Alien Resurrection (1997)
Alien Resurrection is a profound example of strained, nasally congested “good-enough”. They say the best movies always look as though they came together all by themselves. Effortless, and magical. Well, Alien Resurrection looks as though it was very carefully crafted from a set of logarithmic parameters, input into a Movie Calculator, and the results processed by an army of technicians, craftsmen, artists, a French director, and H.R. Giger‘s forgotten royalty checks. In short, it looks deliberate; full of effort, not magical. A formula. A formality. A filmmaking exercise in “good-enough”.
Directed by shocked and bedazzled French man Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the guy behind the infamously cute and hyper active Amelie, this is the first thing in common it has with the previous three films. Every Alien movie to date has had a big name director attached to it. First there was Ridley Scott, who eventually went crazy directing big budget historical epics with cars in them. Then James Cameron, who eventually turned into a radioactive monster God King and single handedly made Hollywood his bitch. Then David Fincher came and approved the in-need-of-Prozac Alien 3. Fincher eventually turned into a serial killer and murdered seven studio executives for starting him off on the wrong foot.
Finally, 1997 rolled around and Jean-Pierre Jeunet is gonna Auteur the fuck out of some Xenomorphs! So what is the result of this lofty endeavor? The second thing this film has in common with all previous Alien films: It’s basically all three of them remade, reworked, dis-assembled, re-calibrated. A concentrated amalgamation of the previous three, recycled for profit and shits n’ giggles. Sure, it’s a film about monsters in outer space. Does that leave room for much improvement? Damn straight it does! Too bad producers don’t think like that. Why is it that producers, the guys who are really good at making money, always have stupid and retarded ideas? Why is it that artists, the people who come up with great ideas, and actually make the film, are so untalented at making money? It’s some law of the universe. It’s called Very special relativity.
Now let’s talk about the film itself. Alien Resurrection is pretty dumb, but the special effects sure are nice and shiny! The models, the sets, the puppets, all look fantastic. Notice I didn’t say CGI, because the special effects are great except when they decide to use CGI for the aliens. Sure, it’s 1997 and I guess I could give them a pass for having more primitive experience with the technology, but it’s an eyesore nonetheless.
So let’s get the meat of this monstrosity. Played once again by bad mothafucka Sigourney Weaver, Lt. Ellen Ripley died 200 years ago, and the Military has just now decided to clone her so they can make more Xenomorphs. Good enough. Then things get dicey when a bunch of space pirates come on board the generic military starship (lacking the personality of the Sulaco and even the Nostromo) and just frolic around, because that’s what space pirates do. Then, because of a lack of design oversight, aliens break out and start killing everybody, business as usual. We then get a half hour of people dieing and running away from aliens in the spaceship. It all looks good enough.
Geeze, these future people sure aren’t as advanced as the special effects make them out to be. They gotta stop filling these spaceships with so many vents and gratings and easy places to hide for aliens. They should take a clue from the International Space Station. Astronauts have to crap and eat right next to each other. No privacy, no place for slimy space critters to hide! You know what else is funny? Our security is more advanced than the 25th century. You think Ron Perlman and his hell boys would make it past airline security as easily as they made noobs out of the military security on a military starship? Speaking of being more advanced, this 25th century starship requires the authorized personal to breathe their smelly space breathe into a sensor that determines their identity.
Sound like a good idea? This neat futuristic idea is easily defeated when Winona Ryder‘s character uses a spray bottle filled with what is presumably the captain’s saliva (ew) or something to trick the breath sensor into giving her access. You know what would have prevented something like that? How about something equally futuristic, like say, an eye ball scanner? Wait, that’s not futuristic. We have those now. I guess the technology was lost in the 25th century, but somehow we saved the glorious art of cloning. Did people in 1997 actually think breath scanners were futuristic? It bothers me when science fiction films utilize technology that on the surface seems more advanced that what we’ve got, but in practical application it’s revealed to be embarrassingly more primitive than modern methods.
What else? There’s a whole lot of gooey genetic fetishism going on up in this bitch right here. Ripley is now the alien queen, and she has super human strength and Alien sense. She’s also horny and hot for Winona Ryder. Trust me I am not complaining. There’s just all sorts of weird and bizarre and lots of skull crushing. I’m sure Lloyd Kauffman was proud, to the extent he would even tolerate such masturbatory Hollywood fisting.
Well that’s about it. It was simply good enough. I mean, it wasn’t as smelly as Alien 3, but it’s rotting goat cheese compared to the first two masterpieces. However, there is one part towards the end, involving a chestburster, which I thought was pretty creative and kind of badass, and probably the best scene in the entire film, but I won’t spoil it, because I’d like others to experience the tedium of interstellar good-enough just like I did. I picked this up at a Goodwill for only $3.99. That’s a helluva deal! In the end, it was worth it.