i would imagine that the idea, concept, notion and tales of resurrection are very much at the forefront of the minds of those who think of such things at this time of year. this post, look you see, doesn't relate to any tales of actual resurrection, though. it's another rare instance of me getting the chance of watching a film on a night, and for some reason feeling the need to write of it.
in the course of the last week, then, they had Alien Resurrection on the shelf for £1. my reaction was, of course, disappointment at the fact that it was not Alien or Aliens. i wasn't, as it happens, going to bother getting this, but then it occurred to me that i, despite owning the VHS and the DVD, had not actually gotten around to watching this from start to finish.
with the above being the case, and indeed it coming to mind that the bits i had seen over the years were, on the whole, what one might say as being "not bad", it seemed like not much of a gamble to simply give Poundland the £1 which they commanded in exchange for this disc, so that i may watch it in high definition. also, as it happens, they had something called Eastern Promises on blu ray for the same price. i bought that too, but it looks like a f*****g dark and heavy film so i will leave that for a bit.
the above is about the only part of this post which could be safely read by someone that has no wish to have any details of this 18 or so year old film revealed to them, so.....
don't say you've not been warned if you read on.....
the biggest problem most had at the time with Alien Resurrection was that it was going to feature who had emerged as the protagonist of the first three, Ripley. that was a problem as, for as dearly loved as this character is, she was killed by death at the end of Alien 3, making, you would think, a 4th film with her tricky.
how did they get around that? by hoying the film 200 years into the future after Alien 3 when, via means never bothered to be elaborated on, they have clocked how to clone whatever was left of Ripley after being killed by death in T2 stolen motlen lava metal stuff and extract from her the alien which she was infected with.
it's actually quite smart that they did that bit above. i mean, they could have spent an hour explaining how they got her DNA or whatever, and how they worked out how to do some fancy cloning, but that would have been dull, dry and boring. the makers, to their credit, had an appreciation for the fact that audiences of the 4th film in a series were there for a very specific thing, and that specific thing was classy Alien vs Human action. cutting out on elaborate, lengthy explanations and trusting an audience to take a leap of faith is, at the least, something that many people making films today could learn from. well, use, really. i don't care if they learn from it or not.
in continuing the leap above, clone Ripley has ended up with some super duper special Alien powers blended in with her, that not nobody had ever been aware of the Aliens even having. clone Ripley, or if you like 8, has a super fast healing capability, ace hearing, the ability to smell out aliens and, as displayed in this snippet right here below, some fancy fighting skills.
allowing for the fact that the above is made with the iPhone what Spiros gave to me and isn't the best quality, that scene does show a major problem with the film. even at its worst - hello, Alien 3 - the atmospherics of the visuals in the Alien films have always been smart. Alien Resurrection suffers from some clunky camerawork and some very poor framing decisions. this is really baffling as they went to all the trouble of getting some stylish French dude, off of Franceland, to make the film.
despite the fact that Winona Ryder is sort of slightly OK and watchable in this film, the makers really did miss a trick with the character. you saw the spoilers, yeah? in Alien the robot android tried to kill Ripley and the whole crew. which is why in Aliens she had total dislike and distrust of the robot, only to be given reason to believe. in Alien 3, which i watched earlier in the year, she actually misses him/it and brings it back to life. in this one, Ripley is clinging to the echoes of memories of the life from which she was cloned. she remembers a girl that she once looked after, fondly (there's a beautiful silent bit of acting when she sees a picture of a girl that looks like her), but can't remember her name (Newt, i know). the combination of memories of robots, memories of a girl that made her feel human and being presented with a girl robot could and perhaps should have been played on a bit more than it was; allowing the Clone Ripley to develop slightly more humanity.
as for the rest of the cast, mostly it provides some "hey, isn't that?" moments. you can watch the film and go "look, it's the black dude out of CSI that wasn't in Apocalypse Now", "hey, far out, it's Hellboy out of Hellboy and Hellboy 2" and "wow, it's the bad dude off of The Crow and he was probably in a series of 24 or something like that too". weirdly, this somehow makes it better - not unlike as was the case when i watched Alien 3 for the first time in 20 or so years earlier this year and noted how many of the actors went on to be in all that Game Of Dragon Thrones thing.
back to the plot, and the film. if this review seems haphazard and all over the place, by the way, then that reflects the film perfectly. both, i think, are well intentioned, at the least. anyway, just as Clone Ripley has some super special Alien powers, so too it turns out that the Alien DNA has some super special human powers in it now, like being able to give birth.
if the newly created clone Queen Alien can all of a sudden give birth to aliens, as sort of shown in the slightly graphic scene above that i maybe should have given a warning about beforehand, right, then why does she also still lay eggs that facehuggers pop out of? strange.
that the picture of the born Alien is sideways is the least of the problems with born Alien. in fact, i would say that it is this creature that's behind no one being particularly fond or impressive with the film.
every element of born Alien, right, is complete crap. it looks rubbish, it moves rubbish, it's silly not scary. also, it rejects it's actual mother, the clone Queen Alien, for Clone Ripley, which it for some reason feels closer to.
there is never an explanation for this. there's also no explanation given as to how exactly clone Queen Alien got pregnant in such a way that she would in fact give birth to a human (assuming that is the intention) looking born Alien, although maybe the bonkers Brad Dourif character could answer this point in a scene that, quite frankly, i would not wish to see.
the film kind of ends with the door open for another sequel, but no one was all that interested in it. it's all done now, bar Ridley Scott's Prometheus prequel things.
in no way at all is Alien Resurrection an overlooked or lost classic, but it is also in no way at all as bad as i thought it was going to turn out. it's a decent, solid enough 100 minute sci-fi film that was very easily worth the £1 i threw at it.
it's a touch like Jurassic Park III, i suppose - it trusts an audience to know the deal and just gets on with delivering what they want. as a consequence, there's nothing groundbreaking in it. that might be why people tend to not remember it fondly, but then find "oh yeah, this is pretty decent" when they sit to watch it. besides, just as Jurassic Park III has loads of the dinosaurs people wanted, Alien Resurrection has these dudes on the go. a fair bit.
i will watch any film that has an Alien out of the Alien films or a Predator out of a Predator film in it. they are awesome. i actually liked the Alien vs Predator film that most seem to moan and wail about as if they were Star Wars fanboys.
well, there you go. if for some reason you have easy and affordable access to Alien Resurrection and are not sure whether or not to watch it, go for it. you don't get bored, but you also don't get overwhelmed with awesomeness. you pretty much get entertained, though, which is all a movie is supposed to do.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!