Since Prometheus, a movie I’m obviously not excited for, is opening this Friday, I am going to review the four main Alien movies from worst to best (conveniently, they run in reverse order of release). I will not even begin to review those god awful Alien Vs. Predator movies because, in my mind, those do not exist (and I am a lot happier that way).
Let’s start off with the first and the worst film I will review; Alien Resurrection
I want to like this movie. I really do. The premise is pretty interesting, for starters. Ripley has been dead for 200 years, and her body is cloned. They take out an alien that was growing inside of her to study and, well, experiment with. Apart from that stupid concept, the idea that she’s been brought to life (well, it is a clone and not the real Ripley but whatever) and that human stupidity brought the danger of the alien race back means that we may have an awesome film like the second installment Aliens. I mean, there’s no way it would be a horror film like the first in the series, so at least we will have some intense action right? Wrong. Cameron’s film was teetering on the edge of being incredibly cheesy, but it remained fun and thrilling. This film, however, is not even cheesy. Cheesy is too nice of a way to put it. This film is like rotting cheese. It is such an eyesore at times with the worst effects in the series yet. I mean, if a film from the seventies has better effects than a film from the nineties, what the hell should we make of that?
Sigourney Weaver just seems tired at this point. I don’t mean tired as in aged, because she’s still running the show, even now in recent films. She seems tired of being Ripley. She’s tired of being the same person over and over again with nothing accomplished. A character like James Bond is different, because they, while also featuring re-occuring characters, are more down to earth and have more moderate missions (that’s saying a lot, if you keep in mind some of the missions James Bond has had to complete), so every film feels finished and like a job well done. With the Alien series, Ripley is struggling almost all of the time, and she is determined, forceful, and going all in all of the time. There is no break for a quick martini or some fun. If you’re not killing an alien race, you’re busy dying, and frankly Ripley feels like an outer shell of the real Ripley we came to know and love in the first two films. She started off scared and in the dark in the first film, and she ended the second film with the courage of no other. In Alien Resurrection, she just seems like a drone, and whether or not she was supposed to (seeing as she is a clone), she still wasn’t enough to be a leader.
Then we have Winona Ryder as Call; A human who isn’t really a human but is instead an android. The problem with Ryder is that she is either terrific (here and there) or she misses the mark, and here she missed the mark entirely. Being a good android is tough, yes, because there is a fine line between being a good robot and being just bland, but she didn’t even try. It was as if I was watching Girl, Interrupted in space. She had the same expressions, the same reactions, the same tone of voice, everything. I know she can do better because I’ve seen her do better, so I have no idea what went wrong here. Unless… No, it couldn’t be. Or, could it? Before I reveal what nonsense I’m going on about, let me think for a second.
Alien 3-David Fincher
Alien Resurrection-Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Ah of course. It is all about the directing. Scott helped define modern day science fiction, Cameron is known for his epic films, Fincher (while having a rough start with this film) is reknown for his expertise in making thriller films. Jean-Pierre Jeunet is not a bad director, but he did not, and has not, made a film like Alien Resurrection ever. He does not seem qualified to make a science fiction film, but hey, at least he tried… kind of. It really feels like he did not know where to start with this film, because the acting is all over the place and the visuals are either boring and uninspired or just downright laughable. Could you blame him though, with such a bad script? Where does one begin with the horrible lines in this film? We won’t.
I’ve done nothing but complain about the film and yet I haven’t given it the worst score, and here is why. While this film is terrible, and it is boring (at times it’s laughably bad), you can sense that there was some effort here. Everybody just seemed lost. In fact, the movie is a bit admirable because the movie itself feels exactly how the behind the scenes went. Sigourney Weaver was the only person familiar with the concept and the story, and yet she’s not herself anymore (or entirely there). Everybody else is trying to get the movie out of her, but it gets out of control and suddenly everything becomes a mess. She’s not strong enough to carry the movie alone, and yet she is forced to. That alien growing inside of her was screwed around with, and the final result was not a good one. She tried to hold onto the last shred of dignity the Alien franchise had, but it was no use. In the end, everybody was lost and confused, and the only veteran there really couldn’t give less of a shit to be there. You can see and sense everybody feeling stranded and helpless, and suddenly this terrible movie becomes one you kind of care about. It isn’t the worst ending to a series by all means, and was it really expected to be good?
If you are curious about watching this film, go ahead. It may annoy you at parts, but some of it, when it is boring and allowing you to think freely and get lost in a day dream or two, will remind you of the exact scenario the filmmakers and actors were in while shooting this. As a resurrection of the series, it does a horrendous job, but it doesn’t kill the series either. Nothing will be as much of a mockery of the Alien franchise quite like the Alien Vs. Predator films. In comparison, this film is weak but still one you want to attach yourself to. Whether you should or not is obvious, but we can’t help feeling sorry once in a while.