Review Alien 3 film review by Chad Ripley
Written By Chad Ripley on 2016-11-17 14:10:07
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The first two Alien movies are probably two of the best films ever made in my opinion. Being the Alien fan that I am, I of course have the deluxe special edition of all four films including hours of behind the scenes footage. Labor Day weekend my pre-storm activity has been watching all of this Alien stuff. I already wrote a pretty lengthy review of Aliens a couple months ago, but never discussed any of the other films in the series. So far I watched Aliens (including all behind the scenes footage) because that's my favorite one. And Alien 3 special edition, including behind the scenes. Ok, this is when things get interesting. I've watched both cuts of Alien 3 and out of all 4 movies in the series, Alien 3 had the most chaotic, almost impossible creative differences out of any movie made in history, not just the series.
David Fincher who is an amazing film maker had the task of directing Alien 3 when the script wasn't finished which is basically like trying to bake a cake without eggs and no oven. I could go into detail how the people at fox had 3 other directors and multiple stories in mind before and during the making of the film, and how money and greed played a huge part in screwing things up. But instead I'll write about the 2 versions of Alien 3. The directors cut being the superior film.
First off, if you don't wanna piss fans of a franchise off, maybe you shouldn't kill 2 of the main characters from the previous film in the opening credits. Hicks and Newt don't even make it past the 4 minute mark. The story behind this decision is a convoluted one. Sigourney Weaver at one point was rumored to be the one who said she wanted her character to die because she didn't want to do anymore Alien movies and Fox decided that all the characters weren't gonna make it out of this movie alive. In interviews Michael Biehn who played Hicks was extremely upset. It's kind of funny that today plans of an Alien 5 are underway that are suppose to ignore what happened in 3 and 4, and pick up after the events of Aliens but I'll write more on that at the end of this review. It's so hard to not stop and talk about what went wrong with this movie, but I promise I'm gonna try from this point forward.
Ok so regardless of all that, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the only survivor after the escape pod of the ship in Aliens malfunctions and crashes on a prison planet in the middle of nowhere. She is rescued by the incredibly talented Charles Dance (of Game of thrones) who plays Dr. Clemens. Ripley wakes up and demands an autopsy of Newt because she fears that an Alien could have been placed inside her during the crash. It turns out she doesn't have one inside of her and the men of the prison colony proceed to burn Hicks and Newts bodies in a giant furnace. In the theatrical version a face hugger Alien ends up impregnating a dog and bursts out of it during the furnace sequence. In the special edition it really is a giant ox that gets impregnated and it is a much cooler sequence and Alien in my opinion. Plus who ever likes seeing a dog even if it's not real get killed in a movie? Anyway things start to progress in the movie and Ripley finds her droid Bishop in a junkyard and discovers that their was in fact an Alien on board their ship. Charles S. Dutton (Dillon) another great actor, ends up befriending and saving Ripley from a sexual assault right after she discovers an Alien was in fact the reason her escape pod was activated.
The Bull/Dog Alien is now full grown and running on the ceilings and walls picking off prisoners which leads to the prisons warden arresting a crazy inmate instead of believing Ripley's Alien story. In one of the most memorable scenes in the franchise the Alien later kills Charles Dance ( a move the studio definitely regrets considering the actors future success) and cornering Ripley up against a wall. It is a great sequence and inspired a hilarious meme with Ted Cruz a couple months ago. Anyway the Alien doesn't kill Ripley and she runs to warn all the other inmates. They then come up with a plan to trap the Alien since they have no weapons in the prison. This was another unfortunate outcome of a script/director change before and during the making of the film. Fincher did deliver a great scene where all the inmates trap the Alien and a huge fire breaks out because the Alien gets one of them during the trap. In the directors cut they actually trap the Alien and he is later released by one of the crazier inmates. It definitely made more sense in this version then the theatrical one when later they need to capture it again. Ripley then senses that something is wrong with her and gets a CT scan. It confirms her worst fears and she finds out she has an Alien Queen inside of her. Everyone comes together and agrees they have to kill the alien by trapping it again. Ripley also discovers that the Alien won't kill her because she is carrying a queen inside of her.
The end action sequence of all the inmates running around, and then Ripley literally grabbing the Alien by its tail is cool and was one of the most badass things she does in all four movies. They eventually trap the alien in the furnace again and Dillon sacrifices himself so one of the inmates can pour hot lead on it. The Alien then leaps out of the lead and begins to chase Ripley up a ladder. She jumps off the ladder to grab a sprinkler chain which ends up blowing up the Alien because of the hot to cold combination. At this point Weyland industries arrives at the scene with Bishop the android from Aliens there in "person." He then says he is human and the man who designed Bishop the android. He tells Ripley they want to help her and take the Alien out of her so she can have a life again. She asks what guarantee she has that they will kill the alien and Bishop says you need to trust me. This is more significant then I initially realized because Ripley has had a bad history with trusting androids and now the only one who was ever loyal to her is asking her to trust him. She says no and a fight breaks out amongst the scientist and two inmates. Bishop is struck and it is revealed that he was indeed lying and not human but an android. So Ripley was right all along and then moves towards the end of the furnace platform and does a backwards swan dive off into the fire. In the directors cut the alien queen actually bursts out of her chest and she grabs it. Which I think if they were going to really end the series would have been a cool way for her to go out. That's not how it ended though in the theatrical cut. She does die but no alien pops out. So it was suppose to be the end of Ripley and the franchise. The movie suffered so much from Fox messing with virtually everything and if they just waited and weren't so greedy could have had James Cameron and Ridley Scott do the third movie.
I think it really isn't as bad as everyone thought it was when it came out. Yes killing off everyone was a bad idea and the reasons that happened are still not entirely known. Sigourney Weaver said she wanted to kill off Ripley because she heard an Alien vs Predator movie was in the works and she thought that was a terrible idea. Which it was and in my mind will always be a horrible idea.
It's funny how the alien series kind of go in order of greatness with the first and second being interchangeable. The first alien was more horror and the second was more action and suspense.
It is very telling that as of today Alien:covenant is currently underway with Ridley Scott confirming that it will have chestbursters, aliens etc in it. It also will lead up to the events of Alien and it's rumored that Ripleys mother is actually in it played by Katherine Waterson. Ridley Scott also confirmed that Alien 5 is going to be made with Hicks, Ripley and Newt all alive and suppose to be a direct sequel to Aliens. I am excited about both these films and think it would be cool to have these characters back and give them a proper ending.
In conclusion, Alien 3 really isn't as bad as everyone first thought it was and it definitely was better then Alien resurrection and the Alien vs Predator movies. They had way to many cooks in the kitchen when they were trying to make it. David Fincher did do a great job with what he was given to work with and provided some of the most memorable scenes of the franchise. The future of the series is pretty bright considering the news of the two new movies that are coming in the next couple of years. Hopefully new generations can see how great these movies are. I also hope that Fox gets out of the way and let's the film makers and actors create something that is amazing. That's how we got Alien and Aliens. Ripley, Hicks, Newt, and the Xenomorph deserve it.