Alien Resurrection (1997) Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
The fourth installment of the Alien saga was directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet -a French arthouse director known for Amélie and The City of Lost Children. Alien Resurrection takes place some 200 years after Alien III. As the title suggests, Sigourney Weaver returns as Ellen Ripley, though she has now been inexplicably cloned and “resurrected” despite her fiery death in Alien III. She is now known as “Ripley 8.” Somehow her clone also has an alien queen inside her. The ‘United Systems Military’ intends to use the alien for training purposes as a weapon.
Ripley 8 discovers her cloned-self in a changed state: her blood is acidic and she senses the “xenomorph” aliens in unique new ways. We (the audience) trust and sympathize with her less in this film. A group of mercenaries (including a “synthetic” android played by Winona Ryder) arrive to deliver the bodies of captured human beings who will be used to harvest new aliens. However, the caged xenomorph aliens are quickly able to free themselves by burning a hole through the floor with their acidic blood. The aliens quickly begin slaughtering the humans aboard.
Ripley 8 and the mercenaries make their way through the ship attempting to destroy the ship before it reaches earth. They discover a lab filled with failed experiments at cloning Ripley. Ripley 8 is taken back to the queen’s nest by the aliens where she witnesses the birth of a new hybrid creature: part alien and part human -highly dangerous. The new creature chases the humans back to an escape pod where it eventually dies by being sucked out into space. The escape pod survives but the original ship explodes as it collides with earth at the end of the film.
Predictably Alien Resurrection is filled with ridiculous lines and outrageous violence (at one point a dying man grabs another and forces the emerging alien through his head). There is also a laughably silly scene of an underwater chase with the aliens, a clip of someone shooting a spider, a man pulls a piece of his own brain out before he dies, grotesque alien’s innards pour out, the CGI effects are sub par, and the film is rife with other cheap action thrills that garner more scoffs than applause. This film should be enthusiastically discarded.
Alien movies have continued to be released into the present-day, including the mind-numbingly campy Alien vs. Predator (2004), and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), and two disappointing and overly complex prequels directed by Ridley Scott: Prometheus (2012) and Alien Covenant (2017). Both are excessively reliant upon massive computer animations and odd conspiracy theories related to ancient human civilizations. As with most Hollywood classics, this series has sadly been beaten into the ground from a once brilliant film. Lamentably like many other once successful franchises it has devolved into a cheap, unoriginal, cash-grabbing string of sequels. It is our great misfortune that more sequels are likely to come.
I enjoyed Alien Resurrection for the iconic teaming of Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder. But that’s all in retrospect. I for one felt that Prometheus and Alien Covenant were impressive, yet as prequels could still face the creative problems that sci-fi prequels quite often have. Alien films in their controversy can be the most educational in regards to the right and wrong ways for a film’s original legacy to survive.
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