Film discussion

Throwback 20 – Alien Resurrection

Alien 3 was a film that had a lot of audience expectation, the teaser trailer was released before the film had a script, and the film made promises of the Aliens reaching Earth. Whilst the film did not deliver on this initial promise, and was met with poor reviews at the time, it went on to become beloved by fans of the franchise. Alien Resurrection has not gone on to be beloved after a poor release.

After the death of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley at the end of the third film many people felt that it would be impossible to continue on the franchise without her. Whilst Fox did consider several films that would bring the aliens back but leave Ripley dead, ultimately they felt that the character had to return, and as a result Alien Resurrection was born.

With Ripley dead, Fox tasked an impressive young writer to pen her return, Joss Whedon. Whilst Whedon wrote several versions of the script, most of which included a finale taking place on Earth itself. However, thanks to studio interference and requests for changes Whedon left the project, resulting in the film becoming substantially different from what he originally intended.

It’s easy to see how a version of this film would have fallen more in line with what we’ve come to expect from Whedon, with the pirate crew of the Betty having a very watered down version of the stereotypical Whedon banter. Perhaps if Whedon had been able to perfect a script, or even have been given the directing job himself the film would have been better received. Instead, the directing fell to Jean-Pierre Jeunet, a renowned French director for whom Alien Resurrection was his first American film. Jeunet brought his distinct style to the film, bringing along French special effects supervisor Pitof, and cinematographer Darius Khondji, to help him craft his own unique vision for the film.

Unfortunately, it was this mixture of new art style and a fractured script that led many people to feel that the film failed to live up to the previous instalments, which ultimately led to the poor critical reviews and low box office takings. The alteration in the design of the Alien is one of the poorer points of the film, with the dark biomechanical design making way for a brown insectoid look that felt too far removed from the original Geiger design. Plus, the bizarre human like creature that makes it’s appearance towards the end of the film is far too drastic an addition to the mythology to win people over. Thankfully, the human cast of the film offer some degree of entertainment, with particularly good performances from Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, and Ron Perlman.

Weaver plays her part interestingly enough, a clone version of the original Ripley that has become part alien herself. This is aparently a request that Weaver herself made in order to play a different version of the character. Whilst this new version of Ripley was interesting, the best scenes of her (where she remembers Newt and speaks about her to Winona Ryder’s Call) were cut from the theatrical release of the film, leading to a performance that never quite feels like the Ripley she should be.

Alien Resurrection falls short of it’s mark in all regards, from script, to characterisation, to visual effects. If it weren’t for the Alien Vs Predator films a number of years later Alien Resurrection would be the worst film in the Alien franchise, however, if you discount to cross-over movies, it’s still the worst.

Are you a fan of Alien: Resurrection or do you think it’s poor? Let us know.

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