Alien: Resurrection Review
After the Alien saga was treated by a Brit and two Americans it was time for a Frenchie to step in and take the reins. Enter French auteur Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the man to helm the fourth Alien movie, Alien: Resurrection. This fourth installment takes place 200 years after Alien 3. Scientists have gathered blood samples from Fury 116, Lt. Ellen Ripley’s final resting place, and used them to create a super strong alien/human hybrid clone of the Xenomorph slaying expert. These scientists pulled the Queen alien that was inside of Ripley out of her and used the Queen to start breeding the Xenomorphs. And, as one would expect, things quickly go wrong. It is, once again, up to Ripley to save a rag tag gang of space pirates from these horrific creatures running amok on a ship that is headed towards Earth at an alarming rate.
Alien: Resurrection is undboutedly a Jeunet film, with its darkly comic atmosphere and animated and eccentric style. He adds all of his usual European flare to this exciting and explosive film. Alien: Resurrection reverts back to James Cameron’s way of doing things in this saga, making the film an action film rather than a suspense horror. Honestly, this is something I was happy about. It was neat to see the series switch back and forth between these two genres with Alien being a true sci-fi horror, Aliens being a strictly action packed film, and Alien 3 returning to the horror roots. Alien: Resurrection is non stop action and with Jeunet’s visual brilliance it is an absolute visual spectacle.
Where Alien: Resurrection fails, however, is in its script. Not so much because the script is bad, but writer Joss Whedon and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet had two different visions for the film. Whedon wrote a crazier and more tounge-in-cheek script, while Jeunet directed a more straight edge final product. This clashing is what makes this film falter the most. The style doesn’t match the script, and when characters say or do things that seem a little silly in a more serious environment it feels awkward and cringe worthy at times.
Also, Joss Whedon made a very bold move in what he did with the space pirates. He tried to create a group of characters who we could believe have worked together for a very long time and he tried to create an atmosphere around them that made them feel like a true space crew, not just actors thrown together to play certain archetypes. This is one of the most revolutionary things that the original Alien succeeded phenomenally at. No science fiction film has ever created this sort of atmosphere, and Alien: Resurrection doesn’t even come close. Whedon tried to pay a great homage to the first film in doing this, but really he just revealed to us the things that made the crew of Alien work by showing us what absolutely doesn’t work.
Visually, Alien: Resurrection is astounding and as pure entertainment it works pretty well. It’s definitely fun and a great way to kill two hours. But with a script that is mismatched with the film’s style and a story that is full of odd plot holes that continually take you out of the experience this film is kept from being much more than just a fun little action film. It has some great moments and if you’ve seen the other three films then definitely see this one, but don’t expect the kind of quality you are used to with this franchise.