Alien 3 Movie Review
Alien 3 continues with the series tradition, beginning exactly where Aliens concluded. When we left Lt. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the android Bishop (Lance Henriksen), Cpt. Hicks (Michael Biehn), and Ripley's surrogate daughter Newt (Danielle Edmond), they managed to destroy the creature, board a spacecraft, set course for Earth, and fall into deep sleep. Unfortunately, another alien has found its way onboard with them.
The alien kills Newt and Hicks before crash landing on a wasteland inhabited by former inmates of the planet's maximum-security prisons. Once revived, Ripley is devastated to learn that her crewmembers did not survive. But she doesn't have much time to mourn, because mutilated bodies begin to mount. Ripley immediately fears that an alien boarded her spacecraft, caused the crash, and is now wreaking havoc inside the prison. Without weapons or technology, Ripley and the inmates must destroy the vicious alien using basic tools and their own bare hands. To complicate matters, Ripley discovers the new queen alien is living inside of her.
Although Fight Club director David Fincher, in his feature-film directorial debut, reportedly disowned the film and left production before editing began (citing studio interference), his direction is visually stimulating, especially during several entertaining and disorientating camera effects late in the film. He also includes more blood and gore (which the first two films lacked) to make the creature attacks more memorable. The atmosphere is also appropriately dark, dreary, and eerily quiet at times.
The problem lies within the weak storyline. Three writers composed the screenplay. They do not give Ripley as much depth as she had in previous films. Eliminating Newt and Hicks, critical characters in Aliens, forces the writers to start from scratch in her emotional development, and they do not achieve the empathy that the previous movies developed. They also leave huge holes in the plot: characters do things that don't make sense within the context of the story (after the alien is captured, a crazed inmate released it), and key characters die before they can fulfill their purpose (Ripley sleeps with a doctor only for him to be killed minutes later). Yet the script still packs some punch as it brings a few engaging ideas into the series, and it isn't nearly as lackluster as the final installment, Alien: Resurrection.
The Alien 3 disk includes a director's cut that features 30 minutes of never-before-seen footage (which, for the most part, is not as beneficial to the story as the deleted material in Aliens), 11 intriguing featurettes, storyboard achieves, and commentary by the cinematographer, editor, VFX designers, visual effects producer, and actors Paul McGann and Lance Henriksen. (Sorry, no Fincher.) If you're fascinated with behind-the-scenes aspects and the impact the film had on popular culture, these extras are definitely worth a look.
The Alien Quadrilogy includes a total of nine disks: all four Alien films, each with a separate disk of extras, and an additional bonus disk complete with a Q&A with Ridley Scott, a UK documentary on Alien, original theatrical trailers to all four films, a DVD-ROM "script to screen" comparison feature, an anthology of 11 issues of the Dark Horse Alien comics, and more. These materials will give you a whole new appreciation for the Alien films.
One big bitch.