Wednesday, December 2

Alien: Resurrection (1997)

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It seems that with every sequel in this series, the entire make-up of the movies are altered and refreshed. With new settings and characters (with the exception of the ever-present Ellen Ripley), each movie is very different from the last – and that is possibly the series’ strength as well as its downfall.

Being penned by Buffy creator Joss Whedon, Alien Resurrection has some very sharp wit, and just about every character in this new ensemble gets a cracking one-liner – although Sigourney Weaver (expertly slipping into the shoes of a darkly-humorous hybrid-clone of her former character) leads the pack with some very memorable dialogue and breath-taking scenes. The direction – this time it is fairy-tale-weaving French-man Jean-Pierre Jeanuet behind the camera – is masterful and the visual style is excellent – including some amazing action sequences which include a stunning underwater chase and a darkly humorous scene where Ripley meets the crew of the Betty in the basketball court.

I recently purchased the soundtrack to this movie and was impressed by John Frizzel’s lively mixture of live orchestra and synthesiser sounds in his score. The tracks titled ‘They Swim…’, ‘Ripley’s Theme’ and ‘The Aliens Escape’ are particularly effective.

I was disappointed, however, with [director]Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s interpretation of Joss Whedon’s script. Although, as I stated before, his visual style and eye for detail heighten the viewing experience, there are many excellent and interesting – mainly character – scenes cut that many hard-core Alien fans would have benefited from. Maybe this is because he didn’t understand the series completely, and so over-looked some of the continuity scenes that were edited out. I would advise that you read the screenplay or novelisation before seeing the movie – it is far better than the finished version.

The climax to the movie is as exciting as its predessecors endings, and Ripley’s distress at having to destroy the Newborn (who is actually ‘one of her kind’) is well-portrayed and believeable. It’s a shame that the very last scene really only serves to set up an Alien – which appears to be as impossible as ever…

Very witty dialogue, over-powering action scenes and in-depth characterisation makes up for a number of small sins within this movie, but overall this is another strong entry in an ever-popular franchise.

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