on October 13, 2012
Oddly, this is my favourite movie of a franchise which was started off by photographs of HR Giger's macabre paintings in Omni Magazine.
The first three movies are each pretty much the same. It all began with a company prospecter-ship being alerted to a distress signal on some extra-terrestrial asteroid, I think it was. The story was penned by Dan O'brien, whose greatest gift to us was the tongue-in-cheek Return Of The Living Dead after his split with George Romero. The Alien was the 'space jockey' but the focus was on a creature whose reproductive system depended on foreign hosts. John Hurt was this larger-than-life virus' first victim then, in Alien 2, it was a colony of miners, then, in Alien 3 (read cubed), it was an entire penal colony on some prison planet.. and we thought we'd finally seen the end of it along with Sigourney Weaver!
.. And, film-maker Ridley Scott complained they had taken the story in the wrong direction (he liked the first two)...
Then.. something creative happened and Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) penned the story. Entering a new idea and bringing back Ms. Weaver from the dead -- something I'd think Dan O'brien would have been proud of. Then, along with a slightly international cast, bringing in young hottie, Winona Ryder! With some intriguing plot twists.
1997, and cloning, evil scientists along with the evil corporate empire.. one has to wonder how a United World States would exist. Why would a one-world government need black ops?
Still they manage to create a new 'super-woman' Ripley (Sigourney's character) who is actually part virus (or Alien, if you disagree with me -- the 'space jockey' having seemingly long been forgotten).
And, then (as if you haven't had enough 'Thens') it gets weirder, as the black ops research vessel automatically begins its journey back to earth with fresh, human-hungry virus!
This wasn't an 'Oh! I get it!' on first viewing movie for me. In fact, it took many viewings to really appreciate it. Perfect reason for buying the video in my book.
on October 6, 2007
Alien Resurrection,while not as good as Alien and Aliens,is better than
Alien 3.true,it is fairly light in tone,and not a lot of
suspense.however it has a very eclectic group of characters.Ripley is
back.there is some humour in this series,much more than the other Alien
films.there is lots of action,but less gore than Alien 3.there are also
some surprising revelations in this one.it is not as predictable as
Alien 3.the aliens have undergone a transformation in this movie,as
they have in each film in the series.they have a capability which was
not explored in the original 3.there was talk at one time of a fourth
sequel,but let's hope they leave the series as is--on a high note. 4/5
"Alien: Resurrection" (1997) takes place 200 years after the episodes of "Alien 3". Lieutenant Ripley is dead. Using her alien-contaminated DNA, a team of scientists decide to create a Ripley clone in an attempt to reconstruct the alien species. After cloning a near perfect impregnated Ripley, they extract the alien from inside her for studying and decide to keep the Ripley clone for further testing. The new Ripley has several unusual characteristics; abnormal strength, concentrated acid for blood, and she appears to have a close kinship to her alien offspring. The aliens, on the other hand, are kept within securely built confinements, constantly being scrutinized by the scientists. These new breed of aliens are more intelligent and when left alone, they execute their escape plan. It is up to Ripley and the crew of the newly arrived "Betty", which includes Annalee Call (Winona Ryder) and the fearless Johner (Ron Pearlman), to try to destroy the blood-thirsty predators that are roaming within the ship.
Despite having a silly plot, the special effects and performances in "Resurrection" are what saves this from being a total failure. Sigourney Weaver is exceptionally good although her Ripley this time around is a completely different heroine than in the previous films and it should be stated, the film suffers when Weaver is not on screen. The film delivers the gory goods but at times, the film is too gruesome. Unlike the first and second installments, which features one or two truly grisly scenes and chooses to give us heart-pounding action in place of the gore, this one has one too many gory deaths on display. It is overdone to an extent that it begins to resemble an alien slasher film and nothing more. This is a shame because there is far more depth to Scott's "Alien" and Cameron's "Aliens"; it was not just about the carnage. The special effects are state-of-the-art and the aliens themselves are impressive, especially the "Queen" but it becomes clear that at this point the series has run out of good ideas. There are also too many head scratching scenes that look haphazardly edited and somewhat out of place and the forced humor becomes distracting.
"Alien - Resurrection" is slick but it remains greatly inferior to the first 2 films. The debate can continue which is better, "Alien 3" or "Resurrection" (my pick is "Alien 3" - Expanded Cut but only by a hair) however "Resurrection" moves at a much faster pace but despite a high body count and numerous slimy beasts parading before our eyes, nothing can mask the films flaws. Overall, it is a silly movie. For Sci-Fi fans, I recommend getting the Alien box sets - Alien Anthology or Alien Quadrilogy. I have the "Quadrilogy" set and all films (including "Resurrection") are given impeccable treatment in picture and sound. You also get the Theatrical cut along with the Directors cut and a whole assortment of extras.
** 1/2 (out of 5)
on July 20, 2004
I'm inspired to write a review because the debate about the quality of the third and fourth Alien installments is quite rabid. My recommendation, first of all, is to watch Alien3 again. Better yet, get the new DVD and watch both versions. It seems that some people can't understand how an Alien movie could be so gloomy and pessimistic... which is really a bizarre opinion. IT IS AN ALIEN MOVIE, NOT 'EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND.'
With that said, unlike many other folks who hold Fincher's film in high esteem, I don't hate Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Alien Resurrection. The visuals are spectacular. The environments are very well done, very spooky. In my opinion, this is where Aliens, under action guru Jim Cameron, lacked. Though HR Giger was not involved with this project, Jeunet has an appreciation of his art, as demonstrated in the "viper pit" scene.
The performances are well executed, even Winona Ryder, whom I love to hate. Resurrection, though last on my list as far as the Alien movies, is not a bad film. It's certainly a step up from most of the movies out there today.
Now to the bad: I suspect that Gillis and Woodruff try too hard to make the Alien their own. Giger did not approve of the new look. The excess slime and the brown colour looks like "s#$*" (his words). It's basically on of Spielberg's Raptors, but with a phallic head.
Jeunet's odd sense of humour is out of place in an Alien movie, in my opinion. Then again, I say this as someone who loved the doom and gloom of Alien3.
While the idea of greedy corporates cloning Ripley for their own purposes does make for an interesting story, I suspect that it reflects how the greedy suits at Fox want to cash in on this series as much as possible! Though, thankfully, with somewhat artistically respectable results.
Best to worst in my view: Alien, Alien3, Aliens, Alien Resurrection. But the bottom of the barrel here is still better than most of what's playing right now.
on July 8, 2004
1997's fourth installment in the "Aliens" movie franchise is my least favorite of the bunch for many reasons even though it also has it's own merits. In all honesty, while there's plenty of things to enjoy, this movie is missing something that made the first two movies so incredible and even the third one which has it's own flaws of it's own.
This movie takes place 200 years after the events of "Alien 3". Ellen Ripley's DNA has been successfully recovered and a mix of Ripley and the alien's DNA have been successfully cloned and now Ripley's 'descendant', actually a clone of her has been brought to life to wage her final battle against the predatory aliens that are now approaching the planet Earth. The 'new' Ripley has Alien DNA within her that makes her capable of 'caring' for the alien creatures. A band of vicious smugglers however comes on board to steal the Alien DNA only to discover that the new breed of aliens is more dangerous than any other ever before and now the aliens are hunting both 'Ripley' and the smugglers and now they must destroy the alien and prevent them from getting to Earth and also try to make it home alive.
This movie cuts both ways for me. While certainly not a bad movie overall, "Alien Resurrection" suffers the most from serious flaws more than any of the previous "Alien" movies. While the movie is enjoyable for its special effects and awesome action sequences, I for one agree with many that this was almost not even necessary to be made like this especially since the 1992 third entry was where it should've ended. A lot scenes are pretty gross to look at especially the ones where 'Ripley' tries to 'calm' down the alien creatures or even tries to act like some 'mother' figure to them. I for one feel that this movie is more of like some 'alternate timeline' movie spin-off of some sort that almost feels completely detached from the previous three and that it's almost like thrown together leftovers from them as well.
The cast is hit and miss for me. Sigourney Weaver as the 'new' Ellen Ripley is fantastic as usual and is the only one in my opinion who really carries this movie all the way through. Her character is still very good although a step or two down from the previous movies. The rest of the cast however really don't fare anywhere near as good. Winona Ryder really drops the ball on this one and the character she plays is boring and without character or personality even though she isn't as she is thought to be. The male cast comes off being excessively dry and unconvincing and one in particular is almost enough to tick you off at his attitude towards Ryder's character in this movie. The directing by Jean-Pierre Jeunet is really good and this combined with Siguorney Weaver's acting as usual really do a lot to make this flawed movie a good movie worth watching.
The movie has its merits though. The special effects are top-rate and the movie has a really suspenseful tone but it starts getting to the point that the formula has been a bit tried since it has already been done three times already. The newest species of alien is really scary and but the face and head look almost like a human skull or even a deformed Freddy Krueger. The movie is saved by a really awesome but gruesome ending which I'm not going to mention out of fear of spoiling it. The ending alone saves this movie along with the special effects. While many movie series seam to suffer from a pattern called the "Fourth Installment Syndrome/Curse" or whatever you call it with examples like "Batman and Robin" or "Jaws: The Revenge", "Alien Resurrection" avoids a lot of this with great special effects and awesome sequences. For a 'Part 4' movie, this really fares so well for a fourth installment and maintains some freshness even if the cracks in the franchise start showing through.
The "Director's Cut" edition of "Alien Resurrection" does little to improve this movie and is only like ten minutes longer than the original and of the revamped versions of all of the "Alien" movies, "Alien Resurrection" benefits the least out of them all and the result is disappointing. The movie also has a new intro to it. The second disc like the other films on their newest re-issues has lots of great extras with 'making of', commentaries, and lots of cool Easter eggs. There are plenty of extras in this movie that are worth looking at though and the DVD is really excellent. The picture quality was good to begin with but this "Collector's Edition" really improves the picture quality and the sound quality is amazing to the point that if you have surround audio speakers or can connect your TV to the stereo speakers, then it will feel almost like you're back at the big screen again! The final result for me is that this gets a rating that rounds off to 3 solid stars but at the same time, this movie while good on its own, just never can find it's own place against the shadows of it's predecessors and is ultimately a movie that is more for the die-hard Alien audiences.
Looking back on it now, I have to say that despite the weaknesses especially on the last two parts in the series, "Aliens" stands as one of the best sci-fi/horror/action movie franchises of all time and that Sigourney Weaver may be the most remembered by her roles in all of them.
on June 29, 2004
Some people think that "Alien 3" is the worst movie in the series. Others think that "Alien Resurrection" is the worst. I think that "Resurrection" is slightly better than "Alien 3", but I also think that we all agree that both "Resurrection" and "Alien 3" aren't even close to the level of excellency of the first two movies.
Anyway, "Alien Resurrection" does have interesting things: the atmosphere is dark and it's very stylish. Finally we can see a pretty face in the series, Winona Ryder plays a supporting role in this movie. Also, "Resurrection" has scenes packed with bullets, explosions and action.
However, "Alien Resurrection" also has low points. Yes, Winona appears here, but her acting talent is kinda wasted. Some plot twists feel very forced, and the movie has its share of grotesque and pointless scenes. But all those things are OK, however, the thing that I can't forgive as a fan of the series is the Alien / human creature, that thing is so grotesque and infamous that the damn thing makes that the final scenes look like an ultra-cheap horror movie.
In the final countdown "Alien Resurrection" still is good enough to score a solid 3 stars rating in my scale, but to be honest I would recommend you only the first two movies, "Alien" and "Aliens".
on May 20, 2004
This movie had a lot of problems.
1) Characters. The whole band of merry criminals was completely uninteresting. In Alien, the crew was very absorbing and each character was unique and well drawn. In Aliens, the Marines were terrific - interesting, entertaining, sympathetic. Even Alien 3 had some good characters in the prison inmates. Alien Resurrection however is just a collection of generic cliches. I never cared about any of them at all, and even found them slightly annoying at times. They were utterly one dimensional, I've seen those exact characters in countless low budget movies, they had no uniqueness, they might as well have just put them in a can labelled "Purina Alien Chow". Winona Ryder's character, though she at least had a modicum of depth, really belonged in a Lifetime Movie of the Week. She didn't add anything to this film.
2) Action. The action in this movie wasn't even slightly believable, starting with the shootout between the criminals and the soldiers aboard the ship. At very short range, every soldier is killed and not a single criminal even wounded. Ripley escaped from certain doom on several ocassions - I never felt as if she was in any peril at all. Then the action kept coming to a dead stop just when things were getting interesting. For instance, when everyone is in a huge hurry to get off the ship, Ripley decides to stop and wipe out a room full of failed clones. Truly one of those "Aw, you gotta be kidding me" moments.
3) Suspense. In the earlier movies one was on the edge of their seat wondering how in the world the characters would get away from the aliens. Sure you knew Sigourney Weaver would probably survive, but that never really crossed your mind while watching because the movies were so well done. Not so here. It's just formulaic - you know the aliens are going to chase these folks around for a while and then everything will be alright. There's no real feeling that these folks are in much danger because you don't really care if they die or not.
Overall, this movie is not a worthy sequel to the other films. Even Alien 3 was much better than this - it had loads of atmoshpere, characters that one cared about, and you actually felt as if they were in extreme danger. The reason I give this movie 2 stars is because some of the special effects were good, especially the scene where the alien chases some guys into an escape pod. The swimming aliens were cool as well, that's about all this movie has going for it: A couple of cool special effects scenes.
on May 18, 2004
I already reviewed the original version of this film back in September (i.e., not perfect, but a decent sequel and enjoyable "popcorn" flick). So these comments here are specific to the "new" revised Collector's Edition, which was part of the "Alien Quadrilogy" version.
If you want to own this movie, definitely go for this new version. I was on the fence about this for a long while...did I really need to spend money AGAIN for a DVD? (And what's with that? How many times do greedy movie studios need to dive into our wallets?) Because I've been ripped off and bought "new collector's" or "Special Edition" versions of films that were frankly...not special.
This version of "Alien Resurrection" is a happy exception to that experience. This is an excellent set, affordably priced, beautifully and artistically packaged and most importantly, it has really significant and worthwhile additions that -- if you like this movie at all to begin with -- you will definitely want to own.
Although director Jeunet is very defensive about the idea that this is NOT a "director's cut" and he thought the movie was fine the way it was...after seeing the NEW extended version, I totally disagree! The restored footage -- about 10 minutes or so -- dramatically improves and clarifies the story and fills in some confusing details that were very vague in the original.
There is a greatly improved title sequence involving an insect loose in a space shuttle that is leaps and bounds better than the original titles (kind of a "morphing" sequence showing Ripley's failed clones). It is unfinished, so the little insect looks very much like a video game character, but the overall concept and direction is fresh, humorous and just plain better than the original.
There is more clarity and information about the minor characters, especially the pirate crew of "The Betty". Just the retention of a few lines, or brief shots, can make all the difference in a film...for example, in this version (as in the original Joss Whedon script) it is clear that crippled mechanic Vriess (Dominique Pinon) is in love with Call (Winona Ryder), a situation that was barely hinted at in the original film. Ditto for the sexy relationship between Captain Elgyn (Michael Wincott) and his pilot (Kim Flowers) -- barely acknowledged in the original film, here more time is spent showing that they are clearly longtime lovers...which in turn explains her great distress at his later death.
There is a scene that references Ripley's relationship with the late Newt (from Aliens 2), more time spent on Ripley's psychological state. And a lot more kinkiness in the relationship between Ripley and the alien creatures...it appears to be more graphic sexually at any rate.
Best, I think, is the revised ending that shows "The Betty" landing on earth...this is far more satisfying that just showing Ripley and Call in the window of the ship, merely saying "Oh, look out there, we're on earth". We actually see a run down future city (Paris, perhaps, in a nod to Jeunet?) and a planet whose ecosystem looks pretty drained. It's definitely cartharctic. Plus it more clearly sets up a potential sequel featuring aliens loose on earth. You know how one ALWAYS gets away...
BTW: I disagree with those viewers who feel that the Auriga "crashes" into the earth and causes the death of 10 million or so humans. I think it's clear that the Auriga blows up in the atmosphere. I figure that would be a problem in and of itself, but it's not the same as "crash landing". Neither does "The Betty" crash land...which is clearer in this new version, as we can see that the whole crew has survived without injury.
Surprisingly, this all makes for a superior movie and one I wish had been shown in the theatres in the first place...I think it would have overcome some of the fan displeasure that greeted the last two sequels in the series. It's not the original...it's not the excellent 2nd film...but it's a decent movie and it's better now. Watch it in this new version before you dismiss it out of hand.
on May 2, 2004
Alien Resurrection seems to have suffered unjustly at the hands of critics and fans. By no means as bad as Alien 3, this installment has many things to recommend it.
As noted in another user review, I think the reason that it was so badly recieved is that it did not take itself quite as seriously as the previous films and refused to reach the heights of pomposity and high-seriousness that 1, 2 and 3 seemed to insist upon. The combination of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Gallic irony and Joss 'Buffy' Whedon's one-liner laden script was perhaps just a too much for the die-hard anoraks out there.
Resurrection is not without its faults but it does hold up as a good popcorn movie with some impressive concepts behind it. Signourney Weaver's reinvention of Ripley is nicely done, making her intriguing and menacing all at once. I'd love to see more of this new, improved Ripley sometime. Perhaps the weakpoint is Winona Ryder as Call. We never really seem to care for her underdeveloped character and the relationship between her and Ripley (which should be a key one) never really seems to gel.
The Alien itself is much more impressive in this film, compared to the anaemic, dog-Alien for 3 and this film does pack a lot in the way of genuine chills and spills.
The main reasons this perfectly fine sf horror movie did not receive the recognition it deserved can, I think, be summarised as follows:
1. It was perhaps too cerebral and thoughtful a film after the travesty of 3. The franchise perhaps was more in need of a Aliens-style high-octane romp to fully revive the interest of fans and critics.
2. The slightly playful and ironic approach of the script and direction perhaps alienated (sic) the franchise's hardcore following.
3. Too much momentum was lost after the dismal third installment. Ideally, Resurrection should have been followed almost immediately by another film, one with perhaps more of an action bent to it.
All in all, I would rate this film highly as it combines intellligent and intriguing sf with genuine horror chills and a nice undercurrent of irony and detachment.
on March 1, 2004
Easily the weakest of the "Alien" films, this fourth entry seemed like a quick way to earn a few more dollars off a franchise that had already been put to rest. I have never been a big fan of "Resurrection" but it wouldn't have made sense not to release it with the other three films when the time came for the "Alien Quadrilogy". Like the other films, you get two versions- the original theatrical release and a brand-new special edition.
"Resurrection" never quite added up to me. They had more or less ended the series succesfully with "Alien 3" but for some reason, they decided they needed to bring Ripley back once again. This time, she has been cloned by a team of government scientists and military personel to bring life back to the species that she wiped out in the last movie. For added plot, a team of "space pirates" sell the human crew of a ship that they seized to the scientists so that they can use them as bait. The Aliens end up getting loose and killing anyone in their path as the humans try to escape. It's all been done before though and much better too.
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and writer Joss Whedon try their hardest but this sequel just isn't necessary at all. The two most sypmathetic characters in the film are emotionless creatures and the remaining ones are either too macho or too cowardly to be even the slightest bit likeable. Jeunet's attempt to give the film a feel similiar to his European work just doesn't play right as part of the series. Where the first film was scary, the second was thrilling, and the third was bleak, this one is just weird. We have all these deformed Ripley clones in a lab, a bunch of really strange characters, and an anti-climatic moment in which Ripley makes love with her Alien child. What? "Resurrection" does provide one real cool scene in which the human survivors are being chased by the Aliens underwater but after that, it just goes back to being strange for the sake of being strange.
The longer special edition version has a couple of extended sequences as well as an alternate opening and ending for the film. As director Jeunet points out in his intro to it, this is not a "director's cut" as he was content with the original cut of the film. It's just a longer and somewhat different version of the same movie. Nothing put back in really saves it from being a disaster though there is one scene where the Ripley clone attempts unsuccesfully to remember Newt from "Aliens" that is somewhat neat for series fans. The featurettes on the second disc go into extensive detail about the making of the film but since I really didn't care for the movie, they weren't that insightful to me with the exception of the concluding one where people involved with the franchise discuss what a fifth film might be like.
If you enjoyed "Resurrection" then this is actually a really good special edition. The DVD itself is packed with so much added bonus features that you will probably enjoy but as a die-hard "Alien" fan, I never liked this fourth movie. Thumbs down to the film, thumbs up to the DVD.