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Kingdom of Heaven (director’s cut)

I remember when this movie came out everybody said it was terrible, then the longer director’s cut came out and it started to build up a reputation as underrated. Just to be safe I wanted to allow some time for that rep to foam over and then dry up and harden into a solid surface. The effects of oxygen on the polished surface create the ideal viewing circumstances. So I watched it 7 years later.

It takes place during 12th century and the Crusades, as Christians and Muslims in fancy armor are fighting over Jerusalem. When the movie begins the city is controlled by the Christians ruled by the leprous King Baldwin IV (Edward Norton) who politely wears an iron mask to spare people the sight of his Elephant Man type face. He’s in a truce with Saladin (Ghassan Massoud), leader of the Muslim armies, but he’s got a bunch of assholes and zealots around him always trying to start up some holy war, ’cause they believe God is on their side, so they’ll always win and always be right no matter what stupid shit they try to pull.

But this is an epic, so it’s gotta start in the dirt somewhere and work its way to the throne. It begins on the outskirts with some gravediggers burying a “witch” for an asshole priest (Michael Sheen, TRON LEGACY). When some knights returning from the Crusades pass by them they act like it’s Suge Knight and his entourage – a combination of fear and awe. The leader of the group is Sir Godfrey (Liam Neeson, DARKMAN), “a knight looking for his son” according to the STAR WARS-esque opening text.

I didn’t know Liam was gonna be in this or that (SPOILZ) he wouldn’t be in it for long. He’s come to tell the town blacksmith Balian (Orlando Bloom, very loosely based on a real guy) that hey pal, you should know that I’m actually your father, and I didn’t rape your mom or anything but she did sort of have to do it because I’m a Lord’s brother, so that was pretty shitty of me to do. Sorry champ. Anyway, I’m a Duke, so if you want an army and shit you can come along with me, it’s your right as my biological son. Or– you don’t want to? Well, you catch up with me later then, if you want. Or not. My duties as father have been fulfilled now. Okay, see ya.

Balian’s half-brother, that shitty priest, tries to get him to go. It’s probly pretty good brotherly advice, but he makes the mistake of trying to nudge him along by telling him that his wife is in Hell and that he cut off her head before he buried her. So Balian stabs him with a hot sword he’s forging, then pushes him into fire. The priest gets what he deserves, but also what he wanted, ’cause now Balian’s a murderer and has to go to the Holy Land where rumor is all sins are forgiven. It’s like the 12th century Vegas, but even better. What happens in or out of Jerusalem is forgiven in Jerusalem.

So Balian catches up with the knights, gets very brief lessons from Neeson (less than Batman or even Anakin did), gets knighted, inherits his dad’s title and land.

Like I said, this is an epic, so our hero builds himself up from nothing. His land is not much better than a gravel parking lot, but cars haven’t been invented yet so he helps his people build a well (even does most of the digging himself), irrigates the land, turns it into an oasis, befriends the King, pisses of a douchey French guy named Guy (Marton Csokas, xXx) fuck’s Guy’s wife (Eva Green) and lets her move in, somehow becomes such a badass knight he can be unarmed and defeat 3 guys attacking him on horseback. I like that his fighting style isn’t just clanking swords together. He seems really good at spotting openings for any possible type of death blow. He’s stomping on necks and shit.

He’s also gotta be the most enlightened guy, so he admits to not earning his title, sees through religious zealotry (an agnostic during the Crusades!), makes a big speech about the endless cycle of fighting over a land that neither side could truly own. I remember when this came out in 2003 thinking hey, thanks alot, Ridley Scott. That’s just what we need in the world right now is a movie about Christians killing Muslims, telling them their relgion is wrong and stealing their land. Of course, that’s not what this movie is at all, it’s obviously about the fruitlessness of that fight, and ends on a less-subtle BLACK BOOK type note of “see, this shit has been going on for a thousand years, do you really think one side can ever be the winner?”

But if anything it goes too far in trying to make sure that message comes across. The attitudes are too modern. I wonder what Verhoeven’s Crusades movie would’ve been. I’d like to see one where both sides believe what they’re doing, and are total monsters, and the audience is trusted to know this without it being pointed out to them. Then again, I like this movie’s depiction of Saladin as a noble warrior until pushed too far by fucking Guy cutting off the head of his messenger. Great job, Guy. And I winced at the sinister delight on Saladin’s brother’s face watching Reynaldo getting beheaded. That seemed too mustache-twirling to me. But I can’t have it both ways.

There are alot of colorful characters. Some of them meet gruesome deaths. I was hoping Sir Godfrey’s buddy with the piggy tails would stick around for more violence. Who was that guy?

One thing that surprised me on the music credits: they used a piece of the score from BLADE II. I thought that was funny but then I remembered that I was watching the director’s cut, and they probly had to use some recycled cues for the new footage. I hope there are people out there who are very familiar with the score to BLADE II who noticed this while watching and did a double take.

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is no BLADE II, but it’s definitely worth seeing. Stylistically it’s very modern Ridley Scott, with some absolutely gorgeous shots, lots of things floating in the air, very atmospheric. The action is a little on the chaotic side, but much more effective for me than, say GLADIATOR. The vivid photography prevents it from being just another dull slog with a bunch of dudes in armor clunking around under grey skies in the mud. It’s a corny but at times beautiful and entertaining myth about an interesting time and place.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2012 at 11:35 am and is filed under Fantasy/Swords, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

124 Responses to “Kingdom of Heaven (director’s cut)”

  1. Verhoeven Crusades movie would have been a rip-roaring action-adventure with violence, cannibalism, sex, and Arnold wielding the True Cross. Or at least according to the draft I read.

    Somewhat similar storyline as in THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, but more amped up and trashier version of it. Remember that it was going to be a film produced by Carolco in the 90’s.

  2. Alexander Siddig/Siddig el Fadil is in it. I remember seeing him at a SciFi convention around 10 years ago, saying: “I just made a movie with Ridley Scott. This time I even survive!” Am I the only one who is kinda surprised that the sympathetic, but kinds bland Dr Bashir from Star Trek DS9 became over the years a pretty busy and even very good character actor?

  3. It’s funny you mention that bit about the music from Blade II. I actually did do a double take when I recognized a piece of music used in the film, but it was from the score from The 13th Warrior. Also, this was the theatrical cut. In any case, I was never able to verify that at the time but now I finally know I wasn’t crazy, as it’s listed here as well:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0320661/soundtrack

  4. I know some people online who swear by this cut but have never met anybody offline who’s even seen the theatrical version. I haven’t seen this one. Ridley lost me during the mid 00’s; he was making too much shit that was too average for his talents. Still read the review though and now Vern actually has convinced me that maybe I should just finally rent the damn thing.

  5. Really enjoyed this movie also (never saw the theatrical cut). Biggest surprise to me was Orlando Bloom was believable as the tough guy/rugged lead, in practically every other action orientated movie I’ve seen him in he always came across as a not believable pretty boy wussie.

  6. Another recycled piece of music used in this, is the Dante opera Hans Zimmer wrote for HANNIBAL. I’ve read somewhere that the Scott brothers are “notorious” for putting together temp tracks they like so much that they just leave much of it in. Of course that’s BS most of the time, but I guess it could be semi-true in this case.

    Haven’t seen this in a few years, but I remembered it flowed better than the theatrical cut, and made a little more sense (in particular with regards to Eva Green’s descent into madness). I still think it’s funny how some people disliked the theatrical cut, yet think this is a flawless masterpiece…

    Oh, and count me as another one who would have loved to see Verhoeven’s CRUSADES. Too bad Carolco decided to do fucking CUTTHROAT ISLAND instead.

  7. one guy from andromeda

    May 31st, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    never liked this one. the background story is pretty but too convoluted and the main plot suffers from a weak lead and childish characterisation (the knights that bully bloom when he arrives in jerusalem are characterized like high school jocks in a teen comedy. i was surprised they didn’t pin a parchment saying “kicketh me” on his back.)

  8. I actually didn’t mind the theatrical cut at all. It was a bit undercooked and slow in spots, but the siege at the end was fantastic and basically everything I wished the action sequences in LOTR were. Bloom held his own and was likable enough.

    I bought the director’s cut on BluRay a few years back because it was on sale, and it’s still in the wrapper, like 90% of my BluRays. Netflix Instant has basically killed my desire to re-watch any movies I’ve seen before, even if they’re entirely different Director’s Cuts and feature Eva Green naked.

  9. Saw the non-director’s cut in the cinema upon release, so I guess somedamnbody owes me something if they want me to see the director’s cut now since I’m pretty sure a director’s name was on that older movie’s credits as director.  

    $7, motherfucker, and none of that English pounds or “quid” or Euros shit, Ridley.  

    Not a bad movie, looked pretty, I reckon, but it didn’t add up to much, especially after my hopes were raised by the swift badassness of Liam Neeson in the beginning.  As I recall, there’s a scene that interrupts the narrative so he can say something like, “Do you know how to fight?  En garde!” and he attacks Orlando Bloom.  Memory’s hazy, but I recall something like that signaling to me that this was going to be a straight up swords-action movie.  Alas, twas not to be.  

    Better than GLADIATOR in my opinion, which also features an early badass, sorta out of place swordfight scene (“The frost — it makes the blade stick.” {pow, slice slice}) and then becomes a subpar historical epic not worth a rewatch, sadly.  

    Ridley has his fingerprints on a few great shots, though, and fewer of them in KINGDOM OF HEAVEN have the shitty CGI that ruined GLADIATOR for me.  I always enjoy those sweeping “heavily costumed man gaggle opening a decorative doorway to a wide vista” shots.  Sorta screams “epic lavishness,” much like when the Martian spreads his hands solemnly while leading his captive to his village in JOHN CARTER, but I’m ok with that.  These are examples of cinematism’s reach equalling a cinematic artist’s mind’s eye’s grasp, if I may mangle metaphorical anatomy.  

    In conclusion, I liked BODY OF LIES.  Underrated, in my opinion.  If Vern is doing a pre-PROMETHEUS Ridley review cycle, I hope he looks at that one.  Great little love story with the hot Jordanian nurse & Leo, and some tight shootouts with good action geography.  And the CIA is depicted as ridiculously powerful, which is good for American foreign relations.  

    Skip the Scott bros’ documentary, LIFE IN A DAY, though.  Only 1-2 good scenes in that one, including a great music montage interlude with some black ladies pounding vegetables or something.  4 good minutes in a feature length documentary that should have been 10 minutes long.  Ick.  

  10. Mouth – how about Vern review BLACK RAIN too?

    As for KOH DC, its a pretty good, borderline great. And yes its one flaw is that expositionary “religious zealotry is bad!” (no shit) scenes, when that one bush scene made that point more clearly than 4-5 of those exposition scenes.

  11. I saw the theatrical cut in theaters , and was really disappointed. It is not a terrible film, it looks stunning and the production values are top notch, but the story and overall experience come up very short when compared to how good the film looks. I remember walking out of the theater think what a waste of talent, so many talented people working in front of the camera and behind it but the end product is pretty forgettable. I do think the Directors cut is an improvement over the theatrical cut, but it still not a great film. I would say that it is worth checking out for the visuals alone.

    As a side note I thought Orlando Bloom was good in this movie, but in general it is hard for me to take him seriously as a badass.

  12. I didn’t know the film used music from The Crow: City of Angels (I think both of the tracks are from that film, City of Angels and The Crow Descends).

    I guess some directors gets to attached to their temp music. The Broken Arrow team in Scream 2 is one of the most famous examples, and in Kick Ass several tracks from John Murphys previous films 28 Days Later and Sunshine was remixed and renamed.

  13. Love the Director’s Cut of Kingdom Of Heaven. I think it’s arguably in Ridley’s top 10 (it’s a helluva lot better then Gladiator, that’s for sure). William Monahan’s script is excellent–all in all it’s probably one of the best films about the Crusades ever made.

  14. Mouth – I never saw BODY OF LIES but after disappointing with HANNIBAL and coming back strong with BLACK HAWK DOWN & MATCHSTICK MEN this movie didn’t seem like that great a follow up idea. I didn’t even like the trailer so I passed on it.

    I did see A GOOD YEAR and AMERICAN GANGSTER though which was a mistake because they really sucked. They’re the reasons I stopped watching Ridley’s movies and sat out BODY OF LIES and ROBIN HOOD.

  15. As much as I would have liked to see Verhoven’s CRUSADE I’m actually happy they made CUTTHROAT ISLAND. John Debney’s score is so phenomenal that it solely justifies the existence of the movie.

  16. I may have said this before, but even though HANNIBAL-THE MOVIE is by no means as good as HANNIBAL-THE BOOK, it does have some tremendous positives. The cinematography is wonderful together with the lighting. And Hans Zimmers haunting music is some of the composers absolute best ever.It creates an operatic piece of cinema that I feel is compelling even though The Movie´s ending is kind of shit.

  17. Oh yeah! HANNIBAL is prob my fav Sir Ridley Scott flick from the post BLADE RUNNER era (with the possible esception of MATCHSTICK MEN, with it’s MEGA ACTING). Very beautiful and very funny (does not not get enough mention on the latter point).

  18. Yeah, this movie isn’t terrible but some of its characters are entirely too modern that it just annoys the shit out of me. It manages to be better than that horrible Robin Hood movie where they turn the story of Robin Hood into a libertarian parable about property rights.

    I’ll likely go see Prometheus for the same reason I’ll see the new Batsman movie, but I wouldn’t choose to go see a Ridley Scott film if it was totally up to me.

  19. Gladiator is his best modern movie.

  20. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 2nd, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Mouth: “I’m pretty sure a director’s name was on that older movie’s credits as director.”

    Very good point, you’ve given me a laugh too.

  21. Scott has made about thirty movies in almost every genre, and no matter how disappointed we might be in the sad fact that they’re not all Alien or Bladerunner, they’re all highly watchable. Just saying. As for masterpieces outside of the sci fi genre, I suspect Thelma and Louise will defend it’s title for some time yet.

  22. WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    http://www.subwaycinema.com/nyaff12/

    sorry, but i do y’all a disservice without threadjacking to bring you this news

    i’ve been going to this festival every year for the last 8

    it is pure cinema gold. nothing else compares in the world of cinema, i love this festival with every fibre of my being. you see movies there so far out there it leaves you giddy. and then a few duds. and then one that makes you think about it every day for a month

    you have to go to this festival if you can. or just look at the list of films and find them online or in a specialty store and WATCH

    REQUIRED VIEWING

    end threadjack

  23. This one has so many of my personal red flags that it might well have been made specifically to keep me from ever seeing it. Super serious period drama? Check. Epic overlength? Check. Directed by Ridley Scott after 1985? Check. All it needs is a “costarring Kate Beckinsale” and it has the entire set of anti-Majestyk markers.

    One thing all the recent Ridley Scott discussions has made me realize is that photography is probably the least important part of a movie for me. I’m not talking about cinematography, which encompasses framing, camera movement, etc. That’s very important to me. I mean the actual photographic elements: light, shadow, color, etc. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter or that I can’t be moved by a beautiful image, because that’s obviously not true. But whenever we discuss Ridley Scott a couple people always say “It’s not a great movie but it looks gorgeous.” If that’s all it’s got going for it, no wonder I haven’t liked more than one or two of his movies in the last 25 years. I get the impression from Ridley’s movies that he feels that he can get away with being boring and dramatically inert as long as he puts together a pretty picture with motes of dust dancing in shafts of light. It’s my opinion that what’s going on inside the frame is way more important than the frame itself. It’s clear that me and Ridley just don’t have the same filmatistical type priorities anymore. He puts all his elements into the photography and forgets to put anything in front of the camera worth photographing.

  24. There’s just something that makes me sad about modern day Ridley Scott. The man has made several masterpieces in his time, but for the last two decades he’s mostly put out mediocre pap. It’s gotten to the point where people praise his movies if they are merely OK. Of course, I’ll still check out Prometheus, but I will keep my expectations in check. I’m also not terribly thrilled about an unnecessary Blade Runner sequel.

    Anyway, this thread convinced me to search out the score for Cutthroat Island on youtube, which is not something I expected to do today.

  25. Majestyk- So you don´t like BLACK RAIN. then?

  26. …since it was made after 1985?

  27. I did say I liked one or two of his movies from the last 25 years. BLACK RAIN is one of them. Kind of ponderous, like all of Ridley’s work, but it’s got that scene with Andy Garcia, a motorcycle, and a samurai sword, so it’s decent. That’s something worth photographing in my opinion.

  28. Aww,shit, I don´t really bother reading longer posts more carefully than I probably should, so an error on my part.

  29. Couldn’t agree more, Mr. Majestyk. Well said.

  30. Look guys, Ridley couldn’t make a mediocre movie if he tried. Fair enough, some of them aren’t for us, but his worst is heads above what most directors make. We really ought to get some perspective here.

  31. I will make this bold statement: Ridley Scott is only as good as his script.

    The Duellists, Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma And Louise, American Gangster, Body Of Lies, Kingdom Of Heaven Director’s Cut…they all had scripts ranging from better-then-average to flat-out masterpiece.

    When Ridley is saddled with a mediocre script, he makes a really, really good looking, well-acted, well-directed mediocre movie. And the worse-case scenario is when he’s allowed to develop the script into oblivion. Then we get stuff like A Good Year and Gladiator….

    But, that being said, all of Scott’s movies are worth watching–there’s always something interesting about them, even when they’re only just okay. Personally, I’m eagerly looking forward to Prometheus next week and then seeing what he does with The Counselor. Also, Ridley Scott’s audio commentaries are some of the best ever recorded.

  32. The cynical part in me has acknowledged that whenever Vern reviews a movie made by a highly regarded director, there is always the negatives that shines thru in the comments. It did in the Woo-section. “Johnnie To is better” ” Woo´s career was ruinied in Hollywood ” and all that BS. Ridley Scott kicks ass. Lets not completely lose ourselves here,people.

  33. This might sound just a tad xenophobic, and believe me as a marxist I don’t have a xenophobic bone in my body, but it sounds to me like this is a USA vs Europe thing. Maybe you guys just don’t get Ridley like we do? Discuss…

  34. Well, I’m not huge on Ridley Scott either, but MATCHSTICK MEN is absolutely one of Nic Cage’s greatest performances, which makes it one of mankind’s greatest performances. And I really dug AMERICAN GANGSTER, but I guess I’m pretty alone on that. But I don’t remember the photography being one of the standout aspects of that one, I really did think it was a compelling story of two lives (cop and gangster) dramatically hurtling toward a collision.

    Also I’ll take that Jay-Z album over any of the bullshit he’s put out since. I wonder if he’s doing one for PROMETHEUS?

    [You know what, I think I’m gonna re-use that joke on Twitter. I apologize in advance.]

  35. We don’t like AMERICAN GANGSTER? I thought we liked that one. Nice slow-burn long-haul crime drama with a nice sense of time and place. What’s not to like? Is it just that it’s a good movie when we really wanted a great one?

  36. I saw this in the theatre and was struggling to remember a decent film that was utterly ham-fisted by its lead. I’m reading some backhanded compliments about Orlando Bloom above, but honestly guys… The guy couldn’t lead a singsong. It’s why I sort of rate this alongside GLADIATOR; had they cast someone with Russell Crowe-type charisma in the lead, I think it would have been an out-and-out winner. GLADIATOR has other problems which become increasingly difficult to ignore after repeated viewing.

    Having said all that, I’m referring to the Theatrical Cut of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. I only saw a bit of the Extended Version on the television and thought the edit seemed a bit smoother.

    As a matter of fact, what about ROBIN HOOD? I remember really enjoying the first hour and a half of it (Crowe’s meandering accent aside), digging the whole RETURN OF MARTIN GUERRE subplot… But then William Hurt tells Robin Hood that his dad was involved in the Magna Carta and the whole thing just turned into a turgid mess, with (SPOILER) Maid Marian fighting alongside Sherwood Ninjas while the invading French (?) are so obviously doomed that any sense of threat or danger is lost from the start.

    I don’t know if Vern reviewed ROBIN HOOD; I’ll have to check that out.

  37. ROBIN HOOD by Ridley Scott could possibly be the most boring movie I´ve seen in years. Give me the Kevin Costner-version over this crapfest anytime.

  38. CJ Holden

    Completely agree with you about Siddig – his character and interaction with Balian is a highlight of the film for me.

    But some of the dialogue is atrocious (‘I am the new one’ springs to mind).

    Edward Norton, David Thewlis and Kevin McKidd also great in this.

  39. The Original... Paul

    June 3rd, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    “Scott has made about thirty movies in almost every genre, and no matter how disappointed we might be in the sad fact that they’re not all Alien or Bladerunner, they’re all highly watchable. Just saying.”

    Given what I have just seen, I would have to disagree with you on that.

    Never seen “Kingdom of Heaven” but I’ll give you “Matchstick Men”, Vern.

  40. Ya all this Ridley bashing is crazy to me.

    Personally I fucking LOVE Kingdom of Heaven, it’s the closest thing we’ve had to a modern day Lawrence of Arabia type historical epic. The scope of the story, the visuals, the amazing cast, the ballsiness of making a movie about the crusades from the point of view of Agnostics (as opposed to painting the muslims as the out and out bad guys).
    And in terms of medieval battle scenes, the final set-piece in this is honestly on par with anything from Lord of the Rings, I actually prefer this one because it’s rated R so you get to see blood flying and battle carnage, and the effects are better, it looks 100% photo-realistic to me, unlike some of the stuff in LOTR.

    I think the people who write this movie off deserve to at least give it a shot and watch the director’s cut.

    And also, I call bullshit on all this “Ridley Scott hasn’t made a good movie since the 80s crap”. He has a better track record than damn near any director out there. Thelma and Louise is excellent. While I personally don’t like Gladiator, that’s still a pretty decent movie that clearly struck a chord with people. Black Hawk Down is awesome (go back and watch it, you realize how good Ridley is at action staging, there’s actually very little shaky-cam in that movie, it’s mostly steady tracking shots, people just remember it as being shaky because of how intense it was). Matchstick Men is good. I think American Gangster is also really damn good (as Vern pointed out in his review), I completely don’t get the negativity there.
    Even Body of Lies which is pretty mediocre, is a better than you’d think indictment on our Foreign Policy, with some really interesting subtext and strong performances.

    So that’s 6 better-than-average to great movies, vs, what, 4 arguable failures? (GI Jane, A good year, white squal, hannibal)? That is a WAY above-average track record for a director, I mean christ, Michael Bay has struggled to make 1 good movie in that time frame, Scott’s own brother has made mostly awful pieces of shit in that same time frame.

    So let’s have a bit of perspective, eh, fellas?

  41. I’m really tired of people claiming that directors cuts can be “a totally different movie.” usually directors themselves say this but critics too. KOH DC is not a different movie. It’s more movie. It takes longer for the story to happen. There are subplots and more details but it’s still the same story of Balian and the Crusades. Stuff with the queen’s son, the biggest omission in theatrical cut, is motivation added, not a chance to her character.

    I disliked the extended cut equally to the theatrical cut. Another offender is ALEXANDER. You can add more scenes and put them in a different order but it’s still ALEXANDER. Never bothered to watch the extended TROY for that reason. I know directors feel every subtle change is a total revolution but to viewers who aren’t living it it’s still the same gist.

    Only possible exception could be PAYBACK: STRAIGHT UP. That has different footage and a vastly different tone. Maybe SUPERMAN II but that’s more a bizarro version than a completely different movie. Still makes the same point, maybe arguably better.

  42. The Original... Paul

    June 3rd, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    bullet3 – I’m not bashing Ridley Scott per se and I did really like “Matchstick Men”, at least until the last five minutes or so, when it pretty much spent all the considerable goodwill I’d invested in it in one fell swoop. I also had fun with “Gladiator” although time certainly has not been kind to that movie. Ridley Scott lovers on this forum will have to bear in mind that the last Ridley Scott film I saw was “Prometheus”**, and after that it’s safe to say I’m not feeling particularly kindly towards Mr. Scott right now.

    **I just did a pretty much spoiler-free review of this one on the forum, if anybody’s interested. I could’ve written a LOT more about both its good points and its bad ones, but in the end it’s another example of my least favorite type of movie to review, and I just couldn’t be arsed. It boils down to this: the film starts off ok and gets progressively worse. At no point is it terrible, but it feels like a rushed job from beginning to end, and reminded me most of “Alien 3”. Also the audience in the cinema largely hated it, if that’s a barometer for anything.

  43. The Original... Paul

    June 3rd, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Also, “White Squall” was a complete failure? Haven’t seen that one for years but I remember being fairly fond of it…

  44. I prefer Hannibal to Silence of the Lambs. Of course it’s not as genuinely terrifying as SotL but it’s about as good a sequel as one could hope for and it’s much better looking than part 1 (but that’s too be expected).

    Right, I’m going to take a cocktail of drugs and feed my face to a dog. It seems like a good idea.

  45. The only directors cut that could be considered almost a different movie that I´ve seen was THE ABYSS. They removed a huge subplot for the theatrical release that basically ruins the movie and makes the films final act make no sense at all. Still mindboggled how the studio released the movie in that condition.

  46. I think Ridley is quite a good director, one of the greats. He’s made some movies I hate. ROBIN HOOD, KOH, and I don’t care much about GLADIATOR. But BODY OF LIES was great, AMERICAN GANSTER was good, MATCHSTICK, BLACK HAWK. I remember quite liking WHITE SQUAL some 15 years ago. I liked GI JANE when I saw it too, and I like HANNIBAL. Especially how bad that book was, the movie is a miracle.

    I don’t begrudge him having a few failures. The only one I think is truly hollow with low quality is ROBIN HOOD. just a shameless cash in, even the castle storming felt half hearted.

  47. Paul, you not liking Prometheus doesn’t really detract anything from my previous statement.

  48. I actually quite enjoyed ROBIN HOOD. For the most part it wasn’t the “Robin Begins” film I was afraid of, and was ultimately harmless matinee fun. Admittedly Crowe’s faintly risibile yet utterly joyless performance at the centre of the film is a major stumbling block.

  49. For the record, I think Ridley is a good director. I even think he’s great sometimes. He has all the tools of the trade at his fingertips: He’s good with actors, light, sound, special effects, scale, etc. His work on ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER is some of the finest directing I’ve ever seen. But more often than not, I don’t really enjoy his movies that much. I generally don’t have any fun watching them and thus never want to watch them again. There’s nothing in particular I can point to about them that’s wrong (except the atrocious editing in GLADIATOR), but somehow the whole is less than the sum of its parts. He’s like a virtuoso guitarist who plays in a band I don’t like. I can appreciate the skill of his playing, but the songs don’t move me.

  50. Jareth Cutestory

    June 4th, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Fred Topel: I don’t know if you’ve seen the “Love Conquers All” version of BRAZIL released by Criterion or listened to its commentary track. It is probably the clearest example of how the meaning, tone and intent of a film can be radically reworked into something entirely different (in this case, something abhorrent) simply through editing. The manner in which the studio wanted Gilliam to present the Sam Lowry character was pretty much the opposite of what Gilliam wanted, and their preferences would have been constructed using Gilliam’s footage, but utilizing different framing, alternate shots and angles that depict Lowry as a more recognizable hero, and a rousing score to underline the whole thing. Not to mention the choice of where to end the film. Not only would the studio have made a different film out of BRAZIL, but they would have succeeded in turning Gilliam’s film into a piece of abject propaganda.

    We are fortunate that the version of BRAZIL that Gilliam intended is the version that was officially released, so the butchered version is just a fascinating oddity . But there are so many films that suffered the same kind of treatment but weren’t restored immediately, if ever: A TOUCH OF EVIL, THE WILD BUNCH, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. I also know a guy who swears that Johnathan Demme’s comedy SWING SHIFT was actually a semi-dramatic ensemble piece that was whittled down to a lame star vehicle at Goldie Hawn’s insistence, gutting a thoughtful, subtle film into an empty shell (I haven’t seen either version, so I can’t say for sure).

    I agree with you that “director’s cuts” these days are often conflated with marketing gimmicks and (in some cases) the vanity of the director. The BLOOD SIMPLE “director’s cut” from a few years ago, with that fake scholarly introduction, does a nice job taking the piss out of some of the sillier examples of these particular versions.

  51. The Original... Paul

    June 4th, 2012 at 10:21 am

    “Paul, you not liking Prometheus doesn’t really detract anything from my previous statement.”

    Didn’t really mean for it to, Pegsman. I rather agree with you actually… I’m sort of defending Ridley Scott here, and I’m in the Euro camp. I think he can do good work. I didn’t think much of “Prometheus” but that film had all the hallmarks of a rushed job, so I think it may not be all his fault. (Again, the “Alien 3” comparison comes in.)

  52. The Original... Paul

    June 4th, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Although to make this clear – judged solely on its merits, “Prometheus” is still the worst film in terms of quality that I’ve seen this year. Just because I’m not calling it a total disaster or giving it a “Buried”-style evisceration doesn’t mean I would recommend it to anybody. I know it won’t stop some of you guys from going to see it, but don’t go in with sky-high expectations.

  53. The Original... Paul

    June 4th, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Ick, turning this into the “Prometheus” thread. Sorry.

    KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

    Ok we’re back.

  54. Pegsman — I’m curious. What is it about Ridley’s work that you think appeals to Europeans rather than Yanks? (I actually want to know, because I haven’t heard this theory before).

  55. Jarreth, I saw the love conquers all version and I’d still say its just a declawed version of the same movie, but it still looks like Brazil and had most of the scenes I recognized. Not nearly as dramatic as PAYBACK.

    Mind you I have no problems with directors or extended cuts, only the claim that they’re totally different movies. Maybe I’m just a stickler so I can’t be sold an abstract like that. Maybe WAKE UP RON BURGUNDY counts because it’s actually different scenes, but they released it separately, and you can still tell it’s alternate takes.

    I liked PROMETHEUS but everything its haters are saying is entirely valid tool ALIEN 3 comparison is apt.

  56. RBatty024, I have a feeling, and mind you this is as subjective as it gets, I don’t have any research, facts or insightful litterature to back me up, that Europeans tend to rave more about “the look” of a Ridley Scott film than Americans do. We talk a lot over here about his back lighting, filters, lenses, colors, costumes and so on. We just seem to enjoy the visuals more than the Yanks do. If that’s the reason why American actors who work with him tend to wanna strangle him after a while, I don’t know, but it makes you wonder.

  57. pegs: That’s possible. If you scroll up, you’ll see a post I made about how people always praise Ridley for his photography even when the rest of the movie isn’t that great, and how that doesn’t work for me because photography isn’t that important to me.

  58. I find that hard to believe. In fact, I think it’s the other way round. A movie like Plan 9 just wouldn’t have the status it has today if the photography was as shitty as the rest of the movie. I’m not saying that a really good story needs blue light and smoke and tinted filters, but on the other hand most of us here agree that shaky cam and sepia colors and parkinson editing can ruin an otherwise cool action movie. Photography matters, and no one’s better at it than Ridley.

  59. Thats kind of weird saying that photography isn´t important since its about cinema and the most important aspect of it is the visual storytelling.

  60. What I actually said:

    “Photography is probably the least important part of a movie for me. I’m not talking about cinematography, which encompasses framing, camera movement, etc. That’s very important to me. I mean the actual photographic elements: light, shadow, color, etc. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter or that I can’t be moved by a beautiful image, because that’s obviously not true.”

    What I mean by that is not that I think photography is unimportant. It’s just that, for me, if I had to make a top ten list of all the crucial elements that go into making a great motion picture, gorgeous photography would go on it, but probably somewhere at the bottom. I have a feeling Ridley puts it pretty close to the top. That approach seems to work for him and for lots of others, but not really for me. Sometimes I can be swayed by the pure aesthetic joy of ogling a beautiful image, but that usually happens in projects that aren’t as middle-of-the-road as the stuff Ridley favors these days.

  61. Also, on a snarkier note, I kinda feel like, when you’re Ridley Scott, you got hundreds of millions of dollars to make a movie. Of course you hired a great DP. Why is that supposed to be the major selling point? Isn’t that supposed to be a given?

  62. Okay, to further refine: When everything else is working, amazing photography can really put a good movie over the top. And when it’s borderline, great photography can boost it from mediocre to good. But if I’m really not feeling the movie, great photography is piss-poor compensation.

  63. Pegsman — That’s probably a sound theory. I’ve also noticed that electronic music without lyrics can become a huge hit in Europe, but not so much in the States. We like some lyrics and a voice in our songs, for whatever reason. Maybe Americans are similarly drawn to the narrative rather than the visuals.

  64. Jareth Cutestory

    June 4th, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Fred: I’m inclined to think that the studios went a bit further than “declawing” BRAZIL. It’s not a question of the extremity of Gilliam’s message being reigned in, it’s a question of the theme, story and protagonist of the studio version communicating pretty much the opposite of what the Gilliam version communicates. I’m not confident that a viewer of only the studio version would walk away getting the gist of what Gilliam intended.

    But I’m willing to meet you half way. ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA’s studio tampering removed an entire level of meaning from the film by turning Leone’s intended disjunctive time structure into a linear narrative, but most of the other scenes and performances (those that weren’t hacked) remain intact. I’m pretty sure viewers of the adulterated version are on more solid ground in grasping Leone’s intentions (though they’re still robbed).

    Probably this is true of most adulterated films. Maybe the totalitarian subject matter of BRAZIL was always going to make it a unique example in these kinds of discussions.

    And then there’s that entire category of Films Where Maybe Someone Should Have Assumed Control From The Director: Lucas’ terrible Special Editions, et cetera.

  65. RBatty024, interesting point about the music. Springsteen and REM are of course huge over here too, but when it comes to the genres that you do better than anyone, country and folk music, it’s a different story. Except for, I’m proud to say, here in Norway. For some reason those word heavy genres have been really popular here since the 60’s. A guy like Dwight Yoakam have come here several times and Leonard Cohen sells more records in Norway than he does in the rest of the world combined. Just wanted to get that in there, so you don’t hink we’re all into Scooter and Ace of Base.

  66. Jareth, I would love to see the studio cut of OUATIA just for studying purposes. I can’t imagine it without the childhood sequences which I’ve read is the bulk of the cuts.

    Similarly the “Channing Dies” cut of GI JOE RETALIAION will be legend.

  67. Interestingly, the AV Club has just done two features on movies Most Improved and Most Weakened by Director’s Cuts… Links are here:
    http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-kindest-cut-14plus-movies-improved-by-director,76968/
    &
    http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-unkindest-cut-13plus-movies-weakened-by-direct,79676/

    In passing, I saw PROMETHEUS yesterday and rather enjoyed it. A lot of BIG questions and a lot of BIG answers, though the two don’t necessarily have any connection to each other. I’m still wondering whether the plot holes were the result of truncated editing, set-ups for a possible sequel or Ridley Scott trying to cram together 3 films (existential sci-fi, body-horror, ALIEN-prequel) into one.

    If there is a director’s cut (and that seems likely), I’ll probably have to check it out.

  68. I guess this is as good a place as any to mention the two versions of Alien 3. The Producer’s Cut (not Director’s Cut, since Fincher didn’t want to get involved) we got in 2003 added another 31 minutes to the movie and, not unlike Apocalypse Now Redux, not so much changed the movie as it broadened it. And it certainly did Paul McGann a huge favour.

  69. The Original... Paul

    June 5th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Personally I would argue that what you hear in a film is even more important than what you see. But that’s the half-blind guy talking.

  70. pegsman: it was an improvement in everything but the chest-bursting scene. The cross-cutting between the furnace and the dog was one of the few very memorable scenes from the theatrical cut of ALIEN3.

  71. Alien 3 is the second best Alien movie, which of course makes it one of the best sci fi movies ever. And that’s pretty good in my book.

  72. Alien 3 better than Aliens? absolutely no fucking way my friend, you are on crack

  73. I disagree. I think ALIEN RESURRECTION is the second best ALIEN movie, regardless of which is the best. If ALIEN is the best, then RESURRECTION is the best spaceship character sequel. If ALIENS is the best, then RESURRECTION is the best action sequel.

  74. Still, neither ALIEN3 or RESURRECTION deserves all the nerd rage. They´re not bad. Certainly not as bad as Inter-Net tells you.I like em both. I have more issues with Ridley Scott´s original than with those two. True story…

  75. The nerd-rage against ALIEN 3 is, I think, entirely down to the off-hand, crummy, disrespectful dispatching of Hicks, Newt and Bishop (and ultimately Ripley).

    The film could be great, but I’ll never know as I still can’t watch the film as a thing in itself, as that just pissed me off mightily.

    Plus, as a Brit, all the British TV stars as “hardened criminals” – no, can’t buy that, either.

  76. I just didn’t like the whole movie of ALIEN 3, pointless character deaths aside

    I thought it was slow, dull and ugly

  77. I’ve often wondered how they got permission to kill everyone off in ALIEN 3?

    It makes no sense. At least, to me, anways.

  78. I always liked the theory by some people, that ALIEN³ and RESURRECTION where just nightmares from Ripley, who is still peacefully sleeping. (The surrealism of part 4 makes this theory work, if you ask me.)

  79. CJ – I like that. ALIEN 3 can easily be seen as a nightmare.

    I still hope for a part 5. Remember when Sigsy said she’d been talking to Scott about doing it?

  80. Griff, I see you have found something even stronger than crack! Make no mistake, I love all four Alien movies, but have you guys seen them lately? Yes, there’s a lot of stupid macho dialog and what Sean Connery would call “American shooting” in Aliens, but the acting is plain bad and all logic is thrown out the window. Sci fi is all about creating a future world, but in Cameron’s sloppy hands everything is just like it was in 1986. Even the coffee cups. It’s just not as good a movie as #1 and #3.

  81. I´ve seen ALIENS quite a few times over the years and also recently I might add. I still think its my favourite. It has great tension and characters. “Stupid macho dialogue”?! They are marines, for christs sake!

  82. ALIEN RESURRECTION was always my least favourite of the series (not counting the AVP oddities, obviously); it just seemed too… I don’t know… Self-referential? Comic-booky? ALIEN3 had a lot of great moments (Bishop’s last speech, Charles Dance’s short-lived confession, the funeral/furnace scene, Ripley taking charge of a bunch of convicts) and the Alien represented a real threat (when it wasn’t a weird CGI dog)… In RESURRECTION, the Aliens were used for humour (pushing the button on the scientist, getting shot by Michael Wincott’s chest) and don’t get me started on the Hybrid.

    Have you guys checked out the alternate ALIEN3 scripts? David Twohy did a cracking prison escape one that he filleted for the RIDDICK films, while Vincent Ward’s wooden monastery in space was pleasantly daft.

  83. Jareth Cutestory

    June 7th, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Yeah, I think the exact phrase is “hilarious stupid macho dialogue.” I’m not a huge Cameron fan, and I prefer ALIEN, but ALIENS is pretty much lunkheaded perfection.

    One thing that I always wondered: what would the guys who were so outraged about Hicks and Newt dying in ALIEN 3 actually do with the two characters if they didn’t die? Keeping them around seems like an open invitation to a pointless rehash of the previous film to me, unless they made clever use out of Hicks’ incapacitated body, like with Lance Henricksen’s severed head. I’m not a fan of ALIEN 3, but I think killing off those characters was necessary to raise the stakes and give the Ripley character something new to experience emotionally. I’m also not sure they could have made her death all that credible if her symbolic daughter was still hanging around.

  84. Shoot, I know they’re marines, but they’re also supposed to be trained for situations like the one in the movie. These guys handle multi million dollar equipment and are responsible for hundreds of lives. They should have been portrayed as smart and dedicated, not the brainless morons they have become in Cameron’s script.

  85. maybe they could have just had Alien 3 take place a while after Aliens instead of right after and just have Newt and Hicks go their separate ways?

  86. Jareth Cutestory

    June 7th, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Just like in MISS CONGENIALITY 2!

  87. RESURRECTION is self-referential and I like that. I guess it’s the LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD of ALIEN movies. Ripley’s not only seen it all, but she’s died and she’s not happy to be back. Only in scifi can you deal with that kind of existential issue.

    The nerd rage for 4 comes from Hollywood “ruining” Joss Whedon’s script. Now I like Whedon but I bet the self-referential was even bigger in his script, and there is a point sheers here that’s not the world of ALIEN. But when else can you see a fanboy script directed by a French comedian? That alone is uniquely awesome.

  88. People always hated RESURRECTION though, and most people didn’t know or give a shit who Joss Whedon was when it came out. He was mainly known as the script doctor on SPEED. (the movie, not the drug.)

    I’ve always liked it and I think in some ways it doesn’t get a fair shake (especially from Whedon in interviews) but I think generally people don’t like it because it’s weird, it’s in some ways flawed and because it has so much to live up to. I get in arguments defending it all the time but I guess I understand it more than some other movies people hate.

    (Poll: which ’90s sci-fi sequel character would win in a one-on-one basketball game: clone Ripley or L.A. Snake Plissken?)

    As for Alien 3, I think there are a million political reasons why they ended up killing off Newt and Hicks, but isn’t one of them that 10 year old Newt would’ve gone into cryo-sleep and then woken up a 16 year old? I think our other option would be people to this day complaining that the new Newt wasn’t as good as Carrie Henn.

  89. I’m just nerd raging that there wasn’t a Chow Yun Fat character with disposable .45s that pop out of his sleeves. We was robbed!

    I watched Alien and Aliens back to back a couple years ago and I admit I was taken aback a little by Aliens’ uber-macho dialogue. Alien was just so naturalistic, I guess. But I still love it. My biggest issue with it now is that with all those aliens being blown to bits there would’ve been acid blood flying everywhere. The marines would’ve disintegrated like the Nazis at the end of Raiders. Man, that would’ve been a sweet visual. Not great for an action movie, though.

  90. heimp,

    To be fair, one of the soldiers (Drake, as I recall… pretty sure I had an action figure of him when I was a kid…) does get doused in alien blood and horribly burned after one of the aliens gets shot.

  91. Vern, the Looney Tunes would beat them both in a Space Jam. Glad to hear you see the good in RESSURECTION.

    I think my favorite parts of 3 are dealing with the autopsy and Bishop because that’s the connective tissue to part 2.

  92. If they played one on one Ripley would dunk all over Snake. Snake is a baller, but resurrected Ripley is part alien and superhuman. I don’t see how Snake could stop her. No on the other hand if they played a game of horse it would be like one of those old McDonalds commercials with Bird and Jordan playing horse where they keep making increasingly more ridiculous shots and upping the ante. If Ripley and Snake did play horse they are both so good and never miss a shot that the game would never end, it would go on forever with Ripley & Snake locked into an eternal conflict. They would be a physical representation of Yin & Yang.

  93. If they had let Hicks and Newt live in Alien 3, imagine the storyline they would have had to do with all those low life criminals and sex offenders. They would have recognized Hicks as The Man and made him squeal like a pig, and I won’t even go into what they would have done to Newt.

    My two problems with Ressurection are that the jokes often ruin the tension in too many of the scenes, and that they kill Michael Wincott way too soon. He is the coolest character in all four movies.

  94. My problem with ALIEN 3 and AR, among manyothers, is that they resorted to redoing the ALIEN or ALIENS formula, which is quite silly since neither can be as good as either ALIEN or ALIENS, only come off as a weaker carbon copy in comparison. Use a new plot formula.

    But really, the audience liked Newt and Hicks. I remember that ALIEN 3 screening and when they’re off-screen killed in the opening (a bold step I respect), you lost the audience. ALIEN 3 had other problems, but that really killed it for the crowd at my screening.

    Vern – Snake wins.

    As for older Newt…who says we have to use the ALIEN 3 plot and try to literally happen the next day or year or whatever on that same ship directly from ALIENS or whatever?

  95. It’s important to recognize that although Clone Ripley is only shown to be a great shot and doesn’t necessarily have game otherwise, she does have alien DNA mixed in with hers, which seems to make her more agile and upredictable throughout the movie. In fact it gives her the serpentine mindset that Snake’s moniker implies. Snake only having one eye, you can imagine the type of fakeout moves she could pull to get past his defense. On the other hand we’ve only seen Snake play while drugged, and he was still good. For this match-up I’d like to think that he’s playing in better health.

  96. I might have to explore this further for my CLiNT column.

  97. I saw Alien 3 first at the London premiere in ’92, and I must say that no one at that screening were visually or verbally put off by the fact that Newt and Hick’s didn’t survive the trip. On the contrary I would say that it gave us some insight into what was going on in Ripley’s mind and put us in the right “mood” for the rest of the film.

    I don’t really know what it’s like these days, but back then there was a huge generation gap between those who loved Aliens and couldn’t give a shit about Alien or Alien 3, and those who prefered the more grown up tone in Scott and Fincher’s movies. Apparently it has something to do with guns.

  98. Alien 3 is my most watched Alien film and easily the most daring franchise picture I have ever seen. Name ONE other series that has the balls to kill off 2 of the 3 most loved protagonists, before the opening credits. Then force the audience to watch an extended and gory autopsy of one of the dead; a 12-year old girl, no less.

  99. “As for older Newt…who says we have to use the ALIEN 3 plot and try to literally happen the next day or year or whatever on that same ship directly from ALIENS or whatever?”

    that’s exactly what I was saying, who’s big idea was it for Alien 3 to have to start right after Aliens?

    man, I just can’t understand what you guys see in Alien 3, I went into it with an open mind, expecting to like it, I was actually excited to see it for the first time, but I still hated it

    I’ve yet to watch AR though, so I have no opinion on that

  100. Although the guns in ALIENS play a big part and are awesome, I think it has to do with people thinking its a good movie. I can´t speak for anyone else of course,but thats how I feel.

    The character death rage of ALIEN 3 is something people constructed afterwards. Nobody really were bothered about it at the time, I know I didnt. It was more, “oh, they died. Damn, that was a shame cause I liked them”.At least they bothered to write the characters out of the story, rather than just ignoring them. This complaint is pretty stupid and is nerd nitpicking at its worst.
    In fact, I´m not even completely sure what the real complaint is. Is it simply because they´re dead?

  101. Griff, I’m not playing the age card, but maybe you’re just to young to fully appreciate Fincher’s take on the Alien saga?

    Shoot, I love Aliens, it’s a really cool action movie. I just like Alien 3 better. As for the death of Hicks, I never liked him in the first place and couldn’t care less if was in the third movie or not.

  102. I’m 22 years old, how old do you have to be to appreciate bald British dudes running around anabandoned factory getting chased by the dog alien? (or bull alien, whatever)

  103. Oh, at least over 40…

  104. Talking about the dog alien: Did anybody see on the DVD extras that very brief test footage clip, from when they tried to put an alien mask on a real dog? It’s only a few sceonds long and if I remember right, embedded in some kind of long making of footage or blooper reel or something, but just thinking about it makes me still laugh after all these years.

  105. I understand the frustration that getting rid of newt and Hicks invalidates their journey in ALIENS. It comes down to they just weren’t going to sign them for a sequel so what can you do? Tell the best story you can with who you’ve got. I wonder how much Henriksen made for showing up and voicing the animatronic. I even read some early ideas only had Ripley as a cameo.

  106. I finally went and watched the assembly cut of ALIEN TO THE THIRD POWER last night. I think it’s an improvement, but God is it long. The alien itself never quite works, so it’s not scary, just vicious, which is why the movie works best in the beginning, when it’s all about Ripley and her many strengths. She’s really as perfect a specimen as the alien, and equally adaptive. She takes what comes and moves on. I love that she finally gets to get laid, taking advantage of a rare moment of calm before the storm she knows is coming. It’s the only thing she does for herself in the entire quadrilogy, and it’s a surprisingly warm moment for such an ice-cold series. It’s unsentimental, of course, just two mature people taking some comfort in each other. But at least she had that one fleeting moment of human connection before the end.

    I always thought the theatrical version was a decent standalone film but a real kick in the dick coming off of ALIENS. I was one of those fans who felt betrayed right at the beginning, and, at least on initial viewing, the rest of the film was just not worth the cost. I’ve since gotten over it. I’ve tried to come up with a more satisfying way to deal with Newt (Hicks, while a great character, is purely optional from a narrative and thematic standpoint) and can’t think of any. A Ripley who is a happy mom is not a Ripley a movie should be made about. As for Griff’s point, I don’t think it would have worked to have the third one pick up much later after the second one. Every ALIEN movie starts with Ripley waking up in space from an unnatural sleep, whether it be hypersleep or death. She wakes up from a dream into a nightmare and she never gets to come home. Those few weeks at the beginning of ALIENS were just a momentary respite, and you can tell she never quite bought that she was finished. She knew she had to stay out there in the dark. That’s her fate.

    That fatalism is what ALIEN 3 is all about. It’s gotta be the MEANEST major studio franchise picture ever released. It is determined to take from Ripley every last bit of succor in her life, stripping away every layer of friendship, comfort, biological agency, even vanity (the hair-shaving is significant) until the alien is all she has. It’s literally inside her now. The only way out is death, and she takes that exit ramp gladly if it means taking the monster with her.

    Cameron, a do-er by nature, might have felt that elbow grease and determination would get her out of this Jungian battle with evil intact, but not Fincher, a pessimist if there ever was one. He knows that everyone who’s touched by the beast is doomed. The best you can do is go out with your integrity and leave nothing behind for the bastards to exploit.

    That’s why resurrecting her in part 4 was such a cruel joke. She finally escaped, but the profiteers (The Company and The Studio alike) brought her back so they could make more money off her. Maybe it’s for the best that it was played for campy laughs. To play it straight would just hurt too much.

  107. Majestyk, she also shot hoops for herself, but that was clone Ripley so maybe that’s what you meant, the only moment human Ripley takes for herself.

    Seriously, that’s what I love about RESURRECTION, the idea that even death isn’t an out. In sci fi that’s literal but spiritually it’s a valid thought too.

    I can watch 3 tho. Still a movie in the Alien world with Ripley. The assembly cut does help, and I do admire its balls. I like some of the characters and Ripley’s relationship with the convicts. I probably like it more now that I know it’s not the last word on Ripley.

  108. Jareth Cutestory

    June 8th, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Griff: I watched ALIEN RESSURECTION for the second time since it was first released a couple of years ago. I think as long as you don’t expect the film to be 1.) in the same class as ALIEN or ALIENS, or 2.) a good Jean-Pierre Jeunet film, it stands up really well against stuff like PANDORUM, EVENT HORIZON and SUNSHINE. There are some beautifully shot sequences.

    I deduct points for Winona Ryder being insufferable, and for Nick Tortelli being way over the top. But between Ron Pearlman and Dominique Pinon, the supporting cast is otherwise pretty great.

  109. I have to say, it’s too bad Jean-Pierre Jeunet never did another Hollywood film, since I’m a big City of Lost Children fan

  110. I look forward to seeing what you US cats think of PROMETHEUS now that it’s finally hit stateside.

  111. I wonder if they ever considered making the fourth movie about Morse? Imagine if they loose contact with one of their bases and Morse has to go there with a team of Japanese Ninja Commandos, led by Sonny Chiba, only to find that the base has been taken over by aliens…hey, this sounds familiar?

  112. Back in school, a buddy and me actually had the idea for an Alien sequel starring Johner & Vriess (aka Perlman and Pinon from RESURRECTION), with some heavy flashbacks to the “past”, that showed what happened to Morse.

    I can’t remember much of what we came up, except for one scene, which had one character fighting an Alien while falling outside of a window. He shot the alien to pieces in midfall, somehow managed to slow his fall down and land unharmed. And while he was standing there, cheering his own awesomness, the bloody pulp of the alien fell down on him and he started melting from the acid blood.

  113. Jareth Cutestory, If by, “insufferable” you mean, “The-perfect-image-of-subtly-androgynous-femininity-whom-I-could-watch-in-literally-anything-well-anything-except-that-one-Adam-Sandler-movie-and-come-to-think-of-it-I-saw-that-one-too.” Then we’re on the same page.

  114. Jareth Cutestory

    June 8th, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Tawdry: Maybe if she didn’t insist on talking like a braindead valley girl in every single film she’s appeared in I’d be more susceptible to Ryder’s looks. I’m impressed by your ability to separate her appearance from the Voice of Keanu that comes out of her mouth. Some folks find that kind of thing off-putting.

  115. As a guy who grew up in the valley and has spent entirely too much time listening to dumb valley girls talk about nothing because of his life long obsession with hip-to-waist ratio, I can assure you, Ryder sounds nothing one of those girls.

    Also, I wrote a funny lyric about her recently:

    “DJ Jean Baudrillard but I never spin a record/My lyrical content, is straight untethered/and all you non-Winona broads best expect to get Heather’d/I’ll chew you up and spit you out and send you straight back to Stepford.

  116. Jareth Cutestory

    June 9th, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Now that’s an inspired area in which to conduct field research, Tawdry. I hope they gave you extra credit.

  117. Valley girl or not, outside of Beetlejuice and Heathers, sadly Winona Ryder was just the Lindsay Lohan of her time …

  118. Jareth Cutestory

    June 9th, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Yeah, I recently watched BEETLEJUICE again for the first time in years. Despite looking perfect for the part, Ryder’s performance was pretty weak. Catherine O’Hara and Geena Davis, on the other hand, were brilliant.

    I’m going to leave HEATHERS as a memory from adolescence. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to ruin it by watching it as a sour old adult.

  119. I recently too watched KoH the Director’s cut for the first time and was too blown away. so i came on the web to try and find reviews with similar opinion and i stumbled upon yours. and what a delight! your review is spot on and hilarious.

    “It’s probly pretty good brotherly advice, but he makes the mistake of trying to nudge him along by telling him that his wife is in Hell and that he cut off her head before he buried her. So Balian stabs him with a hot sword he’s forging, then pushes him into fire. The priest gets what he deserves, but also what he wanted, ’cause now Balian’s a murderer and has to go to the Holy Land where rumor is all sins are forgiven.”

    I Know! lol! it’s like he wants to get him out of his slump and do the brotherly thing but he goes about it the most diabolical way possible! lol. michael sheen’s face when he tells him how he cut off his wife’s head was Absurd. and Bailian’s reaction was so called for and appropiate. i mean if someone just said all that stuff about your wife and your future in the village would you not stab him with a burning sword and throw them in a fire? its was so perfectly justified. and yeah in the end the brother priest did achieve what he set out to do which was to get his brother going on his quest.

    I also thoroughly enjoyed your analysis of Godfrey breaking it in to Bailian that he is his father. it was also another absurd scenario that somehow the writing, acting, directing just made it work and seem almost natural and not absurd.

  120. I really liked the characters King Baldwin and Saladin. both very chivalrous and enlightened leaders. and both had such presence in the movie and well acted. I also really liked the hospitalier, who i think was meant to be a direct manifestaion of God. he was there during the burning bush scene and other key moment too. and on the way to battle delivers the most enlightened quote in the film. “you will go to certain death. All death is certain.” and he had such a peace about him that for some reason i just kind of saw him as God being a tourist in his own creation, and just kind of going with the flow of where the experience takes him without interfering with anything too much.

    I though that this was an epic movie and the message actually was very deep. I took away from it that we are all just patterns of energies and certain patterns of energies are just “doomed” in a way to always clash it out in the world. it just changes form. the christians and muslims depicted fighting in the film is the same energy pattern fighting it out today in the middle east.

  121. Yeah, Ridley Scott still has some good ones, huh? Glad you liked the movie and the review. Thanks for posting.

  122. Just got this, because the recent Blu-ray with all the extras from the previous SE DVD ported over was 5 bucks on Amazon. Plus I plan on seeing THE MARTIAN this week and figured it would be good to finally see this after hearing the DC was much superior (though not having seen the original cut). I like the modern attitudes, as Vern put it, as it kind of put me in touch with how relevant the story still is. It also helps because I’m usually not one for historical movies going back this far. I did like GLADIATOR, though it seems I’m in the clear minority on that one. But this has a bit more meat on the bone when it comes to character, with a much less action-minded approach to it all.

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