Alien Resurrection - 2.5/5 Stars
Reviewed by: John Ulmer
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Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Ron Perlman
MPAA Classification: Rated R for strong language, violence/gore, and brief nudity
If the third "Alien" film didn't convince you that the series has passed its expiration date, "Alien: Resurrection" surely will. While I must admit that this film is not altogether bad, and a big improvement over the third, it is in no way as good as its original two predecessors, and it is quite obvious from the establishing shots to the last.
The first two films were excellent, but the third film was one major flop, due to horrible characters, unintelligably fast camera movement, and, for me, the idea of all hope in the second film fading. (Ripley risks her life many times to save Newt in "Aliens," but then in a quick moment in the third, she (Newt) is dead? That's not right.)
The thing that made the first two films superb was not only the tension and white-knuckle terror, but the cinematography (which won an Oscar for the original film), and the creatures, who were never quite shown to the extent anyone would like, including in the first film. And then the third film came along and showed the aliens' full bodies, and due to average CGI, the fear diminished. In this new installment, aliens hop along, walk upright, leap on people; heck, they even swim. But the visual effects on the creatures is so poor for a 1997 film that it makes one want to wipe the film from their memory. It ruins the original two "Alien" films. The aliens in this film look more like tiny lizards with heads shaped as melons than anything. "Alien" (1979) and "Aliens" (1986) showed the aliens from the waist up much of the time, and the creatures looked like men in alien suits. Which, in this case--believe it or not, is better. I like the hokey costumes; the creatures seem more terrifying when they hover above humans and move like humans. But alas, in "Resurrection" they move about like quick little...well...typical aliens, and the creatures are no longer original, but misused.
The plot in "Resurrection"--what little of it there is--opened my eyes to the meaning of "contrived," "simple" and "stereoytpical." The plot is so incredibly weak that one cannot take their eyes off the screen. Here it is in simple terms, cutting out the BS in between.
A ship with crewmembers lands at a bigger ship, where they are transporting cargo. Bigger Ship will be referred to as Medical Ship, where they are conducting evil, B-science-fiction experiments on--whaddaya know--the old xenamorphs, commonly referred to as "aliens." These aliens trace back to Ellen Ripley. 200 years ago Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) died (see "Alien3"), and now they have cloned her to get the alien that was inside her. For some reason, they still have Clone Ripley on board, studying her. And surprise, surprise: She is part-alien because when they cloned her, the alien inside her mixed with her DNA (???).
Somehow, Ripley still retains all her old memories. And when aliens escape from their containment chambers, Call (horribly mis-casted Winona Ryder) and the team of transporters take it upon themselves to "get the f---k out of here."
Ripley is no longer an interesting character. In this film, she has been cloned and is quarter alien and what not. But she acts odd--the old Ripley is no more. In this film, she refers to the aliens as "her children" and in a truly disgusting--and confusing--scene, she finds a bunch of half-human/alien figures and cries. This scene doesn't compare to the ending, which is even more confusing and disgusting.
The character-driven story is no more. The human quotient is diluted in an otherwise typical plot. "Alien" went from originality to predictability. Remember how good the first film was? Remember how excellent James Cameron's sequel was? Yeah, well, "Alien: Resurrection" had me wishing I could just see those movies again, and forget about how average this one was.
Copyright, 2003, John Ulmer, used with permission
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