Alien: Resurrection Review

Alien Res

If Alien3 was a poor attempt to recreate the feel of Alien, then Alien Resurrection is at least a new viewpoint on the franchise. Resurrection is made to be a straight up action movie, with plenty of cheesy scenes, a bit of slapstick, and some straight up moments of “cool action”. There is at least something to be said about its honesty, and I definitely find it more enjoyable than the third entry, so let’s take a closer look at what is currently the end point of the known Alien timeline…

Synopsis:

Two hundred years have passed since Ellen Ripley died on Fiorina 161. Aboard the medical research vessel USM Auriga, a team of scientists clone Ripley from her extracted DNA and removes the alien Queen embryo, which was growing inside her at the time of her death. In order to finally breed Xenomorphs for war purposes, the Weyland-like corporation use a mercenary group who travel on a ship known as the “Betty” to secure them some living human hosts…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

Alien Res 4

An actual picture of the cast under “Cast of Characters”!  Shame you can’t see a lot of them clearly…

Ellen Ripley #8 (Sigourney Weaver) – At some point in the mysterious cloning process this Ripley’s DNA was mixed with that of the Xenomorph she was carrying at the time of her death. This gives Ripley #8 … well… super-powers, as well as a connection to the species her actual original self hated so much…

Annalee Call (Winona Ryder) – Annalee is new on board the Betty, and has her own agenda, that being the destruction of all cloning and research into Ripley and the Xenomorphs. That’s not her only secret, however…

Frank Elgyn (Michael Wincott) – The leader of the Betty crew who knows the head of the USM Auriga well. Sadly for him, he is among the first casualties during the inevitable breakout…

Johner (Ron Perlman) – Frankly, a complete bastard who works on board the Betty. Quick to anger and finds humour in the misfortune of others, somehow you end up kind of liking him by the end…

John Vriess (Dominique Pinon) – A paraplegic who uses a motorized wheelchair to get around the Betty, where he serves as mechanic.

Christie (Gary Dourdan) – “Cool” looking member of the Betty who has two handguns hidden up his sleeves, purely for “cool” wide shots of him extending them out.

Dr. Mason Wren (J. E. Freedman) – One of the scientists who cloned Ripley and the Xenomorph Queen. He tries to escape the ship by using the mercenaries as allies, until they served him no further purpose…

Vincent Distephano (Raymond Cruz) – A soldier assigned to the Auriga who ends up siding with the mercenaries when the ship goes to hell.

Plus more!

The Good:

Alien Res 3

Awwww… It’s so cute!

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, compare this to the first or second movie and it will not rate well… at all, but compare it to Alien3 and at least it’s a bit of fun. The Ripley clone is at least a different angle and her ability to communicate almost with the aliens is interesting, and the way she just coldly bosses everyone else around is good fun. The crew of the Betty may well be one-dimensional and certainly don’t develop much (apart from maybe Annalee and her revelation that she’s an android, although really that doesn’t lead to any new character traits as such…) but they are at least fun stereotypes. Johner and Christie especially are good in the “cool bad ass mercs” way that benefit a “shut your mind off” action film like this.

The scene where Ripley #8 finds the other seven failed clones is about the only creepy bit in the film due to the great practical effects on display, and the one failed clone begging to be killed. I will mention that towards the end of the film we find out that just as the Ripley clone gained traits of the Xenomorphs, the Queen gained human traits and gives birth to a human-ish Xenomorph creature, and the thing looks properly creepy. Again top marks for the practical effects. Its death by being sucked through a tiny hole was also gruesome and well done.

I really enjoy an underwater chase sequence between the survivors and some swimming Xenomorphs, it’s really well done. The scene straight after that with the group climbing a really long ladder out of the water had some good cheesy moments too (and a gag with Johner shooting a spider out of fear, which may be a gag too far, but screw it! I laughed.)

Again looking at the film as the light-hearted (in a sense) action film its meant to be, the scientists are all good at being crazy evil scientists, and Larry, a regular human who was impregnated with an alien but tags along anyway is a good sympathetic weedy character (who gets redeemed by having the alien chest-burst out of him and into an evil scientist’s head).

The Bad:

Alien Res 2

It’s like looking in a mirror!

I guess I should point out that while I enjoy the film for what it is, I would have preferred the series to retain a bit of integrity by just having a trilogy with a failed third act, but frankly now the Alien vs. Predator films have come out, this does far, far less damage to the Alien brand than they did!

There are a few characters that even within the intentional lighter tone are too cheesy and take me out of it a bit, especially the Auriga General Perez, and the scientist Dr. Gediman. They both eat the scenery good for tea, with Gediman’s speech about the human-Xenomorph hybrid as its being born taking the top prize.

I suppose a down point to watching it is now it ends on a cliffhanger that will never be resolved. There may be more prequels and possible reboots, but they’ll never be a direct continuation of the “we’ve arrived at Earth” cliffhanger.

Overall Thoughts:

Alien Res 1

Look at him! He’s having the time of his life!

While I wish the Alien franchise hadn’t ended up taking this route, especially now it’s just an oddity collected at the end of the series’ timeline, it is at least more watchable than Alien3 in that it knows it’s a bit shit but has a blast with it anyway! I have to admire that, even if it still won’t score that highly…

3 Star Watch

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