these examples, we can dismiss the contention that "nested, comma-separated sentences" have no place in our article.
In response to User:McGeddon's claim that "nested, comma-separated sentences" make "[t]he opening sentence slightly harder to parse": I submit that a sentence of the form "Alien, a 1979 film, has become an influential classic" parses much more readily than the somewhat overladen and complex: "Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto" with its doubled adjectival phrases and lengthy comma-separated list of actors and nested ill-distinguished noun-phrase (a ((1979 (science fiction) horror)) film). Can anyone seriously claim that readers would find this (existing) version of the lead-sentence easier to understand than my pithy suggested version? Pending proof of that claim, we can dismiss the contention that "nested, comma-separated sentences" necessarily make "the opening sentence slightly harder to parse".
User:McGeddon's appeal to the "average reader" may go to the heart of our debate. True: a fictional average reader may notice no difference. But this should make us all the more wary of perpetrating "exclusive equations" and risking compromising a neutral point of view by slickly claiming that "Alien is [just] a film". -- If you "genuinely don't see" the differences between the two wordings, try proving them semantically identical in the light of my arguments above.
Appealing to WP:TONE (as suggested by User:McGeddon) does not reduce our choice of phrasing to mere subjectivity: on the contrary. WP:TONE enjoins us to formality (rather than blandness), clarity (rather than ambiguity and obfuscation) and the methodical and systematic aspects of a businesslike style while avoiding doublespeak. On all these points my proposed lead version offers merits absent or deficient in the existing text in the article.
opinion of other editors may have merit, but discussion of the points raised would carry more weight. -- Pedant17 (talk) 03:16, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
  • hammering out a consensus may take time as well as participation in discussion
Time and participation? The discussion has been taking place on and off for almost 3 years (you first raised the issue in January 2007, and it has been the subject of 3 threads so far: 1, 2, and this current one). As for participants, there have been 10 editors involved (yourself, me, Dark Kubrick, Bignole, Tool2Die4, Daniel J. Leivick, Erik, McGeddon, Captain Infinity, and Shirtwaist). Please don't suggest that this topic hasn't been given enough time or consideration for those involved to come to some reasonable conclusion; we've had both in spades for such a pedantic topic as this (I knew I was going to get to squeeze "pedantic" into this discussion eventually). It doesn't take 3 years and 10 editors to come to consensus on the wording of a single sentence.
  • The note from User:IllaZilla to the effect that "only Pedant17 seems to feel that the first sentence needs significant changing" may confuse reasoned discussion (over many months) with a mere crude straw-poll (which we have not held).
Because we don't need a straw poll, and I haven't confused this discussion for one. I have read all three discussion threads multiple times, and not a single editor has expressed agreement with your assertion that the lead sentence is less than optimal, or found any of your proposed versions to be a significant improvement. In fact every editor has offered counter-opinions, counter-arguments, and sound reasons for not making significant changes to the structure of the sentence. This leaves you the only one who seems to still feel that it needs significant change. This is not me treating the discussion like a poll, this is me making a reasoned assessment of the opinions and arguments expressed in the discussion.
  • in order to reveal the innate hollowness of that existing first sentence I have reduced it, for discussion purposes, to its essential core grammatical structure. If we get that structure Wikipedia-compliant and WP:NPOV we can hang other details on it as appropriate -- or put them in some subsequent sentence without affecting the overall accuracy
I do not see how the current first sentence is somehow not "Wikipedia-compliant", not neutral, or not accurate. It is, rather, neutral, accurate, and compliant with our guidelines and manual of style. Most of the "other details" that your previously proposed first sentences suggest are, in fact, already presented in subsequent sentences of the lead.
  • Yes, a film called Alien exists, and yes, we discuss this in the article. But we also discuss so much more
And the "so much more" is touched on in the subsequent sentences of the lead. The core topic of the article is the film itself. All of the attendant "so much more"–the influence, the spin-offs, the franchise–would not exist without the film itself. Yes, the article is concerned with these things, as they are part of the history and cultural impact of the film, but the core of the article is, of course, the film Alien from which all of these attendant topics originate.
  • I submit that a sentence of the form "Alien, a 1979 film, has become an influential classic" parses much more readily than the somewhat overladen and complex...
The problem that I see here, and I think the flaw in most of your proposals, is that this type of sentence is more of a thesis statement rather than a declaration clearly identifying the article's topic. It begs the question "Okay, how are you going to prove that it's an influential classic?" rather than leaving the reader with a sense of "Okay, I know what this topic is." A reader walking away from the article, having read nothing but the first sentence, should have the knowledge that Alien is a science fiction/horror film from 1979 directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver. That is the difference between an encylopedia, which presents facts, and a thesis, which seeks to prove a contention.
  • opinion of other editors may have merit, but discussion of the points raised would carry more weight
The points have been discussed and re-discussed multiple times, as has their relation to current Wikipedia guidelines and practice. You have claimed in the past that no one has presented "sound, policy-based objections" to your points, and now you are claiming that your points are not being adequately addressed, but looking back over the discussions I see them directly addressed numerous times.
Look, like I said, it doesn't take 3 years and 10 editors to come to consensus on the wording of a single sentence. I feel that consensus in these discussions is pretty clearly in favor of the lead sentence as it currently stands, and clearly against the notion that it requires significant revamping to the effect of appending phrases like "influential classic" to it. It seems to me that most of your arguments go beyond the scope of just this article, and would be better addressed at Wikipedia talk:Lead section in order to improve, refine, and clarify our MoS with respect to the wording of lead sentences and sections. But as for this specific sentence, if you don't see a clear consensus here as I do then let's have an RFC and settle the issue already. This swinging by every few months to revisit a now years-old issue gets us nowhere. A week-long discussion, highly visible to the community, would hopefully establish consensus on the issue and allow us to stop flogging this particular horse carcass. --IllaZilla (talk) 06:13, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
  • It doesn't take 3 years and 10 editors to come to consensus on the wording of a single sentence.
Despite the months of discussion and the ongoing refinement of multiple suggested opening sentences, few if any policy-based objections to an improvement have emerged. Most participants who have addressed this matter on the talk-page have merely expressed opinions, without giving grounds for those opinions or pointing to Wikipedia policy to support their contentions. We evidently need more time and discussion in order to concentrate on the matter.
  • we don't need a straw poll, and I haven't confused this discussion for one.
I agree that we do not need a straw poll. I withdraw any suggestion that User:IllaZilla has confused our discussion with a straw poll. But I maintain that listing the names of participating editors and totting up the proportions of those who take certain views may confuse other readers into regarding the issue as polled and determined. If, on the other hand, we were to list the arguments and tot up those which have failed or fallen by the wayside, the fictive reader might reach a very different (and more useful) conclusion. -- I welcome the distinctions made between "counter-opinions, counter-arguments, and sound reasons". But by my count, most editors participating in threads on the wording of the opening sentence of the article have offered only opinions; the few who have offered counter-arguments have succumbed to counter-counter-arguments, and no "sound reasons" have emerged for retaining the existing lead sentence with its built-in vagueness, insufficient neutrality and non-compliance with WP:LEDE's injunction to answer the question "Why is this subject notable?".
  • I do not see how the current first sentence is somehow not "Wikipedia-compliant", not neutral, or not accurate.
If people "do not see how the current first sentence" does not comply with Wikipedia policies on neutrality and with the Wikipedia guideline on opening sentences, then I urge them to review the Wikipedia documentation and the discussions and archived discussions of this talk-page. If after such review they still "do not see" the situation, I suggest making specific queries here for further explanation rather than drawing the conclusion that opinions reign and WP:CONSENSUS has endorsed the existing text. -- As stated, I have an open mind on where to put "other details". But we can first get rid of the limiting assertion that our subject merely consists of a film.
  • the "so much more" is touched on in the subsequent sentences of the lead.
Indeed, subsequent sentences do attempt to undo the damage wrought by the existing first sentence. But why not clean up that first sentence so it does less damage in the first place? -- If looking for origins, we could suggest that all of the Alien meme sprang from the ideas of O'Bannon and Shusett -- rather than from that celluloid thing.
  • A reader walking away from the article, having read nothing but the first sentence, should have the knowledge that Alien is a science fiction/horror film from 1979 directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver.
On the contrary, my preferred opening sentence: "Alien, a [...] film, has become an influential classic" — regardless of its now apparently uncontested parsability — clearly identifies the topic of the article as "a film". It also offers the advantage of claiming notability for that film. If readers gullibly believe claims of definition yet object to summaries of influence, so be it: we have the rest of every article to fill them in on the various viewpoints for and against the factuality of both the definition and the summary. -- Note too that opening sentences in Wikipedia articles do NOT have the function of defining what the "article's topic" is. (That role goes to the article-title). On the contrary, a Wikipedia lead should say something useful and informative about the subject and its notability. (I express my gratitude to User:IllaZilla, who first drew my attention to Wikipedia's recommendation that editors should include a notability-statement in the lead-sentence, and who provided an example of so doing: see: [4])
  • The points have been discussed and re-discussed multiple times, as has their relation to current Wikipedia guidelines and practice.
Who has attempted to prove (as opposed to assert) that the existing version expresses better WP:NPOV? and when? -- Who has attempted to prove (as opposed to assert) that the existing version better complies in all respects with MOS:BEGIN? and when?
  • Look, like I said, it doesn't take 3 years and 10 editors to come to consensus on the wording of a single sentence.
It need not take years to come to a consensus on a sentence, but it may do. We may need to ask ourselves what has held up the process. I submit that vague feelings, un-based assertions and personal opinions, coupled perhaps with a tinge of the inflexibility of WP:OWNERSHIP of a field may militate against some suggestions for improvement. -- I do not have major issues with the suggestions of Wikipedia:Lead section in its current form: I want to specifically focus on cleaning up the Alien article within the context of that policy; and thus I decline the suggestion that I go away and edit elsewhere for the moment. -- By the same token, I see little point in holding an RFC here when my suggested text depends so firmly on Wikipedia policy and guidelines and the text of the status quo does not. What wording might such an RFC use? -- I reject the suggestion that "swinging by every few months" has any less validity than a mere "week-long discussion". Whatever happened to mature reflection and granting time for opposing views to crystallize? And after all: look at all that we have achieved (pro tem) just on the topic of the opening sentence over the months. For example:
  • We have proven that I do not (as charged) "always change" the opening sentence to use the same formulation (2007-01-12)
  • We have abandoned the contention that "The opening line is supposed to be about "what is this film" (2008-11-08)
  • The example of Featured articles does not prescribe the form of any article for all time. (2008-12-12)
  • "[W]e have a difference of opinion about how best to apply the Wikipedia policies and guidelines to produce an improved article." (2009-05-05)
  • "the re-wording is accurate" (2009-05-05)
  • The Oxford English Dictionary discusses the meaning of "to be" under no less than 24 major headings. (2009-10-09)
  • We can dismiss the contention that "nested, comma-separated sentences" have no place in our article. (2009-10-09)
  • We can dismiss the contention that "nested, comma-separated sentences" necessarily make "the opening sentence slightly harder to parse". (2009-10-09)
  • WP:TONE enjoins us to formality (rather than blandness), clarity (rather than ambiguity and obfuscation) and the methodical and systematic aspects of a businesslike style while avoiding doublespeak.(2009-10-09)
We've made progress over a lengthy discussion. Would we have achieved so much in a one-week blitz? -- Pedant17 (talk) 02:29, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
    • ^ Alien Quadrilogy: Complete 9-Disc Set (DVD).