In the wake of this week’s release of PROMETHEUS, much like many out there, we decided to look back at the ALIEN franchise and here on ARROW IN THE HEAD, we’re starting with the much maligned ALIEN 3 (1992). What a mess that show was! When David Fincher signed on to direct, they started production but there was one problem, THEY DIDN'T HAVE A FINISHED SCRIPT! So they asked him to write scenes around the sets they had already built. That's the way to NOT do it! Everybody from William Gibson, Eric Red, David Twohy, Vincent Ward, Walter Hill and David Giler wrote drafts of the script.
Some of it prompted by Sigourney Weaver's "she's in, she's out, she wants more money" game (find lots of the unused ALIEN 3 drafts by varied writers HERE). Yup! They didn't know what they wanted! Shite a theatrical teaser trailer was actually released at some point (see it a the the bottom of this story) suggesting that the flick would be set on earth. As we all know, that didn't happen! The movie we FINALLY got onscreen was credited to David Giler, Walter Hill and Larry Ferguson. So here are my quick thoughts on the theatrical cut and the assembly cut of ALIEN 3! Chime in on the flick via our comment section below!
ALIEN 3: THEATRICAL VERSION (114 MIN)
"You're all gonna die. The only question is how you check out. Do you want it on your feet? Or on your fuckin' knees... begging? I ain't much for begging! Nobody ever gave me nothing! So I say *fuck* that thing! Let's fight it!" -Dillon
This much-hated sequel isn’t half bad once you get over its downbeat attitude. Yes, this is one hell of a mean spirited movie. It starts off by killing 3 characters that we care about and then continues on that path of utter bleakness. Nobody here got what they wanted! Not Ripley, not Clemens, not the prisoners, not the company and not me, for that matter! Starting with ALIEN up until this sequel, I got deeply attached to the Ripley character and to see her dealt these bad cards saddened me. Fincher accomplished what he set out to do. He scarred me, depressed me and ruined my day.
The film lacked character-wise, not fully capturing the endearing human chemistry that both previous films displayed. The scares were also not as potent in this second sequel and some of the stop motion was dodgy. But I still have to respect this picture, especially when taking into account all of the drama that occurred at the script stage, in pre prod and during the shoot (poor Fincher, Studio was up his ass with changes every day). The production values were top notch, some really wonderful ideas surfaced, the acting was stellar, I got one great monolgue by Dillon (quoted above) and in a morbid way, it was a fitting (at the time supposed) end to the franchise. Just because the film went against my wishes for the characters, I still can’t ignore its qualities and its ballsy attitude. In my opinion, this is the end of the ALIEN saga right here.
ALIEN 3: ASSEMBLY CUT (155 MIN)
"Any dead oxes are good!" - Inmate
This is the cut I was waiting for! They call it the “Assembly Cut”. Ya see, inches away from finishing production on the then "over budget" ALIEN 3, the Studio stopped production and asked Fincher to put together a work print of the film, so they could see what they had. He did (with editor Terry Rawlings) and then they rejected it. Here, all of David Fincher’s studio imposed deleted footage is reintegrated (for example, in this cut, the alien erupts out of an ox not a dog as seen in the theatrical cut) and some of the visual effects are polished up using today’s technology by editor David Crowther (who basically went back and reassembled Fincher's earlier work print minus Fincher's involvement).
They are certain moments in the film within the extra scenes where the dialogue doesn’t fully match (they couldn’t find the masters) but they subtitled it in order to make it bearable. This cut offers over 25 minutes of new footage that basically fleshes out the characters, gives us alternate takes on the events, extends some of the action and pads up the situation at hand. In my opinion, it made for a more rewarding film than the Theatrical Cut. You don’t like ALIEN 3? Try watching this version...you might change your mind about it. For me, the more I sit through this second sequel, the more I love it. This is the cut that should’ve been released theatrically, in my opinion. Just more proof that studio execs don’t know “Dick Tracy” about the art of making movies.
When ALIEN 3 was gonna be set on earth!
GET THE TWO CUTS OF ALIEN 3 ON ONE DISK HERE