Alien Flashback Review: Alien: Resurrection
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.
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.
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|Extra Tidbit:||Winona Ryder is still gorgeous.|