Alien: Resurrection

Monday, March 03, 2008

I don't care what most people say, Alien 3 is a damn good film. It's dark, it's gritty and it's refreshingly downbeat. It was a damn good end to the Alien trilogy. Unfortunately though, because of the negative reaction to the film and the desire to make some more cash out of a potentially lucrative franchise, Alien: Resurrection got made. And boy is it bad.

Right from the very first second it's obvious you're watching a turkey. The music is terrible, the special effects are sub-par and the visual style reminds me of The Fifth Element – a film I hate with all my heart. Then you have the awful Star Trek costumes and soldiers who look like they're holding toy guns. It's a comic book.

What I like most about the original trilogy is the way that despite being set in the future and despite being about Aliens with acid for blood, the environments felt realistic. The Nostromo felt like a living breathing spaceship, the colony in Aliens felt authentically low-tech and the prison planet in Alien 3 was grim and dirty. Alien: Resurrection, though, feels like exactly what it is: a film. Not once could I suspend my disbelief. The sets look like sets (something that should never happen) and you can just imagine them filming in some large hanger and then someone shouting 'Cut!' The environments are horribly artificial. They're TV quality.

Then there are all the pointless gimmicks. Not one of them works, whether it be the breath identification, the metal detector gloves (more cheap TV quality sci-fi) or the ship's computer being called Father just because it's oh-so clever in light of the computer in Alien being called Mother (Father, by the way, sounds like Stephen Hawking). And then there's the spitting Aliens (the spitting effect is shite) and the bastard creation that is the Newborn. And speaking of the Newborn, how in the hell did that get past the design stages? It looks like hunchback yellow turd with a potbelly and National Geographic tits. It's not in the least bit scary and the attempts to humanise it are hilarious. I'm supposed to have sympathy for its demise? Sorry, I could only sit there laughing my head off.

But the Aliens in Resurrection aren't much better either. They all look like someone has blown their nose on them. They're covered in too much slime and gunk. And then, like the Newborn, there are the depressingly stupid attempts to try and give them character and to try and make the audience feel sympathy for them. Do I care that two Aliens decide to kill one of their own? No, of course not.

But what about the characters? Well, the film doesn't have much time for them and neither do I. Every single one is a cardboard cut out. You've got the evil corporate/military guy, the supposedly lovable rogues and the character who turns out to be a robot. Haven't we been over all of this before? And Ripley is a waste of space too. Sure Weaver tries her best to give her character layers, and she has a bit of fun being bad, but Whedon's script is so thin that it all comes off as a bunch of soundbites, or trailer moments. "I heard you run into these things before. What did you do?" "I died." Ooh, pithy! But I guess that's what happens when you give writing duties to a fanboy and the creator of the hideously adolescent Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, to be fair to Weaver, although perhaps not to Whedon, Ripley does have one good scene, the one where she kills one of her clones. It's the only scene with genuine feeling. Too bad then that it ends with more dire-logue: "It must be a chick thing."

In light of these multiple atrocities, I hoped that at least the action would be a welcome distraction. It isn't. The worst offender has to be the basketball scene. As if the fight isn't bad enough with its brief burst of techno music (I can't adequately express how awful the musical score is), there's the shoot-out with its toy guns and the ridiculous ricocheted shot. It's yet more comic book crap. And the underwater scene, while a good idea on paper, fails to get the blood pumping. In fact, the only thing I kept thinking during the whole scene was, 'Boy, they can hold their breath for a long time.'

Oh, but the worst moment in the film, worse even than the Newborn, has to be when a man with an Alien inside him, who's convulsing, and who indeed gets shot three or four times as he's walking and giving 'birth', manages to punch his attacker in the face, disarm him and brutally beat him up. It's obviously meant to be crowd-pleasing moment, but the only people it's going to please are retards and fuckwits.

But there are many other moronic things in the film. There's the way Ripley has acid for blood yet apparently has a normal physiology. There's the way that Ripley uses her blood as a convenient way to get her out of tricky situations. There's the way that The Company, the real bad guys in the series, are disposed of. There's the way that grown adults refer to the Aliens as 'nasties' and 'monsters'. There's the way that Call inexplicably has a sample of the General's breath (how did she get that?). There's the way that Call gets shot, falls into the water and miraculously reappears somewhere else. There are the Taxi Driver-style electronic holsters that one of the characters wears. And there are the amusingly awful moments of ultra-violence – the General saluting and then picking his own brain, the baby Alien shooting through the bloke's head, the Newborn biting someone's head off and the Newborn squeezing someone's face off. Way to crucify a once great series.

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  1. Couldnt agree more, about both Alien 3 and this pile of terrible.