Thursday, June 21, 2012

Alien Resurrection

There are times when I think people were right in telling me to stay away from Alien 3, but I can't say I agree when it comes to Alien Resurrection.  And yet, I'm also highly divided on this film.  Bringing Ripley back to life after that emotional death scene is one small problem, and the fact that this movie takes place 200 years later creates a hugely different mood.  I'm never quite sure if I like it or not.

Ripley is not quite herself, though that's certainly understandable in the context of the story.  Honestly, even without the fact that her DNA is now mixed with the queen, Ripley has every right to be indifferent and pissed off at everyone around her.  The government brought her back as a host for creatures that ruined her life that they now want to train as soldiers.  The mercenaries only keep her around because she knows how to kill the things.  But despite it all she still respects human life and wants to save it.  I'm glad they didn't try to make her evil because that would have just come off ridiculous.

Of course, the script was written by Joss Whedon, so the fact that both Ripley and Call are portrayed as strong characters here is no surprise.  There's also some touches of his humor peppered through the film in the way the mercenaries talk.  Could they have been an influence for the Firefly crew?  It seems likely.  Nearly all the characters manage to remain likeable with the exception of the two evil scientists we're meant to hate.  Brad Dourif is particularly slimy in the best way possible.  I also like that Call manages to be a completely different android from both Ash and Bishop.

This is our first real exposure to CGI aliens, and I have to admit,  I don't hate them.   They were only used during full body shots, which explains why these aliens have much thinner legs than any previous ones. However their movements feel much more natural than anything we saw in Alien 3, and I like that we also get to see them swim in this film.  The moments where the scientist attempts to train them are also fun to watch.  I find it pretty authentic that they would have no problem slaughtering one of their own in order to escape their prison.  The only real question is why they would taken that long to do it.

The scene where Ripley encounters clones 1 through 7 and then kills them is appropriately horrifying and wonderfully acted by Sigourney Weaver.  Huge credit should also be given to the special effects department  for making those awful looking creatures.

I am okay with the idea of the queen also being changed by the cloning process, and suddenly being able to give birth.  I'm okay with the creature she creates being a strange hybrid, and that it kills the queen soon after.  It is part Ripley, after all.  But there's still something not quite right about the hybrid which is what truly makes me divided about the film.  They go through painstaking effort to give it these sad, sympathetic eyes, yet it also crushes someone's skull without so much as a thought.  I suppose the idea is that the creature itself is completely divided on its own reality.  Perhaps I'm supposed to be just as horrified and unsettled by its existence as I am by the 1-7 clones.  If so, the movie certainly does exactly what it's supposed to, and the moment where the creature looks at Ripley and she regards it with sadness is a great moment.  But I think it's almost a little too unsettling for me to say I truly like the film.

Tomorrow I will talk about Prometheus I suppose from a timeline perspective this one should have come first, but I decided to go with release order.

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