No rest for the wicked, eh? Alien Resurrection gives the old saw a new twist.
Review by SAndman
July 1, 2009
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
characters: Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett
story and screenplay: Joss Whedon
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley
Winona Ryder as Annalee Call
Brad Dourif as Dr. Jonathan Gediman
Ron Perlman as Johner
Dominique Pinon as Vriess
Dan Hedaya as Gen. Martin Perez
Ripley: There's a monster in your chest. These guys hijacked your ship, and they sold your cryo tube to this... human. And he put an alien inside of you. It's a really nasty one. And in a few hours you're gonna die. Any questions?
Alien Resurrection is a fourth and to date last installment in the Alien Series. The name says it all. In Alien 3 they decided to nix the indomitable heroine Ellen Ripley, and now they set out to bring her back. Really those Hollywood big shots!
The plot takes us more than two centuries after the events preceding the death of Ellen Ripley and demise of her nemesis - all featured in Alien3. The location is the United Systems Military Auriga spaceship.
Scientist working on board have made a hot new thing - the human/alien clone grown from the blood samples of Ellen Ripley retrieved from Fiorina Fury 161 penal colony. The Ripley clone, here's the rub, is born with an embryo of an alien queen. They proceed to surgically remove the queen from the Ripley clone at the same time making sure to keep the clone alive.
In a short time which takes the queen to grow up, and start the reproductive cycle, the Ripley clone wakes up and begins to struggle to come to terms with its predicament – it is part Ellen Ripley and part something else.
The clone looks like an adult woman, and yet it is on the mental and emotional level of a two year old. It has to learn human tongue and how to deal with its human captors. The fact it has no concept of morality nor any inhibitions doesn't make it any easier. However, it is by far stronger, faster, more resilient than anything human.
For instance, the clone sticks a knife into its palm and out the other way, and seems completely insensitive to the pain. It has acid for blood and seems to be able to read the Alien queen's emotions, as far as the queen is capable of any emotions. And yes, it is endowed with a rather edgy sense of humor (who says human-alien hybrids can't have a sense of humor!).
At that point in the movie a spaceship, manned by a group of pirates, arrives carrying a mysterious cargo. The cargo consists of colonial workers in cryo tubes, who are to serve as human hosts for the alien embryos. Despite the warning to stay away from the restricted area the pirates go and nose around the ship. Presently they stumble upon an unexpected discovery.
Alien Resurrection is essentially a movie about monsters, human and alien. The main characters to the one are freaks, literal and metaphorical. Sociopaths, perverts, mutants. It is also a movie about how fuzzy our concept of monstrous is. The fault lines constantly shift and change as the characters and their actions compel us to redefine our notions of humanity.
If Alien3 was a ghost of the previous two installments, Alien Resurrection restores some of the lost glamor of the legendary first two parts of the Series. Perhaps it doesn't quite cut it the way Alien or Aliens did but... It's a decent watchable movie. I apologize if this sounds more like a diagnosis than a compliment. And perhaps it would be if I was not writing about the Alien Series.
The movie is by turns outrageously funny, irreverent and wacky. How about scary? Well, if you're looking for lots of scare you better look it up elsewhere. This movie is just not about it. It's not necessarily bad but it does jar on your mind once you realize that Alien Resurrection is so far removed in its concept and execution from the original movie that it looks and feels like something from another galaxy. And not a particularly inviting one at that.
The general impression I get every time I see the movie, and I do see it every now and then just for laughs (no pun intended), is that of a...decent watchable movie with a bit of an edge. Lastly, I can't help but think that the Alien Series deserved a far better conclusion. But who knows? They may yet decide to give Ripley and the alien another shot.
On second thought, better they hadn't. Despite the conventional wisdom which says that monsters always come back perhaps it is sometimes for the best to let dead monsters rest in peace.
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