Moving right along, let’s get to the second worst of the series, Alien 3. This may be a bit strange, seeing as the story line will be told in reverse throughout these reviews, but whatever.
I’m not sure if this film is a terrible one. In fact, a lot of it is pretty admirable. The special effects and the cinematography/camera work are, without question, phenomenal. Newcomer David Fincher really threw himself out there as quickly as possible, showing the world that hey, this guy can keep up. To be fair, he definitely did. He brought a human side out of Ellen Ripley that was minimized in the second film (and completely void in the fourth), and the concept, while a bit bland, is not too bad. Characters from the second film have been launched via escape pod and one of the members seems to have brought along an alien specimen of some sort. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Apart from the fourth film, yes it does. In fact, it sounds like a more drastic version of what happened to John Hurt in the first film (no escape pods and fires). Immediately, the action from the second film is brought into this one, and you can already tell that this film is going to be full of momentum (just like the second one). This film carries on the same rock n’ roll vibe (of which Fincher doesn’t really return to again until his remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which was just grand), so at least this one has some sort of entertainment.
So, what went wrong? It looks great, the pacing is well done and Ellen Ripley is on top of her game here. Well, the problem with this film, kind of like the fourth installment, is that there was a lot of issues going on behind the camera. Apparently the script was not even finished when shooting had started, and many higher ups were pushing for your usual Hollywood bullshit to be featured in this film. Apparently the third Alien film, being a return to what was an outstanding series, had to keep the public interested, and having been released a number of years later, I’m guessing the higher ups started freaking out.
Obviously, knowing Fincher now, we have come to realize that he is a passionate filmmaker. He loves what he makes, even when it is just okay. The amount of work he puts into just the releases of his films alone is proof that this guy truly treats his movies like his children. If that’s him now, after being established as a well known and respected director, imagine what it was like when he was just starting out. Here he is, having his directorial debut, and he is about to have his name become synonymous with such a brilliant series. I’m guessing he really got furious during this production, and my presumption is through how much of the film is based on what James Cameron would have liked, how much is based on what the higher ups would have liked (just to shut them up), and how little was based on what Fincher wanted. Looking at his usual style, his pacing and visuals are there, sure. Story wise, though, I can’t see a single thing Fincher-esque. There’s action to carry on the success of the second film, and then there is just plain old fashioned garbage that infuriated everyone (you know who to blame for that). Without spoiling anything, let’s just say that this film is almost mean spirited, because it completely abuses characters we have come to know and love from the second film. While Aliens felt like a kick ass triumph, Alien 3 just seemed like a dark cloud looming over you. Of course Alien was dark and full of mishaps as well, and in fact, all of the films are, but none were nearly as malicious as Alien 3. Most of the hate comes from the sabotaging and lack of respect many characters got. They were introduced so well in Aliens, and they had such good character arcs, to see them in this third film was just really difficult. It’s as if everything they went through was just to get us riled up instead of sympathetic.
Alien 3 really isn’t too bad of a film. In fact, it’s kind of interesting. It was just rushed in some aspects, and they were all the wrong aspects. I’ll take a corny man in a costume before I take a script like this one any day. You can forgive a split second of a man in a costume. You can’t forgive what seems like a betrayal to fans. Torture and death in a film is not a bad thing (I’ll wrap this up before I am sent to a psycho ward), but it can be if it is for the wrong reasons. That’s what puts this film down in the end. Where it is weak, oh is is it ever so weak. If you are curious to see this film either to see the entire series or to see what Fincher’s first film was, you may enjoy what you say. Don’t bother taking in too much information, though, because you may end up wishing you had a face hugger crushing your head in. Appreciate this film on a surface level and for it sparking Fincher’s career (I mean, he had to be recognized for his work in this film somehow to get the break he got).