Cyberpunk Review » Alien Resurrection

July 28, 2006

Alien Resurrection

Movie Review By: SFAM

Year: 1997

Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Written by: Joss Whedon

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Medium

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium

Key Cast Members:

  • Ellen Ripley: Sigourney Weaver
  • Annalee Call: Winona Ryder
  • Dr. Jonathan Gediman: Brad Dourif
  • Rating: 6 out of 10

    Alien Resurrection


    Overview: While Alien 1 and 2 were both stellar movies, the later two sequels definite suffer in comparison. Still, Alien Resurrection provides a significantly different Ripley than is encountered in the first three movies. Ripley is a clone, and an altered one at that. In fact she’s a merging of both the alien and human. With a significantly different approach to visuals and storytelling, Alien Resurrection may not equal the quality of the first two, but certainly can be considered original, which is sometimes a feat in itself for a sequel. The cyberpunk elements, while present, are still sedated, similar to the first Alien (I don’t really consider Alien 2 or 3 to have enough to consider them cyberpunk).


    Alien Resurrection


    The Story: Two hundred years after her death, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) has been cloned for the purpose of giving birth to the Alien Queen inside of her at the end of Alien 3. It’s not the corporation this time, instead it’s the good ‘ole government. While it’s never really fully explained how the melding of the two came about, you basically have to “roll” with it if you want to enjoy the movie. In any event, Ripley somehow survives the birth of the Alien, and is kept alive for “study” purposes.


    Alien Resurrection


    Meanwhile, the Alien Queen that Ripley births requires hosts for her eggs. Enter a group of mercenaries led by Elgyn (Michael Wincott). His group also includes Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, and Kim Flowers. The mercenaries have captured a ship full of people in suspended animation, and have brought the victims to the military research ship for money and other goodies (including a few days sleep in a regular bed). Things go bad when fanatatical crazed head scientist, Dr. Jonathan Gediman (Brad Dourif) makes the mistake of leaving three of the Alien births in the same cage. Two of the aliens kill the third, who’s acidic innards then create a hole in the floor, thus forming a jail break. From there, its on – aliens are in control and have a field day in eating up the poor humans who can’t escape on time. But unfortunately for the Queen, her DNA has been melded with Ripley’s and her second generation offspring has turned out differently than intended.


    Alien Resurrection


    Ripley is Different in Resurrection: In Resurrection, we don’t get the tired, beaten down Ripley from the previous two movies who somehow manages to persevere and survive. Instead, Weaver takes to her genetic change with a gusto that mixes just the right mix of alien swagger, camp, and tender humanity. Most importantly, Weaver doesn’t take herself too seriously here. Ripley’s smirks more than anything else make the impossible set-up bearable. Its almost as if she’s saying, “Yeah, this is Frankenstein 4, but you knew the monster (me) needed to come back from the dead if there was to be a sequel, right? Just roll with it and we’ll be OK.” In short, Weaver almost single-handedly makes this sequel work. Ripley’s one liners (such as, “Who do I have to fuck to get off this ship?”) sometimes even come close to equaling those in Aliens. However, this approach can only go so far - if they ever plan on doing an Alien 5, they’re gonna need to revive Abbot and Costello!


    Alien Resurrection


    The Rest of the Cast: While Weaver shines, the same cannot be said of the rest of the cast. Some of the member are really hit or miss, while others fail altogether. Winona Ryder’s role was a bit too much for her to pull off. First she had to be a believable mechanic (Kaylee, she’s not!), and then had to be an undercover resistance member and finally had to work as a {SPOILER – highlight to read} second generation android. I don’t know who could have worked all three of these aspects into a coherent whole, but Ryder was not able to pull it off. Although, Ryder does shine in some of the scenes – especially those that are similar to Ripley’s role in the first movie where the Ryder is struggling to maintain sanity when everything is stacked against them. For other examples, Brad Dourif as the crazed scientist is too over the top, and Dan Hadaya as the military commander comes off as a complete imbecile. Two notable standouts are mercenaries Ron Perlman and David St. James – both turn in very solid and interesting performances.


    Alien Resurrection


    The DNA Mixing: OK, the DNA mixing explanation is just too hokey to work. Joss Whedon deserves some credit for at least not running away from this impossible task – instead he makes it a centerpiece to the story (but it still doesn’t’ work – then again, I don’t think anything would). Basically they needed a way of both recreating Ripley will still keeping her memories intact. Their work-around is to state that Ripley’s and the Alien’s DNAs melded together (I suppose this happened in the lava? Good thing they were able to retrieve it, ey?). OK, fine, but I have a few questions: Aliens are uniquely different from humans but their DNA is so close that its not distinguishable form one another? Or assuming the DNA was melded, how exactly did they know what they were looking at? More to the point, how did they figure out (even with lots of trial and error) to make two completely separate organisms out of the DNA? But even taking the ocean of salt needed to buy that explanation, how is it that an alien organism who grows by eating the material in the lungs is able to read Ripley’s memories and retain them? Again, while this clearly is problematic, you really just have to roll with it if you want to enjoy Resurrection.


    Alien Resurrection


    Genetic Manipulation Scare: Probably the scariest aspect of Alien Resurrection is the notion that in the semi-near future, genetics will be advanced enough and so well understood that even your basic crackpot scientists with the right equipment can play Josef Mengele in experimenting with mixing lifeforms to their hearts content. One can imagine a number of variations to this, but the jist of the concern is that its not too far a stretch to imagine that in the near future, less savory governments or corporations may be lured to do various genetic trials of this kind in the pursuit of fame and profit. This concept in Resurrection is as cyberpunk as one can get.


    Alien Resurrection


    The Android: Unfortunately the back story is glossed over, but in Alien Resurrection, the androids have somehow developed a second generation android, one who is not beholden to human command. Not surprisingly humanity targeted them for termination, which caused the remaining second generation androids to burn out their communications devices and go into hiding. In Alien Resurrection, it’s the android who holds the tenets of humanity most dear. The android is more concerned with the fate of mankind than all the shallow and flawed humans in this movie. The android is even religious. One wishes this aspect of the androids was explored. If they truly feel that they indeed have a purpose for existence, how is this rationalized, and how have they changed the concept of a human deity to accommodate their self-worth?


    Alien Resurrection


    The Visuals: Director Jeunet and visual effects supervisor Pitof deserve credit for creating some wonderful visuals in Alien Resurrection. Resurrection contintually treats us to some wonderfully composed shots – shots that far exceed the qualities of the acting. Even if the plot and acting turn you off, the cinematography, wonderful set pieces, models and creature FX will help keep Alien Resurrection bearable. Like many cyberpunk films, a single color dominates the film – yellow in this case. Yes there are some blacks, but yellow seems to permeate all the key scenes.


    Alien Resurrection


    The Bottom Line: Yes, Alien Resurrection has an extremely problematic story within a flawed movie, but it ends up being more fun than it probably deserves. Even though the rest of the cast doesn’t always support her, Sigourney Weaver turns in a terrific performance. This, along with the originality, the wonderful cinematography and FX make Alien Resurrections a step up from Alien 3, and worthy enough to watch. While the cyberpunk elements are subdued, the android along with the genetics and dystopic civilization (destroyed by human wastes and technology) are enough to include it in this site. Alien Resurrection won’t flip your world like the first two did, but its still worth a watch.


    ~See movies similar to this one~

    This post has been filed under Horror, Dystopic Future Movies, 6 Star Movies, Alien Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 - 1999 by SFAM.


    July 30, 2006

    ETM said:

    Spot on for the most part, SFAM. I think you nailed it, and I’m glad our views on this film are so similar, since it seems to be (undeservedly) universally bashed. I LOVED Weaver’s performance in Resurrection, Perlman was great, they completely Wasted Wincott, and I kinda liked how Hadaya added to the quirky atmosphere with his weird, hairy presence. The clones scene was powerful, but too “contemporary events inspired”. BTW, where is the Paris shot from? Is it from the extended cut or something? I don’t recall it from the theatre.

    Case said:

    I actually thought this was an extremely underrated entry. I actually walked out of the theater thinking that everyone who was disappointed with 3 would be more than pleased with this. How wrong I was. Perhaps it’s because I was a huge fan of Jean-Pierre Jeunet to begin with and I knew going in that he was going to put his own unique, quirky spin on the series, but… I thought this had the best visuals of ANY of the series, some very clever moments (the destruction of the failed clones is a great scene, no matter how you cut it), and an excellent performance by Weaver. It’s amazing to watch her take this character that she knows so well and play it so drastically different…yet the same. Brilliant, on her part. Sure, there was a few too many wisecracks (natch, coming from Whedon…again, something I knew going in) and some of the performances (ahem, Ryder),but…all-in-all, it works. For me, at least. I’d rate this higher than you, SFAM (how’s THAT for a change??), and it DEFINITELY rates higher than the blander-than-bland 3, in my opinion. And that Newborn was the stuff of nightmares, I don’t know care what anyone says…

    Case said:

    P.S. to ETM= The Paris shot is from the extended cut on the “Alien Quadrilogy.” Strangely, this is one of the few cases where I thought the theatrical cut was superior. The added footage in the extended version is mostly pointless.

    SFAM said:

    Hi Case/ETM, I actually haven’t seen the TE in a long time, but I really didn’t like it as much the first time through. Perhaps I had already been pretty jaded about the series as I pretty much hated the TE of Alien 3 (I’ll have to watch the EE though, as I heard this is lots better). In my mind it was almost as if someone had come up with a Godfather 4 after the horror was the 3rd installment, so perhaps I didn’t give it as good a chance as I should have. I’m not sure if I’d like the TE more or less since its been long enough that I don’t remember what was in or out, but I actually really liked the shot of France - I thought that was a nice touch.

    Regarding the grading, yeah, Case usually wants something about 2 or 3 points less! I think some of the acting and story issues really preclude anything better than a 6 star rating (the rationale for Ripleys’ return and memory REALLY turned me off the first time through back in the 90s) but I suppose one could make the case that the visuals and cinematography are good enough that it might deserve a bonus-type star.

    ETM said:

    Indeed. I didn’t mention the rating because I know your’re touchy on the subject, but it IS better than barely :fresh: at least on a couple of aspects.

    Case said:

    The “Workprint Version” of ALIEN 3 is a notable improvement, yes, so definitely give it a look. You and I are usually pretty close, though, SFAM…regardless of the star rating, usually what you write is pretty close to how I feel. I was interested to see the memory of Newt come back to the clone Ripley in the EE (something I felt was SORELY missing in 3), but I felt it came across as forced and hollow here. Everything they took out seemed taken out for a reason. Perhaps I’m insane, but I rather enjoyed RESURRECTION, in all its strange, gory, “Frankenstein”-esque reverie. To me, it ranks third in the series, after “Aliens” and the original. AVP dead last, natch.

    (*Read the earlier draft by Vincent Ward for closure on this)

    SFAM said:

    Hi Case, I definitely agree that Alien Resurrections is the third best movie. My only disagreement with your post might be that I don’t really consider AVP to be part of the series. :)

    And yeah, I definitely need to see the Workprint version. Hopefully I enjoy it more.

    July 31, 2006

    ETM said:

    What is this “AVP” you speak of? ;)

    iammany said:

    AVP is Alien vs. Predator.

    August 1, 2006

    SFAM said:

    Hi iammany, ETM knows what this movie is. His comment means he disregards it as being a real movie, meaning it isn’t really worthy of mentioning or remembering. Um, I sort of agree with him. :)

    And its a shame in that being a PG-13 movie it never really had a chance. Then again, with Paul Anderson directing, it really didn’t have a chance anyways. Its amazing that they could mess up a monster movie with two monsters as good as those. Really, the only thing necessary is to have LOTS of alien and predator fight scenes, and lots of blood and gore. They missed the mark on both counts, and worse, they put together a completely idiotic storyline. Within the first 5 minutes, we have an anthropologist looking at one drawing of a pyramid and immediately concluding that this drawing CLEARLY is the meshing of all civilizations. It only went downhill from there.

    iammany said:

    Hehe, ok. My mistake.

    Case said:

    I like the way you guys think. Okay, let me try. Um…yeah…there was an ALIEN VS. PREDATOR??? I thought that was just a rumor? Hey, this is nice…

    August 2, 2006

    DannyV_El_Acme said:

    I think part of what explains the change in Ripley’s attitude is that the screenplay is by Joss Whedon, who is a huge fan of featuring strong women in his work. He is also obviously known as the head writer of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and he’s currently writing Wonder Woman in the comics.

    August 3, 2006

    SFAM said:

    Hi DannyV, that’s an interesting point. Yeah, Whedon definitely does like the hawt chick kicking butt thing.

    […] The war machine only exists in its metamorphoses. The parasitic Facehugger needs a host in which it implants the xenomorph embryo, which may take on some of the host’s triats. The xenomorphs are always mutating. In Alien: Resurrection (review at cyberpunkreview), however, the Newborn – a genetic cross between a human and a xenomorph – becomes more human than xenomorph and kills the Queen, believing Ripley is its real mother. The Newborn is the mutation that finally destroys the xenomorph war machine. […]

    November 19, 2006

    Alien war machines « En bris av frisk luft said (pingback):

    […] The war machine only exists in its metamorphoses. The parasitic Facehugger needs a host in which it implants the xenomorph embryo, which may take on some of the host’s triats. The xenomorphs are always mutating. In Alien: Resurrection (review at cyberpunkreview), however, the Newborn – a genetic cross between a human and a xenomorph – becomes more human than xenomorph and kills the Queen, believing Ripley is its real mother. The Newborn is the mutation that finally destroys the xenomorph war machine. […]

    December 18, 2006

    Carlos Olivera said:

    is Alien vs. Predator still a cyberpunk movie?

    January 16, 2007

    SFAM said:

    Hi Carlos, there is nothing cyberpunk about Alien vs Predator.

    May 30, 2007

    garrett said:

    how cant you agree with avp being apart of the series. all of the avp stories take place before the following alien movies.How to you think weyland company in the first alien movie knew about theese creatures. could it be that they discovered them on earth when the predators brought them down to fight. read some of the predator comics they will explain everything if you were to impatientt to listen to avp.

    garrett said:

    how cant you agree with avp being apart of the series. all of the avp stories take place before the following alien movies.How to you think weyland company in the first alien movie knew about theese creatures. could it be that they discovered them on earth when the predators brought them down to fight. read some of the predator comics they will explain everything if you were to impatientt to listen to avp. you guys need more open minds your totally trash talking one of the greatest movies ever made. i would like to see you direct a alien movie that can anti up to any of the following ones

    L1zrdking said:

    While this wasn’t a bad flick, the alien-human hybrid made me laugh in the middle of the theater. Plus the fact that its death reminded me of when bugs bunny pulls elmer fudd through the knot hole in the fence. Otherwise, not a bad flick.

    May 31, 2007

    randomrob said:

    AVP should be rounded up and buried in that Mexican landfill along with all the Atari 2600 cartridges of E.T.

    Franchise fusion is a Jedi Mind Trick.

    (IMHO) :D

    randomrob said:

    while we’re talking Resurrection, btw- did anyone notice the crew of the Betty used some similar dialogue-isms to the crew of the Firefly? I couldn’t help but think that that show was coming together in his head at the time…

    garrett said:

    wow guys you are all totally missing the point of theese movies. sure they director messed up alien 3 but ressurection was a recap helped bring the movie back a bit and yes there can be a 5th aliens they left it totally open what happened to the alien queen in the sick ripley? and you know something else the predators breed the aliens to hunt them just check out predator 2 in the space ship. you think they threw this togather randomly. the 2 creatures had a relationship longbefore the second movie of aliens ever rolled around. hint just read the comics

    June 1, 2007

    randomrob said:

    David Fincher didn’t mess up Alien3, 20th century Fox did. He was the 3rd director brought onto a film that had completed sets (some of the largest indoor sets ever built), costumes, practical effects, a full cast and NO SCRIPT. Fincher did the best he could under the gun and the amount of tension and emotion he got from the cast is severely overlooked. As well as crafting a gothic feel to the cinematography that Asian filmgoers picked up immediately, but wouldn’t catch on in America for another 10 years.

    AVP was originally a Super Nintendo game, which became a comic book, BTW. Luckily we were spared a Terminator VS Robocop movie. Don’t get me wrong- I love Alien VS. Predator as a PC game. Alien Vs. Predator 2 is still a fantastic game. But the film was straight-up CHEAP, rushed and lame.

    And it didn’t include Ripley, who is the hero of the story. A ‘gothic’ is a story where a heroine loses all and must fight to retain the most basic elements of herself. Her dignity, humanity and compassion. I don’t think Resurrection was a great movie, but it was a nice spin on the same old plot.

    June 3, 2007

    dyce said:

    am i the only person who likes alien 3?
    I think there’s something beutiful about it, it’s like bitch black poetry.
    Flawed, certainly, but there’s a beating heart in it that makes it shine.

    randomrob said:

    Well said. To be quite honest, when Alien3 came out I avoided it because I felt the franchise had already floundered with ‘Aliens’. I know I’m going to catch hell for saying for that.. I just didn’t like it that much. It was shot using cheaper film and looked muddy and washed out, the dialogue was hammy, the Marines had little emotional depth so I just didn’t care about them getting picked off. Bill Paxton said in an interview Cameron doesn’t correct people on their performances, it’s not his strong suit. And there’s the budget score from James Horner- the ‘Aliens’ score actually used regurgitated/abandoned tracks from ‘Wrath of Khan’… don’t believe me? Listen to the music in the scene in WOK when Khan first meets Chekhov and Tyrell, now goto ‘Aliens’ and listen when the Marines circle the compound in the dropship. Same track. The music when Ripley commandeers the transport to rescue the trapped marines is a variation of the same theme used for the Defiant attacking the Enterprise. I guess what I loved so much about ‘Alien’ was the cinematography, the tension, and the overall mood, which I think Fincher brought back to the series in Alien3. IMO ‘Aliens’ looked and sounded like a TV movie by comparison.

    In response to randomrob,

    I couldn’t agree more re: Aliens!! It’s an unpopular opinion but I think Aliens is a disaster of a movie. It’s trying too hard to top Alien. Interesting about the music cues… I like the Alien score… and haven’t even bothered to really scrutinize the Aliens score since there is so much else to abhor. But the score I listen too most is Goldenthal’s score for Alien 3. Lovely score.

    But back to Cameron bashing… man, do I hate that guy. One of the most painful aspect of Aliens is the Marines aspect. Cameron has indicated the film as an allegory for Vietnam… an allegory which doesn’t really evolve very far, frankly, and doesn’t really seem very culturally sensitive, I mean… it’s in an Alien movie!

    The performances are hammy in the extreme. Am I the only one who hates dopey quotable lines of dialogue (”I’ll be back.” “Game over, man.”) that completely take you out of the drama?! And how can we forget the simple shallow useless lawyer bashing character played by Paul Reiser (a pat joke later adopted by another director I’ve learned to hate: Spielberg in Jurassic Park.)

    Okay, so the power loaders were cool… but what Alien had was a really scary confrontation against a nearly unstoppable opponent… not some superhero bullcrap. Wits not braun… How dumb is it to attempt to go up against the queen in one of those unmanagable machines. Wait! There’s a fast moving acid spitting Alien… let me get into my dump truck and outmaneuver it!!

    And my final vitriol would be directed toward the highly inelegant design for the Alien queen. Don’t bother hiring Giger… in fact, let’s not even contact him! Let’s let Cameron design something bloated and completely unfunctional… while completely destroying the concept of the cocoons (ultimately edited out of Alien) but instead make eggs be the form of alien hatching?!?!

    Alien 3 had promise… early on when the director wasn’t Fincher but the guy who conceived of the whole “Prisoners find Religion” story, Vincent Ward, director of Vigil and as I recall, also his idea, the planet’s buildings were to be entirely made of wood… a monk’s planet. Very interesting concept. Fincher did okay… considering but the whole “There’s an alien… run away!” aspect does get a bit repetitive. Maybe I should to see the recut?

    Alien Resurrection… Sorry… mostly, I remember a great medical experiment comic book idea that they must have been stolen or absorbed by the writers which was much better than this narrative turned out and that ruins it for me. (Well, that and Winona Ryder… man does she suck in this.) I try to imagine what Cronenberg would have done with the whole alien medical experiments concept. Did I mention the final hybrid human-alien designs sucked?!

    Well… that’s my 25 cents.

    randomrob said:

    it’s not a recut, its Alien3 w/deleted footage added in… 2 great scenes, the doctor finding Ripley’s body washed on the beach and carrying her back.. and Gollick, the mad psychopath letting the trapped alien (”the dragon!”) out of it’s prison… also a bunch of not so great scenes and weak visual effects.. the facehugger originally infects a cow…

    nothing professional about this re-assembly. the sound quality shifts abruptly, and they didn’t seem to care if the alternate take was repeating what a different character just said.. If you enjoyed the extended ‘Dune’ or like this kindof thing, it’s worth checking out. But afterwards I watched the original and thought it flowed better.

    randomrob said:

    also, James Cameron blows donkey-donuts

    Okay… I’ll stop.. I will. After this: Largest settlement for plagarizing in Hollywood history a reported (although unverifiable) one million dollars went to the great sci-fi author Harlan Ellison for the theft of the majority of The Terminator narrative.

    “Some aspects of the story were sufficiently similar to two episodes of the TV series The Outer Limits — both episodes written by Harlan Ellison — that Ellison pursued legal action against Cameron. Cameron settled out of court and acknowledged Ellison’s work in the film’s credits. However, some time later, the credits were mysteriously taken out (rumored to have been removed by Cameron himself) [citation needed]. Another lawsuit was filed until the credit was reinserted.

    I know those Outer Limits episodes quite well. “Some aspects of the story were sufficiently similar…” is a kind way of describing Cameron’s wholesale theft.

    Yes. I think Cameron does indeed blow donkey-donuts.

    randomrob said:

    “Soldier” and “Demon with a Glass Hand”… well, I suppose the former has a futuristic soldier in it who accidentally get sent back in time.. and the latter has an amnesiac android (who believes he’s human) hiding out in the past (in a building that would become famous in ‘Blade Runner’) to save the digitally stored remains of the human race… I suppose they’re similar story threads…

    then again, by that logic the estate of H.G. Wells should be able to sue everyone who ever did an alien invasion story.

    All art is theft…

    True. But some steal more “respectfully” than others, don’t you think?

    randomrob said:

    Absolutely. IMHO, though, I think Harlan’s claim is a bit of a stretch. And I’m an original Outer Limits devotee. Now if Reese started talking in guttural english to housecats, then I’d be like ‘Yeah’… because that would be a very context-specific usage of Harlan’s story.

    I don’t have a problem w/Cameron’s plotlines… I just loathe his execution of dramatics.

    June 5, 2007

    garrett said:

    i gues your intitiled to you own opinion, but man avp was a great movie and how could they include ripley when the movie takes place far before she was even born.

    September 12, 2007

    kitty_tc said:

    *blinx at the Aliens bashing* Are you f#cking kidding me? Is it suddenly cool now to be anti-Cameron? Aliens was an intelligent, tightly-scripted expansion on the concept and a perfectly executed film. It’s influence is still being felt today.

    Alien3 was, by contrast, a joke with plot holes you could drive a powerloader through. For starters, how do you think it is that a planet of some two dozen ultra-rare genotype sex offenders drawn from dozens or hundreds of worlds, how is it they all had British accents? Really, who knew that having two Y chromosomes resulted in British speech patterns as a shared trait? And don’t even get me started on the contrived garbage that was the first five minutes of the film… honestly, how DID a facehugger get aboard the Sulaco? The Queen had detached her ovipositor and sure as hell had no time to grow a new one in the five or so minutes real time that she was on board the dropship. For that matter, how did a fire start when ships with crew in hypersleep don’t run pressurized? No oxygen, no fire. And even if somehow all this occurred, how in the hell did Ripley get impregnated in the first place? Her capsule was never breached, it was ejected intact, and that’s why she made it to the planet alive while the others were killed. Remember, the facehugger attempting to burn through the canopy on one of the other pods is what started the fire that supposedly burned in cold stale air with nothing but plastic and metal for fuel. And caused an ejection procedure instead of a simple fire suppression (hey, everyone’s in hypersleep, just open an airlock and vent the internal air!) just coincidentally when they were near enough to a planet for the escape pods to get there despite that there’s no real reason a marine ship en route to the home systems should be taking a course that near any planet or system in the first place. Because really, if you’re trying to get across interstellar distances quickly and efficiently, passing through gravity wells is the best way to save time and fuel. Oh wait, it’s not. And let’s not get started on the idea of yet more impossible eggs from nowhere being coincidentally in the escape craft, or for that matter how in the f#uck said eggs, even if somehow produced by the ovipositor-less Queen, got from point A (in the dropship) to point B (in the hypersleep barracks and the escape craft), because the Queen was never off-screen in Aliens to have been able to move them. Nor does anything explain why said eggs even opened, even if they somehow managed to get into the hypersleep barracks (because surely had they been there while Ripley was getting Newt and Hicks turned in, she’d have noticed a three foot egg cocoon sitting there), because facehugger eggs stay dormant until they detect life signs, which people in hypersleep don’t really have because they’re frozen in suspended animation.

    But hey, let’s bash the Alien Queen concept based on a scene never included in the first film that contradicts it’s own internal logic (after all, the movie shows that Facehuggers come from eggs, the Chestbursters come from Facehuggers and the adult Aliens grow from Chestbursters but do NOT have any logical structure that can lay those massive eggs). Really, if an adult Alien could simply implant a Chestburster without any help, why would they not do that continuously and skip the production of eggs and Facehuggers to begin with? To do otherwise would be inefficient. Thus, it makes vastly more sense to think that they MUST come from eggs and Facehuggers and that a single Alien would, in absence of others, develop into an egg-laying form after collecting enough potential hosts to form a new colony –like so many actual insects do. There is no flaw in that logic.

    Nor is there a flaw in the use of the Powerloader. Remember, in the first Alien film, when a small squirt of blood from a Facehugger burnt through at least three decks? Imagine blowing the hell out of something the size of the Queen with explosive-tipped rounds. Remember the huge gaping pit seen in the sublevels near the Nest? Think of that on a spacecraft in orbit, only larger. Yep, that’s right, massive hull breach and explosive decompression. As Parker said in the first film, “a wonderful defense mechanism… you don’t dare kill it”. The only way to deal with it was to get the creature off the ship intact, and that meant either trying to drive it towards an airlock with an incinerator (and thus risk catching Newt or Hicks in the crossfire, or the creature bumrushing through the flames and tearing her apart, or simply running out of fuel before the job was finished), or use the Powerloader exactly as she did. Remember, at no point has a flamethrower been shown to kill an adult Alien, let alone one as tough as the Queen. She made the right decision, and ultimately the only one she could. And luckily for us, it made one hell of an awesome brawl scene as well.

    As to the marine characters and the quotable lines, I enjoyed both. And all things considered, it proved to be a winning formula as Predator and other films wasted no time in seeking to emulate it. But I suppose if you want to bash anything cool or popular in order to seem more erudite and elite than you are, they’re perfect targets. Same with Burke, who continued the thread of the Company’s wish to acquire the creatures for profit begun in the first film quite adequately, and provided some great moments.

    Aliens took the concepts and plot to their next logical steps, whereas Alien3 jumped through ridiculous hoops to get back to the same old suspense horror stalking creature formula that had been ripped off a thousand times by then. Not only that, they couldn’t even do it right, utterly dropping consistency and logic and delivering a plot driven by impossible occurrences, overwhelming coincidences, and character stupidity. Sure, it had some cinematic nihilistic bleakness that might be considered artistic, but it utterly failed as a science fiction film let alone a horror one. I mean really, if you’re going to use the old stalker killer formula, you have to make the audience care about the characters. So what do they do? They select all white males with similar accents / speech patterns, dress them similarly, shave all their heads, and oh yeah, give them all backgrounds as criminal rapists. Wonderful job! Not only are they all indistinguishable from one another (with the notable exception of Charles S. Dutton), they’re all despicable! So not only can the audience not tell one from the next, they’re actually happy when the moronic bastards bumble into their inevitable gruesome deaths. If ever there were a formula on how not to construct a stalker horror cast, this one wrote the book.

    That’s not to say A3 didn’t have moments. It did. But it was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pure craporama that filled the film to bursting. Really, if you took the massive vat of molten lead from the end of the film and replaced it with boiling, stinking raw sewage, you’d have a great visual metaphor for this celluloid abortion.

    September 13, 2007

    neuroticadivine said:

    kitty_tc: Admittedly, comparing Aliens to Alien 3 is a hard one since they both kinda sucked. Perhaps comparing Aliens to Alien would be more interesting in terms of the quality of filmmaking.

    Clearly there are areas of filmmaking that matter more to you than others… for instance the steadfast logic part. But let’s face it… in nearly all sci-fi films, the actual science is dubious at best. In some films it gets very stupid and intrudes into the entertainment part.

    In a similar way, however, emotional falseness can have the same effect.

    Your comments about Ripley’s use of the powerloader, while elaborately detailed and thought out, never deal with the question of a real person’s (albeit within the reality of the film) fear in the face of something as unstoppable as an Alien. In Scott’s Alien, the humans were pathetic in the face of such a force. Even Parker’s heroism is squashed like a bug. Cameron clearly prefers the simplicity of humans fighting a big big multiple ending fight… however unstoppable and illogical it might be to do so. He turns Ripley into a superwoman. And while people may enjoy seeing human beings rise to the occasion of such an impossible task… I find it false and ultimately less entertaining as a result. It becomes about a fist fight and has little to do with facing real fears. It’s macho.

    She succeeds in Alien by using her courage and her wits with a large dose of luck. Braun vs. braun may make for some nice fights but it flies in the face of real human possibility. Isn’t that a kind of false logic too? Perhaps you see her actions as logical and smart… but was that really how this scene was designed? Wasn’t it really designed to showcase “one hell of a brawl”? Just so she could say “Bitch” really loudly? Was there no narrative choice they could manufacture which would have stuck a bit closer to a more realistic fight against one of these things?

    It’s similar with the pat “quotable” script lines. Maybe you enjoyed these… but it has become a type of “wink-wink” dialogue which I feel has plagued movies in the last few decades. The expectation of a character practically turning to the audience and winking at them… has reduced drama and dialogue into catch phrases and self conscious moments of audience comradery. It simplifies human exchange to a mob mentality, where everyone feels the same gung-ho team member chant of confidence.

    You criticize Alien 3 for the unsympathetic characters. Perhaps making them rapists could complicate the notion that we might sympathize with them… but at least the possibility is there for a more complex type of sympathy, even while the film might fail to achieve it.

    But look at these so-called human beings in Aliens. Cameron’s character’s are shallow at best. Easy to understand without much else to really appreciate. You root for them mostly because you get caught up in the “support our troops” litany. Is the Paul Reiser character a real person who we can hate in an interesting way? No… he’s a self serving prick… simple as that! (Simple being the key word there.) If you want to hate Alien 3 for this… go ahead. But Aliens doesn’t exactly win any awards for character development. Perhaps if Newt had been a frail old man or maybe even someone NOT worth fighting for, like a rapist.. but no, let’s choose the easiest character in the world to see as weak and in need of protection, a little girl. Again… a very easy choice without much complexity. Mommy loves baby.

    I think your most telling comment was, “… it proved to be a winning formula.” If this supports any value at all, I’m not sure what it is. You seem to be indicating that the success of a movie copying some cinematic choice from another movie is value in and of itself. Box office success = scriptwriting merit. This is not something I personally factor in when judging a film’s creative worth. Terrible movies make money too.

    Cameron’s Alien Queen was a design abomination. Perhaps you enjoyed the dubious logic of an Alien Queen, but as a visual experience I found it terribly realized. The Alien as designed by Giger (and filmed by Scott) was elegant in the extreme. Lean and vicious. Nothing to stand in the way of killing. This Queen looked like it could barely move or function outside laying eggs… and even then it looked sloppy and common. One can only imagine what Giger would have designed for a Queen had Cameron even bothered to contact him. In the insect community, many queens can barely even move, and are terribly vulnerable once their soldiers have been killed off… but using this would ruin Cameron’s tendency to make movies with multiple endings, so the Queen needed to defy its own logic for the sake of more brawls, more face offs.

    Some people enjoy a movie which barely masks our ordinary reality. Humans are easy to understand. Creature logic, however alien it might look, actually follows the logic of Earth insect communities. Characters always rise to the occasion of fighting the good fight even when emotional logic suggests they should probably want to hide instead, or leave a loved one behind to die, like they might be forced to do in reality, to save their own hide. Plot lines are neat without any unexplained gaps in logic or any contradiction, because this makes it easier to get to the explosions and self-aware dialogue that we can quote to our friends after the movie is over. Some people enjoy movies which inspire formulas because they are so easy to imitate by others with about as much talent.

    I guess I’m getting a bit tired of movies where Hollywood stars always seem to be able to win any impossibly stacked battle through sheer macho force. And I know who helped make all these formulaic abominations a repetitive reality, James Cameron.

    Perhaps Alien 3 was a failure. But I’ll take an interesting failure that tried to reach beyond the formulaic world of Hollywood’s easy to understand fist fights (or Vietnam Wars for that matter) over one that panders to it successfully, any day of the week.

    kitty_tc said:

    if you found Alien3 interesting, or anything but formulaic, I have no help for you. Did you even read anything I said about discarding everything Cameron had developed in favor of a poorly written retread of the stalker killer formula that was driven into the ground years before? And it couldn’t even get that right. Jason X was a hundred times better example of it’s genre and it wasn’t even meant to be taken seriously.

    Honestly, I can’t make sense of your standards beyond some sort of pretentious artistic elitism that condemns anything you deem populist. Really, did you honestly say that neat plots without unexplained logic gaps or contradiction is a -bad- thing? Did you really say likable charismatic characters the audience can root for is a fault? Do you really know anything about effective storytelling at all?

    But hey, maybe you’ll get a chance to one day write your version of the film, where the protagonist panics like a useless milksop and runs and hides, abandoning her companions, who we won’t care about anyhow because they’re frail old rapists. Then you can whine that it’s “complex” and “interesting” and we just don’t get it when it bombs like pretentious self-aggrandizing “art” films so often tend to do.

    Good luck with that one. I’ll be busy watching the version that doesn’t suck.

    kitty_tc: Okay, you win. I’m running away.

    I promise I’ll check out the box office success numbers before I see my next movie.

    Your brawny punches are more effective than mine. Seems like macho fist fights really are something you understand. Wimpy pretentious artist elistist types will never beat the sturdy muscle of James Cameron in a fist fight.

    I’ll start watching more and more movies (wouldn’t want to call them “films” after you’ve convinced me that art is BAD) with tidy solutions and charismatic characters without much depth to cheer for (like I’m watching a football game or the US going to war) so I can leave the theater feeling hyped up on my own ability to become a superwomen when I get into arguments or fist fights.

    Clearly you managed to completely miss what I was talking about. Maybe I should have left complexity at the door.

    So, you win.

    kitty_tc said:

    neuroticadevine: Where is the complexity you speak of in A3? It’s certainly not in the plot, or the character development, both of which are beyond formulaic and well into the realm of cliche. I find it strange that you criticize the character depth and development of Aliens when it’s characters could at least be told apart, in contrast to the interchangeable cyphers present in A3. Honestly, I wonder if you’re at all a horror fan at all, because you seem to lack any conception on how a horror cast, or a horror film, works. You do realize that long development arcs for all the victim characters simply aren’t possible in a horror film, right? That the characters must be presented quickly, tell the audience about themselves in action with very sparse opportunities for exposition, and make the audience feel like they know them enough to care for them in mere snapshots of screen time? And the larger the cast, the less time you have to do it in. The original Alien had no more real character development than Aliens, though it had fewer characters and slower pacing (which by modern standards tends to drag in places), allowing for a bit longer exposition time. Still, I don’t see how Parker or Brett or Dallas or Lambert are any deeper than Apone, Hudson, Vasquez, Gorman, or Burke. And all of them were vastly better developed, even in the sketchwork development model of a horror film, than the literally interchangeable cast of A3.

    Horror films are not art films. Nor is the “art” of a film the be-all end-all of how it should be judged. Apparantly the set design and stylistic bleakness of A3 appealed to you, but it seems to have blinded you to the massive failure of it’s storytelling. And while some films are indeed made simply as art, you seem to forget that the primary function of moviemaking is visual storytelling. And from a writing perspective, A3 failed on virtually every level.

    Worse, even in your supposed surrender you cannot avoid the pretentious and arrogant position that your “art” sensibilities are superior and that everyone who doesn’t agree with you is an ignorant troglodyte and an unwashed mensch. You never acknowledge that your tastes might be artificially narrow and reeking of an overinflated ego, and you never seem to even consider that genres or styles outside your vaunted “high art” could have merit or intellectual validity.

    The term that comes to mind is “art snob”. It’s not a flattering one. And before accusing me of failing to understand complexity, perhaps you should consider your lack of an open mind as more germane to the discussion at hand.

    Well, I started out with a clear opening statement in response to your comments… one which you have since ignored. What followed in my comments was about Aliens compared to Alien. With occasional nods to the areas where referring to Alien 3 seemed relevant to me. You have instead beat the same drum through this quasi-dialogue and continue to. “Alien 3 is awful compared to Aliens.”

    Beyond that, your strange flailings regarding movies not being an art form are way over my head. Perhaps when I grew up, the “Art” movie section in my video store inadvertantly blended with the “Horror” movie section that was next to it. I’ll try to keep those two separated in the future. (Oh, by the way, I never saw ANY artistic pretensiousness in Cameron’s Vietnam war elegy. Perhaps they should have put Aliens in the “War Movie” section?)

    I’ll post a review I found online… clearly Cameron’s movie has inspired intellectual analysis as if it’s some kind of art film:

    “In the Us vs. Them framework, Us stands as the United States military and, by implication, the capitalist system it protects. Them stands for anything un-American, unfamiliar, alien. One Marine makes the connection explicit when he anachronistically jokes about “illegal aliens.” As propaganda symbols, the Aliens do even better than Rambo’s Asians, because the Aliens are generic, applicable to any foreign policy need.

    Viewers may forgive these militaristic aspects of ALIENS because the film presents strong female characters. We do see some positive portrayals, though they do not challenge male ideology.”

    Wait… didn’t I already say, you won? You won, you won, you won!

    kitty_tc said:

    ND: Wait, you’re telling me that the militarism in Aliens is a turnoff to you because it glorifies a rightwing macho worldview, a la the later Rambo films? I’m sorry, but you seem to have completely missed the point of the film, which is actually quite the opposite.

    The Marines go in gung ho and overconfident, putting their faith in big guns and their own ability to kick ass, and don’t even want to listen to Ripley at all –in fact, they mock her as well as dismissing her. They’re the Colonial Marines! They don’t need to look before they leap, it’s by the book military procedure all the way. And what happens? They’re quickly and shatteringly proven WRONG. Their faith in their technology and their ability to conquer all blows up in their faces. Their strategy fails, their command structure breaks down, and it’s up to Ripley to cut through the bullshit and rescue them from their own debacle. And at every point thereafter, she acts as the voice of reason and practical leadership, which to the credit of the remaining few Marines, they actually learn to listen to. At every point in the film, testosterone tactics fail and it’s the practical thinking of Ripley and even Newt , the little girl, that gets anything done.

    Even the final fight between Ripley and the Queen isn’t testosterone, it’s pure estrogen. Ripley’s metaphor at that point is the mother lion fighting to protect her cub, and it’s perfectly fitting. Real mothers will face impossible odds and their own deaths to save their children, and given the mother-daughter bonding between Newt and Ripley that’s established in the film (the extended version, with the subplot of Ripley’s own daughter’s death enhances this angle further) it fits perfectly.

    But I digress. Honestly, if there’s a moral in the militarism of the film, it’s not “military = awesome!”, it’s that placing too much faith in military might is foolish. Testosterone-dripping overconfidence is shown as mere hubris, predicating utter failure. Saner, more practical heads must prevail if anything is to be accomplished. I think it’s a message you might find appealing, if you stuck with the film in order to find it.

    Forgive me, though, for having missed your reference to Alien as being a better comparison piece than A3, because honestly that’s a much better argument. I cannot truly say that Aliens was better than Alien, though my personal preference leans towards the latter. Both films are masterpieces in their own way, and I can certainly see how the former fits your preferences better. Honestly, I can think of few if any bad things to say about the first film, it’s virtually perfect. In fact, what I feel distinguishes Aliens from the remaining sequels and most sequels in general is it’s refusal to fall into the trap of attempting to recreate the original. By the time Aliens came out, the Alien formula had been replicated ad nauseum, and instead of trying to do it one more time Cameron chose to take it someplace completely different. And it worked. It’s a completely different film from the original, and yet it keeps the continuity perfectly. It’s a great example of how to do a sequel right.

    Again, I can’t argue against the original Alien. The atmosphere, the visuals, the tone, everything is amazing. And for all the attempts to copy it, it still stands alone as one of the most perfectly disturbing and horrifying visions ever put to film. And from a purely artistic perspective, it certainly stands above more action-oriented fare as Aliens.

    However, I contend that Aliens was as perfect an example of filmmaking as Alien was, but it had different goals and a different style in achieving it. Aliens was certainly the more exciting of the two, and is no less intellectually satisfying or well-crafted. It’s a different kind of ride, and to me it’s more satisfying as it delivers greater emotional ups and downs and a more positive resolution, providing a strong payoff. It’s certainly more cathartic than the first film, which is intended to leave a bad aftertaste as part of it’s disturbing package.

    Both films did what they intended to do with perfect execution. One may fit your personal preferences a bit more and the other mine, but neither “sucked” in any way. Both did exactly what they intended to do and did it very, very well.

    The biggest difference between us would seem to be what we value in film. For you, it is clearly the artistic elements, and for me it is the storytelling. That is especially clear in our feelings about A3, where you are willing to forgive it’s storytelling flaws because you admired it’s atmospherics and it’s ability to move you with it’s tone, visuals, and theme, and I by contrast failed to pay heed to those elements because I was completely taken out of the experience by the massive trainwreck of a story.

    In closing, I ask you forgive my overaggressiveness. Aliens is, bar none, my absolute favorite film. I’ve seen it no less than 100 times, have the bulk of it memorized, and was deeply influenced by it. I’ve perhaps internalized it a bit too much, and I took attacks against it personally when I obviously should not. I apologize for attacking you in return.

    In exchange, I would hope you might consider viewing it again with the points I raised in mind. I think you might enjoy it more if you viewed it from a bit of a different mindset about it, and if so, you might come to enjoy it as I have. I’ll try to look at A3 a bit differently to see if I can appreciate what you got out of it, as well.

    I don’t want to “win”, because we’re not enemies. And once again, sorry for going on the attack as I did.

    September 14, 2007

    neuroticadivine said:

    I’ve seen Alien about as many times.

    In all fairness to you, I appreciate Aliens in a way, but you are correct in indicating that we value different things and different styles in movies. Having been in the industry for years and having watched movies avidly for as long as I can remember, I’ve come to a place of zero tolerence. Meaning, when I don’t like a movie, I usually really don’t like it! When I’m pushed, I begrudgingly admit that these movies do have aspects that I respect. I am especially vicious in my disrespect for movies I dislike, when I feel they had more potential in conception than they lived up to.

    As I indicated before, I think my disappointment with Alien 3 is tempered by the fact that they may have failed, but what they were going for seemed like it’d make a great movie. So, Ironically, even while it failed, I give it more leeway than I do Aliens… which, admittedly was a much better crafted movie… just one not to my liking.

    I appreciate the perspective toward military might that Cameron explores. I didn’t miss the aspects you described. They remind me a bit of Starship Troopers in the irony and critique of a military force. But even while I appreciate that aspect, I get angered by what I consider to be a weak realization of those ideas in his hands. It’s terribly frustrating for me to watch money being spent and movies being made that, I feel, don’t fully rise to the occasion.

    It’d be hard to fully explain my disdain for Aliens to someone like yourself who clearly adores the movie. Likewise, Alien is one of my all time favorite movies and I’d be hard to convince me that it failed in hardly any way. Hence our butting heads. Alien 3 is a mess, for better or for worse… I think we’ve established that.

    Perhaps we should compare these to Alien Resurrection now since that is what this forum is supposed to be about!!

    September 24, 2007

    Ak!mbo said:

    Alien is an incredible horror / sci fi flick with underlying cyberpunk ideas and some aestethics thrown in, because they’re cool.
    Aliens is an action / horror flick, because it has monsters in it and big guns.
    Alien 3 could have been so much more than the farse it stands as today, a poor attempt at going back to the now established series’ roots gone horribly wrong.
    Alien: Ressurection is basically Aliens 2.
    The movie is less intelligent than Alien, less frightening, less interesting and much more shallow than Alien, but it delivers the Aliens package to a younger audience. The tech is upgraded, the language is updated there are more hawt chick in it and shit blows up, it’s basically the perfect Alien flick for its time and its audience.
    Of course, fans of the old films (I can’t even remember the first time I saw Alien, though I remember not sleeping for a week afterwards) are going to be disappointed, but hey, it can’t be worse than Alien 3, right? At least now, with the current movie trends and the endless run of remakes and sudden sequels to old series’, we knew what we were in for.

    October 9, 2007

    stunned said:

    I can’t believe how badly Alien3 is getting bashed on here immediately after a review and comments that give any kind of credence whatsoever to Resurrection, which - like AVP - really should NOT be seen as part of the series. Whatever your feelings may be on the artistic - or entertainment - merits of Alien 1-3, there was an underlying logic to the development of the Alien, the character development, (specifically Ripley) and the development of the narrative. All of that was thrown right out the window with Resurrection. It was actually quite disrespectful to the rest of the series - more of a pastiche than a sequel - culminating in the risible appearance of the alien baby at the end.

    Rightly or wrongly, Alien3 brought the whole story to a very neat close and there could not have been any clearer messages that this was the END of the story - or at least of Ripley’s story - than all those visuals of doors closing and bolting at the end of Fincher’s film, (oh … and, of course the visual of her falling to her death into a huge vat of molten lead). END …. OF … STORY.

    So let’s not pretend Alien Resurrection was anything other than what it was : a crass attempt at raking in more cash from a successful franchise and a huge exercise in ego-boosting for co-producer Sigourney Weaver and her flagging career. Joss Whedon has as good as admitted this was purely a cash job, (he seems pretty embarassed talking about it), and his only original guideline was “it has to have Sigourney Weaver in it”, (not a good starting point). Even one of the key producers of the series, David Giler, has disowned it - or at least does not connect it with the series, (”this is going to ruin the franchise, but they insisted on making it. They have their film and we have ours”).

    If you like the film, good luck to you. I like trash sometimes too. But I’m with David Giler on this one. Whatever you may think of Alien3, at least it felt like it belonged with the series stylistically and thematically and added to the mythology. Alien Resurrection does not. It is strictly for suckers.

    October 10, 2007

    Sveinung H. S. said:

    The rationale on how Ripley was ‘impregnated’ in Alien3, was that Newt was facehugged during captivity in Aliens. Then, during stasis, Newt’s cryochamber was flooded, and the not-fully-developed queen alien escaped through Newt’s mouth, burned its way through the both chambers, and crawled down Ripley’s throat to fully develop.

    As for the cloning debacle in Resurrection, I think the thing was that even the last clone attempt of Ripley was a failure like the former attempts. This one, like the others was a combination of alien and human, despite the two ending up with each their separated bodies, unlike the discarded attempts.
    Some think that the alien assumes some feats from the host. I think this movie plays further upon that. If the alien assumes some characteristics from the host, it would ofcourse do so on the genetic level. If some of the host’s DNA is assumed by the alien embryo, that would make it difficult to separate the human DNA from the Alien DNA out of a mixed sample. Atleast all of it. BUT: The clone they made was based on blood recovered from the prison, probably when she was shot on the platform over the molten lead. SHE was wounded, not the alien embryo! Thus, the blood would not contain any of the embryo’s DNA. We’re then left with the tiny little loose-end-string that says that the host also assumes DNA from the alien embryo. This is not a characteristic that we humans have. Despite what the health fanatics state, we are not what we eat. So either way, the story doesn’t add up.
    On a sidenote, I really enjoyed Alien3. The story aside; the setting, character performances, sets and effects all added something new to the series. It seems to belong in the series, yes, and Resurrection does not.

    Second: AVP. there are so many things wrong with that steaming pile of crap, I don’t know where to start, but anyway. Let’s start with time. Combining Alien series and Predator series, you must base the combination on BOTH established timelines. AVP happens in our present age. In our present age, in Predator and Predator 2, the technological level of the Predators is established. You can’t suddenly make them super-advanced. I’m surprised they didn’t wield lightsabers. Also, in the movies, it is VERY CLEARLY EXPRESSED that Predators cannot stand the cold. “They only come in the warmest of summers” and all that. Why the hell would they go to the coldest places on earth? On that note, that pyramid belongs in Latin America, where the temperature would be more to the Predator liking, so I REALLY don’t understand the choice of location.
    AVP is stealing much from the comic, the brilliant comic, in the predator accepting the human female as a hunter at the end. So instead of making the crap they did, why not filmize the comic? It was as adaptable to film as anything they could have cooked up, and closely links with established lore. The comic was sold out and out of production for ages, but is now released in a collection called “Aliens vs Predator: Omnibus vol1.” So if you haven’t read it, do so, and you will see what I mean.

    As far as I’m concerned, AVP does not belong in the Alien series, or the Predator series. In fact, it does not belong at all. It is as close to non-existant to me, if it hadn’t been for the loads of scorn I hold for it. So, sorry for dumping some of that here, but you seem a knowledgable sort.

    Sveinung, Norway.

    November 6, 2007

    Cpl. Dwayne Hicks said:

    If only Michael Biehn was in this one!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 19, 2007

    Luke'em said:

    Wow, I can’t believe the heated debates Alien and Aliens still raises. Look at neuroticadivine and kitty_tc. Very interesting points. I do not agree with neuro’s feelings concerning Aliens. I’m very much a fan of Cameron’s work. I see where kitty’s “elitism” comments came from. Too many critics are too critical in terms of what art is. Why can’t an action film, a horror film or even a comedy be art? Cameron has in a roundabout way made the action genre artistic… just as Woody Allen and many others helped make the comedy genre such a respected genre. It’s amateur filmmakers, such as Michael Bay who have kept this great genre in the B-movie section. Most of Cameron’s work has always been A-quality. Aliens is a masterpiece, sorely different from its somewhat stocky, somewhat boring, somewhat placid predecessor. But that is my opinion. Personally, I agree with one critic who wrote that Aliens is so good that it puts Scott’s Alien in prequel status, raising up to become the true original in the series.

    Elitism to me is due on part to the underdog sensibilities we all have, whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not. It’s a theory but it works. Ridley Scott has never won an Oscar. Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar either. Does this mean we should value Ridley’s work as much as Hitchcock’s? No. I’m afraid the man is talented, but Scott’s never been THAT talented. Hitch still knew when he had a good script, a good story and great characters, he had a great film. Those elements are essential for any film, artistic or entertainment. Citizen Kane would not be Citizen Kane (#1 Great) if Kane wasn’t such a strong character, the story wasn’t as well realized by Welles (it doesn’t have any holes of any kind), and the script wasn’t so darn sharp.

    So, why can’t we say that Cameron’s work hasn’t been in the least bit artistic. The man has an eye. As his trusted buddy, Will Wisher once stated, Cameron always tries everything he make what appears on screen look right and about 98% of the time, James Cameron is absolutely right. I agree with that statement. I’ve heard people call him pretentious, bloated, even manipulative. Well if he’s succeeded in doing all of those things in such a colorful, steady career, I say give the man a prize. And he sure got a few back in ‘98. Each one was well worth it.

    Face it, Alien 3 was a mess. In fact, the movie was such a mess, David Fincher refused to even put a commentary to it. I don’t blame him. I’m sure if he could, Fincher would pay to have his name taken off the film. But like with Cameron and Pirahna II: The Spawning, everyone has to start somewhere. That POS was not Cameron’s entire fault. Neither was Alien 3 entirely Fincher’s fault. Studios rushed the movie into production before they even had a concept that worked. In fact, David Giler didn’t even want to make another sequel. This is a terrible beginning for any film… see the story behind Cleopatra. But then they decide to kill off two great principal characters, Newt and Hicks. Guess what. Only Ripley is back to battle the aliens. Let’s not forget the ol’ something or someone jumping out of the darkness to pick people off one at a time. Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers anyone? If this doesn’t stand out as cliche, I don’t know what does. Think of the neat characteristics Fincher could’ve brought to the characters of Hicks and Newt had the execs at Fox not killed them. And quite simply, the writers had no imagination. So many great concepts in the Alien mythos was created after Aliens. They gave birth to an Alien/dragon hybrid in the game. That was awesome when I first saw it. But unfortunately, this sweet idea was still featured in a dumb video game. As for Newt, I would’ve personally given her some kind of teenage mercenary role, where she’s hitching across the galaxy on transport ships and what not. I mean, does this series really have to completely revolve around Lt. Ellen Ripley. Why not change it to Rebecca Jordan Aka. Newt?

    James Cameron mastered the role of Ripley. Think back in Alien. When she is strapping herself to that chair, she is singing “You are My Lucky Star.” That’s something you would expect a mother to sing to her child in the future isn’t it (especially the way she was singing it)? Then Cameron gave her a child. Whether it’s the theatrical version or special edition, the truth is Newt is Ripley’s surrogate daughter. No matter what, this concept brings a lot more emotional depth to the role. Not only that but it also helps the viewer better understand the “bugs” or “xenomorphs” or aliens we see attacking our heroes.

    The truth is Cameron, Spielberg and even Lucas have inspired countless impersonators. Some have faired to be pretty good. Gore Verbinski and even Tony Scott come to mind. Then there are the lousy copycats; such as, Bay. But Cameron has left his own artistic mark on filmmaking. I believe that Cameron has the same brains and know-how as Hitchcock ever did. His talents are just of a different type.

    I think this is especially humorous given that it is all posted on the Alien Resurrection section of the site… and that film is almost never mentioned in the discussions!

    Some key words and phrases in your contribution here Luke’em: Elitism. Underdog. Artistic (”The man has an eye.”) “… look right about 98% of the time.” “… mastered the role of Ripley.”

    Elitism. I never get this aspect of any debate Seems like it’s just name calling for “Opinion.” If you prefer a film for its “cheesy” aspect or its “high art” aspect… it’s the same thing, isn’t it? It’s just a preference. I’ve never seen one genre as inherently more “artistic” than another. I love Barbarella. Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls… etc.

    Underdog. I see what you are saying… I’ve also never really valued awards for any reason since they are just a group of people, not unlike us… with opinions who give out statuettes. I think “underdog” in your comments really refers more to “originality.” Something oft forgotten in these discussions is this simple aspect. Admittedly, being first isn’t better automatically… nor is being first synonymous with originality either. I would like to state however, that creativity is about choice. And Scott chose Giger’s design and stuck by him throughout the struggle of realizing that design. Let’s not forget this monumental choice. (Some would counter referencing Cameron’s Queen. Well, frankly, I hated this design. As a biologist once explained to me, an insect would collapse under its own weight if it was enlarged to a human scale. Cameron’s Queen design suffers from this… as well as many other design flaws.)

    How many times have we loved movies only to discover they were done previously by a filmmaker who actually stepped off the ledge… took that initial risk with a whole new type of movie for the first time? “The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.” It is a long history of people who took risks and never received awards. Orson Welles is but one of many who got crushed in the process. Blade Runner anyone? There is a part of me that needs to be respectful of those who take those daring initial risks. Cameron just doesn’t fit into this category for me. I mean, what has this man really created that wasn’t largely borrowed? Big boat doomed to sink? Perhaps Abyss… but that movie stinks, doesn’t it? I just can’t put him in the same league as Spielberg or Lucas. And I hate both those directors… but I’ll admit their originality. And yes, I do realize there are strong similarities between Alien and It.

    Artistic (”The man has an eye.”) Unfortunately, as much as I agree that Cameron’s movies are visually competent… I also know that Hollywood is filled with DPs who, provided you pay them enough and give them enough lights and time to light, can make any director look good. Think of some amazing visual movies whose director’s suck… yes, there are tons of them.

    “… look right about 98% of the time.” Herein lies the rub. Scott’s visuals are great, but watching Blade Runner again… man, does he mess things up some times. Who added the damn unicorn? But perhaps, expertise and vision are different things. A craftsman can be spectacularly skilled at getting things “right.” But do you want a craftsman to make movies? Clearly most investors would prefer it! (Also, if you look closely at the film… the 2% is clearly on screen… they spent so much time making more stuff, more aliens, that the quality of the art department and prosthetics department suffers visibly.)

    “… mastered the role of Ripley.” I’ll return to comments I made previously. How original is it for Cameron to turn Ripley back into the stereotype woman? Woman = Mother. It’s like he reversed Women’s Lib in one fell swoop. Making her a mother is the most obvious choice. What made the Alien script a bit more unique (although Scott may have had nothing to do with it) was the fact that the women were not shown as characters of gender. I seem to recall in 1979 many reviews commenting on how unusual it was to have a female lead role. To this day, we still have imitators who forget that gender is not necessarily the most important aspect of having a woman be the lead character.

    I’d call this script choice basically short hand. It relies on knee jerk emotions to establish bonds between characters to allow for more time shooting guns and creating fireworks. But, hey… I know I’m in the minority here… I hate “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the same knee jerk emotions aspect. Spielberg, ditto. I just prefer emotions that are more complex than that… emotions where I’m perhaps a bit conflicted about how exactly to feel about what the characters are doing

    Here’s my own word to kick around, vision. I think I prefer Alien or any film in my top 100 list, mostly for this reason. It doesn’t have to be first. It doesn’t have to be elitist. It doesn’t need to be in a respected genre. But, within its own parameters, taking it on its own terms, it needs to be the best it can be in all ways. It needs to top itself. And if it doesn’t… at least it needed to try. Michael Bay and James Cameron suffer from the, make it better by providing MORE, philosophy. What they can’t provide in depth and complexity of vision, they make up for with excess. Floundering to make it better, they just make more of it.

    You get a project to direct. The sequel to Alien. What do you do? You have to top it, of course. But what did Cameron really contribute here? What originality do we see? Vietnam references that fall apart when you actually follow them through? Frankly, these seem like the most irresponsible aspects of his story for that very reason. Let’s sprinkle in Vietnam… but never really deal with what that means in the story. We’re talking Vietnam here! Not an reference to use lightly. Making a woman character, a surrogate mother? Is that an original idea? Making a queen Alien which couldn’t stand up under its own weight in reality? I know it’s just a movie… but logic needs to apply regardless.

    James Cameron is a craftsman. And a very skilled one. But he’s nothing more than that. And Aliens suffers greatly from this. Disclaimer: That’s just my opinion.

    June 14, 2008

    Klaw said:

    Okay I’m going to throw in my 2 cents. Firstly, Neuroticadivine, how exactly is making Ripley a mother figure somehow destroying a feminist character? Are feminists or feminine power mutually exclusive from reproductive rights? Are they supposed to act like men to be truly self-sufficient? I think the issue with Aliens in terms of the mother storyline (which of course shoots down the whole cool “mother” computer program from Alien… or maybe plays on that) is that it seems gimmicky. The whole planet is about to blow up and she’s going back into the structure? I remember seeing in this in theaters and thinking… oh god, Rambo. (Cameron directed Rambo 2 btw) But the thing of it is, it still works. Aliens I agree with some of the naysayers was cheesy, campy, corny, one-liner popcorn material… and quite frankly is one of the most influential films on all forms of media today from film to TV to video games. Juraissic Park and Halo are two famous examples. I happen to love Aliens… for lots of reasons.

    Firstly Cameron is an FX guy. I don’t mean, someone who relies on FX, he was an actual model builder. That was how he got into movie making, and the handbuilt models in Terminator are very similar to Aliens… old school camera work. So he does lack in direction on many fronts… from leading actors to writing fully fleshed out scripts. Secondly he made Aliens on a shoestring… 10 million I believe which would be considered almost an indie flick. So much of this film is low budget but looks high end, like the atomic detonation on the planet was done with cotton, and a light bulb on a fader switch. (quickly pushed up to light it and slowly pulled back) Also this was a great cast… and “default lawyer = evil” character aside, Paul Reiser is such an annoying actor and personality it just was kismet that he played a lawyer with a mullet that was a weasle. As for shallow “Vietnam allegory” I disagree. It’s not suggesting the Viet Cong were aliens, or “others” or somehow dehumanizes them… the very act of war is a natural state of doing this very thing. The Iraq war (since we haven’t learned from Viet Nam or Aliens apparently) is the perfect example. Bomb some target with smart bombs, but when you have to get up and personal… all your high end technology doesn’t guarantee military superiority, which was the heart of the Aliens story. Ripley has to use a loader, LOW END technology, to defeat the Alien queen, not uber weapons. Anyway, to me it’s priceless dialogue, and is very similar to Apocalypse Now in that it’s an anti-war war movie. It criticizes war while simultaneously exploiting a sense of pleasure from the act of going to war. (see the Ride of the Valkyries chopper moment in AN) Finally to address some other criticisms… yes it would have been nice to have Giger do design work, but he is absurdly expensive. Cameron had no choice. His Alien Queen design while maybe unwieldy and unrealistic (the head armor is supposed to mimic a chess piece) you can hardly argue the alien design represents “pure function”… with a tubular giant head that is purely biomechanical design of Giger, who hardly can be called a “realistic” designer. The aliens are meant to be surreal and terrifying nightmare visions. Finally, the complaint the queen is giving birth, the original Alien has the ship laying the eggs, as if made by a giant egg making machine… yet had a pilot that had it’s chest burst. THere’s some logic discrepancies in Alien too so… keep that in mind.

    Ok that’s my “defense of Cameron and Aliens”. Cameron has become something of a megalomaniac since the success of Titanic, but he does have some great cyberpunk flicks in our future so… bash him all you want, he has the cajones and skills to bring a lot of stories to film that would never have in reality without him.

    Alien 3… as much as I love David Fincher’s work, this was definitely a mess. Although interesting to consider the alien creatures have adaptive DNA that takes on characteristics of it’s host… the whole prison/monk ultra low tech seemed far too much a response to Aliens rather than making a story worthy of itself alone. I also thought the fact Bishop was based on the exact features of his designer… which is completely stolen from Star Trek TNG… combined with a melodramatic swan dive into molten lead… was just weak writing, as in they had an interesting moody concept, and then just didn’t know how to finish it.

    And finally back to SFAM’s review here… I agree that the visuals and concepts behind this were interesting and probably make this the really only cyberpunk film of the series… but the acting was pretty atrocious with the exception of Sigourney. Brad Dourf is usually pretty good but was definitely over the top… and Ron Perlman I thought was over the top too. Clearly Winona sucks so no need to bash her… but her character was clearly written to be a “shock and awe” surprise turn, it’s just a poorly written character IMO. So I really blame some cheesy writing and some direction that I think pushed actors to be a little too campy, Weaver being the only one to take that to mean “have some fun” not “be a douche”. Overall I agree an improvement over the turd that is Alien 3… but Alien 4 is a bit of an abortion, so to speak. Birthing a baby white elephant pumpkinhead with soulful eyes just made me nauseous, I dunno, call me superficial. For me it does have interesting scifi implications, but ultimately I do want a story that is cohesive that keeps me immersed in the world created, and this did it’s best to keep kicking me out of that immersion with every clunky plot turn and scene chewing bit of acting.

    July 11, 2008

    Tyrvald said:

    Alien was pure horrific art! Such terror it seemed would be inevitable when traversing an unforgiving galaxy. I adored the cat and cared for every human on the Nostromo. As the series continued, Sigourney Weaver single handedly maintained a sense of believability. While character disambiguation receded, so did our sense of both claustrophobia and isolation. I cannot express my relative dissatisfaction without spoilers, so please stop reading this!

    Giger was the true source of the most frightening creature ever portrayed on film, and only he could have properly expanded our understanding of its biology. The queen would have had a terrible appetite, her chamber built up with human bones. Her drones might have been shown carrying eggs to a specialized room lined with victims, where leftover corpses are half eaten, the best parts brought back for mom. I doubt she could have fit in an elevator, not to say the Power Loader battle isn’t an exiting climax!

    Newt, a capable yet vulnerable child, was the only other character who could have survived more Aliens, yet the resolution of this second story is incomprehensibly thrown down the in-sink-erator. I managed to appreciate this third film for its dreary atmosphere and thematic gloom. Giger worked hard on redesign for Alien 3, but was half ignored and not given proper credit. Fuck!

    When Ripley attempts to make damn sure that the company won’t ever get a specimen to Earth, she is improbably and disrespectfully brought back from the dead, only to end up brutally murdering her own freak baby; an eventuality which honestly just made me sad for the both of them. This doesn’t really end her story, unless I’m to believe her clone went to Earth and simply retired.

    It was cool to see aliens swimming and Weaver held this shit together, but effects and violence don’t frighten me. This has only led to the drivel that is Alien v.s. Predator, and the ridiculous green thing in Requiem that goes around making out with people. Perhaps the Alien has been resurrected too many times…

    December 7, 2008

    Aphex said:

    Ever read the books?

    There is no facehugger aboard - Newt’s already been infected when Ripley manages to save her in Aliens…

    December 8, 2008

    Sveinung H. S. said:

    Read up, Aphex.
    We’ve covered that already :P

    zenseeker said:

    Newt was never infected, they did an autopsy on her and found no alien.

    December 16, 2008

    Anonymous said:

    lol no dount mayb in the books but in the movie of aliens i only have one contraversy how the fuck did 1 face hugger lay to eggs one in a ox and the other in ripley am i missing something?

    Anonymous said:

    lol no dount mayb in the books but in the movie of aliens i only have one contraversy how the fuck did 1 face hugger lay to eggs one in a ox and the other in ripley am i missing something?

    December 24, 2008

    Aphex said:

    Ripley was infected with a queen at some point between (or possibly even during) Aliens and Alien3. Newt may well have been infected when they first encountered her, or more likely when she was taken to the Implantation chamber after falling into the cooling system. The Facehugger aboard the Marine’s lifeboat likely didn’t infect any of them - it started the fire and then, after the lifeboat crashed, implanted the corpse of the Ox.

    Later novels/graphic novels (and indeed the awful mess that was AVP2) show that the Xenomorph takes on characteristics from its host (i.e. the Predalien). I would’ve liked to see a proportionally-bigger specimen resulting from the Ox’s implantation - much like the Crocodile-Alien in the DC Comics Batman/Aliens crossover; which was the size of a school bus. :S

    October 26, 2009

    Sturmpioneer said:

    Just saw the movie (mostly) while channel flipping and after first seeing it at the theatres at time of release. I distinctly remeber not enjoying it that much in the theatre but I think it has aged well. A great movie, no but definitely watchable.

    One thing I’d like to bring up which may be covered above is the fact the onboard computer of the main ship is called “Father”. Definitely supports all the earlier comments regarding matriarchal versus patriarchal roles.

    December 2, 2009

    Rawmekk said:

    Rawmekk said:

    Rawmekk said:

    ..the fuck?

    Rawmekk said:

    Rawmekk said:

    Oh gosh, srry SFAM. But I can’t see my looong comment T_T

    I hope you can see it! Didn’t want to spam, if anyone can see it. Well, if so, have fun deleting the duplicates.

    Greetz and keep up the awesome reviewing work.

    December 26, 2011

    pl3453 understand th1s said:

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