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Alien Resurrection (Special Edition)

First time I saw Alien Resurrection at the movies I thought it was a pretty average outing with one killer scene. Second time I saw it some years later I recognised all the Joss Whedonisms (this was after I became a Buffy fan of course). This time around the Whedon trademarks didn't stick out as much, but there was still that killer scene of Ripley 8 confronting her predecessors.

There are some good things about the movie: I like the premise of cloning Ripley in order bring back the aliens, and visually it has some wonderful moments (such as Ripley sinking into the alien hive).

But ultimately it just doesn't gel. After three films the aliens just aren't that scary anymore (something I think Whedon acknowledges by showing them quite early in the movie) so the picture has to work as a more traditional SF movie, unable to rely on the overt horror/suspense elements that made the first one (and to a lesser extent the second and third) successful. But the second half of the movie is basically nothing more than an extended chase/flight and so the movie overall lacks weight.

Some of the acting is very broad - Dan Hedaya's never done anything for me (though I do like the fact that his character polished his own boots, a nice character touch) and Ron Perlman is also capable of doing much better, more subtle work. But I guess this wasn't a movie for nuanced performances. Other than by Sigourney Weaver who I think was attracted to the film because of the ambiguity of the Ripley character. To me though that Ripley would do the right thing at the end (ie kill the alien) was never in doubt - despite the protestations of various characters and despite her own hybrid nature and her rather intimate interactions with some of the aliens. Maybe if she'd done something unexpectedly evil earlier in the story.

The special edition has a different beginning (cute but, as Jeunet admits, too humorous for the movie) and ending. Other than that I couldn't really tell where the other additional scenes were (though the "seamless" branching on the DVD noticably wasn't)... was the reference to Newt in the scene where Ripley talks to Call in the theatrical cut? (A check of imdb reveals - no, this was added... a good touch.)

Last time I saw the movie I had some thoughts about a fifth Alien movie (this was pre the disappointingly mediocre AvP) - basically set on Earth with the first half tense and moody ala Alien 1 and the second rollicking violence ala Alien 2. Thinking about it, that really won't break any new ground (except for the idea that Ripley would clearly be the antagonist, albeit a layered on).

This time around, my ruminations about a (now) sixth movie led to the idea of a film featuring no human character, just various aliens. (Maybe the story of the pilot from the first movie, as Ridley Scott has said he'd like to tackle if he ever made a sequel.) Take the visceral designs of Giger and his successors and make the entire movie like an slimey, organic, reptilian nightmare come to life. I'm imagining no human dialogue and no subtitles to explain what's going on (heh, take that Mel Gibson!) so it'd be difficult to advance a plot... but I'd imagine it would be pretty light on plot-wise anyway. This would not be a movie that was character or plot driven, but design and emotion driven.

Unconventional? You bet. Difficult to pull off? Hell yeah. Possibly ground breaking and artistically successful? Who knows...

Comments (1)

Richie:

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 7, 2005 12:37 AM.

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