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.