Reviewing the Alien Series

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Alien (1979)
Release Date: May 25, 1979
Director: Ridley Scott
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Profoundly psychological, deeply unsettling, disorienting and atmospheric: Alien is the quintessential science fiction-horror film. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver, Alien follows a commercial space ship that diverts course when it discovers a distress signal. But they find something grave and terrifying: a violent alien species that seeks to hunt and kill every human being aboard the ship.

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Aliens (1986)
Release Date: July 18, 1986
Director: James Cameron
Studio: 20th Century Fox
By all accounts it should have been a cheap, sophomoric effort but Aliens is a surprisingly powerful roller-coaster of a sequel from James Cameron. Aliens picks up 57 years after the original. Sigourney Weaver returns as Ellen Ripley. She has been rescued by her company but they have constructed a colony on the derelict alien planet. She joins a band of marines on the planet surface since she has experience with the aliens. The film ends on a note of hope and optimism.

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Alien III (1992)
Release Date: May 22, 1992
Director: David Fincher
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Alien III is a dark, jaded, cynical take on the successful Alien franchise. The film was beset by numerous logistical problems from the get go and after a critical and fan backlash David Fincher has since mostly disowned the film. In the film Sigourney Weaver returns again as Ellen Ripley. Her ship crashes on a remote prison planet filled with depraved, evil men who have developed their own religion. Somehow Ripley has brought an alien with her to the prison and she has also become impregnated with an alien queen. She must choose between her own life and the potential survival of humanity.

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Alien Resurrection (1997)
Release Date: November 26, 1997
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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 ChildrenAlien Resurrection takes place some 200 years after Alien III. As the title suggests Sigourney Weaver returns as a cloned and reincarnated Ellen Ripley (“Ripley 8”). The alien queen she once carried is also reincarnated as the military seeks to use the aliens as a weapon. A hoard of mercenaries (one played by Winona Ryder) arrives to find the ship has been mostly overtaken by the aliens. In the end the alien queen breeds a hybrid creature that wreaks havoc on the surviving humans. They race to destroy the ship and escape before it can arrive back on earth and potentially destroy the human race.

Alien movies have continued to be produced 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.

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