We rewatch all the Alien movies in anticipation of Ridley Scott’s upcoming Prometheus . . .

We’ve recently rewatched all the Alien movies (excluding the Alien vs. Predator movies since we’re not feeling that masochistic).

Here are our random thoughts on the trilogy of four Alien movies:

ALIENS (1986)

To be fair Aliens is probably one of the movies we’ve seen too many times in our lives. Giving each Alien movie a different creative team as well as look and feel works best here. All the horror movie trappings are removed in favor of an action-packed piece of military SF. James Cameron may have gone all mushy and hippy on us with Titanic and Avatar, but deep down under we know that he is a gun nut and we love his closet right-wing little soul all the more for that. (Yeah, sure, Aliens is a Vietnam movie – a lot of them were getting made back then – set in space and is about US military hubris but we think Cameron digs all the hardware too much to be a bona fide hippy.)

Of all the Alien movies this one is the one that had dated the most when it comes to its ‘Eighties hairstyles and fashions.

ALIEN 3 (1992)

The one directed by David Fincher before Fight Club, Seven, Benjamin Button and all the others. Fincher had a nasty experience on the movie and to this day doesn’t like to talk about it.

The movie goes back to the first Alien movie’s premise with a single monster killing off human victims. Also back is a sense of visual panache with Fincher’s unerring camerawork and production designs.

It is a nasty piece of nihilist horror actually. Almost everyone dies and promises of a new hope and life are undercut by scenes of an alien creature bursting from a dog’s chest.

In the director’s cut of the Alien movie the creature doesn’t outright kill the Nostromo’s crewmembers but stows them away so as to “impregnate” them later with a facehugger. Same goes for Cameron’s Aliens movie. Here the CGI beastie just outrights kills everyone; same in Alien Resurrection.

The last half of the movie doesn’t live up to the dazzling first half. It is all people yelling while running down generic-looking corridors. The audience has no spatial sense of where the creature is in relation to the humans and whether their plan is actually working or not.


One tends to forget that Joss Whedon (Buffy, The Avengers) wrote the screenplay. Whedon expressed unhappiness with the end product and so frankly did audiences, but Whedon’s screenplay is part of the problem. Here the audience is supposed to guess as to the ultimate motives and loyalty of the bad ass Ripley clone, but she merely comes across as unsympathetic. Same goes for the other characters. Ultimately one remains uninvolved with them.

It is instructive to watch all three movies again to see how action movies have changed throughout the years. In the other three movies all the characters are all believably human and incapable of superhuman feats. In Alien Resurrection the human characters can hold their breath underwater for impossibly long periods of time; ricochet bullets at impossible angles; and so on. It’s like the 2009 Pandorum movie in which everyone somehow knows martial arts even though they’re technically farmers and spaceship crewmembers. There is just more bullshit in today’s movies as they resemble Looney Tunes cartoons more than anything else we might know from real life. It gets tiring.

Alien Resurrection is easily the worst movie in the franchise. Even Alien 3 has its moments.

That alien / human hybrid creature thingie at the end of the movie is really crap. What the hell were they smoking?


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Category: Features, Movies

About the Author

James has been running The Sci-Fi Movie Page since Before the Beginning of Time Itself (TM), i.e. since the site's inception in 1997. In addition to sci-fi James also likes 1970s motorbikes and chili dogs although he doesn't own the former and no longer eats the latter. He currently resides in Kiev, Ukraine for reasons best left unexplained.

  • Eddie2

    hah – you forgot the original 1979 masterpiece “Alien”… 

  • Joshuapolis

    I choose to think of Alien Resurrection as a piece of really bad fan fiction.

  • SimJax

    For me, the first two movies were the only ones worth calling Sci-Fi.  Alien presented a fairly hard sci-fi universe and an interesting life form.  Aliens filled in some gaps in the alien’s lifecycle – we found out what laid the eggs and how the hive hierarchy worked. 

    Then Alien 3 killed off all ideas of scientific plausibility by letting us see a chestburster come out of a dog and then blow up like a balloon, leaving us to conclude, thanks to conservation of mass, that a full grown alien soldier is made of a polystyrene foam-like substance, weighs less than the average cat and could be kicked around like a football if anyone dared try.  Then we were treated to clichés galore with no less than two Ripley crucifixion scenes, the obligatory attempted rape of the heroine (almost every action movie of the period had one) etc. 

    Resurrection was just a superhero movie and that’s about all there is to say about it. 

    I’ll give Prometheus a go, but I don’t hold out much hope given Ridley Scott’s output in recent years (Robin Hood vs WWII troop landing craft, anyone?) and I can already see from the promos that the costumes and hardware are more Star Treck than Alien while the cast is more Starship Troopers.  I hope to be pleasantly surprised, but I’d rather go in with low expectations.

  • Yudkin72

    I like all Alien movies, but “Alien Resurrection” was the most imaginative, with its like cartoon moments, it was like a circus show with all the bad clowns go out to terrify us.
    I love Jeunet & Caro as movie makers (Sad that they “broke-up” presently), they do a very unique movies:
    Very surreal, imaginative, claustrophobic, they like mad scientists in some crazy lab ;)



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