Saturday, February 18, 2012

How to Watch Alien 3

I watched Alien3 yesterday for the first time in years. It's damn good movie. Is it deeply flawed? Hell yes, but it's still a good ride and terribly underrated.

To enjoy it, you have to divorce it from the other films, and think of it as a stand-alone. Imagine that in an alternate timeline, Ripley, Hicks, and Newt lived happily ever after. Meanwhile in this alternate reality, Ripley is suddenly horny and uses words like "crud" and makes oblique metaphors about basements that don't really make any sense. And in this alternate reality, Aliens ended in such a way as to explain how in the hell eggs got on the Sulaco in the first place. Otherwise we have to accept that after the drop-ship landed on the Sulaco, while Bishop was busy shooting Hicks up with painkillers, the Alien queen wandered around the ship magically hiding eggs, even though she no long had an egg sack, then went back to hide in the landing gear, and no one noticed eggs hanging from the ceiling while they were preparing for hypersleep.

Watch your head! 

So, really, it's best watched if you ignore or temporarily allow yourself to forget everything that happened in the first two films. Oh, and ignore the bad early 90s CGI. Fortunately there's not a lot of that. If you can do those things, then you can sit back and enjoy a scary and suspenseful, visually interesting film with great performances from Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Pete Postlethwaite, and even Sigourney Weaver. And if you're up on your Christianity, the religious references add a nice texture. 

It's also worth noting that Alien3 went through a million different scripts and was a disaster of a production. The wikipedia page on the film is a good read. The first scripts for the film centered on Hicks and Bishop with Ripley having a cameo role. Then studio execs decided you couldn't have an Alien movie without Ripley and scrapped it. Then several more scripts were written, two were combined into one, and the studios made newbie director David Fincher start shooting before the script was even finished. Then after he'd turned in a rough cut, the studios re-shot whole sections without him, re-edited it and released the Theatrical Version you can rent today. If you buy the right DVDs, you can see Fincher's original "assembly cut" which he refuses to allow to be called "director's cut" because he's said that to do a true director's cut of that film you'd have to burn all the negatives and start over. So really, it's amazing the movie is as good as it is. 

(Of course, in the original Fincher version, the alien gestated in an ox. The studios changed it to a dog, which I have to agree is much better choice. It's much more emotionally impactful. Although, knowing it was originally an ox explains how it comes out of the dog already as big as the dog.)

Even if you hated it the first time, I recommend giving it another chance. It's a good film.

1 comment:

  1. No. Don't suspend your belief. They started making this movie before the script was finished. The studio just wanted to make money. I dont associate this movie with the other films because it sucks.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.