Friday, June 8, 2012

Alien: Resurrection (1997) and Wrap

If you haven't seen Alien 3, for the love of Murphy stop reading!

While Alien 3 wasn't exactly a runaway success, apparently it made enough money that Fox still thought it was worth harvesting the guts of this ravaged series... even though THE LEAD CHARACTER HAD DIED. Yep, that's right. The finale of Alien 3 had Ripley -- impregnated with an Alien Queen (egg-layer) -- making the supreme sacrifice, and taking her own life to stop The Company from getting their utterly idiotic hands on it (more on that in a minute). If the series had ended here, at least it would have been a moving conclusion... but no, some parasite in the big office, was so determined to SOMEHOW milk more money from this thing, that they decided to do something that was not only LUDICROUS, but it took a massive dump on the integrity of the Alien series... and as you'll find out, that too will be a recurring theme.

Anyway... about 200 years after the previous movie, The Company has been replaced with something called "United Systems Military" (yeah, same shit, different pile), which managed to find frozen blood samples that had been taken of Ripley, while she had the Queen embryo in her. So -- after several attempts -- they manage to clone her, and the Queen... but even this latest attempt, scrambles Ripley's DNA to the point where she's effectively half-alien (and therefore rather sketchy).

Now... right here, I have to stop the synopsis dead for a moment, because while I have very little faith in the common sense of massive corporations, this whole thing is REALLY stupid when you think about it. The Company turned up in Alien 3, right after the creature in that film had finished making mincemeat out of pretty much the entire prison population. According to the epilogue, they eventually dismantled the place, to be sold for scrap -- so they DEFINITELY would have noticed TWENTY FIVE SEPARATE PILES OF MUTILATED HUMAN REMAINS in the place. Or is this the reason why -- centuries after Dolly The Sheep -- it took them two hundred years to clone Ripley from a fucking blood icicle? Did even The Company have enough sense to stay the hell away from this idea?

Along the same line, we discover that it took USM seven separate tries, to get it anywhere near right -- and if you've seen the movie, you know that the beta tests weren't exactly encouraging (unless you think it's a good sign when you've cloned a 10 year old girl, WITH A METAL INNER JAW PIERCING HER SKULL). Granted, we never find out exactly how the economy is supposed to work, in this future, but somehow I can't picture these experiments being cost-effective enough to be worth these sort of massive -- and time consuming -- fails, especially when these people know for a fact that they're cloning a species that can render them like pulled pork.

ANYWAY... helping them in this scheme is a crew of smugglers, who have kidnapped people in suspended animation, to be revived as the aliens are ready to breed. You can do the math, from there. And if you've seen Jurassic Park, you can probably guess what happens when the aliens become big enough to be able to melt holes through the floor.

In some ways, Alien: Resurrection had the reverse of all of the problems that Alien 3 had. Despite the premise being fucking retarded, the script by Joss Whedon is actually alright (even if it made somewhat more sense before they shot the damn thing). The more glaring problems with the movie, have to do with the utterly HIDEOUS production design -- the movie looks like a cross between Heavy Metal and Dick Tracy -- and the acting. Much of it is either really over the top, or boring as hell (even Sigourney Weaver seems to be phoning it in, on this one, and suffice it to say I wasn't made a Winona Ryder fan by this movie). Either way, just the look and atmosphere of this thing is in such shambles that I almost want to stab myself in the temple just thinking about it -- and I've seen Reefer Madness!

As a bit of a Whedon-phile, it is amusing to look at this in more recent years, just to see the smugglers... given that in a lot of ways they are a prototype of the Firefly/Serenity crew. I'm not joking, it's really not a stretch to imagine the cast of that show playing just about all of these characters... and frankly, doing a lot better than the people in this movie. I'm not sure how much of it is to be blamed on the actors, or how they were directed, or even an epic brain fart on Whedon's own part, but either way IT DOESN'T WORK HERE.

And on top of all of that, there's the unforgivable sin of something claiming to be a horror movie: IT'S NOT SCARY. There's maybe ONE good jump scare, and even that is wrecked by the fact that it's prompted by the character involved acting like a total moron (namely, going down a long, deserted hallway, when all hell has already broken loose, to pick up a gun that's just lying on the ground... in a pool of slime). Beyond that, there's no suspense, no tension, no characters that are worth worrying about, and not even the most basic attempt at making a spooky atmosphere: turning off the freaking lights. I've shot COMING OF AGE DRAMAS that have more shadows than this damn thing!

On top of that, the brilliant original design of the aliens themselves, has been 100% raped and pillaged. The hive has been robbed of any anatomical structure, so what has previously resembled the inside of a giant skeleton, now looks like no more than a bunch of dark moss, growing on the spaceship's walls. And then there's the aliens themselves... because some idiot decided to paint the aliens are rather dubious shade of brown, I am not exaggerating when I say that there are honestly times when these brown and elliptical aliens, look like giant pieces of shit. The one time you get a great look at the legendary Alien Queen... she looks like a fifteen-foot long TURD. I can't think of a better metaphor for this movie, than that.

Honestly, give this movie a complete pass. Do not see it, ever, even as something to laugh at. Honestly, as bad as Alien vs. Predator is, EVEN THAT IS BETTER THAN FUCKING RESURRECTION. At least that movie has good action in it, and a basic grasp of what makes for a dark atmosphere. This damn thing is just annoying as hell. In fact, this is the only movie in the official Alien series, that I would say is made WORSE by the extended cut, because it just means you get MORE of the terrible acting, dialogue, visuals, etc.

I've purposely avoided reviewing the AvP movies, because -- on top of not liking the first movie, and not even remotely being interested in the second -- I don't really consider them to be part of the series. I'll be charitable and describe them as spin-offs only, and by all accounts they're really weak ones at that (hence why the subsequent movies in both series have ignored their existence). Just as Predators went back to the original formula, while giving us something genuinely new and interesting, Prometheus has taken us back to the beginning... not only with the derelict alien ship that started it all, but by bringing back the always visionary Ridley Scott to the series that he began.

So we wrap this retrospective on the Alien series, on the day that Prometheus opens in North America. I shall be back soon, to let you know if it's as good as the present buzz says. Until then, BoredomCorner out.


utterlyuseless said...

I'm on episode 4 of Firefly (again) and as much as I like whedon's work, I'm sure Prom (night) will be 'big feature fluff' where big ideas are lightly offered and then never delved into.

utterlyuseless said...

I'm on episode 4 of Firefly (again) and as much as I like whedon's work, I'm sure Prom (night) will be 'big feature fluff' where big ideas are lightly offered and then never delved into.