Alien Resurrection

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It's been more than 200 years...The beginning has just started.

Alien Resurrection is a 1997 science fiction horror film; the fourth installment of the Alien franchise. Set 200 years after Alien 3, Ripley's clone attempts to escape the USM Auriga alongside a crew of mercenaries, evading an infestation of aliens while on a crash course with Earth.

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Joss Whedon
It's been more than 200 years...The beginning has just started. (taglines)

Ripley[edit]

My mommy always said there were no Monsters. No Real ones. But there are.
Ripley: [voiceover] My mommy always said there were no Monsters. No Real ones. But there are.
Ripley: Who do I fuck to get off this ship?

Call[edit]

Call: He is breeding an alien species. More than dangerous. If those things get loose, it's gonna make the Lacerta Plague look like a fucking square dance!

Dialogue[edit]

There's a monster in your chest. These guys hijacked your ship, and they sold your cryo tube to this... human. And he put an alien inside of you. It's a really nasty one. And in a few hours it's gonna burst through your ribcage, and you're gonna die. Any questions?
Purvis: [shouting] What's in-fucking-side me?
Dr. Wren: A parasite! A foreign element.
Ripley: There's a monster in your chest. These guys hijacked your ship, and they sold your cryo tube to this... human. And he put an alien inside of you. It's a really nasty one. And in a few hours it's gonna burst through your ribcage, and you're gonna die. Any questions?
Purvis: Who are you?
Ripley: [smiles] I'm the monster's mother.

Ripley: [after discovering Call is a robot] You're a robot?
Johner: Son of a bitch! Our little Call's just full of surprises.
Ripley: I should have known. No human being is that humane.

Dr. Wren: [ecstatic] And the animal itself - wondrous! The potential? Unbelievable once we've tamed them. We'll teach them tricks.
Ripley: [laughs sarcastically] Roll over, play dead, heal.

Taglines[edit]

  • It's been more than 200 years...The beginning has just started.
  • We are not alone.
  • Witness the resurrection.
  • Pray you die first.
  • Hell gives birth.
  • It's already too late.
  • Beyond salvation.

About Alien Resurrection[edit]

Two-hundred years after Fincher’s Alien³, some company has resuscitated Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) as a human/alien hybrid that combines the best and worst attributes of the old model. The new and not-so-improved Ripley has the same touching mother instinct and sex drive of her predecessor, but she’s also considerably more jaded. Weaver gets to deliver one humdinger after another, evoking Tallulah Bankhead in a sci-fi version of Lifeboat when she wails, “Who do I have to fuck to get off this boat?” ~ Ed Gonzalez
Working with some of the same actors and technicians from that film, Jeunet has also reteamed with cinematographer Darius Khondji. His visual style, grandly described in the press kit as “signature chiaroscuro lighting and muted colors,” in practice means that “Alien Resurrection” looks as if it were shot under the sickly fluorescent lighting of a decrepit hospital emergency ward. ~ Kenneth Turan
  • In the fourth film, Alien: Resurrection, we arrive at a world where moral values are erased. The only thing that matters for the characters in Jeunet's film is acquiring power over others. Set on a military research station, it's about a group of scientists who undo Ripley's death by cloning her so that they can extract the alien inside her. Their experiments include impregnating human test subjects with the creature, a singularly unhealthy procedure for the hapless civilians conscripted for that purpose. The scientists and their military taskmasters care about only one thing: having the alien's power. They speak about its beauty. Its purity.
    Ironically, the only character who has a sense of human decency and compassion is an android (Winona Ryder).
  • To be blunt, the "Alien" movie franchise should have died along with its lead character, Lt. Ellen Ripley, in 1992's "Alien3."
    Instead, greed has struck again, as producers have drafted a hip director (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, of "Delicatessen" fame) and an even hipper writer (Joss Whedon, creator of TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") in hopes of reviving the film series.
    But neither man has come up with anything particularly original and instead fall prey to dumb horror conventions with this splattery sequel, which actually gives "Starship Troopers" a run for its money in the gore department.
  • Whedon, whose "Buffy" TV scripts and whose dialogue for "Toy Story" evidenced some keen wit, shows none of it here, save for a couple of funny one-liners.
    His characterizations are similarly stilted. None of the heroes is sympathetic, which makes it hard to care whether they survive the inevitable attacks (Ron Perlman, as a chauvinistic space pirate, is particularly irritating).
  • Jeunet — who is without his collaborator, French comic book artist Marc Caro — seems intent on conveying a weird, creepy atmosphere, but fails to keep the action moving, and he photographs things at perspectives that make it hard to see what's going on.
    And without a strong director, the actors are all over the place. Dan Hedaya plays things for camp as the station commander, while Weaver is even colder here than she is in "The Ice Storm."
  • Of course in the latest chapter it's not the same old Ripley who reappears. The resurrection in the title refers to the cloning by which she is involuntarily brought back to life 200 years (or 4 years in Hollywood time) after she hurled herself into an inferno in Alien 3 rather than let a ferocious monster gestating inside her live. The twist is that the reconstituted Ripley has strands of the alien species woven into her DNA, enhancing her powers and infusing her with a dark, sardonic ambivalence about clashing again with probably the slimiest monsters Hollywood ever devised, now vaguely her kin.
    Ms. Weaver says it was the reinvention of the Ripley character -- this spirit of nihilism, as she calls it -- that persuaded her to do a fourth Alien film after she had all but decided that three were enough.
  • Tiptoeing into weird Freudian areas and moments of grotesquerie new even to this series, "Alien Resurrection," the fourth entry in Fox's almost 20-year-old franchise, is a generally cold, though sometimes wildly imaginative and surprisingly jokey, $70 million scarefest that may prove too mixed a meal to scare up monstrous business among mass auds. French helmer Jean-Pierre Jeunet — the more directorial half of the duo behind “Delicatessen” and “The City of Lost Children” — has breathed new life into the series on several fronts, and proves no slouch in delivering the action set pieces. But the movie is held back by a lack of emotional engagement at its center and a pottage of half-assimilated, European-flavored quirks.
  • As a series of action set pieces, the movie is frequently gripping and always highly watchable. In one extended section — geographically reminiscent of “The Poseidon Adventure” with its underwater swim and vertical climb — there’s a real sense of claustrophobia as the beasties pursue their human lunch underwater, and the “Goldfinger”-like demise of the final alien is a typically imaginative tour de force.
    Editing by Jeunet regular Herve Schneid is especially tight (pic is the shortest of the quartet). Darius Khondji’s lensing, aided by the silver-added ENR printing process, emphasizes deep blacks and soft ochers, with flashes of electric blue supplying visual relief. Nigel Phelps’ production design crosses geometrical sets and clangy brute iron with the Victorian-industrialized look of Jeunet’s own “Lost Children.” Whedon’s script injects some of the rough, testosterone humor of “Aliens” into a story that tries to build on the cross-species subtext of “Alien3.”
    However, when the movie strays into weirder territory — where, one feels, Jeunet’s heart really lies — there’s a growing feeling of inadequacy. Pic’s interest in Ripley’s split, half-human personality and her maternal bond with the Queen leads to some of the most intriguing — and cheesiest — stuff in the picture, but overall come off more as exotic inserts than fully assimilated sequences. Upside moments include the discovery of a horrific lab (straight out of “Lost Children”) and Ripley’s late-on “embrace” of her fearsome offspring; downside is a laughable Newborn that all but blows the pic’s finale.
  • It’s almost as if the pic is afraid to enter the darkened rooms whose doors it keeps opening, though if it had, a truly original movie could have resulted. As it is, the finished film shows many signs of creative push and pull — Whedon’s original script was extensively changed during production — from unexplained ellipses in the plot’s early stages, through dialogue that is surprisingly jokey and unelevated (considering the themes at play), to a storyline that seems unwilling to stray far from the action.
    In addition, the key relationship in the picture, between femmes Ripley and Call, has little chance to realize its potential and provide a badly needed emotional hook for the audience. In every respect, this is a cold movie that, even at the very end, fails to provide the sense of emotional release that the others in the series all managed to deliver.
  • Weaver, admittedly, is excellent in the latest Alien outing and remains probably the only credible female action lead. The film also puts an interesting twist on the steely bonds of motherhood and makes some rather obvious comments about the perils of genetic engineering (when will those dratted mad scientist types ever learn?). But about half-way through a film I desperately wanted to like, I found I had become bored. And that is the one crime against film-making I can-not forgive.
    Here we were, once again, on a gloomy spaceship, with a rag-tag band of stock characters being picked off one by one by creatures that once were terrifying but now are mere caricatures. There are only so many times you can be scared by grasping claws dragging people through metal-grille floors, those tell-tale patches of slime (gasp, an alien was here!), those snapping, ratchet choppers embedding themselves in yet more flesh. How often are we supposed to cheer as the heroes narrowly escape, or the chief nasty gets sucked into the void? For most of the film, I was more scared of the sheer size of Sigourney (I'd give her a 9.5 on the buff-o-meter, compared to, say, a measly six or seven for Demi Moore in GI Jane) than her multi-toothed nemeses.
  • From the instant those green-tinged posters were plastered about the winding corridors of MTR stations announcing the fourth instalment in the Alien series, each sighting sparked a flutter of excitement in my gut. Ever since those unforgettable scenes in the original film - the spidery creature erupting from the egg to force its deadly spore down an unsuspecting throat; the baby alien bursting through its victim's ribcage and scurrying slimily away with a malevolent shriek - I was hooked.
    It was an irresistible combination of suspense, space - where no one can hear you scream - and artist H.R. Geiger's twisted vision of a monster which combined phallic imagery, insect savagery and a concept from the wilder shores of Freud's psychological armoury, vagina dentata (a deep-seated fear of female sexual organs armed with razor-sharp fangs).
    The anticipation of Alien Resurrection, however, proved to be more thrilling than the event. Granted, we live in an age of cinematic cynicism, ruled by the multiplex and the multiple sequel. And I admit to having done my bit to contribute. If they keep churning them out until an 80-year-old Sigourney Weaver is blasting away at goo-oozing arthropods in Aliens 15, or a geriatric Mel Gibson is dislocating his shoulder in Lethal Weapon 22, I'll probably still be forking over my money to watch. Because art (and sequels) mirror life; occasional epiphanies, followed by fre-quent and generally doomed attempts to recapture them.
  • The sheer contempt bred by familiarity has reduced what was, in its original incarnation, an intelligent, ground-breaking and thought-provoking film to a James Bond-style franchise. You pay your money and you know what you'll get and how you'll feel. Alienated.
  • The much-maligned last part in the Alien quadrilogy should be approached as the comic-book actioneer that it is (only Slate’s David Edelstein seemed to recognize the film’s ridiculous allure at the time of its release). Jean-Pierre Jeunet was brought on board by the suits at Fox to give Alien: Resurrection the look and feel of his overrated The City of Lost Children. That he did, but with a lot more laughs. Two-hundred years after Fincher’s Alien³, some company has resuscitated Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) as a human/alien hybrid that combines the best and worst attributes of the old model. The new and not-so-improved Ripley has the same touching mother instinct and sex drive of her predecessor, but she’s also considerably more jaded. Weaver gets to deliver one humdinger after another, evoking Tallulah Bankhead in a sci-fi version of Lifeboat when she wails, “Who do I have to fuck to get off this boat?” Not much has been written about the similarities between the film and Romero’s Day of the Dead, but they’re impossible to ignore: the nature/nurture debate (Ripley versus the docile zombie Bud) and the ego of a military operation under attack. Of course, Alien: Resurrection is nowhere near as sophisticated and profound as Romero’s classic, but it’s still every bit as fun. As General Perez, Dan Hedaya spearheads a human retreat from the film’s military compound that’s remarkably orchestrated and ends with his goofy demise. If the film doesn’t bullshit around, the same can’t be said about Winona Ryder. As a closeted robot sent to destroy Ripley, the perpetually constipated actress declares at one point: “I can’t make critical mass.” How touching.
  • It's no secret, but if you've never seen the end of Alien³, look away now because here comes the spoiler - Ripley dies at the end of it. You can almost see her muttering "Thank God" under her breath as she falls back into a molten lead sea. But! Using her DNA, she's cloned and brought back to life, now with some rather scary alien attributes. Stick her in a ship full of aliens and off we run once again.
  • As Hollywood movies go, it's a reasonably involving divertissement about genetics and Philip K. Dick-borrowed themes exploring what it means to be human. It satisfactorily recycles the great surprises that made the first movie so powerful. And most significantly, it makes a big hoot of the whole business.
    Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who co-directed the otherworldly "Delicatessen" and the Terry Gilliam-like "The City of Lost Children," indulges his taste for dark, bizarre humor and surrealistic sets. And his vision gets the full-throttled boost of Darius Khondji, the brilliant cinematographer behind "Seven" and both Jeunet movies; and special-effects geniuses Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis, who are responsible for the visual wonders in "Death Becomes Her," "Jumanji" and "Starship Troopers."
    "In space," went the original "Alien" advertisement in 1979, "no one can hear you scream." But in "Alien Resurrection," that slogan has evolved: In space, no one can hear you laugh.
    • Desson Howe, [1],” 'Alien Resurrection': She Lives”], Washington Post, (November 28, 1997)
  • Were you intent on making your mark on the Alien franchise?
Jeunet: I tried to include some humour because I don’t like scary movies – they’re not my cup of tea. It’s a bit of a paradox for Alien and sometimes the American audiences didn’t like that but I couldn’t avoid putting some humour in there.
  • What’s still jarring about Alien: Resurrection is its tone, which departs entirely from the other movies in the series. Perhaps meant as a reaction to the unremitting gloom of Alien 3, Resurrection is shot and acted like a black comedy. Dan Hedaya offers up one of the most scenery chewing performances in any Alien movie as General Perez, and when he’s finally silenced by an alien’s extending inner jaws, he expires with crossed eyes.
  • The result is a brisk action comedy that functions like a sci-fi reworking of The Poseidon Adventure, as the film’s survivors make their way across the damaged Auriga to the safety of the mercenaries’ ship. There are several set-pieces that are high on visual impact, but low on tension, including an underwater scene with swimming aliens, and sequence involving two characters dangling from a ladder.
    If it wasn’t an Alien movie, Resurrection could easily be regarded as a piece of light, disposable genre entertainment. Its direction is sure-footed, and Darius (Seven) Khondji’s cinematography produces some occasionally beguiling images.
    But taken as a fourth chapter in the Alien canon, Resurrection seems horribly out of place, its tone at odds with the other three films. That it’s entirely without shocks is forgivable. Neither aliens nor Alien 3 replicated the palpable sense of horror present in the first film, but the lack of tension is a far greater problem.
  • In the beginning, it was supposed to be Dan Hedaya who got sucked out into space. His character, General Martin Perez, was originally set to exit Alien: Resurrection in spectacularly bloody fashion – his entire body ejected, limb by limb, through a tennis ball-sized hole in the space ship, Auriga.
    Effects company Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc, spent several weeks in 1996 solving the problem of having a body pulled apart realistically by the vacuum of space. Test footage released by ADI shows the painstaking process of researching and testing practical means of creating Hedaya’s death scene, which would have concluded with his character’s screaming head stripped of its skin until only a gaping skull remained.
    The results were almost comically grotesque and almost mesmerising to watch – so mesmerising, in fact, that Alien: Resurrection director Jean-Pierre Jeunet eventually decided that such a violent demise was more fitting for his movie’s most formidably villain, the Newborn, and not a relatively minor character. And so it was that the process of designing and testing began once again – this time on the practicalities of having a giant alien’s stomach rip open and its guts spill out on the floor before its skull shatters into countless tiny pieces.
  • 'I think that at least design-wise there have always been sexual and sensual overtones to the sets,' says Weaver. 'And I've always thought that the Alien is interested in other things than itself. I think it has other, sexual things in mind. But for Aliens: Resurrection, they've cut out a lot of the kinkier stuff, believe it or not. I'd still classify it as sensual, though. Jean-Pierre really understood the relationship Ripley has with the Alien. The French are great. You can't shock them.' Kicking off production in November 1996 and wrapping up last May, Aliens: Resurrection was a gruelling shoot, confesses Weaver. Particularly tough was an extended underwater sequence, in which the pirates and Ripley are pursued through the submerged kitchens by a phalanx of Aliens. The actors had to spend weeks submerged in a tank with no respirators or face masks.
    'It was the worst physical experience of my life,' says Ryder. 'You're in a tank that's filthy - the crew is in there for 17 hours a day and there was no coming out to go to the bathroom.' Weaver adds: 'It seemed to go on forever. It actually took a month. And I'm not brave. Ripley's brave. I can say that nothing exists of Sigourney Weaver in that scene at all.'
  • Two hundred years after her suicide, Ellen Ripley's cloned by scientists intent on nurturing the alien foetus inside her. The new Ripley couldn't care less - she's dead already - but goes along for the ride when Call (Ryder) and a band of marooned space pirates fight the inevitable rearguard action. In outline, the resilient Alien movies may be little more than slasher movies in space, yet equipped with strong, imaginative directors, each has proved distinctive and surprisingly resonant. Jeunet, the series' supreme fantasist, plunges deep into the nightmarish genetic whirlpool concocted by screenwriter Joss Whedon. After an ominous, memorably ghoulish opening, however, the Frenchman can't disguise a lack of engagement with the action sequences. The laziest stuff is all linear, mechanical business, much of it concerning Ryder, inadequate in a role designed simply to guarantee the teenage male fan-base. With her deep-freeze intensity and sinewy self-sufficiency, Weaver needs no such back-up. Choking as she comes face to face with earlier, aborted clones, grappling with residual maternal feelings towards the monsters she spawned and contempt for the humans she's long since left behind, Ripley Mk II is a terrifyingly ambivalent millennial saviour, more frightening than a score of aliens.
  • Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley looks pretty frisky for someone who killed herself to save humanity from the demon seed in her belly in Alien3. There is more to Ripley’s rise from the ashes than Weaver’s rise in salary from $33,000 for the first Alien to $11 million for Chapter 4. Credit the script by Joss Whedon (Toy Story) for making a joke of it. To the remark, “I thought you were dead,” Ripley replies, “I get that a lot.” You go, girl. In space, no one can hear you scream, “Hey, stupid, ever heard of DNA?” Ripley gets cloned just like the dinos of Jurassic Park. Better to ask: Is there life left in a franchise that began in 1979 with Ridley Scott’s Alien, expanded to James Cameron’s smash 1986 sequel, Aliens, and shrunk – in grosses, not daring – with David Fincher’s 1992 take on the aliens as an AIDS metaphor? You bet.
    Alien Resurrection is juiced by the fresh thinking of visionary French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the teaming of Weaver’s Amazonian warrant officer, Ripley, with Winona Ryder’s diminutive space smuggler, Call. In a shit-can universe where human aggression handily beats out alien retaliation for gross-out depravity, these two female warriors can outsmart any freak of nature, be it man or beast.
  • Weaver and Ryder have a ball playing yang and yin action figures with a common foe.
    Science is that foe, as it is in Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, the provocative French features Jeunet co-directed with Marc Caro. Like the scientist in the latter film who invades the dreams of children, Brad Dourif’s kinky Gediman – he licks the glass that separates him from an alien’s darting tongue – learns the hard way not to mess with Mother Nature.
  • Alien Resurrection is sometimes glib and repetitive, but it stays worthy of its predecessors by staying close to its two battered heroines. There is more to understanding the bond between them than Johner’s supposition that “it must be a chick thing.” Ripley and Call are fighting for the same thing that Jeunet achieves in making movies: the chance to dream.
  • The fourth film in a series that started with Ridley Scott’s widely appreciated 1979 original, the current “Alien” has devolved into something that’s strictly for hard-core horror junkies who can’t get enough of slime, gore and repulsion.
    While progress in some areas of civilization is problematic, one thing that continues to go from strength to strength is the ability of special-effects technicians to up the ante for state-of-the-art revulsion. There’s an audience for this kind of stuff, as there was for public executions, and starry-eyed movie executives no doubt stand up and cheer when new levels of disgust are reached and surpassed.
  • The studio hero this time around is French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, whose fascination with highly stylized grotesquerie and pretentious dead-end weirdness was last on display in the unfortunate “City of Lost Children.”
    Working with some of the same actors and technicians from that film, Jeunet has also reteamed with cinematographer Darius Khondji. His visual style, grandly described in the press kit as “signature chiaroscuro lighting and muted colors,” in practice means that “Alien Resurrection” looks as if it were shot under the sickly fluorescent lighting of a decrepit hospital emergency ward.
    One reason “Alien Resurrection” places so much emphasis on the stomach-turning is that only so much can be done with these films in terms of plot. In fact Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) neatly summarizes what’s to come when she says of the monster, “She’ll breed, you’ll die, everyone will die.”
  • French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the cinematic visionary who (with partner Marc Caro) gave us Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, brings an "other" Ripley to life, cloned, transformed, quietly cynical and possessed of inhuman strength.
    Working from a tight, quirky script by Joss Whedon (Toy Story, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jeunet makes this Alien into an extravaganza -- a movie narrated by its own look -- a deep, dark, sci-fi tableau in which the shadows around Ripley throb with malevolence.
  • Jeunet has marked Resurrection with his telltale signature of unsettling, even disgusting, spectacle: A close-up of an ear getting singed by a drop of alien acid; the deep-set, needy eyes of a freak hybrid; even an impossible traveling shot down the throat of a screaming human victim.
    Standout sequences include an underwater chase that seems more dream than reality, a horrifying DNA-lab showdown and a truly awesome alien birth.
    With members of his French production team at the controls of photography, editing and visual effects, Jeunet has given this film a haunting presence, like the scent of formaldehyde in a jar of caviar.
  • A series such as the Alien films, with hordes of fans worldwide and much acclaim under its belt, has a lot to live up to when a new sequel hits the collective retina. So, with the release of Alien Resurrection, the fourth chapter in the Ripley saga, audiences should be surprised by changes in the heroine we've come to know like a sister.
  • Ms. Weaver says it was the reinvention of the Ripley character -- this spirit of nihilism, as she calls it -- that persuaded her to do a fourth Alien film after she had all but decided that three were enough.
    "It seemed a challenge," she says. "You know, we all feel that when things get too difficult we have a way out, that it's finally up to each of us, that we can exit. And I thought, how awful it would be to find yourself in a world where you had exited, with all sincerity, and they had brought you back against your will. I tried to go with that idea as far as I could."
  • According to Den of Geek, Whedon's first draft of "Alien Resurrection" has the Betty crash-landing in a forest, which becomes the setting for a fight between Ripley, Call, and the skull-faced human-Xenomorph hybrid, the Newborn. Ripley wields a grenade launcher and Call drives a flying harvester with threshing teeth. After that, Whedon rewrote the ending several times, with the final earthbound version shifting to a desert location. As he explained:
    "The first [version] was in the forest with the flying threshing machine. The second one was in a futuristic junkyard. The third one was in a maternity ward. And the fourth one was in the desert. Now at this point this had become about money, and I said, 'You know, the desert looks like Mars. That's not Earth; that's not going to give people that juice.' But I still wrote them the best ending I could that took place in the desert."
    Whedon was dead set on an Earth finale because he felt, "The reason people are here is we're going to do the thing we've never done; we're gonna go to Earth." However, the aforementioned budgetary concerns led to the abandonment of this and other ideas in the movie. What's left is a film that the screenwriter was unhappy with and that came in dead last in our ranking of the "Alien" movies.
  • Uh...you know, it wasn’t a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending, it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines...mostly...but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong that they could possibly do. There’s actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking, because everything that they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from the script, and people assume that, if I hated it, then they’d changed the script...but it wasn’t so much that they’d changed the script; it’s that they just executed it in such a ghastly fashion as to render it almost unwatchable.

“‘Alien: Resurrection’ Is a Franchise High Point—Fight Me” (November 29, 2017)[edit]

Frederick Blichert “‘Alien: Resurrection’ Is a Franchise High Point—Fight Me”, Vice, (November 29, 2017)

It turns out Jeunet was Ryder’s idea, and he gives the film an eccentricity that may dull the horror a bit but gives Resurrection a really distinct style. At times, it feels like a vaudevillian theatre troupe putting on an Alien play, and I mean that in the best way. The actors playfully dive deep into their roles, and camp things up for a director who can appreciate the absurdity of it all.
  • There are a few fun touches that superficially play on the original film. Call is part of a group of robots who rebelled and won back their freedom. It seems the top-down structure of Weyland-Yutani was so oppressive that even the previously obedient machines couldn’t stand it. And the military’s central computer now has a male voice and is referred to as “Father,” cementing the patriarchal role of those in power, in contrast to all the maternal imagery of Alien and the “Mother” console.
    Ryder, who didn’t manage to use her 90s “it girl” rep to make Resurrection a hit, is one of the few people who actually remembers the film fondly, and is largely responsible for making it “kind of like a really cool art film,” as she described it in a 2013 interview with the Huffington Post, praising the direction of Jeunet, who was gaining fame for his offbeat French films and would eventually become an international star with Amélie.
    It turns out Jeunet was Ryder’s idea, and he gives the film an eccentricity that may dull the horror a bit but gives Resurrection a really distinct style. At times, it feels like a vaudevillian theatre troupe putting on an Alien play, and I mean that in the best way. The actors playfully dive deep into their roles, and camp things up for a director who can appreciate the absurdity of it all.
  • Then there’s Ripley herself, whose transformation has all the hallmarks of a Whedon heroine. Nearly every Whedon project seems to have a woman with special abilities given to her by one shadowy cabal of men or another. Inevitably, she rebels and takes back her autonomy with force. This happened with Buffy, it happens with River in Serenity, and it happens with Echo in his later series Dollhouse. Ripley’s rampage in Resurrection is textbook Whedon patriarchy smashing, but it’s also a fitting conclusion to her relationship with Weyland-Yutani.
    The company is replaced by a galactic military, but it’s all part of the same consolidation of power. The aliens represent the line corporations, governments, and armies (are these three even distinct?) are willing to cross to achieve their own ends, so Ripley’s resistance is always essentially pitted against the same thing. In Resurrection, they accidentally empower her through the very process that was meant to use her up. By reducing her to the level of meat to be experimented on, she and the xenomorphs literally become one. Everything and everyone is just a plaything for those in power.
    In one of the film’s most cathartic (and disturbing) scenes, Ripley torches a lab full of failed Ripley clones, one of which painfully begs her for death. One of Ripley’s new crewmates, played by the always scene-stealing Ron Perlman, doesn’t get why she’s so angry as to be wasting ammo. He chalks it up to being “a chick thing,” which is a fitting final note. The control over human bodies has always had gendered undertones in the Alien films. Ripley is a woman whose physical autonomy is always under threat, either from the aliens or from her patriarchal corporate overlords. Here, she takes back control more divisively than ever before.

"Alien Resurrection” (November 26, 1997)[edit]

Roger Ebert, "Alien Resurrection", (November 26, 1997).

Mankind wants them for their genes? I can think of a more valuable attribute: They're apparently able to generate bio-mass out of thin air. The baby born at the beginning of the film weighs maybe five pounds. In a few weeks the ship's cargo includes generous tons of aliens. What do they feed on? How do they fuel their growth and reproduction? It's no good saying they eat the ship's stores, because they thrive even on the second ship--and in previous movies have grown like crazy on desolate prison planets and in abandoned space stations. They're like perpetual motion machines; they don't need input.
  • Now here is "Alien Resurrection." Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is still the heroine, even though 200 years have passed since "Alien3." She has been cloned out of a drop of her own blood, and is being used as a brood mare: The movie opens with surgeons removing a baby alien from her womb. How the baby got in there is not fully explained, for which we should perhaps be grateful.
  • The birth takes place on a vast space ship. The interstellar human government hopes to breed more aliens, and use them for--oh, developing vaccines, medicines, a gene pool, stuff like that. The aliens have a remarkable body chemistry. Ripley's genes are all right, too: They allow her reconstituted form to retain all of her old memories, as if cookie dough could remember what a gingerbread man looked like.
    Ripley is first on a giant government science ship, then on a tramp freighter run by a vagabond crew. The monsters are at first held inside glass cells, but of course they escape (their blood is a powerful solvent that can eat through the decks of the ship). The movie's a little vague about Ripley: Is she all human, or does she have a little alien mixed in? For awhile we wonder which side she's on. She laughs at mankind's hopes of exploiting the creatures: "She's a queen," she says of the new monster. "She'll breed. You'll die." When the tramp freighter comes into play, we get a fresh crew, including Call (Winona Ryder), who has been flown all the way from Earth to provide appeal for the younger members of the audience. Ryder is a wonderful actress, one of the most gifted of her generation, but wrong for this movie. She lacks the heft and presence to stand alongside Ripley and the grizzled old space dogs played by Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon, Dan Hedeya and Brad Dourif. She seems uncertain of her purpose in the movie, her speeches lack conviction, and when her secret is revealed, it raises more questions than it answers. Ryder pales in comparison with Jenette Goldstein, the muscular Marine who was the female sidekick in "Aliens." Weaver, on the other hand, is splendid: Strong, weary, resourceful, grim. I would gladly see a fifth "Alien" movie if they created something for her to do, and dialog beyond the terse sound bites that play well in commercials. Ripley has some good scenes. She plays basketball with a crew man (Perlman) and slams him around. When she bleeds, her blood fizzes interestingly on the floor--as if it's not quite human. She can smell an alien presence. And be smelled: Her baby recognizes her mother and sticks out a tongue to lick her.
  • Mankind wants them for their genes? I can think of a more valuable attribute: They're apparently able to generate bio-mass out of thin air. The baby born at the beginning of the film weighs maybe five pounds. In a few weeks the ship's cargo includes generous tons of aliens. What do they feed on? How do they fuel their growth and reproduction? It's no good saying they eat the ship's stores, because they thrive even on the second ship--and in previous movies have grown like crazy on desolate prison planets and in abandoned space stations. They're like perpetual motion machines; they don't need input.
  • The "Alien" movies always have expert production design. "Alien Resurrection" was directed by the French visionary Jean-Pierre Jeunet ("City of Lost Children"), who with his designers has placed it in what looks like a large, empty hangar filled with prefabricated steel warehouse parts. There is not a single shot in the movie to fill one with wonder--nothing like the abandoned planetary station in "Aliens." Even the standard shots of vast spaceships, moving against a backdrop of stars, are murky here, and perfunctory.

“The Biggest Mistakes Alien Resurrection Made (& How It Could Improve)” (Nov 27, 2020)[edit]

Cathal Gunning, “The Biggest Mistakes Alien Resurrection Made (& How It Could Improve)”, Screen Rant, (Nov 27, 2020)

Alien Resurrection’s lush visual palette is an immediately striking and evocative change of pace for the series. Each movie in the franchise had a unique visual style, whether it’s the burnt-orange and metallic grey post-apocalyptic look of Alien 3, the sleek steely blues of Aliens, or the grimy, black-green fetid darkness of the first installment. To be fair, Alien Resurrection made use of its large budget by creating a new, distinct Gothic-influenced green-tinged color palette for this installment. The only problem is that for anyone not accustomed to Jeunet’s highly stylized look, marrying the style he established in earlier releases Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children with the world of Alien is a tall order. The movie’s green patinas lend a sickly look to proceedings and, by the time it was released, the likes of Tank Girl, Judge Dredd, and The Fifth Element had boasted similarly striking visual palettes without looking quite so garish. When a movie makes Tank Girl look less than garish, it’s cause for concern.
  • There were plenty of problems that plagued the production of Alien Resurrection, but despite the movie’s convoluted set-up and knotty plot, its creation was not quite as strained as its predecessor Alien 3. Future Amelie director Jeunet thought that the franchise ended with Alien 3 and, like producer Walter Hill, he was skeptical about continuing the story, but the movie’s large budget tempted him to take on the job. The helmer hired visual effects specialist and future Catwoman director Pitof to work with him, which could, in retrospect, be read as an early indication that things were taking a bad turn. But the problems didn’t become clear until the movie’s secret weapon—the newborn Alien—was unveiled.
    Like the Predalien in the later (underrated) Alien Vs Predator spin-off series, the Newborn Alien was intended to be a huge draw for Alien Resurrection, as the movie would be unveiling a new hybrid form of the title monster with a previously unseen creature design. The Alien Queen of James Cameron’s Aliens was one of the sequel’s best-loved additions to the franchise, so expectations were high. The Newborn Alien did not live up to them. Slimy, gangly, and hilariously human, the newborn was a laughable, giant-headed mess of overlong limbs and pot-bellied oddness. Originally intended to have human genitalia until the studio balked and Jeunet admitted that “even for a Frenchman it’s a bit much”, the Newborn was, nonetheless, a disaster even without its private parts appearing in the finished movie. An earlier design would have seen the creators model the monster’s appearance on Weaver herself, but this was abandoned for fear of resembling Species’ Sil. It’s a shame, as anything would have been an improvement on the prune-faced ghoul viewers were eventually left with.
  • [A]t least part of Alien Resurrection’s failure to win over even existing fans of the franchise can be attributed to the movie’s failure to nail down a definite, specific tone. The movie is too quippy and action-oriented (thanks to screenwriter Joss Whedon’s contributions) to be as authentically scary as Ridley Scott’s critically acclaimed original movie. 1979’s Alien was pitched as a “haunted house movie in space” for good reason, as it begins dark and only grows more brutal throughout its duration. James Cameron’s sequel Aliens, meanwhile, is a less grim affair, with the cast well-armed and better prepared to take on the titular threat. In contrast, in Alien Resurrection, the characters never seem to be in mortal peril; they’re toughened mercenaries and scientists developing bio-weapons, neither of whom seem ill-equipped to take on a threat.
  • Speaking of the movie’s darkness, Alien Resurrection’s lush visual palette is an immediately striking and evocative change of pace for the series. Each movie in the franchise had a unique visual style, whether it’s the burnt-orange and metallic grey post-apocalyptic look of Alien 3, the sleek steely blues of Aliens, or the grimy, black-green fetid darkness of the first installment. To be fair, Alien Resurrection made use of its large budget by creating a new, distinct Gothic-influenced green-tinged color palette for this installment. The only problem is that for anyone not accustomed to Jeunet’s highly stylized look, marrying the style he established in earlier releases Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children with the world of Alien is a tall order. The movie’s green patinas lend a sickly look to proceedings and, by the time it was released, the likes of Tank Girl, Judge Dredd, and The Fifth Element had boasted similarly striking visual palettes without looking quite so garish. When a movie makes Tank Girl look less than garish, it’s cause for concern.

“FILM REVIEW; Ripley, Believe It or Not, Has a Secret, and It's Not Pretty” (Nov 26, 1997)[edit]

Janet Maslin, “FILM REVIEW; Ripley, Believe It or Not, Has a Secret, and It's Not Pretty”, The New York Times, (Nov 26, 1997)

Alien Resurrection, the fourth installment and the one that comes closest to suggesting there may be rain-slicked dark alleys in space, also offers the most buff and sexily insolent incarnation of the aliens' favorite antagonist, Sigourney Weaver's Ripley. And this time it's personal: much of Ripley's new swagger comes from the fact that she now apparently has alien blood, or slime, or ooze, or whatever it is, coursing through her veins.
  • Perhaps it counts as a compliment among those who appreciate the dripping, throbbing, drooling intensity of the Alien movies to say that the series' latest installment is its most freakish and macabre to date. But Alien Resurrection, the fourth installment and the one that comes closest to suggesting there may be rain-slicked dark alleys in space, also offers the most buff and sexily insolent incarnation of the aliens' favorite antagonist, Sigourney Weaver's Ripley. And this time it's personal: much of Ripley's new swagger comes from the fact that she now apparently has alien blood, or slime, or ooze, or whatever it is, coursing through her veins.
  • We know most of the aliens' tricks by now, even if Alien Resurrection gives them the chance to chase human prey through garbage-strewn waters and swish their tails like marauding raptors. They still invade human hosts and burst out horribly at inconvenient moments; they still enjoy some of the most stomach-turning breeding habits imaginable. The new wrinkle this time is that neo-Ripley finds herself strangely sympatico with these creatures, even to the point of experiencing maternal stirrings late in the story. A new queen alien has appropriated some of Ripley's re-productive system and can now produce live, skeletal, screeching, glop-covered offspring. Maybe that tells you more than you want to know.
  • As directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, half of the duo behind Delicatessen and City of Lost Children, Alien Resurrection has an eerie grunge look (with cinematography by the inventive Da-rius Khondji) and a sometimes ghastly sideshow atmosphere. The characters this time, with a cast including Dan Hedaya, Brad Dourif and Ron Perlman, tend to be surly miscreants, and the story has more kinks. Winona Ryder wears Army boots as a crew member of the Betty, a small ship that docks with the Auriga to engage in illicit business and stays long enough to fight the evil beasts. Tauntingly flirtatious scenes between Ms. Ryder and Ms. Weaver give this film a sexual boldness that the others' action-adventure spirit lacked.
    Fierce, beautiful and sardonic, Ms. Weaver makes an impressive linchpin for this series, even if she can't make it palatable for the faint of heart. When Mr. Jeunet's well-established taste for the grotesque yields an episode worthy of a circus sideshow, with hideously malformed creatures floating in glass containers and a grisly secret about Ripley's past ready to emerge, not even Ms. Weaver and her flamethrower can triumph over the sequence's extreme nastiness.

“`Alien' All Guts, No Glory / Sequel looks great, if gory, but doesn't have much brains” (Nov. 26, 1997)[edit]

Peter Stack, “`Alien' All Guts, No Glory / Sequel looks great, if gory, but doesn't have much brains”, SF Gate, (Nov. 26, 1997)

Jeunet blended darkness, heavy metal, repugnantly weird things in specimen vials, an underwater sequence, a feeling of paranoia and an almost determined lack of humanity. And he also brought two of his favorite actors: big Ron Perlman to be a jackbooted bad guy, and Dominique Pinon to get a few laughs as a pipsqueak.
  • As movie spawns go, "Alien Resurrection" is a clumsy, plodding child having a big hissy fit. The cluttered, surreal, claustrophobic sets and gooey alien creatures look intriguing, sometimes shocking. But the story tries so hard to be imaginative that it congeals and sinks like lead.
    This film should be an amazing thrill ride, but it has the emotional impact of a bowling ball at rest. The scene that gets the biggest response is one showing just how hairy actor Dan Hedaya is (he plays a spaceship captain), and he's not even an alien. No doubt the intensely violent production, opening today in time to gross out Thanksgiving holiday moviegoers, will do stratospheric box-office business. But staying power is another question.
  • As almost always with sequels, the "Alien" spawn have gotten dopier as they've gone along. Yet each has had the saving grace of a distinctive look. "Alien Resurrection" is easily the most visually interesting of all. Credit it to French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who imported his surrealistic, horrific ideas direct from "Delicatessen" and the superb "The City of Lost Children."
    Jeunet blended darkness, heavy metal, repugnantly weird things in specimen vials, an underwater sequence, a feeling of paranoia and an almost determined lack of humanity. And he also brought two of his favorite actors: big Ron Perlman to be a jackbooted bad guy, and Dominique Pinon to get a few laughs as a pipsqueak.
    Winona Ryder is the biggest new attraction in the series. Her character, Call, is the only soft, humane creature within several light-years of the -- sprawling spaceship Auriga, where the action takes place. Eventually it is revealed that 12 hissing, hungry aliens, products of evil biology experiments, are headed toward Earth.
    Ryder, arriving with a crew of smugglers, looks almost too doll- like to be hanging around the tough, cynical or maniacal types that populate the film's cavernous, clanking world. But her big button black eyes and that intense focus she has at just the right dramatic moment wind up providing the only dollop of humanity. And it's much needed.
  • Sigourney Weaver, in this fourth in the "Alien" series, returns as Ripley, the tough heroine who has been dallying with the toothed aliens since 1979.
    Weaver has weathered the experience much better than the films have. She's lithe and sexy in that no-nonsense action-hero way. About that much-discussed backward basketball shot she makes -- Weaver looks like the type who could pull it off.
  • Meanness is big in "Alien Resurrection." It's hard to remember a more coarse, obscenely violent movie. The "fun" starts right away with open-chest surgery shown in up-close, disgustingly graphic detail (with Brad Dourif as an icky doctor). The scene is the birth of a baby alien from under Ripley's ribs. Whoever said that surgery was the next pornography was right.
    In the course of the film, viewers get treated to aliens feeding on guts, brains and heads, all shown in splatter-movie fashion. And there are constant references to predatory sex acts. That popular '90s phrase "viewer discretion advised" is definitely applicable.

"All Things 'Alien'" (November 9, 1997)[edit]

Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder in "All Things 'Alien'" by John Clark, L.A. Times, (November 09, 1997)

  • Ryder: When we were doing the underwater stuff, I was having complete anxiety attacks. We'd go underwater, and I was so scared. You reminded me to act. We'd go down with scuba stuff, but then they'd take it away from you.
Weaver: You'd take off your mask, take off your respirator and swim under this ceiling for about 30 feet, and you could not come up. And you couldn't see a thing. You basically had to keep going till you ran out of air and hope that your safety diver would come and get you. Float you down and in and out and then up.
Q: So relief wasn't immediate.
Weaver: No. If it had been, if you have in the back of your mind "If I get in trouble, I can just come up for air," which Kevin Costner had [in "Waterworld"] but we didn't have because we're women. . . .
Ryder: Also you're wearing these weight belts to keep you down. I remember swimming up to one little opening and my weight belt was, like, I couldn't do it, and then I released the belt and I floated up, and right as I came up I was about to grab this thing and this grip goes, "You probably don't want to touch that. You're going to get electrocuted." So it was this choice between drowning and getting electrocuted.
Weaver: If you were to grab something where we did finally come up, the set was covered with these needle-sharp protrusions, thousands of them everywhere. And I said, "Why are we in this place where all these exposed needles are?" and this guy says, "I don't know. It's for the set design."

"In Defence Of... Alien: Resurrection, the franchise's ugly duckling" (19 February 2015)[edit]

Joshua Winning, "In Defence Of... Alien: Resurrection, the franchise's ugly duckling", Digital Spy, (19 February 2015).

As with previous entries, Ripley's central to every one of A:R's greatest moments. "I loved the evolution of the character," Weaver has said, and it's not hard to see why she signed on despite the infamously onerous Alien 3 production. She plays an intoxicating range, from snarky quips ("I'm the monster's mother") and slam dunks (she put that basketball in the net for real), to the gut-punching moment she discovers Ripleys 1-7. That last encounter spectacularly drags the franchise into freak show territory - you thought Ripley's life was a circus of horrors before? You ain't seen nothing yet.
  • As with previous entries, Ripley's central to every one of A:R's greatest moments. "I loved the evolution of the character," Weaver has said, and it's not hard to see why she signed on despite the infamously onerous Alien 3 production. She plays an intoxicating range, from snarky quips ("I'm the monster's mother") and slam dunks (she put that basketball in the net for real), to the gut-punching moment she discovers Ripleys 1-7. That last encounter spectacularly drags the franchise into freak show territory - you thought Ripley's life was a circus of horrors before? You ain't seen nothing yet.
  • What really separates A:R from its predecessors is its morbid sense of humour. Positioning itself as a carnival of weirdness rather than an all-out scare-flick, it amps the gore up to Shakespearean levels and, most shockingly, a number of deaths are played entirely for laughs (see cross-eyed General Perez plucking out the contents of his skull). It's a brave move by French director Jean-Paul Jeunet. In stark contrast to David Fincher's experiences on Alien 3, Jeunet was given free rein to do whatever he wanted (within the $70m budget; the biggest of any of the Alien films), and while he kept most of Whedon's script intact, Jeunet's weird humour is all over Alien: Resurrection.–
  • If Alien was sinewy like a xenomorph and Aliens was pumped-up like the Alien Queen, Alien: Resurrection is as grotesque and mesmerising as the newborn. Whedon may have hated it, but he's hardly the first writer to disown his work. (Besides, he went on to make Firefly, which features just about the exact same set of characters - Johner is now Jayne, with Reavers standing in for xenos and so forth).
    "It's kind of like a really cool art film," Winona Ryder recently surmised of Alien: Resurrection, and she's right. Like art, it's unapologetic and singular in its vision, and it's a shame that the enticing open ending never developed into an immediate sequel. It's also odd that Marvel man Whedon isn't a fan - while the previous Alien films were all sci-fi horrors, there's something distinctly comic-booky about Alien: Resurrection. Perhaps it was just a little ahead of its time.

“Serenity Now!” (August/September 2005)[edit]

In the case of “Alien: Resurrection,” they decided to spend their money in other places than going to Earth. And I just kept saying, “The reason people are here is we’re going to do the thing we’ve never done; we’re gonna go to Earth."

Joss Whedon interviewed by Jim Kozak “Serenity Now!” In Focus, (August/September 2005)

  • Kozak: I thought your original screenplay for “Alien: Resurrection” was brilliant – with its epic final battle on Earth, for Earth – and vastly more engrossing than what ultimately made its way to the screen. I have to assume there were budgetary issues, because I can’t imagine another reason anyone would tinker with it.
Whedon: Well, let me ask you something. This ending that took place on Earth. What happened in it? Where did it take place?
Kozak: It took place in a forest …
Whedon: Yes. Oh wow. That’s the first one. There were five. And it was always either “the director had a vision” or they had a budget issue. And as a script doctor I’ve been called in more than a few times, and the issue is always the same: “We want you to make the third act more exciting and cheaper.” And my response inevitably is, “The problem with the third act is the first two acts.” This response is never listened to. I usually walk away having gotten one or two jokes into a script and made some money and feeling like I am just bereft of life. It’s horrible. The exceptions were “Toy Story” and “Speed,” where they actually let me do something.
In the case of “Alien: Resurrection,” they decided to spend their money in other places than going to Earth. And I just kept saying, “The reason people are here is we’re going to do the thing we’ve never done; we’re gonna go to Earth.” But there were a lot of things that we hadn’t done that we ended up not doing because of a singular lack of vision.
But rather than go into all of the reasons why “Alien: Resurrection” is disappointing to me, I will tell you that, yes, I wrote five endings. The first one was in the forest with the flying threshing machine. The second one was in a futuristic junkyard. The third one was in a maternity ward.
And the fourth one was in the desert. Now at this point this had become about money, and I said, “You know, the desert looks like Mars. That’s not Earth; that’s not going to give people that juice.” But I still wrote them the best ending I could that took place in the desert. And then finally they said, “Y’knowww, we just don’t think we need to go to Earth.” So I just gave them dialogue and stuff, but I don’t remember writing, “A withered, granny-lookin’ Pumkinhead-kinda-thing makes out with Ripley.” Pretty sure that stage direction never existed in any of my drafts.
  • Whedon: The history of “Alien: Resurrection” is fairly twisted also because I wrote a 30-page treatment for a different movie. They wanted to do a movie with a clone of Newt [the little girl from “Aliens”] as their heroine. Because I’d done some action movies and I’d done “Buffy,” they said, “Well, he can write teenage girls and he can write action, so let’s give him a shot.” The franchise was pretty much dead, and I wrote the treatment and they said, “This is really exciting. We want to get back in this business. But we want Ripley. So throw this out.” That one was probably my favorite; I think it was a better-structured story than the one I ultimately wrote.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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