Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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Alien Resurrection

Film #185

THE PLOT

200 years after her death, Ellen Ripley is revived as a powerful human/Alien hybrid clone who must continue her war against the Aliens.

Year 1, Day 182

BEFORE: I promise this is the last double-feature for a while but I just couldn’t resist watching the fourth film in the Alien franchise, Alien Resurrection, after watching Alien 3 earlier today. If you recall, I thought that Alien 3 was a great ending and wrapped up a trilogy nicely. But here we are again, and with Sigourney Weaver listed on the cast, apparently Ripley is back.

AFTER: My suspicions about this film turned out to be true: Alien Resurrection is a pointless addition to an otherwise respectable franchise. As the opening credits rolled and I saw Joss Whedon’s name listed as the writer (something I had no idea of) I thought surely this film must be in good hands. Well not even Whedon could save this movie from major disappointment.

The entire first act was a major snooze fest and completely unnecessary. The goal of the first act in any story - film, TV, literature - is to grab the audience’s attention and setup the rest of the story. In Alien Resurrection all it did was bore me half asleep and the whole setup was stuff that was nice to know going into the rest of the film but is information that could be, and was, explained with just a few lines of dialogue. For example, the entire thing with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and her alien child served no purpose. All that is needed is some indication Ripley is a clone (nicely done by showing the acidic blood) and the fact that there is an alien specimen aboard (nicely done by showing the scientists monitoring it in quarantine). Both of these things are visual (blood, scientists watching) and the thirty minutes of dialogue and exposition in the beginning where these characters are talking about it is just repetitive.

And speaking about repetitive, how about the entire premise of the film. In Alien 3 I felt the franchise was showing signs of wear and tear but it still had enough freshness to it that kept things interesting. I wrote:

You know [the aliens] kill, you know the humans will fail multiple times at trying to kill it, and it will take many tries and complex plans before they can kill it or find some way to get rid of it. But there’s still an unknown about it, so much so that it can routinely give me a shock - a brief moment of fright - that’s generally lacking from other monster films.

There was still enough of an unknown in Alien Resurrection that there were one or two times I jumped back in my seat, but the scare factor was nothing compared to the previous films. The same old story that we’ve heard three times before now loses all originality and excitement to the point where it’s like the filmmakers don’t even care. I already presented my complaints about the first act but even the second and third felt pointless. Obviously stuff happened at a runtime just under two hours, but thinking back on it, even now just minutes after I’ve finished watching it, nothing really sticks out besides the fact that they were just running away. No really big plans on how to defeat and kill the aliens this time, just shoot randomly, run fast, and hope you make it out in time.

However, despite these lengthy rants on what I hate about Alien Resurrection, I’m hesitant to give it only the second one-star rating of the marathon. Generally I feel that all films, even bad ones, deserve a chance to be watched and evaluated and even if you don’t enjoy watching it, you should still be able to learn something about why the film is so bad. To me, a one-star film is something so horribly bad that it’s like torture to sit there and watch the whole thing. So while Alien Resurrection is clearly the worst in the series, there were some very minor redeeming qualities. Also, being a part of the Alien franchise, combined with my need to complete what I start, Alien Resurrection still merits two stars, but just barely.

RATING: 2 out of 5