The third entry in the Alien series is famous more for its script re-writes, disputes and problems rather than anything that happens in the movie, and has since been slated by fans and critics who expected much more. On the DVD documentaires we can see all these problems, the ideas that were thrown out, and how different the film could have been. On this purchase we see a different cut of the film, one which is superior to the theatrical edition we know, featuring a few cut scenes which did not deserve to be cut. Eventually Fincher got the director’s job and did everything he could to make an entertaining and coherent film which would stand well with the others in the series, all the while looking over his shoulders as ravenous producers repeatedly stepped in to make changes. What is left is a disappointment from one perspective, but a thoroughly good movie from another. Hicks and Newt, surviving characters from Aliens are killed off, rendering their escape from that movie nearly pointless, and setting the gloomy tone for the movie. Bishop is destroyed and has no wish of being remade as a second grade model. After the excitement of the previous film, here we have one alien, and lots of talking. In this way it disappoints. However, watching it as the story of Ripley, of her never-ending nightmare, of a triumph of lighting, atmosphere and darkness, it works well. The tunnel chase scene is also one of the best horror movie moments of the decade. Therefore it is nowhere near as bad as many say it is, but it had the potential of being much better.
Ripley’s escape pod crashes on a prison planet, Fury 101. She is the only survivor, human survivor, and is brought into the prison causing much disruption. The inmates are all men, most murderers and rapists, sentenced to life, but they have adopted religion to get them through each day. There is no way off the planet, no weapons, and it seems a certain creature is loose. The Corporation hears of her survival and prepares to come ‘rescue’ her, but Ripley is more worried about survival as the Alien begins to pick off the inmates. However, a twist reveals that the Alien may let her live.
Weaver is again very good, as are the rest of the cast, particularly Charles S. Dutton and the late Brian Glover. Unfortunately the rest of the cast all look identical, and most are killed without emotion. The score is good, the sets are impressive, and everything is dark and shadowy. The alien itself has changed, but the CG is poor. Many complained the film is too depressing, and if you like your films bright and with a happy ending then this is not for you. For fans of the series, most are split over its merits. I only really enjoyed it after a few watches.
What did you think of the review and the film- fee free to share your thoughts? Is this really the worst in the series, or is it unfairly criticized?