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Alien Flashback Review: Alien: Resurrection

Jun. 8, 2012by: Chris Bumbray

In the days leading up to the theatrical release of Ridley Scott's PROMETHEUS, we here at JoBlo.com have decided to take this opportunity to look back at the franchise it's associated with: The Alien Quadrilogy. Each day this week, we'll be looking back at one film in the series, with the exception of the ALIEN VS. PREDATOR films, which I think we agree all suck, and are not really canon. Today we look at last official ALIEN film, ALIEN: RESURRECTION.

Previous reviews: ALIEN / ALIENS / ALIEN 3.

ALIEN: RESURRECTION is the BATMAN & ROBIN of ALIEN sequels. Yeah, but it’s not as bad as the ALIEN VS. PREDATOR films, right? I initially thought so too, as I hadn’t seen RESURRECTION since 1997, when I was sixteen. Back then, I thought it was fine, but I never bothered re-watching it until now.

Holy shit. This isn’t just a “bad film”- it’s a fucking outrage for any self-respecting ALIEN fan. I don’t know what the hell Fox was thinking when they green-lit the screenplay (by none other than Joss Whedon) or hired Jean-Pierre Jeunet to direct, but it feels like neither of those guy had even seen the other films in the franchise, much less had the ability to make one.

And now here’s where the Whedon-ites are going to call me out. Look- I like the guy. A lot. But Whedon circa 1997 is not what he is now. It really took him launching the TV version of BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER before he hit his stride, and his screenplay for RESURRECTION is an abortion. But wait, didn’t the studio change it? According to Whedon himself (sourced from the ALIEN: RESURRECTION Wikipedia entry), “it wasn't a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending; it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines...mostly...but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong that they could possibly do. There's actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking, because everything that they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from the script, and people assume that, if I hated it, then they’d changed the script...but it wasn’t so much that they’d changed the script; it’s that they just executed it in such a ghastly fashion as to render it almost unwatchable. “

Fair enough, but watching a film filed with groaners like “who do I have to fuck to get off this ship”, or that actually does away with Weyland-Yutani, and somehow has Winona Ryder’s android character Call be the one person in the galaxy (other than the baddies) who seems to know about the xenomorphs, makes me think that even if James Cameron or Ridley Scott were directing, this wouldn’t have been anything other than garbage.

Making things even worse is Jeunet, who goes for a wacky, satiric tone- which is even worse in the extended cut, that opens with a ridiculous gag involving a fly that's somehow gotten into space. Sure, he made great films before this (CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, DELICATESSEN) that used this approach, and would make great films again (AMELIE & MICMACS), but it’s woefully unsuited to an ALIEN flick. Basically, you have characters like Dan Hedaya’s military man acting like a cartoon, and J.E Freeman’s Snidely Wiplash-style villain, not to mention the atrocious “acting” done by guys like Gary Dourdan (in a role that Chow Yun-Fat was reportedly smart enough to turn down), and Raymond Cruz. Meanwhile, the “cloned” Ripley isn’t a thing like the character we’ve known and loved since the start of the franchise, making her exactly the fetishistic-style heroine Scott, Cameron, and even Fincher were so careful to make sure she never became in the other films.

Make no mistake- this is a film with NO redeeming features, other than the fact that Winona Ryder looks cute with her short haircut.

MUSIC: John Frizzell contributes a workman-like score that sounds like something better suited to one of those late-nineties "full-motion-video" sci-fi games, than a big-budget studio film. It’s garbage- just like the film itself, and it even flirts with late-nineties techno, that sounds about as dated as when the Bond movies, in the late-seventies, worked disco into their musical scores whenever John Barry took a powder.

MOST BADASS CHARACTER OTHER THAN RIPLEY: Ron Perlman's Johner probably sows this one up, and he’s probably the only person who doesn't totally embarrass themself. Still- he's such an asshole in the film that it's hard to root for him. Also- Whedon and Jeunet must have watched a shitload of Hong Kong action films before digging into this, as everyone walks around two-fisting revolvers. No wonder they wanted Chow Yun-Fat.

CHARACTER THAT LOSES THEIR SHIT: This one goes to Kim Flowers' Sabra, who buys it during the big underwater set-piece (that has lots of lame CGI). However, her foot-massage scene is pretty hot.

RECEPTION: Audiences in North America mostly stayed away from this, with it only grossing $47 million in North America, despite the Thanksgiving opening (it got trounced by FLUBBER). Once again though, the franchise proved to be a draw overseas, and it made over $100 million, paving the way for the AVP films.

 

Extra Tidbit: Winona Ryder is still gorgeous.
Source: JoBlo.com

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3:41AM on 02/07/2013

No way.

If Joss had written AND directed this, things would have been different. Whedon's characters and dialogue are lost on Jeunet. Poor guy can't be expected to understand that cultural atitude Joss infuses his stories with. And I still like this more than Alien3.
If Joss had written AND directed this, things would have been different. Whedon's characters and dialogue are lost on Jeunet. Poor guy can't be expected to understand that cultural atitude Joss infuses his stories with. And I still like this more than Alien3.
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9:24AM on 06/13/2012
I feel like, because this one is so bad- we often over look it and attack Alien 3. If ever comes a day when Hollywood starts to remake sequels- they need to start head first with Alien 3 + 4
I feel like, because this one is so bad- we often over look it and attack Alien 3. If ever comes a day when Hollywood starts to remake sequels- they need to start head first with Alien 3 + 4
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12:49PM on 06/10/2012
Anyone else notice the similarities between the pirates and what would become the crew of Firefly.
Anyone else notice the similarities between the pirates and what would become the crew of Firefly.
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9:25PM on 06/09/2012

Cult flick

This is one of the few times I disagree with Joblo. In fact, couldn't disagree more over this one. Alien 4 has got a cult status over the years. I absolutely love every minute of it - and I thought Joblo would be among the few to embrace the film, especially after such a forced and compromising script Alien 3 had. That's my humble opinion, anyway.
This is one of the few times I disagree with Joblo. In fact, couldn't disagree more over this one. Alien 4 has got a cult status over the years. I absolutely love every minute of it - and I thought Joblo would be among the few to embrace the film, especially after such a forced and compromising script Alien 3 had. That's my humble opinion, anyway.
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+0
8:01AM on 06/09/2012

With al the unnessecary reboots today...

Reboot part 3 and 4
Reboot part 3 and 4
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8:18PM on 06/08/2012

yeah

This is such a bad film and one of the worst of the entire franchise. To be honest, I much prefer AVP over this garbage. But, sad to say, I didn't think there'd be a film worse than this one but then AVP-R came out. That one is the real abortion.
This is such a bad film and one of the worst of the entire franchise. To be honest, I much prefer AVP over this garbage. But, sad to say, I didn't think there'd be a film worse than this one but then AVP-R came out. That one is the real abortion.
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3:18PM on 06/08/2012
Go ahead and thumb me down all you want, but I have more fun with this than Alien 3. It's not good, but I can have fun watching it.
Go ahead and thumb me down all you want, but I have more fun with this than Alien 3. It's not good, but I can have fun watching it.
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-2
1:46PM on 06/08/2012

This makes ALIEN 3 look Amazing...

While I hate Alien 3 for what it did to the Franchise, I absolutely loathe this film. It sapped any scariness from the titular creatures by having Ripley friggin snuggle with them. The scene where she cries when she kills the human/alien thing at the end is just unforgivable. It is like the director and producers sat around brainstorming on how to best fuck up the greatest sci-fi movies ever. It is a shame because some elements from the script could have been really interesting if handled
While I hate Alien 3 for what it did to the Franchise, I absolutely loathe this film. It sapped any scariness from the titular creatures by having Ripley friggin snuggle with them. The scene where she cries when she kills the human/alien thing at the end is just unforgivable. It is like the director and producers sat around brainstorming on how to best fuck up the greatest sci-fi movies ever. It is a shame because some elements from the script could have been really interesting if handled right...
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1:42PM on 06/08/2012
What's funny is that Jean-Pierre Jeunet said that he believes movies can't scare people.

So why would he ever make an Alien movie? Maybe that's why we got a self aware horror/comedy out of this one.
What's funny is that Jean-Pierre Jeunet said that he believes movies can't scare people.

So why would he ever make an Alien movie? Maybe that's why we got a self aware horror/comedy out of this one.
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4:07PM on 06/08/2012
Jeunet is a great filmmaker, but he was completely wrong for this franchise. He comes from the more is more school in terms of Xenomorphs on screen. That swimming xeno scene is cringe worthy for its absurdity as well as its awful FX.
Jeunet is a great filmmaker, but he was completely wrong for this franchise. He comes from the more is more school in terms of Xenomorphs on screen. That swimming xeno scene is cringe worthy for its absurdity as well as its awful FX.
1:05PM on 06/08/2012
This shitty sequel is a direct result of the Alien 3 fuck-up.
Can you imagine an "Alien 4" taking place here on Earth with Newt and Cpl.Hicks. They clone Ripley to help them fight. What if.
This shitty sequel is a direct result of the Alien 3 fuck-up.
Can you imagine an "Alien 4" taking place here on Earth with Newt and Cpl.Hicks. They clone Ripley to help them fight. What if.
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12:46PM on 06/08/2012

Trust Me ...

This was Far, FAR better than Alien 3 in my book. The third movie was such an abomination and a kick in the nuts to James Cameron's work that I found this one to be refreshing, if a bit overdone on the gore factor. The characters could've been fleshed out a little more, but on the whole, it kept you interested from the moment the $#1+ hit the fan. It was only the ending that I really didn't like. Otherwise, I felt it was a solid and entertaining film, and a helluva apology for the third
This was Far, FAR better than Alien 3 in my book. The third movie was such an abomination and a kick in the nuts to James Cameron's work that I found this one to be refreshing, if a bit overdone on the gore factor. The characters could've been fleshed out a little more, but on the whole, it kept you interested from the moment the $#1+ hit the fan. It was only the ending that I really didn't like. Otherwise, I felt it was a solid and entertaining film, and a helluva apology for the third @$$-rape of a movie. So sorry, haters. Couldn't disagree more.
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+7
11:39AM on 06/08/2012
Couldn't agree more. This film is a complete piece of shit. For all of the people that like to bag on Alien 3, this film is far worse and receives less hate for it. I still have nightmares about that fucking Alien/Human hybrid thing. It was a horrible idea and disgusting to boot. Just a complete piece of crap. The Batman and Robin of Alien films is the perfect way to put it. Misses on every conceivable level.

And is it really necessary to begin this review with an apology for daring to
Couldn't agree more. This film is a complete piece of shit. For all of the people that like to bag on Alien 3, this film is far worse and receives less hate for it. I still have nightmares about that fucking Alien/Human hybrid thing. It was a horrible idea and disgusting to boot. Just a complete piece of crap. The Batman and Robin of Alien films is the perfect way to put it. Misses on every conceivable level.

And is it really necessary to begin this review with an apology for daring to criticize Joss Whedon? Who gives a shit? Since Avengers people treat this guy like he is Stanley fucking Kubrick. Or at least what passes for that these days. Avengers was a satisfactory movie. That's it. He didn't fuck it up. He is not Christopher Nolan, an honest to god auteur. Whedon is fine, but there is no reason to preface your review of his movie with a mea culpa to the fanboys. Your review of this film was spot on.
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10:54AM on 06/08/2012
Wait a minute, there's an Alien 4?! Wait, oh no, what's happening? My head's spinning. Memories..rising. Surfacing. What's happening to me? What are all these images of xenomorphs doing in my head??! Argh! Oh God, oh God NO..I've tried so hard to suppress the memory of this abomination and now you, Bumbray, have reminded me of the torture I endured while watching this. F**k you, Bumbray! F**k you and your review for reminding me of how I lost 2hours of my life watching this shitpile of a film!!
Wait a minute, there's an Alien 4?! Wait, oh no, what's happening? My head's spinning. Memories..rising. Surfacing. What's happening to me? What are all these images of xenomorphs doing in my head??! Argh! Oh God, oh God NO..I've tried so hard to suppress the memory of this abomination and now you, Bumbray, have reminded me of the torture I endured while watching this. F**k you, Bumbray! F**k you and your review for reminding me of how I lost 2hours of my life watching this shitpile of a film!! F**K YOU BUMBRAYYYyyyyyy...
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10:49AM on 06/08/2012
I'd give this 7/10 as I enjoy this more than Alien 3
I'd give this 7/10 as I enjoy this more than Alien 3
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10:56AM on 06/08/2012
Not sure how that's even possible but good for you. At least you didn't have to suffer like the rest of us.
Not sure how that's even possible but good for you. At least you didn't have to suffer like the rest of us.
10:23AM on 06/08/2012

Titanic Sank This Film

For the record, I remember totally looking forward to this movie coming out...So, I read the screenplay. It was totally bad ass and I was stoked to see it when it came out...Then, Titanic happened. It went like $150 million over budget stripping this film of its budget. I read an article where Weaver and Ryder stated that they had to go to the studio heads themselves to save of the of the film's budget. The absolute coolest scenes, everything I was looking forward to in this movie got
For the record, I remember totally looking forward to this movie coming out...So, I read the screenplay. It was totally bad ass and I was stoked to see it when it came out...Then, Titanic happened. It went like $150 million over budget stripping this film of its budget. I read an article where Weaver and Ryder stated that they had to go to the studio heads themselves to save of the of the film's budget. The absolute coolest scenes, everything I was looking forward to in this movie got stripped away. Off the top of my head, this includes a really sick scene where they have to use live bait to kill some aliens because if they don't sense fear, they know something is wrong...Good shit, woulda played great in a movie. And two, the final scene with the human/alien hybrid was totally supposed to take place on earth after the ship crash lands. The movie was a wreck but as far as why the screenplay was green lit...As I recall, the screenplay was pretty bad ass.
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10:17AM on 06/08/2012
There's no need to defend Whedon. He was starting out. Hell, David Goyer wrote "Demonic Toys" (top 5 worst horror movie I've ever seen) in the early 90's, I don't hold it against him.
There's no need to defend Whedon. He was starting out. Hell, David Goyer wrote "Demonic Toys" (top 5 worst horror movie I've ever seen) in the early 90's, I don't hold it against him.
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+23
1:57AM on 06/08/2012
One thing for sure this probably is the only Alien film were you root for the Aliens. I couldn't wait unitl the Aliens escaped from the cages and kill the creepy scientist and kill off the rest of the cast, the Aliens were the heros in this film, except for the baby huey inbreed alien.
One thing for sure this probably is the only Alien film were you root for the Aliens. I couldn't wait unitl the Aliens escaped from the cages and kill the creepy scientist and kill off the rest of the cast, the Aliens were the heros in this film, except for the baby huey inbreed alien.
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10:59AM on 06/08/2012
Yeah, but even then they prove how completely moronic they are by turning the xenomorphs into weak, trapped characters, only to go all out by unleashing the Milky Bar Alien with the puppy eyes, making the race look stupid, sentimental, and more like prey rather than predator. In the end, you couldn't even root for the Aliens.
Yeah, but even then they prove how completely moronic they are by turning the xenomorphs into weak, trapped characters, only to go all out by unleashing the Milky Bar Alien with the puppy eyes, making the race look stupid, sentimental, and more like prey rather than predator. In the end, you couldn't even root for the Aliens.
1:26AM on 06/08/2012
I must be the only person in the world who thinks Winona Ryder is gross.
I must be the only person in the world who thinks Winona Ryder is gross.
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9:46AM on 06/13/2012
I could agree with you. She's not really that attractive
I could agree with you. She's not really that attractive