1997 was a fitting year for film franchises to be temporarily destroyed. Starting with the release of Batman and Robin, the Batman franchise was shut down until 2005 with the release of Batman Begins. The Alien franchise suffered the same fate as it was put on halt until 2012’s Prometheus as a result of the release of Alien: Resurrection.
Alien: Resurrection picks up 200 years after the events of Alien 3 and opens up with it committing one of the biggest crimes in film sequels- bringing a character back from the dead. Alien 3 closes with the death of Ripley, but as a cash grab opportunity to bring the franchise back, the studio felt it was appropriate to bring this beloved character back from the grave and as a clone. A hole in scriptwriting at its best.
Why is Ripley brought back?
Ripley is cloned and an Alien Queen is surgically removed from her body. Before she died, she was impregnated with a xenomorph. The United Systems Military plans to breed the aliens to study and research them on the USM Auriga, using human hosts kidnapped and delivered to them. They are implanted with face crawlers. What follows is the usual xenomorph killing the crew leaving it up to Ripley and new BFFL Annalee (Winona Ryder) to take down the dreaded xenomorph.
Sigourney Weaver is not given much to work with in this film, as she goes from bad ass heroine to cloned women with forgotten memories playing a game of basketball with Ron Perlman? When first watching this film, the first thought that came to my mind was “My, how the mighty have fallen.”
While there are not many moments or ideas within the film that work for me, the idea that when Ripley bleeds, her blood fizzes interestingly on the floor, as if she is not just a human clone, but half human, half alien. Throughout the film, she can smell an alien presence and be smelled by her baby. Once the Alien Queen escape,s she also recognizes her mother and sticks out a tongue to lick her. While a strong concept, the idea, and basis on which it was created, feels forced to me. Had Ripley not died in Alien 3 and this premise was brought into this film with a living Ripley, I would have been more accepting of the plot and film.
One of the cornerstones of the Alien franchise has always been its brilliant set and production design. However, Alien Resurrection directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet brings a darkness and lack of color pallet that mirrors the “brilliant” work of Zack Snyder in his most recent, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The sets are nothing more than an empty hangar filled with prefabricated steel warehouse parts and it is quite noticeable. Unlike Alien and Aliens, this film fails to capture even one beautiful shot of space and when it does, it comes off as nothing more than a green screen filled mess.
While not on the level of Batman and Robin which is has fallen into guilty pleasure lure, Alien Resurrection is just a mess. A film that is viewed only for the purposes of film reviews or film continuity nuts like myself. With this film, not just space will hear you scream.
Reel Talk gives Alien: Resurrection 1.5 reels