Stuff I Watch in October: Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Predator (1987)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Crow (1994)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Scream (1996)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: Alien: Resurrection (1997)

alien: resurrection

DIRECTOR: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, fresh off his success with Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children. The dude is incapable of making a bad film. Everything he makes is visually stunning — though mostly mechanical and grimy, so he was a perfect fit here. Inexplicably, this is considered a blemish on his record. I understand that it’s more formulaic and mainstream than what he was used to, but it doesn’t deserve the backlash.

WHAT IS IT?: Once again, 20th Century Fox produces an “Alien” movie (the fourth of the franchise) which attempts to bring back and combine the suspense of the first film and the visceral, real-life action of the second film.

Does Alien: Resurrection succeed?


THE PLOT: 200 years following the death of Lieutenant Ellen Ripley (yes, you read that right, this is 200 years into the future), she’s…well, resurrected (if the title wasn’t your first clue), by a team of scientists aboard the ship, “The USM Auriga”, who did their research and discovered that Ripley was carrying a Queen Alien all those years ago. Rather than killing the Ripley clone they use to get at that alien, they keep her alive and bring her (mostly) up to speed on what she’s missed.

The entire affair takes a turn when Elgyn (Michael Wincott, “The Crow) and his crew aboard “The Betty”, carrying some choice “cargo” — which includes human beings in stasis which are to serve as alien hosts for the Queen’s aliens, borne of Facehuggers inside of her laid eggs. Soon, the aliens escape their cells and wreak havoc aboard the Auriga, something Ripley’s familiar with — except that, this time around, Ripley isn’t exactly fully human…and more than capable of taking the aliens on herself.

WHAT DID THE CRITICS THINK?: They were mixed, praising Jeunet’s visual flair and Sigourney Weaver’s performance as Ripley — but scoffing at the lack of scares.

alien: resurrection

WHAT DID I THINK?: The fact that Fox took a risk and hired a guy who made two dark French films hardly anyone knows about was out-of-the-box thinking.

Sigourney Weaver is also most welcome as a familiar face — though I have no idea why it was decided to kill her off in “Alien 3” if she wasn’t going to stay dead. The rest of the cast is solid with Ron Perlman, Michael Wincott, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon (a Jeunet regular), and Gary Dourdan.

Having watched Alien: Resurrection again for the first time in ages, I thought it was better than Alien 3 — but only slightly.

I do love the switch-up, that Ripley’s DNA and the alien’s DNA are mixed and, therefore, Ripley is technically one of them…but, at the same time, we’re getting a little silly here, don’t you think?

We started with a woman who was strong and had great moral conviction…and she’s reduced to a clone of her former self and she’s almost…kinda…sorta…rubbing up against aliens in a sensual Fincher-esque music video way…?

Has the “Alien” franchise REALLY come to this?

Jean Jeunet is a great director. If you haven’t seen his films, check them out. Amelie, by itself, is a masterpiece. And he directs a good action sci-fi piece for America without sacrificing his dignity. It’s a real treat to watch what he produces here.
The problem is that the film tries to inject some new idea which are designed to make the franchise feel “fresh” (the script is written by Joss Whedon!) but makes it feel more lost than when it started.

And when you see the newest incarnation of the “Alien”, you can’t help but say the words “C’mon, man”. It’s that disappointing.

So, while I liked Alien: Resurrection, I didn’t exactly love it.

Well…at least the series had a few more lives left…


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