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A group of scientists has cloned Lt. Ellen Ripley, along with the alien queen inside her, hoping to breed the ultimate weapon. But the resurrected Ripley is full of surprises for her "creators," as are the aliens they've imprisoned. And soon, a lot more than "all hell" breaks loose. To combat the creatures, Ripley must team up with a band of smugglers, including a mechanic named Call (Ryder), who holds more than a few surprises of her own. (20th Century Fox)
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But the movie does not click. In Alien 3, especially its superior Special Edition, we see a lot of humanity, however bleak, and the horror of a new, much faster and more vicious Giger Xenomorph. We meet Dillon, a noble man with a criminal past who approaches all problems from a no-nonsense, religious perspective. His beliefs don't stop him from kicking serious butt when necessary. Even Clemens, Andrews, Morse and a few others hold a viewer's interest. But Alien: Resurrection is every bit as bleak, hopeless, gloomy and depressing as its predecessor, yet this time there's no humanity or characterization to be found anywhere, except maybe in Call, the android who understands the threat the Xenomorphs pose. The Ripley clone is actually kind of a muttering Bride of Frankenstein. We care about Ripley, but that doesn't guarantee we'll accept her staggeringly uninteresting clone. The real Ripley's sacrifice in Alien 3 only prolonged the birth of a new Alien Queen. Anyone who's seen this movie knows how the long-awaited Queen makes the one in AVP look worthy of Cameron's original. The "Newborn" human-Xeno mix is hideous and pathetic and has a baby-poop-yellow color that ruins anything outstanding about the creature design (and there isn't much). Gore is in abundance, fast but still gratuitous. The mercenaries are drab and evil; who cares if they live or die? Who needs all the one-liners in this misguided attempt to restart a film franchise? When the Ripley clone, #8, discovers the seven failures that preceded her, she shows Ellen Ripley style emotion. This scene could have been iconic, but nothing is explored. Gigeresque horrors are done away with through the use of a flamethrower. When I tuck myself in bed every night, I ask the Almighty to please make sure there's never another flamethrower used in an Alien film. When I watched Prometheus I thought Janek should have just shoot a giant flamethrower at the Juggernaut heading for Earth. Star Wars has its lightsabers, and Alien has its flamethrowers. I can't believe someone didn't cremate Shaw's dissected corpse in Alien: Covenant. Lazy writing!
Alien: Resurrection will probably entertain you in some ways. A few of the Alien scenes are memorable. The Queen is horrible, and might have been downright hellish if not for the arrival of the ridiculous Newborn. The Ripley clone has some good scenes, as does Call. But the atmosphere of this movie is heartless. Alien fans loved the casts of the first two films, and many liked the misfits of Alien 3 in spite of themselves. Alien: Resurrection looks like a science-fiction epic but feels like an absurd European art movie combining with a pointless American sci-fi horror vehicle that should go straight to home video. It is the work of a fine director, talented writers, a solid cast, but it never "feels" right. I have watched Alien 3 (both versions) dozens of times but nothing induces me to revisit A:R in the hopes I'll finally like it, finally find something intriguing in it. Twenty years after first seeing it, I like it less than ever.
The only way an Alien movie is ever going to work again is with a cast that viewers care about. I like Shaw (written out like Newt and Hicks in A3), David/Walter, Janek and Tennessee in the new Scott prequels. Covenant almost made me miss the Last Engineer from Prometheus, a pasty-looking baldy-headed "god" who acted like a rampaging King Kong in a pressure suit.
A final note: There is no male protagonist whatsoever in this movie. The Ripley clone and Call are so ambiguous, we don't cheer for them as we have for Ripley or Vasquez. Every character in this fourth Alien installment is either rotten, evil, or empty. I seriously believe this affected the box office returns on a movie that looked to be a return to form.
The plot was definitely there, equal amounts of humor, action, and horror that made James Cameron's Aliens the classic it is today. It even had really fresh and interesting ideas at many point, particularly with Sigourney Weaver's character and her hive-mind connection to the Aliens themselves.
Unfortunately, a lot of moments felt rushed or out of place. Halfway through the movie, I forgot what the plot even was until I was conveniently reminded a scene later, as if they knew that was going to happen. The acting in this movie range from meh to decent. Wynona Ryder's character seems....well.....out of character, and you'll understand why three-quarters of the way in. Weaver herself did well as usual and her portrayal of the Ripley clone was refreshingly frightening in the beginning, humorous, and utterly badass. She was one of this movie's highlights. The Aliens themselves were also handled well. I could just see that this movie was actively trying to be better than it was. It was noticeable with every line of weak dialogue. So, yeah, I give it 3.5 stars for it's potential and what entertainment it did offer. If you're a fan of the Alien saga, Resurrection is worth seeing at least once.
Huge Alien fan and this one really tests fandom in many ways with the plot and characters.
I refuse to accept this abomination of a xenomorph.
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