Alien Resurrection

David 8’s basketball practice in PROMETHEUS got me thinking about Ripley 8’s b-ball skills in ALIEN RESURRECTION, so much so that I decided to make it the topic of my Badass Cinema 101 column for CLiNT Magazine. Ask for it by name at your favorite newsstand or magazinier.

Well, I had to re-watch the basketball scene for research, but I decided instead of just watching the scene I wanted to sit and watch the whole movie again. I’ve always liked this one and thought it got a bad rap. It lacks the seriousness and groundbreakingness of ALIEN and ALIENS, but in its own way it’s a highly entertaining sci-fi popcorn movie with great characters, great set-pieces, original ideas, cool monsters and lots of weird shit that only this particular director would’ve done. That last one I’m afraid is probly one of the reasons it’s so hated. Alot of people don’t like seeing things they didn’t already plan to see.

I always liked that each of the non-Predator ALIEN series were done by a different visionary director who put their own spin on it. David Fincher unfortunately was not happy with his experience, but obviously we can see in retrospect that he was a worthy director, not just somebody that was hot at the time. This is the one by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who had done DELICATESSEN and CITY OF LOST CHILDREN and would later do AMELIE. For better or worse he’s the one that went furthest away from Ridley Scott’s filmatistic style.

Yeah, it’s a Hollywood sequel, yeah it’s made in English which the director barely spoke at the time, but Jeunet still ended up all over the thing: in the bubbling, oozing, morphing pile of gelatinous clone parts of the opening credits. In the subtle age-progression from young Ripley clone to current model. In the light-beams-reflected-on-worn-metal-in-darkness cinematography of Dharius Khondji. In the casting of Ron Perlman and Dominique Pinon in major roles. In the hyperactive camera spins and zooms and especially the one that goes into the guy’s mouth and down his throat to the screaming baby Alien inside him.

And then there’s the Joss Whedon factor. The cult TV hero turned director of highest grossing non-James Cameron movie of all time – at the time just known as a script doctor on SPEED – was the sole writer. In retrospect it’s clearly his work, but he disowns it. In an interview with something called bullz-eye.com  he explained:

“Uh…you know, it wasn’t a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending, it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines…mostly…but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong that they could possibly do. There’s actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking, because everything that they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from the script, and people assume that, if I hated it, then they’d changed the script…but it wasn’t so much that they’d changed the script; it’s that they just executed it in such a ghastly fashion as to render it almost unwatchable. (Pauses) Good times. (Pauses again) Well, I really must go…”

Obviously it’s his right not to like what they did with his script, but I feel like if the movie had been popular he would’ve been okay with it just like Walter Hill, David Giler and Dan O’Bannon were. You don’t see those guys being babies about the director having a different vision for their script STAR BEAST.

I like alot of Whedon’s stuff and I’m sure there were things he intended that he could’ve made work differently. But what’s wrong with the design? What’s wrong with the score? And the cast is impeccable from top to bottom. Perlman especially excels at delivering Whedony shit like a guy that doesn’t think he’s saying Whedony shit. You’re telling me you had somebody better than Ron Perlman in your head? to quote Kool Keith:


In fact, if there’s an obvious biggest weakness to the movie, it’s the sometimes inappropriate jokey dialogue that Whedon couldn’t resist. All allegations about delivery aside, I don’t really think these characters hundreds of years in the future should be making references to Ironside. Even in 2012 you say that I don’t think many people under 35 or 40 would know what it was. And what’s this “She’s a toaster oven”? They get their booze from a laser shooting a cube but they know what toaster ovens are?

Worse than that, you got Ripley saying sarcastic shit like “Was it everything you hoped for?” when people get attacked by Aliens. I know we had to move on from the Ripley who’s always warning everybody how serious this is and nobody believes her, but does that mean we need glib smartass Ripley?

On the other hand I’m all for Perlman’s “I am not the one with whom to fuck.” And when Call drinks his moonshine and asks “Jesus Johner, what did you put in this shit? Battery acid?” and he says, “Only for color.”

Yeah, maybe I take it back. Other than the unbelievable references I’m gonna go along with the dialogue. I like it. It’s not like ALIEN, because this is not ALIEN. Much like this Ripley is the 8th clone of the Ripley who died in part 3, this is the umpteenth clone of ALIENS, and the DNA got mixed up a little. Ripley 8 has a little Alien in her DNA, she can feel it behind her eyes. Her baby Queen has a human womb in her, she can give birth to the angry, sad Newborn. This Jeunet movie has a Whedon script under its skin.  It wasn’t meant to be, but it’s (as sicko scientist Brad Dourif’s head, seeming to float among slimy alien nest says) “a beautiful, beautiful butterfly.”

The movie starts with Ripley, in voiceover, quoting the late Newt: “My mommy said there were no monsters, no real ones. But there are.” This as surgeons carefully remove the Alien Queen fetus from Ripley’s belly. The Queen is a monster, but so is Ripley, who has been grown from old blood samples and who we will later learn has a little bit of Alien in her. Also the surgeons are monsters, because it turns out they’re not removing the Queen to save Ripley – they want the Queen for themselves, and only as an afterthought decide to leave “the host” alive afterwards.

Ripley’s team this time is one o’ them ragtag crews of pirates they got in space. They’re from a small ship called The Betty, ancestors of the Serenity crew), and they’re not exactly ethical. They land on this military vessel because they’re selling a ship they salvaged with living people still on it. They don’t realize the military scientists are gonna mate the people with facehuggers, but still. They must‘ve known not to steal unconscious people and sell them to a lab. What did their mothers teach them about that?

The great gravel-voiced Michael Wincott (brother of Jeff) is the captain, Perlman is the resident asshole who enjoys throwing knives into the legs of wheelchair-bound Pinon, Gary Dourdan (later on CSI) is the stoic gunslinger Christie. Whedon famously wrote the character for Chow Yun Fat, which obviously would’ve been cool, but also would’ve been an obvious meta joke, the guy who’s known for gunfight movies. Dourdan is perfect, and has one of my favorite moments in the movie. Forced to ditch the wheelchair and carry Pinon on his back, the little guy says “Like old times,” and Christie says, “Yeah.” Not pretending to be happy about it, but not complaining either. Just acknowledging yeah, we’ve been through this shit before, let’s get through this.

I guess the controversial one would be Winona Ryder as Call, who (real old SPOILER) follows in the footsteps of Ash and Bishop as the robot character. I think she’s great casting – this little elf-lookin girl who the crew thinks is in over her head “playing pirate,” but actually can handle herself and knows way more about what’s going on than everybody else. Also I like the reversal that the robot doesn’t trust Ripley, instead of the other way around. “She’s not even human!”

Another reason she works great is the scene where she sneaks into Ripley’s cell, and Ripley manhandles her, somewhere between threatening her and molesting her. The obvious height difference is crucial, it makes Ripley seem so much more dangerous, and more like that tall alien from ALIEN.

(If I was Ryder and I thought Whedon was talking about me when he said “they cast it wrong” I’d ask him motherfucker, where would your career be if you didn’t love how I talked in HEATHERS? Show some respect.)

There’s some weird sexual shit. At one point Ripley drops into a big pile of unidentifiable Alien body parts. She nuzzles the Queen. I’m pretty sure she’s getting it on with the Queen, although I’m not sure how that works. Later, when Call has one of those robot wounds with the milky white goo, Ripley fingers it. I like that stuff. That’s one thing you don’t get in CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, a robot getting wound-banged.

But Jeunet is also good with the set-pieces. The stand-out is definitely the underwater scene, where the crew has to swim through a flooded kitchen. They get chased by aliens (some of them nabbed) and then find out that the place they were heading for is cocooned and surrounded by alien eggs ready to jizz facehuggers onto them. The aliens are well-executed CG, but the actors are really swimming through an underwater tank, and it’s incredible. That the scene goes on for far longer than anybody could really hold their breath only makes it more intense.

Other great scenes and moments: Gun tears through dead Michael Wincott’s chest to shoot alien, Ripley crawls out from beneath. The basketball scene. Ripley comes across a room full of the previous 7 failed clones. That one kinda gets to the heart of Whedon’s cleverness. They wanted him to write a movie with Ripley, so he had to bring her back to life. How do you do that without cheapening this series in which everyone constantly faces death? You make the resurrection worse than the death. Before she was top-baller Ripley she was some fucked up do-over Ripleys. The one that was closest to human was found laying on a bed in agony, begging to be killed. She preferred being burnt alive by a blowtorch to living any longer. Yeah, this cloning thing is not always the best solution.

On my list of things I like in this movie I’m gonna have to include a controversial one: the Newborn. I know, nobody else likes the Newborn. But I like him. He’s a huge fucked up Alien-human hybrid with the personality of a dumb baby. But he’s also deadly, so much so that he slashes the Alien Queen to death right after birth. The opposite of an animal that eats its young. Then he decides that Ripley is his mommy. I’m not sure if she should trust him. But she does feel sorry for him.

This is the beauty of the ending, in my opinion. ALIENS was brilliant to multiply the Alien threat and turn it into an action movie, but after that and part 3 and this those shiny black things are not really the same anymore. Yeah, the underwater part was scary, but we’ve gotten used to these guys, they’re not as exotic, and we’ve seen them blown away pretty easy with guns that are probly now considered primitive. Ripley has faced down the one Alien, she’s faced down the Queen, she’s been impregnated and killed herself – what does she do to top those things?

How ’bout instead of topping it we do it different. She kills the Alien like she did in the first one but this time you feel bad about it. It has human eyes and it looks sad and betrayed and it cries. Ripley feels bad about it too, ’cause she’s it’s mommy. But I think she made the right decision not trying to keep it. You know how Michael Jackson couldn’t keep Bubbles after he got too strong and dangerous? Or that movie where Renee Russo tried to raise a gorilla like a human. It just doesn’t work. And who knows what that thing will grow into? By definition a Newborn was just born.

But I sympathize with the poor fucker so I can’t help but notice that Ripley comes up with the most painful way to kill it: have it sucked through a small hole about the size of a golf ball. Ouch!

I don’t know, man. ALIEN and ALIENS are masterpieces. But the other two are fun. They’re just different. Maybe give it another chance some time.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 at 10:56 pm and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. 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.

223 Responses to “Alien Resurrection”

  1. caruso_stalker217

    August 1st, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    I used to say this was a bad ALIEN movie but an entertaining regular shitty movie. But the last few times I watched it I realized that it has a lot more going for it, like the homosexual subtext. I think the idea of a human-alien hybrid Ripley is a good one, and they get some mileage out of it in the early scenes. Especially the scene between her and Winona and the knife in the hand. There is some good writing and acting going on there. But then later Ripley has to say a bunch of dumb lines that don’t fit her character, and then after that she gets to do good acting again. So it’s a little (or a lot) uneven, but I think it has a lot of merit to and it’s enjoyable.

    But what a waste of Wincott. Shame on them.

  2. caruso_stalker217

    August 1st, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    So, Vern, does this mean you’ll be reviewing ALIEN³ in the future?

  3. Boy, this is one where I simply can’t agree with you. Even on re-watch, I think Alien Resurrection is complete garbage.

    Yes, Ron Perlman is awesome, but I do think a lot of the dialogue is way too clever for it’s own good, and does not at all fit in an Alien movie.

    However, the biggest point of contention are these “setpieces” you speak of.
    The set-pieces in Alien Resurrection are mostly non-existent, or border-line incompetent.
    I hate that kitchen underwater sequence, Alien’s swimming under-water is not scary and just looks really goofy, and they don’t really take advantage of the underwater aspect as much as they could. I hate the elevator sequence with the stupid upside-down tracer fire (also how Winona Ryder magically teleports to the top of the elevator shaft). I hate the whole ending sequence with the retarded looking hybrid alien that just grabs people.

    And then the bizarre ending, where the Giant spacecraft full of aliens crashes into the main-land and explodes, and the heroes are just like “Mission Accomplished”. Probably 50 million people just died from that collision you assholes.

    On top of all that, whole the look of the movie is just really ugly in my opinion. I don’t like the design of the space-station (and they don’t utilize it well at all, it feels like the actors are running down the same exact corridor for most of the movie), the aliens have ridiculous amounts of slime on them, just ugh.

    You know, the more I think about it the more I hate this movie.

  4. Thank you, Vern. Agree with you all the way. I’ve always liked this one and thought Alien 3 was always the weakest one.

    Winona Ryder was great. I loved the interactions between her and Sigourney. The pirate crew were badass. And the design of the film was great. I just wish we had gotten the follow-up to the series with Aliens finally being on Earth (because you just know not all of them got blown up when the ship crashed).

    I liked this so much I even bought the soundtrack on CD back when it first came out.

  5. The fact that Weaver made the bball shot herself proves the woman is as badass as a real Ripley. I would love to see the original take intact, including Perlman breaking character.

  6. As a dyed-in-the-wool ALIEN fanatic, this review makes me so happy. Since 1997 I’ve been fighting an uphill battle trying to get people to see what’s good about this movie, and you’ve nailed it in such a loving fashion. I’ve seen AR 30-ish times (8 in the theater) and I’ve never once considered the birth/death metaphor of the Newborn’s final moments. Brilliant observation.

    Also, now that we have PROMETHEUS (which I actually like), it’s kind of fun that RESURRECTION is no longer the go-to most-hated film of the franchise.

  7. I was gonna watch AR for the first time over a year ago when I bought the blu ray boxset, but I hated Alien 3 so much that it killed my interest in watching the 4th

    however, this review has convinced me to give it another shot

  8. Hello Vern, I agree with you on this (until now I thought I was the only one in the planet that liked this movie). But I have a little nitpicking-totally unnecessary-correction: Dan O’Bannon DID have problems with ALIEN. Only not with Ridley Scott, but with Walter Hill and David Giler who first try to steal his screenplay and leave him without any credit for it and then added the infamous moment went Ripley goes back for the cat that weren’t on O’Bannon original screenplay.

  9. Started rewatching this movie a few months ago…

    …and it sucks. Crappy directing, crappy acting, and I hated the pirate crew (why should we give a shit about any of them, seriously?). I won’t watch it ever again, unless I’m at a party and no one changes the channel.

    I appreciate, Vern, how you sometimes champion “bad” movies – but in this case I think you’re wrong; Alien: Resurrection SUCKS.

  10. I’m not going to repeat again what I already repeated a few times. I’m just glad that we now finally have an official review for this one.

  11. Like James Bond and Rambo the Alien movies are a genre of their own, and they’re all good in their own way. How we rank them are of course a matter of personal taste – I’ve ended up with 1, 3, 2 and 4 – but calling any of them bad is just acknowledging that this type of sci fi just isn’t for you.

  12. I love Whedon, I love Alien, I like Jeunet and I grew up with a big crush on Winona Ryder, but this movie never worked for me. It has some good dialogue and funny set-pieces, but also terrible self-referential dialogue and a comic-sensability that just doesn`t work for the alien-universe. My biggest problem is the story, though. After all the aliens break free, the story just stops stone-dead and it seems we follow the character from one set-piece to another. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more with the original ending (Whedon says he wrote an entire third act, that got cut due to budget-restraints), with the crew crashlanding on earth and fighting the survived newborn with big harvesters and stuff.

    “You don’t see those guys being babies about the director having a different vision for their script STAR BEAST.”

    Actually, I have to point out that Bannon actually played a HUGE part in the actual realisation of his alien-script. He was the guy who convinced Scott to use H.R. Gigers design for the monster and was on board on the production the entire time, helping out with set-designs and stuff. Because he was totally paranoid about the director messing up his vision for the movie.

  13. @ANoniMouse

    The unedited basketball scene from Alien Resurrection that proves Sigourney really did make that impossible shot.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjTWN7SMLkU (starts at 4:40)

  14. I like the counter consensus argument here. Honestly, I haven’t seen this movie since the theaters, but the scene that sticks out for me is the Newborn being sucked through a tiny hole into space. I know it’s the future and they might use different building materials, but wouldn’t that entire wall just break apart. That always bothered me. I don’t remember liking the film, but maybe I should give it another shot. I like both Jeunet and Whedon, although I admit that they’re not exactly the peanut butter and chocolate of directors to screenwriter.

  15. I’m gonna take a stand and come down firmly on the “It’s okay” side on this one. Some good moments, some bad moments, some touches of genius, all of them seeming more like ALIEN fanfic than a real ALIEN movie. It’s just too arch, too French, to feel like it’s happening in the same universe. The others each had their own spin on the material, but they still felt of a piece. It’s probably easier to think of it as a spinoff, not a sequel, like the AvP movies.

    But I like that Ripley 8 is different, more cynical. It fits. She spent her whole life and death trying to keep these asshole company men from getting their stupid greedy asses killed, but if they’re still determined to do it then fuck ’em. A bitter little laugh and a sarcastic remark is her only defense against being totally disgusted with the entire human race. Funny that it takes seeing a bit of human in a monster to learn sympathy again.

    One thing I noticed when I watched it just a few months ago was that the aliens seemed a little smarter, which also fits. They’re part Ripley, after all. That’s some resourceful DNA they’ve co-opted. Also, the first time I saw it, I remember having a problem with the aliens roaring like lions, but now I figure that’s just more human DNA manifesting itself. The differences might have been easier to take if the design had been modified slightly to let you know that these aliens aren’t the same as the other ones, like the ALIEN 3 one was a quadruped because it was born from a dog/cow.

    Anyway, I think most of the problems people have with the movie (and I sympathize; I go back and forth on the matter myself) is that it seems to be mocking the franchise, which no fan who has invested 20 years into a universe and a set of characters wants to see. It feels like it’s all in quotes. It feels kind of like Jeunet was kidnapped like Kim Jong-il did that South Korean guy and forced him to make a monster movie under duress, but he managed to sneak in some shit to undercut it anyway without his captors noticing. Subversion is awesome in theory, I guess, but I prefer my ALIEN movies straight.

  16. RBAtty: What bothered me, was that despite it being hundreds of years in the future, they were still using bullets and had to be careful that they didn’t make any holes in the hull of the spaceship with it. But maybe they just didn’t say their lines like they were written….

  17. “Obviously it’s his right not to like what they did with his script, but I feel like if the movie had been popular he would’ve been okay with it just like Walter Hill, David Giler and Dan O’Bannon were.”

    Hill and Giler hated the script for Alien Resurrection. They were told the idea by Fox and Giler said: “If you go ahead with this you will kill the franchise.” Fox went ahead with it and killed the franchise. Giler and Hill walked away and Bill Badalato took on the producing credit. Badalato’s only credits since then have been Mafia!, Men of Honor and Around The World in 80 Days.

    Says it all really.

  18. Jareth Cutestory

    August 2nd, 2012 at 7:26 am

    I come at this film as a Jeunet fan approaching his weakest work. I really don’t have any investment in the ALIEN series. I think there’s a greater disparity in quality between this film and AMELIE or DELICATESSEN than there is between this film and ALIEN.

    My biggest problem with the film is the casting of Ryder and Dan Hedaya. Ryder is physically perfect for the role, but her speech patterns bother me, like Keanu Reeves in DANGEROUS LIAISONS. And Hedaya plays his character way too broad for my taste; it seems very disruptive to the tone of the film.

    I also think that Jeunet is a visionary, and this film doesn’t give him enough room to let his freak flag fly. The film is full of his fingerprints, but you’d never know from watching it why fans of DELICATESSEN love him so much.

    I also don’t get much chemistry between Ripley and the pirates, at least not compared to Ripley/Hicks, but it probably does better in this respect than the third film.

    Things I like:

    Ripley is by far the scariest presence in this film.

    If they ever had a Brad Dourif film festival, it would be remarkable to see back-to-back all the different nuances and shades he uses to differentiate the extremely creepy characters he’s played throughout his career. They guy has a thousand shades of ick in his arsenal.

    This is by far the most thematically varied film in the series.

    I think the shoot out on the ladder is better than any of Cameron’s similar sequences (at least until someone reminds me of a sequence in ALIENS that I’m forgetting at the moment).

    I don’t know if this is the goriest ALIEN film, but it definitely has the most unique use of gore. It’s almost contemplative.

  19. Excellent review. Alien 3 is my favorite, for my tastes. I like all four, enjoy the original thriller and the action sequel and Jeunet, but part three has an atmosphere, texture I enjoy most. It’s bleak. I like Ripley as being so defeated, so exhausted, she becomes more vulnerable (more so than action Ripley in the robot or snarky clone). It’s sublime, in its way.

    Also, it has Paul McGann briefly.

  20. Brandon, if you see the extended cut of Alien 3 there’s a lot more McGann for you.

  21. Always was conflicted on this one. It’s been so long since I last saw it (about 10 years) that I can’t properly join the convo since I forgot so much of it but as an aside I just read that PROMETHEUS 2 is trucking along. And this time without Lindelof (thank god).

  22. I think like Vern, I kind of have a soft spot for this film. I remember when it came out in theaters all of my friends hated it with a passion (they especially hated the Newborn), but I liked it then and it has grown on me more with time. However, I can see how diehard fans of the Alien franchise could hate this film because it is more comical in tone than the other films, and it takes the story of Ripley to a weird and sad place.

  23. Thanks, Vern. Always thought this was a little better than ALIEN3. It’s trying harder than the haunted house retread.

  24. Thank you, Vern. It’s nice to see that not everyone hates this movie.

    I always found Wincott’s death to be pretty affecting thanks to the little scene with him and that girl in the hot pants. She loved him, damnitt! I always feel bad for her. I do wish he would’ve stuck around longer, though. I love that dude (not the same way the hot pants girl did, though). “Bang, fuck, I’m dead!” –Wincott, from another movie

  25. Knox Harrington

    August 2nd, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I remember this movie having a weird, pulp sci-fi look and feel to it, which is something we need more of (preferably with space pirates).

    Seriously, when’s the last time we had any good, sleazy, balls-to-the-wall pulp sci-fi? Maybe that’s why I liked Lockout a little more than most people did.

    And for some reason the DTV world (usually a haven for this kind of thing) has been neglecting sci-fi as well. Surely they can come up with something. What’s Christopher Lambert up to these days?

  26. I think the cost of modern special effects priced out most weird, sleazy sci-fi. You can’t just have a guy in a rubber suit running around a basement pretending its a ship’s engine room anymore. It’s a shame, really.

  27. I just kind of loathe this one – doesn’t click for me at all, dspite some great actors. Michael Wincott!

    But a breath activated biometric lock? Criminy.

  28. Jareth Cutestory

    August 2nd, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Knox: What elements of GUY PEARCE’S SPACE JAIL are you identifying as pulp? In aesthetic terms, it seemed to me to be the polar oposite of trash (ie. too anticeptic, slick). Are you thinking of the trashy plot/premise?

  29. The Original... Paul

    August 2nd, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Nate – I don’t know if anybody (except possibly Asimov) thinks Prometheus is a WORSE movie than “Alien: Resurrection”. And that’s coming from somebody who sits squarely in the “kinda enjoyed Alien: Resurrection despite it being complete and utter crap” camp. I mean, as much as I didn’t care about the characters in the “abortion” scene in “Prometheus” (including the magically-disappearing guards), it’s still better than anything in “Alien: Resurrection”. I would argue, anyway.

    So yeah, I kinda enjoyed this one, but I can totally see why people (like Bullet, above) would hate it. It looks kinda cheap and everything about it feels rushed or unfinished. Pretty much every general flaw I’ve ascribed to “Prometheus” applies to “Alien: Resurrection”, except that A:R doesn’t introduce a Guy Pierce character in bad old-man makeup using the classic theme music of the original “Alien”. (Seriously, this is not a comparison you want to make, Alien sequels.)

  30. There was ALIEN VS ZOMBIES a couple of years ago. Cheap looking, but kinda fun.

  31. a.k.a THE DARK LURKING

  32. I remembered being EXACTLY how you describe it here….way better than people give it credit for, and more of a zany, fun spin on a deathly serious franchise. But then I watched it again. Aside from several cool things and I pretty rad cast, it’s fucking terrible. Whedon IS right. The right things are in place, they are just done wrong….or poorly, or something.

    I really, really had a miserable time with it.

    I absolutely agree though that Alien 3 is unfairly maligned. Alien 3 is great.

  33. I don’t think PROMETHEUS is worse than A:R, but is that really saying much? That’s sorta like saying you treat your women better than Chris Brown. It’s not exactly a high bar.

    To me I can simply sum up A:R with that it’s a dull formula retreat of ALIEN, mixed with bits of the previous movies, but covered with quirks and interesting touches obviously done by a filmmaker trying his best to make a movie better than it really is, or what one can do when you’re stuck with that script.

    Really that series worked when they changed formula and adapted like a proud Xenomorph would, otherwise you’re cranking out inferior knock-offs off the original (or sequel.) Of course after ALIEN and ALIENS, what other formula can be jammed together with those face huggers?

  34. Sorry, anyone against this movie is not a friend of fun.

    It doesn’t fit the tone of the Alien franchise? Perhaps. It fits the mythology fine and accusations of it being nothing more than fanfic aren’t paying attention.

    Glad vern called out the Serenity connection, you definitely could see where the Betty and its crew were an early draft of what would become the Firefly ensemble.

    And before any nerdrage over realism or other bullshit erupts, particularly the “it’s ten zillion years in the future, why don’t…” there’s plenty to challenge in both Alien and particularly Aliens, so let’s play nice.

    “Yeah, like you never fucked a robot.”

  35. It fits the mythology just fine. It’s the tone that’s off. I just don’t personally feel that there’s anything whimsical about this particular perfect killing machine that could spell the end of all human life if released. That’s what makes it feel like fanfic: It’s got all the trivia right, as any fanboy motivated enough to write his own version of the story would be sure to do his homework, but it’s still trying to wedge someone else’s creation into a style not suited to it. It’s like trying to turn STAR TREK into a gay romance. You get some interesting and entertaining stuff when you do that, but it still shouldn’t be canon.

    Anyway, I’ve seen the movie three or four times, and I even watched the extended cut from the box set. What exactly aren’t I paying attention to?

  36. Knox Harrington

    August 2nd, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Jareth, yeah, the premise and the over-the-top characters and the shitty effects and the badass anti-hero protagonist. The Carpenter influence (little that there is) gives me the impression that they were going for something a little more pulpy.

    Damn, man, isn’t there anyone working in movies today that we can hail as the new Carpenter? Even if it is just to make us feel better about the very strong possibility that we won’t be getting anything nearly as good as his work ever again.

    Carpenter in his prime would have fucked the dwindling Alien franchise a new asshole and told it to call him Pappy.

  37. Knox Harrington

    August 2nd, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    That means he would have made a good Alien movie. I think.

  38. Knox Harrington

    August 2nd, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I thought Star Trek was a gay romance.

  39. It’s not JUST a gay romance is all I’m saying.

  40. caruso_stalker217

    August 2nd, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I would watch RESURRECTION before PROMETHEUS any day. And ALIEN³ before any of them. Except ALIEN. You can’t fuck with perfection.

  41. Knox Harrington

    August 2nd, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Or at least it WAS a beautiful gay romance, until the evil Team Abrams fucked it all up.

  42. Clubside – You know for all the times I’ve disagreed with Mr. Majestyk, I’ve never accused him of being anti-Fun. I mean what the hell? Anyway I might have to agree with Mr. M on AR’s problem.

    Knox – well Neil Marshall tried, does that count?

    I think the thing about John Carpenter is that the Internet can love him all they want, but if the Internet was around in the 80s, I’m sure they would bust his balls for most of that decade.

    “This FOG is boring, we need more bodie. And boobs.”

    “Hey THING isn’t like the original at all. Worst movie ever!”

    “What’s this comedy bullshit doing in my awesome martial arts action movie? I don’t want my hero to suck. Also he needs a bigger gun.”

    “this hack can’t adapt Stephen King right!”

    “Why did he sell out by doing this Jeff Bridges chick flick?”

    “Why can’t ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK be light and actiony like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK? The 70s are over John. LOLz”

    “What’s this stupid shit with the mirror at the end? LAME.”

    “About what you expect when you cast a pro wrassler as the lead.”

  43. caruso_stalker217

    August 2nd, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    In the hypothetical ’80s internet’s defense, THE FOG is kinda boring.

  44. bodies, not “bodie” (whatever that is. Brodie?)

  45. As much as I disagree with this review (which is really rare…it feels strange), bless your heart for the Kool Keith track. I just began my annual Kool Keith phase yesterday and that song was on repeat for a good portion of the day.


  46. The biggest problem with RESSURECTION is that it’s an ALIEN movie. If you replaced those copyrighted ALIEN aliens with generic ALIEN ripoff aliens and just made it an ALIEN ripoff, I think people would be much more accepting of its weird combo of sci-fi horror, Whedon-y quippyness, and inexplicable French archness. It still wouldn’t be perfect, but it wouldn’t feel so *wrong*

    There’s a lot to like in there, most of which Vern pretty artfully points out. I never did like the design of the newborn, though. Too pathetic to be scary, but not pathetic enough to really be sympathetic. It just kind of washes out as bland. But as PROMETHEUS discovered, woah to the production designer who wants to try and put his/her stuff next to Geiger’s.

  47. RESURRECTION is way more fun than PROMETHEUS. I don’t want to restart the conversation from the PROMETHEUS thread here, but it is a pretty joyless bore. On the other hand RESURRECTION is a fun sci-fi action flick with some cool visuals and ideas that due to its tone feels out of place when compared to the other Alien films. You could argue that RESURRECTION is a failure as an Alien film, but it is still an entertaining film. PROMETHEUS is not only a failure as an Alien film, it is a bad film not matter how you look at it.

  48. The Original... Paul

    August 2nd, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    To those who are saying “Alien: Resurrection” is a failure specifically as an “Alien” film, well there I gotta say I disagree with you. I can take changes to “canonical” characters. But I don’t think that’s the problem this film has.

    I mean, if one were to point out an “Alien” film that isn’t really an “Alien” film, then I think “Aliens” would be the least Alien-like of the lot of ’em. Unlike pretty much all of the rest of the films, “Aliens” isn’t primarily a slasher movie in space. But in my opinion “Aliens” is the best of the whole lot of ’em including the original – it’s certainly the one I’ve watched the most – and “Prometheus” is… well… not as bad as “Alien 3” or “Alien: Resurrection” (but doesn’t have the kinda-cool ending that Alien 3 had).

    My point being, it’s good to switch things up, if you do it well. But “Resurrection” is a bad film on its own merits. It’s neither scary nor realistic, I think the visuals are very bad, and there’s just nobody I can really root for now that Ripley has gone all alien-hybrid on us. There’s a couple of occasions where we “get” the impossible situation that she’s in, but still… it’s occasionally a fun film, for me, but that’s more laughing AT it than WITH it. And that’s not a good omen for the film.

  49. Paul, RESURRECTION is not meant to be realistic or scary, and that is why the tone of the films does not fit with the rest of the franchise. It would be one thing if it was trying to be those things and failed, but RESURRECTION is intentionally more over the top then it’s predecessors and an intentional departure from the serious tone of the first 3 films.

  50. I can’t really defend ALIEN RESURRECTION as a film. It’s full of tonally inappropriate Whedon snark, stock proto-FIREFLY characters and bad creative decisions. And the whole Newborn might have been a conceptually sound idea, but it’s introduced way too late to have any impact and is an ugly/funny design.

    But one thing I champion this film for – it looks absolutely gorgeous. I too rewatched this recently, and the cinematography and set design looks amazing on BluRay.

    The parallels to PROMETHEUS are pretty astounding, actually. I thought that too was visually a masterpiece, but a total dud in the script department.

    But I still love the first three. ALIEN and ALIENS are classics, and I’ll defend ALIEN 3 to my grave – especially the Assembly Cut. I thought it is an amazing, grim and moody film that isn’t afraid to pull any punches and carve its own identity. And it is a terrific ending to a trilogy. Should have ended there.

  51. “It fits the mythology just fine. It’s the tone that’s off. I just don’t personally feel that there’s anything whimsical about this particular perfect killing machine that could spell the end of all human life if released.”

    Alien is the misbegotten child of a failed Dune adaptation by Jodorowsky. It’s always had a streak of weirdness and pulpiness in it.

    And it’s been ages since I watched this, but I remember it being more fun and creepy than Prometheus.

  52. caruso_stalker217

    August 2nd, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    It’s comforting to know that I will not be defending ALIEN³ to my grave alone.

  53. My comment wasn’t direct at Majestyk, just razzing any naysayer before or to come lol. As for Majestyk’s comment, when I said “you’re not paying attention” I meant anyone who didn’t see Resurrection fitting in with the mythology wasn’t seeing all the great bits that paid tribute to and expanded upon it.

    As for the tone, I could argue that it matches the tone for the most part, but I’d really have to dig up a dozen scenes. The short of it is that the ridiculousness of Ripley’s return informs her sarcastic nature, and by surrounding her with such a group of cynics helps reinforce this direction and play off nicely to the jokes about the military (Aliens) and corporations (Alien3) in terms of their actions.

    I’ll never try to “win” an argument with someone who is deeply committed to the series as they will have formed an opinion after their seminal entry that would make such discussions excruciating. But as vern says near his opening, the “standard” series really benefits from different filmmakers and I saw each of them in the theater and loved them all, though I prefer the Alien3 extended edition in terms of revisiting them.

    Those on the fence or not happily remembering their last viewing but open to giving it another shot, pay close attention to the camera moves and dialog of both Dan Hedaya’s and the head doctor’s characters. Both reference the previous movies in a very funny way if you’re a fan of the series and they even cross over objective-wise if you like the direction of Henriksen’s appearance at the end of Alien3. And how could you not love the twist on how the doctor fares doing essentially the same thing Paul Reiser did in Aliens?

    Since I so rarely comment I must point out that I’ve mostly been playing nice rather than bashing vern for espousing a sentiment that could just as easily be foisted onto Independence Day yet he loathes that one lol.

    “What’s in-fucking-side me?”

  54. It’s cool, clubside, I wasn’t offended or anything. I do kind of enjoy the movie, more for its odds and ends than for the whole. There’s a lot of good stuff in there but I can’t really get over the feeling that it’s a movie that has no real reason to exist, made by people who weren’t all that interested in it. It’s the only one in the series that doesn’t feel like a go-for-broke statement of fucking intent. It’s just kinda tossed off, and that’s not what I’m looking for in an ALIEN movie. The bar is just too damn high.

  55. Maybe I’m being too harsh. It’s certainly a singular, inexplicable movie, made by a bizarre, never-gonna-happen-again group of people. I normally like that kind of thing. I think it’s one of those movies where every time I watch it I’m like “Hey, this isn’t that bad” and then a month later I forget everything I liked about it.

  56. When I first watched A:R back when it was new, I had no idea who Joss Whedon was at that time, so I cant´t really relate to the complaints about it being full of “whedonisms” or FIREFLYisms or whatever. Hell, I don´t think I´ve seen anything memorable at all by Joss Whedon. I have yet to see THE AVENGERS ( a movie I have zero interest in) I watched a few episodes of Buffy back when it was new. But still I have no connection to the guy whatsoever. I still like A:R,though. Crazy fucking movie.

  57. Shoot, I bet you saw TOY STORY when it came out in ’95. Whedon wrote that.

    One of the things I really like about A:R is Leland “What’s inside me?” Orser’s character. I don’t know if it’s Orser’s delivery or the writing, but in his case the humor works. As much as I like Perlman in just about everything, his smart ass remarks doesn’t work at all in this movie.

    Yes, they should have kept Wincott to the bitter end. His character Frank is the coolest in the whole franchise.

    I just re-watched the TV series SHERLOCK with my oldest son, and when we got to the SCANDAL IN BELGRAVIA episode and Danny “Morse” Webb pops up in a role that’s way to small for someone who once was the sole survivor in an ALIEN movie, we both wondered what the hell happened to him? It’s not that Webb’s had a bad career, but why isn’t he playing the kind of roles Gary Oldman does these days?

  58. There is a great article that describes the most obvious changes from Whedon’s screenplay:

    I think you can accept ALIEN: RESSURECTION as a weird sequel if you haven’t read Whedon’s screenplay, which I think is a great mixture of science fiction horror and badass cinema, including an epic showdown. The complete screenplay is way more serious, badass and epic than the movie, with a more serious threat. It also has more interesting character developments, especially for Ripley and Call.

    After reading Whedon’s screenplay it’s hard to not be disappointed about the creative choices the filmmakers took. In the right hands this screenplay could have been the basis for a movie as great as the first two, not just a weird but somehow interesting sequel.

    Vern, I also think you are misinterpreting Whedon’s critique of the creative and casting choices. He explained why the final film has nothing to do with his movie, one part of that is for example the casting which Jeunet did corresponding to his interpretation of the characters, not Whedon’s written characters. I also think that if you’re criticize the casting of a movie, you’re not criticizing the actors who got the role but the director or the producers for their choice.

    If you read the interview in which he expressed his critique you don’t get the impression he tries to distance himself from a flop, he simply tries to explain why it’s not »his« movie and that it wasn’t a great experience to watch how his screenplay was turned into a complete different movie.

  59. Andreas: After reading the article, I still don’t know what the big deal is. I still prefer the movie’s newborn Alien over the space vampire of Whedon’s script. And say what you want about Dan Hedaya’s character, but he had less than 10 minutes screen time, so I don’t know what the big deal is.

  60. Knox Harrington

    August 3rd, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Has Vern ever reviewed The Crow? We could have a Michael “Ka Ka! Bang! Fuck! I’m Dead!” Wincott revival.

    Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Three Musketeers (Charlie Sheen version), Basquiat, Metro…

    Okay, it would be a weird list of movies to review.

  61. Don’t forget Romeo is Bleeding and Strange Days…

  62. CJ Holden: If you liked the creative choices from Jeunet you’re lucky, because that’s the movie that got made. I just loved Whedon’s screenplay and was disappointed that they choose Jeunet to make a movie out of it, thereby radically changing the tone, the interpretation of the characters, important story elements and character arcs.

    It’s not a great deal. but I thought it might be helpful to understand the critique from Whedon that is mentioned in Vern’s review.

    You can easily find Whedon’s screenplay online and read it, or just read the finale to get an impression of what could have been. I think it’s interesting if you’re generally interested in the creation process of a movie.

  63. Just yesterday I heard Wincott’s voice in the body of an animated spider alien pirate. (I watched TREASURE PLANET).

    Andreas: I know the original finale. I think that part of the script was on the bonus material of the LEGACY box, but all in all it was just another action scene. It would have been cool to watch, but I still take the creepy Humalien baby with its sad, confused look while it gets brutally murdered by its “mother” over that one.
    Also I’m not denying that it is possible to change a script completely without changing anything, just by letting the actors say the lines different, or that I don’t know the furstration when an artist makes something look completely different than what it looked like in your head. So I’m not saying that Whedon is a dick who always blames the others (although to be honest, he always blames others) or that my opinion on the movie is better than your opinion on the script (and I know that you never said I would), but to be honest, I think Jeunet improved a lot on what would be just another 10-little-indians-get-killed-by-a-monster movie.
    Not to mention that all the weirdness really helps me believe in the theory, that Ripley, Newt and Hicks are still alive and parts 3 & 4 were just nightmares.

  64. Has anyone seen the original design for the newborn? They really go crazy with the hermaphroditic genitals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Alien-_Resurrection_-_Newborn.jpg I, like most people, hate the newborn design. But I can’t decide if they made the right decision in toning down its genitalia or not. I mean, the movie is so bizarre to begin with, you might as well go for it.

  65. Also, I would love for someone to pick up this series and continue it after Aliens, pretending that 3 and 4 never occurred. It would be like what Brian Singer did in Superman Returns. I think there’s a lot of great story potential in a film about Hicks, Ripley and Newt.

  66. Actually the removal of the genitalia wasn’t a creative decision, but more a matter or NC-17 or R.

  67. Knox Harrington

    August 3rd, 2012 at 6:01 am

    I wish I never clicked on that link. Some things you simply can’t unsee.

  68. I’m sorry, Knox. I should have posted more of a warning.

    CJ: I did not know that. I really hope the director of This Film is Not Yet Rated comes out with a documentary about how the censors in Hollywood have an anti-alien genitals agenda. “What does the MPAA have against showing the engorged genitalia of aliens?”

  69. I wouldn’t say the acting in RESURRECTION is bad, on the whole, but there are problems. Some of the line readings are really weird — at one point Weaver says, “I’m finding a lot of things funny lately, but I don’t think they ARE.” That just doesn’t make sense. In context, she’s talking about the aliens, and should have said “… THEY are.” I wonder if Jeunet’s trouble with English isn’t to blame here; he needed an interpreter on set.

  70. Knox Harrington

    August 3rd, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Yeah, kinda makes me worry about that new Kim Jee-woon movie. Not even sure I want to see the director of A Bittersweet Life, I Saw The Devil and The Good, The Bad, The Weird make an Arnie movie, never mind the fact that it’ll be in a language foreign to him.

    I think a lot of non-American directors have an Alien: Resurrection experience and go back home horribly disillusioned. Don’t think I’ve ever heard Jeunet’s thoughts on the film. I’m guessing he doesn’t like it.

  71. According to the liner notes in the box set, Juenet was “happy with” the theatrical cut of the film, and when offered the chance to do a director’s cut, all he really wanted to do was a long CGI-assisted opening shot that got cut for budgetary reasons. It was the one alternate cut in the box set that didn’t seem to have any significant changes. Or maybe that’s because I just don’t know A:R as well as the others so I noticed the changes less.

    That opening shot was pretty cool, I’ll give him that.

  72. But even if Jeunet is satisfied with the movie, he vowed to never work in Hollywood again, based on the horrible experience that he had when making this movie. He even said “no” to a without a doubt big paycheck and box office hit like HARRY POTTER & THE GOBLET OF FIRE.

  73. He probably figured they wouldn’t let him use the giant distended genitalia he’d had designed for Alan Rickman so he told them to go fuck themselves.

  74. I don’t think Jeunet hated the experience. In the DVD/BluRay doc, he says he took the attitude that he was like a guy directing a commercial, a hired gun paid to create a specific product. And he apparently had a good time doing it, and is proud of the film.

    I think he just prefers doing the smaller, more personal and quirkier projects he writes himself.

    I really doubt there was any drama or hurting of feelings with the filming of RESURRECTION. It certainly wasn’t the hell that was the production of ALIEN 3.

  75. The thing is, while he had lots of creative freedom (he didn’t even have to fight for putting Pinon in one of the main roles), he said that the pressure from the producers was higher (after all this was his most expensive and only tentpole movie) and because lots of other big FX movies were made at the same time (from LOST WORLD to STARSHIP TROOPERS), he was pretty much stuck with a “leftover” crew, who couldn’t even make the prop guns fire on cue.
    Jeunet seems to me like a humorous guy and I can imagine him just brushing it off and seeing it as “A funny thing happened while I was shooting ALIEN 4” over the years, he certainly isn’t ashamed of the final product either, but I never heard him describing the shoot itself in a positive way.

  76. When I first heard that Jeunet had gotten the gig, I really hoped that they would give him full creative freedom (I sort of knew that they wouldn’t). And I think that’s the main problem with A:R. It’s not French enough!

  77. caruso_stalker217

    August 3rd, 2012 at 11:41 am

    There’s a pretty good reason the film isn’t French enough: Jeunet himself. He apparently went out of his way to make the film more appealing to American audiences, according to the special features on the Anthology box set.

  78. Knox Harrington

    August 3rd, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    So let’s say, just for shits and giggles, that Hollywood approaches us to help make the official Alien 5, and it’s up to us to choose:

    A) The premise, and…
    B) The dream director for the job…

    What would you guys decide on?

    Me, I would try to keep it simple. Instead of a massive Cameron-sized budget, I would keep the whole thing modest in scale. Go back to the idea of the single Alien and what it represents and how it embodies our worst nightmares; almost a man-versus-nature approach. I would try to make the Jaws of Alien movies (even though it could be argued that the original Alien is “Jaws in space”).

    Honestly, I wouldn’t even focus that much on the plot. I’d keep the structure simple and concentrate fully on the filmmaking and the execution, and try to find a new and unique atmosphere rather than a new and unique story. One human, one Alien. In short, I’d remake HELL IN THE PACIFIC as an Alien movie. Wouldn’t even concentrate on where the Alien came from.

    As for who should direct… Someone who is strong on mood and tone, and not afraid to go where the audience would never expect. Miike would be interesting.

    P.S. Clearly my Alien movie would fall more into the Alien: Resurrection corner of Alien movies.

  79. The Original... Paul

    August 3rd, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Knox – I might be tempted to do what Prometheus tried to pull off but didn’t, and concentrate a lot more on the android. Ash was always a helluva lot scarier to me in the first film than the actual alien was. The alien itself is just a parasitic serial-killer fashioned out of a big black dildo (actually, come to think of it, that’s pretty fucking scary.) Somebody made a comment in the “Prometheus” thread about how David was very much representative of certain facets of modern American healthcare, just prior to the abortion scene – he claimed to have the girl’s best interests at heart, but wouldn’t give her any choice about what to do with her own body. I’d like more of that and less “Oooh, here’s a big black penis monster, let’s make the audience jump!” moments.

    As for who to direct, I’d bring back John Carpenter from his prime years. An Alien movie from the guy who directed Halloween would fucking rock.

  80. I’d give it to someone like Gareth Edwards or Neill Blomkamp. Young people with a knack for sci-fi and a hunger to prove themselves.

    Although I think those two are doing just fine without a big franchise entry. Edwards doing the new GODZILLA and Blomkamp has ELYSIUM coming out.

  81. I’d do Knox’s movie, but I’d set it at a real location like one of those abandoned industrial towns in the Balkans, saying it’s a world that had been ravaged by a space war or something. An escape pod crashes with two people on it, a husband and wife. Soon, the husband is facehuggered, and then the rest of the movie is a cat-and-mouse with the wife in the ruins. Maybe there are a few other survivors of the war on the ground, all crazy and just as dangerous as the alien, to boost the body count a bit.

    Obviously I’m tapping Werner Herzog to helm this fucker. He’d find the world’s weirdest location and shoot the hell out of it. Plus, he’s made science fiction movies out of real life desolation before, and a guy in a rubber suit can’t be any harder to deal with than Kinski.

  82. Of course, Herzog is usually my answer whenever the question of who should direct a hypothetical sequel comes up. I just want to see his version of every kind of movie there is.

  83. As for why I would allow Herzog to disrespect the tone and intent of the ALIEN franchise when I got all up in arms about Juenet doing it, what can I say? I’m complicated, man.

  84. I’d do the “3 & 4 were nightmares” thing, give Ripley and Hicks (who ended up together) some sort of independent, run-down shipping/transport biz and have a grown-up Newt navigating on a big commercial freighter, like Ripley used to. Stuff happens, Newt’s ship goes down on unknown planet, whoops – it’s the Alien homeworld. Here, we learn that our old pals the xenomorphs don’t amount to much more than velociraptors in this ecosystem, meaning there are various different, T-Rex sized Giger-esque critters out there fucking things up for the survivors. Ripley and Hicks, having intercepted Newt’s distress call, fly in to get her out. (Er, obviously faster hyper-speed travel’s been invented since part 2 so it doesn’t take them years to get there.)

    Damn, that kinda sounds like JP3 in space. Maybe Ripley could kidnap Sam Neill and bring him along because he’s a Weyland Xenomorph expert or something. He could wear his suit’s helmet and the fedora at the same time.

    Director-wise, I’m not really sure who’d be up to making it look as good as it’d need to. Gore Verbinski?

  85. You know, I only just realised that from Ripley’s point of view her entire experience with the Aliens probably takes place over what? three months? She’s in hypersleep between part one and two, has a brief respite back on earth for what seems like a couple of weeks until she’s back on LV 426. The events of Aliens take probably under a week to play out and then she’s back in hypersleep until Alien 3 which itself doesn’t seem to take place over more than a couple of weeks at the most. Then she dies and is resurrected in part four which I get the feeling takes place over a longer period of time but no longer than a couple of months. The weird thing is that each sequel pretends that she’s been dealing with these things for years until you get to part four which implies that she’s some kind of seasoned seen-it-all Alien expert when in reality those scientist guys have actually had way more real time experience with them. Ripley’s status as earth’s foremost authority on dick shaped aliens is unwarranted in my opinion.

    If all this has been brought up before (and I have a feeling it probably has) then I apologise. Actually no I don’t. What the fuck I’ve gotta read every fucking post now? fuckin ingrates.

  86. Also I want to see a David Lynch directed Alien movie that takes place entirely within the subconscious mind of someone being mouth raped by a facehugger.

  87. and Lynch would release it under the guise of a big-screen reboot of Happy Days and then not tell anyone.

  88. Great review and great comments guys. I would sure like to hear why there’s a consensus that Alien3 is so bad (not to overlook the vocal and passionate dissenters). I guess there’s a hesitation to get into it because Vern might revisit that one as well. But I found the whole prison planet gender politics, doctor’s tragic backstory, etc to be way more interesting than the backdrop to any of the other Alien films.

    As far as Alien 5’s director, I’m thinking slow-burning coiled fuse leading to utterly shocking ultraviolence, and therefore Refn. But then of course there’s the whole last-third-of-Valhalla Rising thing, and then we’ll have another A:R on our hands…

    For Knox’s version I think Ty West is an appropriate choice, he does love the simple, no-bullshit approach and really seems to cherish the opportunity to tell us a story.

    I do quite like Alien: Resurrection. My problem with the ending is not the design/idea of the hybrid, but the fact that it all happens so abruptly. Every time I watch the film, I’m totally into the whole foreboding mystique surrounding Ripley 8 and watching everybody realize that they’re fucked etc, and then suddenly we’re at the climax and it’s deflating. This is the first I’ve heard that there was a different/more extended climax planned and I gotta say it doesn’t surprise me, because you feel it watching the film.

  89. Aww hell, let David Lynch make a nightmarish ERASERHEADesque ALIEN-movie. I´d love to see that.

  90. In my opinion there are only two high profile directors working today that would be able to copy the style we all want from a new Alien movie; Refn and Soderbergh.

  91. Personally,I really don´t care for Soderbergh and his timejumping narrative in his movies. Not a good choice for an ALIEN-movie,I think.

  92. Knox Harrington

    August 4th, 2012 at 3:55 am

    I’s love to see Soderbergh’s Alien movie.

    I mean, this is the guy who got solid performances out of a porn star, an MMA fighter, a KFC manager and Andie MacDowell. Finally, we’ll see some acting out of those one-dimensional xenomorphs.

  93. I love Alien 3, it’s probably my favourite. I first saw it before the first two movies though so that probably has something to do with it.

  94. This movie just should not be. It is an early example of the remake/prequel/sequel phenomenon that we are now used to — and basically no longer fault films for — but it is one of the most egregious.

    ALIEN^3 was a beautiful ending to a beautiful trilogy, and then they … kept going?!

    It’s like DR STRANGELOVE 2 or CASABLANCA 2 or something. The story was not simply *over*, it was *finished*. And then this. It hardly matters what happens in the actual film, it should not have been made. That kind of complaint sounds anachronistic now, but this was an early culprit in a bad trend.

  95. Totally agree with Doc. And if we lived in a perfect world, almost every franchise (excluding Bond movies) would be limited to 3 films. I cannot think of many fourth films that lasted well. The possible exception to this would be SUDDEN IMPACT, because of “make my day” and it had a more appropriate ending for the character.

  96. Jareth Cutestory

    August 4th, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I generally cast my vote in favor of NO MORE ALIEN MOVIES EVER BY ANYONE PLEASE, but the idea of Refn doing an ALIEN movie in the manner of VALHALLA RISING could be really neat. Brief moments in PROMETHEUS hint at what that kind of thing would look like, except Scott is way too pumped up to settle into the slower pace necessary to establish the mood such a film would require.

    I also think it was Vern who once suggested an ALIEN movie shot entirely from Jonesy’s perspective. I like that idea.

    Renfield: I don’t know if this helps explain the dislike you’ve encountered for ALIEN 3 over the years, but I saw that one in the theater and the audience erupted into derisive laughter, groans, sarcastic remarks and boos when Ripley gave her “I can’t remember a time when you weren’t a part of me” soliloquy to the alien. Audience expectations were oriented toward another Oscar-worthy performance and script, but the film itself seemed rushed, incomplete and veered deeper into pulp.

    I seem to remember people at the time also saying that the spinny camera effects seemed cheap and gimmicky. And speaking strictly for myself, the romance/abrupt death of the doctor was really poorly executed, start to finish.

    Also, Juenet is more critical of his experiences preparing LIFE OF PI (and then being dumped from the project) than he is of his experiences on ALIEN RESURRECTION; I’ve even read interviews where he claims to really like the film. He isn’t at war with Hollywood so much as he values final cut too much to surrender it again (which any Hollywood film he worked on would likely ask him to do).

    Also also, I think Lynch is done with sci fi after DUNE. It seems like a real sore spot for him.

  97. I quite like the basic idea of PROMETHEUS: Tell a completely different story in the same universe.

    I’m not interested in another adventure with Ellen Ripley, because I like the character and don’t want it to be further ruined like the character of John McClane in a completely unnecessary DIE HARD 2, 3, 4 or 5.

    These characters are not James Bond, it’ simply not a good idea to have the great, grounded character John McClane from the first DIE HARD jumping around on a CGI plane because he is in the wrong place at the wrong time AGAIN.

    The idea they’ve got for ALIEN RESURRECTION with the genetically reborn Ripley is not badly written or directed, it’s just laughable on a general level: Everytime a Alien attacks human beings, Ripley has to be written into this scenario, even if she ‘s dead.

    But why? A good Alien movie doesn’t need Sigourney Weaver. (Even if there isn’t a good one without her.) Call, the female android of ALIEN RESURRECTION, could have been easily a fascinating hero for the movie.

    The problem with PROMETHEUS was that Ridley Scott and the writers simply had not the storytelling abilities to make another good movie. (And they thought they needed to make a real prequel with the cheesy last shot.)

  98. The Original... Paul

    August 4th, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Andreas – I agree with YOU sir. Prometheus didn’t fail because of a lack of ambition, at least not in the way I expected; it failed because of the execution of that vision.

    And since I’ve come up with one of the two “most obvious Alien directors other than those who actually did Alien movies” candidates, here’s the other one: Verhoven. Although one could argue that he already did his version of an Alien movie, and it was called “Starship Troopers”.

  99. Jareth, in what city did you see Alien 3 with that clueless audience? The early 90’s were a strange time to see genre movies with other people. I once saw Hard-Boiled with a whole cinema filled with idiots who had come just to laugh their asses off at everything on the screen just because they had this idea that Hong Kong movies were badly dubbed b-movies with lousy effects and lame revenge stories. I saw Alien 3 in London, and I can tell you everyone in that cinema “got it”.

  100. Thank you thank you thank you, Vern. I was bummed I missed out on this thread but you said it all.

    One thing though about sarcastic Ripley. She wanted to die and she’s not happy to be back. I buy her attitude. Plus it’s not really Ripley. It’s her clone. I love the idea that this very sci-fi plot device results in a very human defense mechanism.

    Great BUDDY reference too.

  101. I think it was different in other parts of the world, but Alien 3 was universally despised in the U.S. I think it was mainly the abrupt deaths of the characters that turned people off, but I think it is a huge step down after ALIENS mainly because the (admittedly cool) puppet effects look so composited in that you completely lose the sense of danger from the other movies, and also I personally have a hard time telling most of the characters apart. At the same time I always admired its gloomy atmosphere, the ridiculous ballsiness of the offscreen-during-the-credits-deaths-of-characters-saved-during-climax-of-last-movie and other things about it. But it was only years later when David Fincher became respected for other movies that most people in the U.S. started to recognize anything about that movie that didn’t make them want to murder everyone involved. (And then, in my opinion, it started to become overrated.)

    I bring this up to explain why at least in this part of the world it was not seen as a copout to bring Ripley back, it was seen as a course correction. And I think Whedon came up with the logical reason for it to happen – she had that Alien Queen in her, so you gotta clone her to get it back. Apparently before the studio decided to bring Ripley back he wrote a draft (which he thinks was better) where it was about a grownup Newt. I have no idea how that would work, since she was dead too and doesn’t have the same excuse for resurrection.

    I don’t think they’ll be making an Alien 5 (it’s Prometheus 2 now) but sadly I think today’s best director to do it is the one guy who would for sure never be interested, Mr. Fincher.

  102. Ripley droppped herself into molten lava just like the terminators in T2. I have no idea how they managed to get DNA out of that.That was my initial problem, but I just let it go after awhile.

  103. Didn’t they say that they used a blood sample that the doctor had taken? Or is my brain just filling in that blank for me?

  104. Vern, if I recall, you were bummed that Ripley never got her happy ending from Aliens. I felt that way, too, which was why I didn’t enjoy the third as much, although the premise was inspired.

  105. Knox Harrington

    August 4th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I like the idea of an Alien film where the protagonist is an android. Self-preservation is obviously a part of its programming, but it opens up so many possibilities to new themes and existential conundrums. Which life is more important, etc.

    And if there’s one thing a new Alien film needs to do, it’s to explore new themes.

    But like Vern said, chances of an Alien 5 are very slim. Maybe in a few decades.

  106. Where did they get the blood sample if she fell into molten lava?

  107. Fuck it, I don´t care anymore….

  108. The doctor? What, Charles Dance? Did he take blood samples?

  109. I don’t know if they actually showed him doing it, but why wouldn’t he? He’s a doctor, she’s a patient. It makes more sense than straining the lava for DNA.

  110. The Original... Paul

    August 4th, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Knox – thank you.

    And if I was a fan of this series (which, to make it clear, I’m not at all – I’m a fan of one film in it, the second one; the first one I liked and acknowledge the influence of, but it’s not a movie I’d rewatch for the pleasure of it, while the last three are pretty fatally flawed) I would think I would have to look at everything after “Aliens” and say: “Ok, this is not canon. That way it won’t spoil my enjoyment of the first two films.” Sort of like it seems most people have done with the “Alien vs Predator” movies.

  111. Jareth Cutestory

    August 4th, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Pegsman: I don’t know if I’d say that an audience going into ALIEN 3 expecting something more classy than they got was necessarily wrong, not entirely. Both Cameron’s film and Scott’s were considered prestige science fiction by the time the third film came along, and Weaver was seen as a serious actor. Mainstream audiences certainly weren’t as literate in pulp genres as they are now; genre DNA was never really the focus when discussing the first two films, only their general high quality.

    And in fairness to the audience I saw ALIEN 3 with here in Toronto, they appreciated the gutsiness of killing off Hicks and Newt, and were good enough sports to appreciate the humor in Bishop’s severed head. They only strenuously objected to the more hackneyed plot points and egocentric star posturing of Weaver, which I think are valid criticisms of the movie.

    It always seemed pretty obvious to me that if you compared the scene in ALIENS where Ripley begins to earn Newt’s trust (before the evil one of My Two Dads locks her in with the facehugger while she’s asleep) with the similar scene in ALIEN 3 where she bonds with the doctor, we’re dealing with a drastic drop in quality. And the scary scenes that immediately follow each of these scenes are just as telling.

  112. caruso_stalker217

    August 5th, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I think the idea of people pretending that the third and fourth movies didn’t happen or were dreams or something is silly. Do those sequels retroactively make the first two films not as good? And are those people incapable of sitting down and watching ALIENS without thinking, “This movie is pretty good but –arrrgh!– I just can’t enjoy it knowing that ALIEN³ exists!” Does the same thing apply to THE GODFATHER movies? Is there a group of people out there who can’t go along with Michael’s rise to power because they know that —SPOILER FOR TWENTY YEAR OLD FILM— he dies alone an old shriveled up man, falling out of his chair and probably getting eaten by his little dogs —END SPOILER FOR GODFATHER III ENDING–?

    I mean I thought PROMETHEUS was a piece of shit and the whole Space Jockey retcon was pretty bad, but that doesn’t mean I need to pretend the movie didn’t happen to enjoy ALIEN. Same with that shitty THING prequel.

    The original films that you love are still there, folks.

  113. I had no idea anything in Alien^3 was supposed to be pulpy or humorous. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen it, but I remember it being much darker and more squeamish than any of the others. The severed-android-head sequence Jareth referred to as humorous absolutely horrified me at the time. And it ends with one of the darkest, most iconic moments in the whole series.

    It seems to me that the first and third movie have the most in common. They are more intimate survival horror affairs featuring a single foe. Aliens is more of a military action thing and honestly the most generic (though exquisitely executed) of the whole ordeal*; A:R is pretty out there as has been thoroughly documented in this review and comments; Prometheus is this ambitious sci-fi thing with delusions of philosophic grandeur that throws some horror our way to prove that it’s an Alien film.

    “the ridiculous ballsiness of the offscreen-during-the-credits-deaths-of-characters-saved-during-climax-of-last-movie”

    My jaw hit the floor when this happened. What a way to start a film!

    *Consider the ending of Aliens. You have a bigger and better Alien versus a bigger and better Ripley doing a showdown. Of course it works really well, especially because it hews to the series’ central theme of motherhood and all that. But still it’s very much the sort of thing that you want to recreate as a small boy with your action figures.

  114. Jareth; “It always seemed pretty obvious to me that if you compared the scene in ALIENS where Ripley begins to earn Newt’s trust (before the evil one of My Two Dads locks her in with the facehugger while she’s asleep) with the similar scene in ALIEN 3 where she bonds with the doctor, we’re dealing with a drastic drop in quality.”

    You know what, I think you’re on to something here. It’s just that those of us who prefer ALIEN 3 to ALIENS see it the other way round. After Cameron’s poorly written dialog and I-guess-this-is-how-you-talk-to-kids? direction we finally got some scenes with grown ups who knew a thing or two about life. Top quality acting too. Maybe this is that European thing we discussed in the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN thread again?

    But this is apples and peares, I enjoy watching all 4 movies – can we start calling PROMETHEUS ALIEN 5 now? Or is it too soon? – and do so on a regular basis.

  115. Knox Harrington

    August 5th, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Caruso_stalker217, you’re right. The original films that we love are still there to enjoy and they are still as good as they’ve always been.

    But part of the joy of watching a great film is immersing yourself in that world and those characters’ lives, their implied histories and future possibilities. So much of the mythology of a great film is left to the audience’s very capable imaginations.

    So, naturally, when another film comes along and spoils this beautiful vision that the original has planted in our minds, I (for one) will hold it against that new film and regard it as an imposter. I guess it’s all a part of the subjective pleasure of watching a film. We all choose to enjoy a film however we like.

    But seriously, is the future war in Terminator: Salvation really the one you envisioned when you first watched Cameron’s original Terminator films? That shit sure as hell isn’t acceptable to me as a fan of the originals, and that’s why, to me, Terminator: Salvation simply doesn’t exist in the same world as them.

    I like to think of T2 when watching the first Terminator; what the characters have been through and what still lies ahead of them, but thinking of Salvation will completely spoil my viewing of The Terminator, so I banish it from my mind completely.

    That’s the beauty of selective thinking. I wouldn’t recommend practising it in real life, but I think it’s a pretty useful way of enjoying some of your favourite fiction.

  116. The Original... Paul

    August 5th, 2012 at 5:34 am

    Caruso – I’m not sure, you know, that we’re not saying exactly the same thing. I don’t feel the need to pretend that Alien 3 / Alien Resurrection didn’t happen. I just don’t think of them as happening in the same world or timeline or whatever as the first two films (and that’s despite the continuity of characters).

    Pegsman – did we even watch the same movies? I’ve only watched the original “theatrical cut” of “Aliens” once – does it skip some key dialogue that helps to define the characters?

    From memory I can name four human characters from the original Alien (I remember more, sans names, but it’s been a while since I saw it). Seven characters from “Aliens”. Two characters from “Alien 3″… and I don’t think Ripley counts. Yeah, I thought the final re-entrance of Bishop’s real-life model at the end was kinda awesome in a really, really dumb way, but I can’t remember what the guy is called.

    And no, “Prometheus” is not Alien 5, nor is “Batman Begins” Batman 5 or “Superman Returns” Superman 5. Talking of which, was there a fourth Raimi “Spiderman” sequel that went straight-to-DVD or something? They seem to have done the reboot one movie too early.

  117. The Original... Paul

    August 5th, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Erm… to make it clear… I was including the Bishop-guy in my “two”, just pointing out I couldn’t technically remember his name.

  118. Paul, I think you need to re-watch all the ALIEN movies some time soon.

  119. Surely (no stop-calling-me-Shirley jokes, please) you must remember “85” and Morse and Clemens too?

  120. The Original... Paul

    August 5th, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Oh yeah, 85! The guy with the IQ. How could i forg-oh fugeddaboutit.

    The others – it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but no.

    In all fairness to “Alien 3”, I did think it was ok, I had some fun with it, although I remember being bored a lot with it as well. I just don’t see it ever being one of those films I watch fifteen times and still enjoy like “Die Hard” or “Juggernaut” or “Aliens” or “Jurassic Park” or “The Terminator” or “Total Recall” or “Enter the Dragon” or “The Poseidon Adventure” or “Sneakers” or whatever.

  121. The Original... Paul

    August 5th, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Or “Twelve Angry Men” or “Citizen Kane” or “Scream” or “Pulp Fiction” or “War Games” or Lake Placid” or “Galaxy Quest” or “The Blair Witch Project” or “Mission: Impossible” or “Pitch Black” or “Night of the Living Dead” or “The Thing” or “Almost Famous” or “Hackers” (yes, I know, I know) or “Being John Malkovich” or “Toy Story 3” or “The Faculty” or “Wall-E” or “Invasion of the Bodysnatchers” or “Seven” or “Twelve Monkeys” or “Magnolia” or “Charade” or “Go” or “Caddyshack” or “The Day of the Jackal” or “Drop Dead Gorgeous” or… I’m sure I can come up with a few more if you give me time.

    Yeah, “Lost in Translation” and “Kill List” don’t count because I don’t want to see them so often that I start picking holes in them.

  122. Jesus, Paul included “Charade” AND “Drop Dead Gorgeous” on his list. I have gained so much respect and admiration in one post.

  123. But, is your greater recall of character’s from ALIENS over the other three a sign of the characters being more memorable or a sign that you’ve seen ALIENS way more than the others?

  124. The Original... Paul

    August 5th, 2012 at 10:24 am

    MM – That’s actually a very good point. A very good point indeed. And the obvious response I can giv – hey, SHINY THING!!!

    **Runs away from argument he’s sure to lose…**

  125. Ever wonder why all the inmates and staff members in ALIEN TO THE THIRD POWER are English except for Charles S. Dutton? Do you think there was some kind of clerical error and somewhere out there at the other end of the galaxy there’s one poor cockney reject feeling very awkward and out of place in a prison colony inhabited and staffed exclusively by African-American men?

  126. At least one of the prisoners is American. The one that tried to rape Ripley was in FIGHT CLUB (wants to build a house before he dies) and more recently in the short-lived but critically acclaimed LIGHTS OUT on FX. But he may as well have been English too since I don’t remember many American accents other than Weaver’s

  127. Seriously Paul, SNEAKERS?

  128. SNEAKERS is a great film. “Be a beacon?”

  129. SNEAKERS is great. How dare you to question the quality of it, Renfield?

  130. Sneakers is in fact a modern day masterpiece. It truly is a great heist/cold war pick that holds up to this day. I may not have seen it fifteen times, but I definitely come close. In fact, that was a nice list, Paul. Those are all films that are easy to rewatch (even Hackers).

  131. caruso_stalker217

    August 5th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    American inmates in ALIEN³ :


    Although I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that some could be Canadians. Also, there’s Jude the Italian. And Deobia Oparei who is from England but I believe plays an African in the film.

    But, yeah, fairly English across the board.

  132. caruso_stalker217

    August 5th, 2012 at 2:43 pm


    Saying that the sequels you don’t like don’t NOT exist but merely exist in another world/timeline is the same thing as saying they don’t exist, in my opinion. That also sounds like it takes more effort than simply ignoring the films.

    TERMINATOR SALVATION was indeed shit, by the way, but I still think T3 is worse.

  133. caruso_stalker217

    August 5th, 2012 at 2:46 pm


    I also have a great amount of love for THE FACULTY and SNEAKERS.

    “Give him HEAD?”

  134. RRA, PROMETHEUS is far, far orst then ALIEN RESSURECTION. At least AR doesn’t call you a stupid retard while you watch it. For all it’s flaws, AR is earnest. PROMETHEUS is just stupid and believes everybody else to be a stupid as it is. If i had to pick one of the two, i would go with ALIEN RESURECTION. PROMETHEUS is gorgeaus to look at, and that’s the only thing it has going for it. Sad but true. Well, fans of ALIEN RESSURTION can now rejoice in that theirs is no longer the worst ALIEN movie, because now there is one so much, much, much worst. Lucky boys!

  135. The Original... Paul

    August 5th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Before somebody gets in ahead of me and posts after Asimov, I want to say that I fucking called it.

    And my list is a very subjective one. Not everything on it is a great film (“hackers” in particular is that most hated term here, a “guilty pleasure”). But, y’know, it’s what pushes my buttons.

  136. The Original... Paul

    August 5th, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Caruso – it’s merely judging the films on their own merits, and not as parts of a series. “Aliens” had a tight well-written story of its own. “Alien 3” had almost nothing in common with it except the alien itself and the main character. It wasn’t made by the same people. Personally I had a lot invested in the characters of “Aliens”. I would prefer for the optimistic ending to be just that, an ending; and not see their deaths, as told by some douchebag who wasn’t even involved in “Aliens”, as part of the experience I had with it.

  137. I saw ALIEN CUBED for the first time in years and now I like it for the same reason that I used to hate it as a kid. It’s a giant fuck you to ALIENS fans. I can’t think of another lucrative franchise that said fuck it and took the route of pissing on it’s beloved predecessor the way this movie did in it’s first 10 minutes. I don’t own RESURRECTION though so I probably won’t be seeing that one anytime soon.

  138. The Original... Paul

    August 5th, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Broddie: “Mission: Impossible”. Everyone dies, and the most popular series character turns out to be the bad guy.

    Thing is, if you do something like that, you gotta be certain your movie is the best thing since sliced bread, and that it surpasses the thing it’s ripping to shreds in every way possible. “Mission: Impossible” did that. “Alien 3”? Not so much.

  139. I’m pretty sure the M:I movie pissed the TV series cast off so much they publicly denounced the film.

  140. I don’t buy the idea that killing off characters from Aliens was a gusty move. If those characters had been killed on screen, and some drama had been built around it, then you might have a point. But when an audience sees that a character is explained away, either through death or other means, they automatically assume that this was some sort of financial wrangling between the actor and the studio. It actually takes you out of the film.

  141. I’m not sure about this.

    I love the title sequence of ALIEN 3, with the orchestra crashing down after the 20th Century Fox logo. This is the first sign that this won’t be your average hollywood film.

    This feeling is confirmed with the death of two surviving characters from ALIENS while the title sequence is still running. I think this is a bold move to give the audience the feeling that everything is possible.

    But as much as I like the effect of this scene, I’m not sure if the rest of the movie is great enough to entitle the creators of ALIEN 3 to do this.

    I think that if you’re working with the characters that are brought to live by other filmmakers, you have some kind of responsibility. James Cameron has done such a great job to make us care about these characters that you should have a very good reason to kill them in this way.

    At least it was a ALIEN 3 and they didn’t kill them for simple shock value in the title sequence ALIEN VS. PREDATOR. Wait, I don’t remember if this piece of shit even has a title sequence.

  142. It’s funny, but until I read it here this is the first time I hear that people are against ALIEN 3 because Newt and Hicks died at the beginning of the movie. Everyone I’ve talked to who prefers ALIENS over ALIEN 3 have just complains about the lack of guns and shooting. Maybe I had felt the same way if I’d been a teenager when I saw it the first time? But still, people die all the time in this franchise and the way their Newt and Hick’s deaths are filmed really help us get inside Ripley’s head when she wakes up to the shocking news. It’s quite brilliant, really. I guess Giler and Hill took it for granted that those who saw ALIEN in ’79 had grown up enough in 13 years to handle a more mature approach?

  143. some thoughts…

    1. I wish Jeunet would do another Hollywood movie

    2. I’m sorry guys, I’m so sorry, bu I just cannot get behind the love for Alien 3, I mean it just dumbfounds me, I found it to be an ugly, slow paced, boring and joyless mess, it’s like we didn’t even see the same movie

    Charles S. Dutton was cool, I’ll give it that, but otherwise I just have no what you guys see in Alien 3

    3. I missed Prometheus because it came out at an inconvenient time for me, but does anyone else wish they would do a true blue Alien 5? I know Hollywood makes too many sequels these days and yadda yadda yadda, but fuck it, I want the chance to get to see xenomorphs on the big screen

  144. No more ALIEN-movies and ESPECIALLY no more TERMINATOR-movies. That should be written in stone at this fucking point in time. You don´t want to see something you love deteriate even further. I´m actually quite ok with how the ALIEN saga stands right now. But they just wouldn´t leave TERMINATOR alone. They had to fuck it up,not once but TWICE and to fuck it up even further with SALVATION is just a mindblowing achievement in itself considering the stupidity of TERMINATOR 3 (it at least had decent action and pacing).

    Seriously…JUST STOP! Its not funny!

  145. Jareth Cutestory

    August 6th, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Griff: In France, Jeunet is routinely accused of being “too Hollywood.” There was even a controversy when one of his films was not allowed to represent France at a festival because some of the money used to produce it came from abroad. For better or worse, I think he’s at that point in his career where he couldn’t shake his own style and sensibility if he tried. His most recent film, MICMACS, could be described as a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE style revenge film made by Looney Toons; that’s probably as “Hollywood” as we can expect from him.

    renfield: I should clarify that when I described ALIEN 3 as “pulpy” I meant that it isn’t necessarily more pulpy than the two previous films, just that the non-pulpy elements aren’t as well-developed, so the pulp origins shine through more clearly. I suppose they tried to do something in ALIEN 3 that was similar to the feminist theme in ALIEN/S, but I’m not convinced it really worked. Likewise the romantic element; it’s beautifully understated in ALIENS, but in ALIEN 3 it’s so hackneyed and poorly executed that you can’t help but laugh.

    Also, when I described Bishop losing his head as “humorous,” I meant that in the most grim way possible. Doesn’t Bishop even get a joke about his appearance in that scene? I couldn’t find a quote.

  146. I liked the romantic subplot in ALIEN3. Actually, I hesitate to use the word “romantic,” because there’s no romance in it, either in the usual sense of “love and kisses and stuff” or in the sense of “possessed of certain willful euphemistic delusions.” I liked it because it was so mature. There was no great passion there, no sense that these were two star-crossed lovers brought together by fate across an eternity of time and space, only to be cruelly separated again almost immediately. No, these were just two grown-ass adults who hadn’t had any intimacy in an ungodly long time, and they took comfort in each other in their one brief respite from the horrors all around them. It’s a rare thing when sex between primary characters in movies isn’t linked to goony teenage ideas of eternal love, even though people fuck in real life for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with happily ever after. I was just happy that Ripley, who’s been adrift in cold, lonely space for as long as she can remember, got to do something completely for herself for a change. She got to use her body for her own purposes one last time before it became a biological and technological battleground by forces beyond her control. For one last moment, she wasn’t a warrior, or a mother, or a victim. She was just a human.

  147. Bear in mind that the last time I watched it (just a couple months ago) I watched the assembly cut, which has a few more scenes with Ripley and the doctor together, and I think that sense of two extremely world-wear people using each other in the best possible way comes through a little clearer. Having not seen the theatrical cut in some time, it’s possible that subplot feels more forced and contrived in that version.

  148. Jareth Cutestory

    August 6th, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I agree with your observations about the maturity. I’m mostly bugged by how the whole thing is rendered perfunctory by the doctor’s rather abrupt death. It’s staged and paced in a way that renders the whole exercise too transparent for my tastes.

    I should probably watch that assembly cut some time.

  149. Not to mention that the whole subplot with Golic is absent.

    I think you’re really on to something when you describe the relationship between Clemens and Ripley, Majestyk. This is an ALIEN movie for grown ups. It debates religion, sexuality and psychology. The crew in the first movie might have had their differences, but this time all Ripley has for help is a bunch of crazies who rather rape and kill her before they lend a hand against the monster. But thanks to her newfound role as a sort of Jesus in space she’s able to convince them that killing the monster will save them all – or at least turn them over to Lance “Weyland” Henriksen. Or if you don’t like the religious parallels, they all agree to sacrifice themselves for the good of humanity.

    I’m really feel sorry those of you who can’t or won’t see how great this movie is.

  150. I know I need to re-watch ALIEN 3. I just ordered a new boxset of the films. I never saw the different cut of ALIEN 3 so that´ll be interesting to see. I usually never watch ALIEN 3 for some reason. ALIENS is usually my go-to xenomorph experience.

  151. On Sneakers, it’s one of the films I grew up watching again and again and would make any friend of mine watch if I figured out that they hadn’t seen it. In other words just the sort of film that would be on a Paul-esque list were I to make one. Then I watched it again as an *adult* and couldn’t believe how badly it fell on its face. I’ve been sort of itching to watch it again though, so we’ll continue this debate elsewhere.

    On Newt and Bishop, I can’t BELIEVE all this cry-baby bullshit! A film has to “earn the right” to kill characters?! They’re not real people, guys. If you want to see Newt quoting Eric Cartman you can always go back and put on Aliens.

    I’m a huge fan of central characters being killed off without huge dramatic death scenes. I believe this might have happened in Saving Private Ryan? Suddenly they’re just gone, and there’s nothing you could have done. Telling us about the deaths in text parallels the way Ripley experiences it, and furthermore tells us that the film is Not Here To Fuck Around. Plain awesome.

  152. The assembly cut is better, but I like the opening to the theatrical version better. Especially with the computer graphics telling the audience the damage done to the crew of the SULACO. It reminds me a little of the opening of 2010, showing you the gov’t cover-up job on what happened to the crew of the DISCOVERY. I can empathize with Cameron and others who thought killing off Hicks and Newt wasn’t respectful to ALIENS (they don’t say it as much, with maybe the exception of Michael Biehn who of course sued the production of ALIEN3 to keep them from using his likeness), but the way it was done was kind of brave and set the tone for possibly the most depressing Hollywood blockbuster.

  153. The Original... Paul

    August 6th, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I also need to re-watch Alien 3. I completely missed a lot of what’s being discussed here, although to be fair, it must be at least ten years since I saw it. I remember thinking it was ok. And… that’s pretty much it. For some reason the dog and Bishop’s return have stuck in my mind.

    Pegsman: “It’s funny, but until I read it here this is the first time I hear that people are against ALIEN 3 because Newt and Hicks died at the beginning of the movie. Everyone I’ve talked to who prefers ALIENS over ALIEN 3 have just complains about the lack of guns and shooting.”

    Well I wouldn’t put it quite like that, but yeah, that summarises my attitude pretty nicely. I don’t really have a problem with Alien 3 killing off the characters from Aliens, because as I’ve said, I regard “Aliens” as a complete story in its own right. I don’t need the sequel to “validate” that.

    Also, as regard’s Shoot McCay: “Seriously…JUST STOP! Its not funny!”

    Now that’s a statement I can agree with. Can we put a further moratorium on Die Hard sequels while we’re at it?

  154. Maybe someone can educate me on this – was Newt written out of earlier drafts of Alien 3 or what? I’ve always had a feeling that an earlier draft exists in which Newt survives but is carrying the queen inside her. it’d set up a situation where you’d have an Alien actually protecting Newt from the all-too-human monsters that populate the prison. It just fits so well thematically in light of Aliens (“you don’t see them fucking each other over for a percentage”).

  155. Talking of DIE HARD, there’s an interesting interview with John Moore in this months Empire Magazine. He’s currently directing the fifth DIE HARD, and says that he knows we’re expecting it to be shit. He knows that a fifth entry in a series like this is destined to suck, and still he’s convinced that his movie will be awesome. Interesting insight for a director of his caliber, and he must know that we’ll remember that he said that!

  156. Your not doing my blood pressure any favors,pegsman.How exactly did John Moore get this job,again? Not by being an awesome director,thats for damn sure. For being an easily manipulated corporate bitch or just doing what the star of the movie tells him to? What the hell is John McClane doing in Russia? Is he an international man of mystery all of a sudden? Or maybe its a reversed RED HEAT kind of a deal in which McClane chases a bad guy from the U.S to russian soil? or he is just on vacation with his son and just end up mysteriously fighting terrorists of some sorts. I just don´t know.Does anyone?

  157. I suppose its a fish out of waters story, which is fitting for McClane,but still…

  158. How can the same shit happen to the same guy five times?

  159. I think John McClane loves these rare days when psychopaths and terrorists are trying to kill him and his family. He doesn’t seem to be that good with living a normal family live, most of the time he’s in a really bad state when the bad guys come to shake up his live. And normally he learns something, get’s the chance to get back his wife or to be a better father. Therefore I think it’s time for another DIE HARD, I’m quite sure he doesn’t get along with his son right now.

    Another reason for optimism: I’m sure DIE HARD 5 will turn out great because they didn’t get the writer from WOLVERINE, HITMAN and SWORDFISH for nothing. This is the movie he saved his talent for, you’ll see.

  160. Well, when you only have a tiny bit, it’s smart to ration it accordingly.

  161. MAX PAYNE could have been an awesome combination of hardboiled film noir and a John Woo movie, but John Moore completely fucked that all up. So fuck him.

    Looking at his track record, he seems to be completely tone deaf when it comes to the source material, so I have zero confidence in the fifth (!) Die Hard film.

  162. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1606378/board/nest/202425572

    Here’s a bit of an interview with the director. I officially have no hope for this one.

  163. Can it be worse than the 4th one? Apparently McClaine’s son is some badass kingpin or something in Moscow and when he gets in trouble over there his dad comes to visit him. Moore talks the talk in the Empire interview, and mentions a few things that get my hopes up (if I could just manage to forget about Max Payne). There’s among other things a car chase that took 78 days to complete. There’s tanks and an armada of old army planes. Maybe, just maybe, fingers crossed, this is Moore’s awakening as a director?

  164. One thing I am excited about, is that apparently Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond from the UK TOP GEAR are doing some work on the film (very likely the car chase pegsman mentioned). Good for them to get some Hollywood work.

  165. Just because the car chase took 78 days to shoot, it doesn´t mean its gonna turn out well.

  166. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: Len Wiseman’s UNDERWORLD films are among the dullest, most unwatchable pieces of color-corrected crap I’ve ever seen, and his DIE HARD movie still came out pretty good, because it wasn’t a Len Wiseman movie. It was a Bruce Willis movie. As Kevin Smith discovered, you can’t make Bruce do something Bruce doesn’t want to do, so I have faith that he’ll shepherd DH5 to a satisfactory conclusion.

    If that argument doesn’t convince you because you’re one of those poor bastards who doesn’t see how joyous and awesome LFODH is, I’ll remind you that the “director as mouthpiece for star” paradigm gave us, among other movies, COBRA, TOMBSTONE, RAMBO II, and possibly other great movies not directed by George Cosmatos. If Moore lacks a strong directorial vision, that’s perfectly fine, because the movie already has a driving force: first name Walter, last name B. All Moore needs to do is set up the camera in the right place and stay the fuck out of the way.

    It’s funny that I’m not the one being the harbinger of doom on this one. You gotta believe in something, I guess.

  167. Yeah but cop out was awful. Just…really fuckin awful.

  168. I’ll say it again. I want franchises to go on forever. Never stop making them. I don’t care how many of them turn out badly, just keep trying. I love ’em.

  169. What a great cast, wasted on a lousy director. I hated CITY OF LOST CHILDREN and this one was better but still pretty meh. I love Dan Hedaya (mostly from CLUELESS I guess) but watching him here I can only imagine that French director yelling “One more take, but even crazier!!! Bug your eyes out some more!!!”

    Raymond Cruz doesn’t get enough credit. Leland Orser either. Or J E Freeman (but again you have to imagine the director egging him on in the background to handle what he does here).

    Name another film that has such a diverse group of iconic, quirky character actors all in one place. All it’s missing is Crispin Glover. Ok there are obviously plenty more out there, but Dominique Pinon and Brad Dourif in the same film?!? It’s unheard of.

  170. One thing I’ll never forget about this movie is the way Dan Hedaya went out. Some good gore there but maybe a bit too cartoony for an ALIEN movie ironically considering how over the top a lot of the deaths in the other 3 were.

    But the first 2 especially knew how to built tension and deliver suspense with the gore. I don’t remember RESURRECTION having that. Swimming Aliens were kinda cool in a surreal way though; I never really had a problem with that like a lot of the “I hate CGI Aliens” people did.

  171. “I hated CITY OF LOST CHILDREN”

    *stares open mouthed with a shocked look of disgust*

  172. Rainman, you say you hate Jeunet and yet Dominique Pinon seems to raise your saber. Pardon my ignorance but what does anybody know Pinon from besides Jeunet’s films?!

    *stares open mouthed with a shocked look of disgust*”

    I HEAR ya. I assume that people who dislike CoLC must hate watching movies in general…

  173. I’m with Majestyk and Topel… Yippee kai yay motherfucker!

  174. Renfield: I saw Pinon in several other non-Jeunet movies, including Alex de la Iglesia’s OXFORD MURDERS, a short film where he played the pilot of a Squash ball (!) and this promo, that once ran on the SciFi channell:

  175. Yeah, Pinon’s been a well known face here in Europe since the early 80’s; DIVA, THE RETURN OF MARTIN GUERRE, BETTY BLUE etc.

  176. Thanks, pegsman and CJHolden. That promo was priceless; of course Pinon is like this Simon Peggian everyman with a mad scientist lurking underneath!

  177. I still don’t get how someone could get millions of dollars to make VAMPIRES VS. WEREWOLVES and the end product is one of the most boring pieces of crap to ever hit a big screen. I still haven’t dared to even look at the trailers for the UNDERWORLD sequels. I don’t even remember the first one in detail I just remember profound disappointment once I did see it.

    I had no expectations for DIE HARD 4 so I thought it was ok but not only is it the worse in the series it’s also a victim of what makes modern hollywood action seem so generic and hacknyed. This guy even made a car through a helicopter feel lame and inconsequential (seriously the fucking pilot jumps out? that’s some pussy shit). I don’t even know if I’ll see part 5 in theaters but I’m also ok with franchises. I could always skip the entries that don’t interest me. I don’t like every Bond, Batman or Karate Kid movie after all.

  178. I´ll give DIE HARD 5 the benefit of a doubt at least, which is a helluva lot more than I give a certain movie that opened last week…

  179. I’m with Fred on this. I love franchises that keeps on going even if one entry is pure crap. You know that there’s another one coming in a year or two and it might be ace. The trick is to change directors every now and then, as the James Bond franchise has shown us for 50 years now.

  180. Funny enough, UNDERWORLD was the one franchise I totally ignored. I kept it as a badge of honor, one major franchise I would let pass me by. I recently had to watch UNDERWORLD AWAKENING for work, ending my streak. It was actually kinda fun (at 78 minutes.) Now I’m probably going to watch the rest at some point. So what’s the next big franchise I can miss?

  181. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    August 8th, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Pegsman – my problem with the “Bond” example is that, barring a few good scenes – the tank chase in “Goldeneye”, the after-credits submarine bit in “Tomorrow Never Dies”, the opening and Elektra King in “The World is not Enough”, the last scene of “Quantum of Solace”, the chase near the start of “Casino Royale”, etc – I think they probably SHOULD have ended the Bond franchise at Dalton’s last entry.

    I have no intention of giving “Die Hard 5” the benefit of the doubt, but its very existence does not cut through my soul like a wound from a jagged knife. Unlike certain other remakes of classic action movies that have recently been released and shall go unnamed here because I don’t want to sully this thread by mentioning their existence.

  182. Paul, I’m a huge fan of that franchise, and in my book there’s no such thing as a bad Bond movie. But that wasn’t my point. My point was that if you look at the list you’ll see that every now and then they correct things that went wrong in the previous films, and that’s the upside to a long going series. For instance I think that DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE was a step up from DIE HARD II and LIVE FREE DIE HARD a step down. Perhaps A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD is a step up again?

  183. The Original... Paul

    August 9th, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Pegsman – maybe so. But consider this list of films that have really impressed me this year:

    “Into the Abyss”, “Margin Call”, “Shame”, “Chronicle”, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”, “The Raid”, “Headhunters”.

    Now consider this list of films that have disappointed me in some way:

    “The Avengers”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, “Prometheus”.

    You see a pattern there? Personally I’m hoping this is finally the year where the “franchise” becomes a commercially, as well as critically, unappealing prospect. But unfortunately I suspect that won’t be the case for a long, long time yet.

  184. Paul, that reasoning sounds a little bit like cherry picking to me. Obviously one could come up with a bunch of non-franchise films that suck, and then compare them to stuff like TERMINATOR 2, ALIENS, EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, THE GODFATHER 2, John Carpenter’s THE THING, etc.

    That said, I’m not going to sit here and act like we’re not in the midst of a biblical plague of remakes and sequels. I remember sometime last decade there was a particular year (2004?) that held the record for most sequels released by Hollywood ever in a twelve month span. I wouldn’t be surprised if that record’s been broken since. Now I don’t really care about Hollywood releasing lame movies because there are probably already enough awesome ones in existence than I’ll ever get through in my lifetime, but on the other hand, you gotta wonder how many potential projects are deprived of funding in favor of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN or something. I know that people in the video game industry complain about it: not being able to get a new Intellectual Property funded because it’s safer to make Call of Duty 9.

  185. Sorry, but I have zero interest in Die Hard 5.

    John Moore is horrible. I remember watching the making of Max Payne and thinking he’s Troy Duffy’s evil twin. He’s never made a good movie. Even worse, I fear that Bruce Willis isn’t really trying anymore. I fear he might phone this one in, much like he phoned in his “I’m playing John McClane now” performace in Die Hard 4. Seriously, watch his performance in the first one and then watch Die Hard 4. It’s shocking.

    Nah, I’m much more excited about Expendables 2. That last trailer made it look pretty damn good. Plus, it has JCVD playing the baddie. I can’t wait.

    Oh, and… uhm.. something insightful about Alien: Resurrection… uhm… That Alien looks like a penis. There. I constributed.

  186. Knox, I have to agree with you about Moore, but at least he’s making a R-Rated DIE HARD movie. Surely that counts for something?

  187. pegsman where did you get that? An R-rated DIE HARD, I mean.

  188. The Original... Paul

    August 10th, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Renfield – well, I thought “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was great, and I didn’t like “Young Adult”. But those are definitely the exceptions to the rule. (Also, I didn’t think “Young Adult” was a bad film technically – in fact it was a very good one technically – I just felt I’d seen the exact same thing so many times before that there was nothing in it that surprised or excited me. It bored me to death, actually. Not sure if that undermines my argument or supports it, given that its biggest flaw for me was its unoriginality.)

    The first half of this year was probably the best time I’ve ever had at the cinema, ever. So I wouldn’t ever say the good movies aren’t being MADE. What annoys me is that they’re not necessarily being SEEN. With the exception of “TGwtDT” and “Chronicle”, I don’t think any of the really good films I’ve seen this year have been at the multiplex. Have people’s tastes become so narrow that they’re not interested in anything except explosion-fests, rom-coms and cartoons? Is that really where we’ve got to now?

  189. I think the only one I REALLY look forward to is Tarantino´s DJANGO UNCHAINED. That guy actually knows how to make interesting genre pictures with artistic integrity.

  190. The Original... Paul

    August 10th, 2012 at 11:21 am

    But here’s the biggest problem I have with franchises – and it’s one that applies to “Alien” and just about every other franchise you could name. Character deterioration.

    See, I’m a big believer in the idea that while people come to see a film because it looked exciting and explosiony in the trailer, they’ll rewatch it because of the great characters. You don’t enjoy a film because of the scenery (if you did, I’d rewatch Lord of the Rings a dozen times). With some exceptions, you probably enjoy a film because you like spending time with the characters. At least that’s the case for me.

    Now let’s take a look at some famous franchises and see how they stack up. Ironically I think “Alien” is the exception here because the changes to Ripley’s character were at least clearly intended to add something more to each successive movie, even if they weren’t always successful. Bond, too, you expect each successive actor to bring something new to the character (and I think they’ve all managed it).

    Look at some other well-known franchises, though, and things get a helluva lot different:

    – “Terminator” franchise. First movie: Arnie is an unstoppable killing machine! Second movie: Arnie is an unstoppable killing machine with feelings! Third movie: Arnie is a camp, kinda douchey unstoppable killing machine with a good grasp on eighties slang!

    – “American Pie” franchise. First movie: Michelle’s a psychotic band-geek. Second movie: Michelle’s a teenage girl cypher with zero personality who once shoves a trumpet up somebody’s arse for no reason. Also every single actor who returned from the original movie is now playing a character who was written by somebody who had no clue why the characters worked in the original movie, or what made them funny.

    – “Die Hard” franchise. Between Die Hard 1 and Die Hard 4… look, do I really need to go into this? Vern wrote what was pretty much an essay on the subject already. Let’s move onto…

    – “Blade” franchise. Leaving out the awful, awful third movie for a moment… Blade from “Blade” would’ve killed Scud mid-sentence. Not employed him in some pointless gambit that achieves precisely nothing and in fact only serves to let the vampires into his base, like he does in “Blade 2”.

    – “Mission: Impossible” franchise. The absolute best example of character deterioration I can think of. I have always and probably will always maintain that Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt from the original “Mission: Impossible” joins Ripley from “Aliens” and Macready from “The Thing” as the best, or at least most fitting / satisfying “straight” protagonist, of pretty much any modern genre movie. He’s totally observant, totally perceptive, and always one step ahead of the antagonists. By the MI:3 they’ve given Hunt a fiancee to get kidnapped so he can chase his dick around various cities across the world. (See why I hate that movie so much? And why, even though I didn’t hate “Prometheus”, I can absolutely empathise with Asimov’s reaction to it?)

    The same thing happens with TWO separate “Batman” timelines (seriously, compare the Batman of “Begins” to the Batman of “Rises”), the “Superman” films (although I’d actually give “Superman 2” a pass there for improving some of its series characters, not diminishing them), “Star Wars”, “Rambo”… I could go on, and on, and on. My point here is that I don’t think ANY of these changes were introduced into sequels because they would’ve made them better. They were written by either new authors who didn’t “get” why the characters caught on in the first place, or old authors who didn’t have anything more to do with them. Either way, the result is negative.

  191. It seems like the longer a franchise goes on, the more the characters become caricatures of themselves rather being “real” people. Even though I somewhat enjoyed Die Hard 4, McClane is basically a cartoon version of himself from the first movie. He’s just there to crack jokes and move the audience along to the next action scene now. American Pie is indeed guilty of this more than other franchises. The characters stopped evolving, or if they did evolve at all, it was on a very superficial level. The writers just started dropping these familiar characters in wacky situations. No heart, no emotion, just us observing from a distance totally detached. I agree with Paul, the reason i go back to the well with movie franchises and tv shows is ultimately because i dig the characters. The only franchise that I can think of that is an exception is the Saw series. Jigsaw is a pretty interesting character but people go to see those for the traps and twists.

    If you really want to look at a franchise that devolved and evolved again, take a look at the Rocky series. Talk about hi’s and lows. Its one of the few franchises where the character himself never became cartoony/ridiculous, it was the movie around him that did. I honestly believe that the Rocky in Rocky IV is the same guy from Rocky I just farther along his character arc (and in a completely over the top boxing film). McClane from Die Hard 4 doesn’t seem like the same guy. The Terminator from T3 doesnt seem like the same guy. Hell, compare the Brian O’Conner character from 2Fast to all the other Furious movies. He’s a completely different guy in that one compared to the movie before it and the two after.

  192. Some people like it when franchises are going into a completely new direction with every installment. I’m okay with this when we’re talking about sequels to a cheesy action movie like THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS. But it’s not the same if you have a great film with a great character like DIE HARD.

    Another problem of this approach is that they build up a great setup for the next installment in one movie to mostly ignore it in the next installment because they decided to move the franchise into a new direction.

    The ending of IN HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE is not only a great ending in itself, it establishes the premise for the next installment: a very angry Bond revenges the dead of the love of his life. Sadly they decided to go more into the comedy direction with DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER but integrated the revenge storyline in a really terrible way. (It’s even more sad that they made some of the same mistakes with QUANTUM OF SOLACE, but not nearly on the same level of awfulness.)

    It’s even more difficult with ALIEN or DIE HARD. Both films are great but don’t have any franchise potential in my opinion. Who needs a HIGH NOON 2? James Cameron has made a cinematic achievement with his sequel ALIENS because I think he found a way to tell one more interesting story. This is very rare in the movie history and Renny Harlin hasn’t achieved the same with DIE HARD 2.

    The problem is that the ALIEN producers thought after the success of ALIENS that they had found a formula that works: bring in a new director with a completely different approach. But that doesn’t solve the problem that you don’t have the potential for a franchise in your story or your characters, a fact that was very good illustrated with all the ALIEN films that followed. It just results in movies that aren’t as bad as the should be, even if they’re not a good continuation of the overall story.

    I also don’t get the argument that you should watch every installment of a franchise for itself. That doesn’t make any sense. Every new film continues the story and therefore alters the way you see the parts before. You’ll never will get the same feeling at the ending of ALIENS again if you know what happens next to Newt and Hicks.

    Even Ripleys survival in the original ALIEN isn’t the same. She’ll suffer more and die in the future. Everybody in the colony, all the soldiers in ALIENS will die anyway. If Ripley would have at least died in the finale of ALIENS, everybody in ALIEN 3 and 4 could still live.

  193. The quality of the franchise are of course down the party that are pulling the strings. In Bond’s case the Broccoli’s, Clint of course is his own man, so are Stallone and Bronson.

    Bruce and Sigourney are hired hands who do what ever the directors tell them to do, and the same goes for who ever starred in a long running series and without being a producer, director or writer.

    That’s apart for Leo Rossi, my secret hero, who managed to play detective Sam Dietz in 4 totally different RELENTLESS movies and still be the same guy.

  194. Looks like we now get a real ALIEN 5 by Neill Blomkamp, based on his fanart from a few months ago. I didn’t like that guy’s first two movies enough to get really excited about it.
    (Let’s hope someone at FOX tells him that there is no shame in using atripod for his camera or even a steadycam.)

  195. Well, The Church of Ridley Scott will obviously condemn it of course, but I think this is interesting news. I liked the artwork he produced but also Blomkamps previous work. His HALO shortfilm was impressive and it would be interesting if he could develop the political themes from DISTRICT 9 and ELYSIUMS within an ALIEN framework. There were class tensions in the first one and I think Blomkamp might be the one who can run with it and flesh it out.

  196. We can be sure that from a technical POV (sans camerawork) it will definitely be an impressive movie. And I’m not gonna lie, as unexcited as I am about a Blomkamp ALIEN, I am still kinda excited about getting a new ALIEN movie. And a real one nonetheless. Without Predators and not a losely connected spin-offquel either. At this point I’m totally okay with it being a popcorn action movie instead of a genuinely scary horrormovie too. And my favourite element of the series is that each entry was done by an up and coming autheur, who left his own unique fingerprints on the series (Even Fincher!), so a Blomkamp ALIEN totally fits in. The thing is that except for the fact that Blomkamp really knows how to use visual FX and make cheap-ish movies look more expensive than they are, his fingerprints bored me so far. But hey, maybe playing with an established mythology helps him being more focused and he knocks one out of the park this time.

    Random observation: Sigourney Weaver is in Blomkamp’s upcoming movie CHAPPY NR 5, THE IRON ROBOCOP GIANT and it’s a known fact that she has always been the driving force behind hiring young talents for the sequels’ director’s chairs. Do you think they probably got along so well, that Weaver told FOX: “Hey, remember how you keep bothering me about making another ALIEN? Well, I just made a movie with a hotshot filmmaker, who happens to be a fan of that series…”

  197. Well, I’m a paid member of the Church of Ridley Scott(TM) and I don’t really mind the fact that they’re making ALIEN V, even if it puts paid to my own long-held idea for an ALIEN 3-ignoring, Ripley-Hicks-starring sequel to ALIENS that would take the team to the Aliens’ homeworld. Then again, PROMETHEUS pretty much killed that one already, because it basically said “Fuck you, there ain’t no Alien homeworld, they was all jus’ created by a bunch of muscled baldies for kicks and biological warfare!”

    What does worry me somewhat is that Blomkamp’s take seems to revolve around Ripley and Hicks infiltrating a generic giant warehouse wherein evil Weyland-Yutani are conducting nefarious experiments with Alien/Engineer technology, and the duo wants to stop them so badly that Ripley’s prepared to blow herself up to do so.

  198. I don´t know, the xenomorphs as a created weapon makes more sense to me. I am not sure I would have liked Xenomorph City or whatever that would have encompassed. It´s like Predator Planet. That sounds just dumb to me. I do not approve of any Ripley/Hicks nonsense however. Sounds like poor fan fiction to me.

  199. I didn’t mean it in the sense of them having a culture, with cop and nanny xenomorphs and little accessory facehuggers on leashes being led around by society Queens. Of course not. More like a feral planet scenario, with the engineer types having flown in to collect some of the worst critters they could find to then weaponise them. I always thought of the xenos as the equivalent of JURASSIC PARK’s raptors in that world, meaning there’d be both larger and smaller (but equally vile) creatures in the same environment that they’d have to coexist with. A vast, boiling vat of Gigeresque viciousness. I’d love to see that.

    As for poor fan fiction – Ripley being a half-xeno clone in the far future getting it on with a Queen and thus, somehow, siring a pallid monster hybrid thing doesn’t sound any better and they MADE that movie 18 years ago.

  200. He’s the best person in that town for the future of the franchise. His movies share many themes with the first 2 ALIEN movies that the latter sequels simply didn’t get or explore. He gets and likes the first 2 movies for all the right reasons if you ask me.

    Plus he might be the only one to finally get my hope of having ALIEN CUBED and RESURRECTION (which I do enjoy for what they are but c’mon…) be written off as Ripley’s nightmares during hypersleep. I have no problem just picking right up from where ALIENS left off if the leaked pre-production art he funded himself to pitch to Fox is any indication. As long as he makes it more than just strictly fanwank which he’s certainly capable of. I don’t know it definitely seems more inspired than say giving a new STAR WARS movies to J.J. Abrams or some shit.

  201. Count me on team Blomkamp. The guy has made two solid sci-fi movies already, which both, crucially, have a strong lived-in feel and an inherent understanding of working-class blues in a world of sci-fi marvels. Neither has real horror elements (unless you wanna count the Cronenberging in DISTRICT 9) but they both have some incredibly intense sequences punctuated by serious gory violence, so I think the leap to horror won’t be too difficult. And I’m not worried about him going post-action because ELYSIUM, whatever its narrative problems, actually has decent action and is plenty adapt at pulling back and soaking in its big world.

    Just. fucking. keep. Lindelof. away. Frankly I’d prefer the team behind ALIEN VS PREDATOR (either version) over anything that man touches.

  202. I recently rewatched Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s movies (#Jeunetrospective) and it’s a shame that he kinda seemed to drop off the face of the movieworld. Okay, his last movie came out in 2013, so it’s still an acceptable gap, but he doesn’t seem to have any new projects lined up and it feels like we’ve lost one of our greatest filmatists.

    Random observations about Jeunet’s body of work:

    – If you watch all of his movies in a row, the yellow/green color pattern that he uses in almost all of them (except his two english language ones) starts to become annoying when you reach A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT. (It’s fine if you just randomly watch one of his movies.)

    – Despite being one of cinemas style-heaviest autheurs, he hasn’t reached the level of self-parody or at least “Come on, show us something new!” yet, that most other super stylish filmatists have reached.

    – His style is so strong, that even if he tries to make a mainstream movie, where he tones down all his visual quirks and trademarks, it takes less then 5 minutes until you see a moment that makes you go: “Yep, a real Jeunet”.

    – All of his movies feature stunningly beautiful women, but never in the supermodel way. Often only in supporting roles and bit parts, but man, he has an eye for the “pretty girl next door” type. Audrey Tautou is maybe the closest thing to “unreal movie beauty” and even she looks like someone who you could randomly run into at the grocery store. (I wouldn’t be surprised if casting Winona in 4LIEN was his idea too.)

    – Dominique Pinon always makes me smile

    – Despite my dislike for/disability to see 3D if it isn’t shown with those electronic shutter glasses, I really regret that I only know T.S. SPIVET in a 2D home video version. That must be one of the greatest looking movies ever made!

    – He doesn’t have a cynical bone in his body. Despite being an intellectual arthouse darling and not afraid of showing moments of dark humor, sadness and human darkness, his movies are always about good and innocent people, who end up in the arms of their loved ones, while the cynical and evil assholes around them get what they deserve. (To a lesser degree in 4LIEN, but even here all evil scientists, military guys and less likeable criminals die horrible deaths, while Ripley 8 turns into a mother/older sister for Winona, and Perlman actually gives Pinon an “I’m so happy I survived that shit with my best friend by my side” kiss of happiness.)

  203. Considering how everyone lost their damned minds over AMELIE you’d think Jeunet would end up being an art-house MVP. AMELIE was so good that everyone stopped making snarky 4LIEN jokes at his expense. Instead of each of his subsequent movies becoming highly-anticipated and talked about, they seem to have been pretty much ignored. I vaguely remember ‘some’ talk about A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT but nothing on MICMACS and THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET. If it wasn’t for me one day randomly wondering what he’s been up to and going to IMDB, I never would have even heard of MICMACS and SPIVET. Looks like that CASANOVA TV Movie is on Amazon Prime so I guess I’ll give that look soon. Such a shame as I have liked every movie he has made so far, loved most of them. I hope it is by his decision to take it easy and not because he’s having trouble finding funding. Still though, I wonder why the art-house crowd turned their back on him? 4LIEN is the only LAMEstream movie he ever did (and that was 20 years ago) and since then he has done nothing but smaller and more personal movies and according to his interviews on the ALIEN QUADRIOLGY/ANTHONY set, has very little incline to try his hand at another big crowd-pleasing spectacle movie.

    So CJ: DELICATESSEN or CITY OF LOST CHILDREN? I think I’ll go sentimental and go with LOST CHILDREN even though DELICATESSEN’s humor and attitude calls to me. CHILDREN is one of those movies I discovered when I was very open-minded and would watch just about anything. It came on Bravo! and at the time I thought it was an adaptation of the lackluster Playstation game of the same name so naturally I was unaware of it’s reputation and was able to enjoy it on it’s own merits and loved every minute of it. Shit thinking about how good CHILDREN is makes me even more disappointed we don’t get more from him and no one talks about him anymore.

    On topic: I pretty much agree with Vern’s review. Always enjoyed this goofy movie as an accidental adaptation of any number of the Dark Horse Comics that were published around the time. It never comes close to the greatness of the first two and it doesn’t even try to be great like the third one did but it set out to be an entertaining space monster movie and for me it was successful.

  204. I saw that Jeanut directed a tv show called Casanova starring Diego Luna so that’s actually the last thing he did.

  205. The CASANOVA thing was a failed Amazon pilot. Haven’t come around to watch it yet, though. At least Amazon keeps even the pilots, that weren’t picked up. He also made a long Chanel No 5 commercial with Audrey Tautou, but despite some brillant camera work, it’s more an anonymous parfume commercial, about a man and a woman who fall in love on a train, keep running into each other and finally end up together.

    geoffrey, I go with DELICATESSEN. LOST CHILDREN is brillant, but also damn slow at times. DELICATESSEN simply entertains me more. I also discovered both movies in a time, when I was really opening my mind for all kinds of movies (aka “the late 90s”). Thank god our public broadcasting channel liked to air indie and arthouse darlings late at night (they still do, but not as frequently and with a higher popcorn ratio than back in the days), which introduced me to Jeunet, the Coen Bros (FARGO and BARTON FINK were my first ones), Kevin Smith and Jim Jarmusch. I miss these days.

  206. I try to be really lenient on most movies, but man, this one is even worse than I remembered. I don’t have a problem with wacky or French (let’s agree a Luc Besson Alien movie would be pretty awesome), but nothing works here – the story, the characters, the acting, the creatures – hell, it doesn’t even look as good as I hoped – it’s easily the ugliest, cheapest-looking, grainiest movie in the Blu Ray box set, and those outer space shots are unbelievably bad. Like there’s shots near the end that literally look like the ships in MST3K, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

    The whole thing is thematically muddled – I’m tired of the company’s obsession with these “perfect weapons”. At least this movie tries to explain they’re trying to use them for “urban pacification” which drives home the point they’re bad guys but also makes zero sense. I also like that they keep saying there’s TWELVE of these creatures running around the ships but you only see four of them. (And the 3 of them that the crew runs into all get killed with one shot – such a perfect weapon!) They also keep saying in the special features that you don’t know which side Ripley is on, but you never get that sense from the movie. She’s just a fan-fic version of Ripley, constantly spouting one-liners, maybe 10% of which work. The new crew is too underdeveloped to care about, there’s no chemistry between Weaver and anyone. She’s practically sleepwalking through this movie, daydreaming about that giant paycheck, and good for her. Oh, I forgot that whole bit about Ryder being a 2nd gen android, created by other androids, and I guess there’s supposed to be some “outsiders bonding” thing between her and Ripley but they don’t really decide if she’s a sidekick, love interest, or Newt stand-in, she’s just kind of there. I actually don’t hate the design of the Newborn but it’s nothing special and arrives way too late in the movie. I also like how they’re like “Hey the cargo bay door’s open!” and Ripley goes “I closed it! Oh well, go and check on it!” so I guess she forgot an Alien has stowed away on her shuttle escaping from a giant explosion THREE TIMES before.

    One thing I’ll say is the deleted scenes add a little bit more character development – a few references to Newt, a line about crashing the ship in an uninhabited zone (which still looked like it was the size of North America, but whatever), and much needed lines about Ripley’s hatred of mankind that not only help her character here but thematically fit in with the Prometheus sequels. There’s also a scene where they explain Walmart bought out Weyland-Yutani which is stupid and eye-rolling but is pretty much this movie in a nutshell. They might as well have kept that in.



  208. “ I know Joss Whedon said some bad things about me,” says Jeunet. “I don’t care. I know if Joss Whedon had made the film himself, it probably would have been a big success. He’s very good at making films for American geeks – something for morons. Because he’s very good at making Marvel films. I hate this kind of movie. It’s so silly, so stupid.” About the changes he made to Whedon’s script, Jeunet jokes: “Too bad, Joss Whedon!”

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet on the ‘sexy and weird’ Alien Resurrection 25 years on

    The cult French director talks to Tom Fordy about his 1997 reboot, why he hates the sort of movies its screenwriter Joss Whedon makes, and his uncompromising message for those who don’t like his gruesome ‘arty’ take on Alien

  209. I like this movie* and I’m an MCU Grinch, but I’m not sure how different it really is from the typical MCU movie. The things that make it different pretty much all fit comfortably in the category of “it was made in the 90s, not the 2010/20s”.

    *In as much as I remember how much I enjoyed it on my first viewing; it’s a little thin to endure much beyond that IMO

  210. Good that he (unlike Wheadon) stands by it though.

  211. Thanks, that was a fun read. Weaver’s quotes are awesome as usual. I’m Resurrection-agnostic (it’s just fine, a bit thin) but Jeunet can rest easy that no matter what, he’s done at least two other movies that are better than anything Whedon has done or will ever do. And I think they both know it.
    (Not a slam against Whedon, who’s done some fun stuff, Jeunet’s early movies are just that much better.)

  212. Eh, they both sound like total assholes. Filmatistically, CITY OF LOST CHILDREN leaves Whedon in the dust, but AMELIE is a million times more insipid and obnoxious than anything Whedon could come up with even at his most self-indulgent. In the battle of two former titans nobody gives a shit about anymore, I think it’s a wash.

  213. Nah, AMELIE is still the 2nd most watchable “Everything is the most magical thing ever” movie out there, which is a genre, that really produces 99% crap.

    (Before you ask: The most watchable imo Ben Stiller’s WALTER MITTY.)

  214. I was thinking of Delicatessen and City And actually, make it three movies, I’d forgotten all about Micmacs.
    I don’t hate Amelie (it works a lot of the time if you can put up with it, and it’s technically excellent), but Wheddon’s best (Firefly) trounces it as far as entertainment goes.
    Jeunet doesn’t just sound like an asshole, he sounds so much like a very specific, self-consciously arty, extremely French type of asshole I’m kind of wondering if he isn’t putting an act on. Then again, it jives with my mental image of the person who would direct Amelie.

  215. I just think he’s kidding himself if he thinks there’s any difference between the American moron audience who watches superhero movies and the audience who watched ALIEN RESURRECTION. It’s the same audience. They’re the same people. He just insulted his own fans.

  216. I thought the Stiller MITTY was reasonably pleasant (although, and I know it became a bit cliché to say so, the product placement was pretty bad), but I saw it with a friend who had maybe the most adverse reaction to a film I’ve ever seen (runner up would be an otherwise very mild mannered friend of ours who uncharacteristically skipped a Sixth Form class to join us at OCEAN’S TWELVE). He was just settling, and struggling to do so, into a job after taking a year off for travelling, whereas I was feeling a bit stuck in a rut, a little jealous of him and other people who had what had seemed to be a more exciting or at least more “successful” start to their adulthood. To me it seemed kind of like a fun fantasy, perhaps to him it was selling a bill of goods for a lifestyle that only pauses the inevitable.

    Anyway, here’s an interview I listened to a few months ago about the most important aspect of ALIEN: RESURRECTION; the toys!

    03 - Kenner Aliens / Jurassic Park III Behind The Scenes!

    The Toy Armada with Aaron Archer Episode 3 - Kenner Aliens / Jurassic Park III Behind The Scenes! GAME OVER MAN! We dive into the behind the scenes of Kenn...

  217. I think there is a difference between the two groups of morons. RESURRECTION came along 5 years after ALIEN 3, and 18 years after ALIEN. If anything the fans of that particular franchise were old enough to be the parents of todays superhero crowd. And we knew Jeunet from his previous films when he got the gig. I kinda doubt that the Avengers mob know much about Olivier Marchal (to use a name that in a perfect world could get a high profile Hollywood job in the future).

  218. Maybe it’s not literally the same individual people, but who does he think went to see ALIEN RESURRECTION if not American geeks? Does he think the arthouse crowd showed up to watch the third sequel to a sci-fi monster movie? There is no appreciable difference between the movie he made and the kind of movie he’s shitting on. He’s the guy from THE REVENANT thinking he transcended the genre while writing the line “Killing me won’t bring your kid back.” A hilarious lack of self-awareness.

  219. Hey, we are not talking about FRIDAY THE 13th here, but ALIEN, the rare horror series that started out with lots of love and acclaim from “serious” critics and even the Oscars! I don’t know how strong exactly the general opinion was soured after ALIEN³, but generally you could say that this series was back then liked by popcorn munching teens and their snobby parents. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the general consens was “When that French arthouse darling does it, it could be as good as parts 1 & 2”.

  220. Obviously I don’t agree with Jeunet’s snobbishness there, but after seeing him insulted by Whedon in interviews for decades and not saying jack shit I can’t begrudge him seeing Whedon on the ground and giving in to temptation to kick him.

  221. Whedon more than has it coming, for sure. But he didn’t just insult Whedon. He insulted some imagined audience that is somehow different than the audience that enjoyed his movie. That’s low class, in my opinion.

  222. Sure, both camps went to see the movie, but only the American geeks has spent the last 25 years telling everyone how bad it is. The Arthouse crowd, who wanted to see what the man behind DELICATESSEN could do with a Hollywood budget, has probably told him to his face that hadn’t it been for all those terrible oneliners, it would have been a masterpiece.

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