"Alien: Resurrection" Review
© 1997 Fontaine L.
- spoiler warning -

Before I review this movie, I want y'all to keep in mind that I haven't seen any of the three "Alien" movies before this, including the highly acclaimed "Alien" and the widely criticized "Alien Cubed" (I know that isn't the real movie title but you know what I mean). I have had no prior experience with these creatures and Ellen Ripley. I am, therefore, less qualified to rate the movie. With that in mind, let us move on.

The next thing I should tell you is that I saw the movie twice in three days. Once on the first day, the second right after I saw the awful "The Jackal" (see my bitter review of it). The first time I thought it was awesome. With flaws, no doubt, but still awesome. The second time I thought it was mediocre and not that great, but still better than "The Jackal." Perhaps Joss Whedon (creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") needs to learn that he is doing a feature film, not an one hour TV show. Spilling guts and goo is just not enough. Probably even more so for long time "Alien" fans (whose whines I've heard much of since the movie came out).

The cheese factor is pretty high for this movie, especially at parts where ominous music gives away plot, or when ominous music is just there for the sake of being there (in other words, with no point at all). To me, that is a major sin for horror/suspense movies. I prefer the quiet unsettling kind, not that slam-bang gory type. Nevertheless, I find the alien creatures, though icky, quite fascinating, and I love to watch them slither and slime and scream their guts out on screen. . . I love watching them leap and bound and swim in the water. . .they are the major triumphs of this movie. I have got to go rent the first three movies. (I am a beast fanatic: I also loved the dinos in "Jurassic Park" and the watchamacallits in "The Relic" and "Mimic." Slime is a major factor here. They are just icky and gooey enough for me to comfort myself that they are movie monsters. Pardon my rambling.) The baby aliens are (can I say this?) cute (call me crazy); so it's probably not a surprise that I find the final hybrid/mutation human-like alien hilarious and not quite as convincing. The human/alien mutants look like they came straight out of Knott's Scary Farm--you gotta wonder what these make-up artists dream of at night. Also, the futuristic gadgets are impressive--my favorite is the electronic bible and the cube-melting thingy. The film is reasonably exciting and at times pretty scary (but mostly gory), and the characters are just funny enough to keep us entertained when the aliens stop striking.

But a good thriller isn't just about special effects and laugh-getter lines- -it has to be about the film's ability to surprise, wow, and be creative. "Alien: Resurrection" isn't creative. It has just about every action film cliche that can be found in the industry: the unity/disunity theme between the characters, the traitor, and the resolving the differences ending. The biggest failure of the Fox marketing people is letting word leak out prior to the movie that Winona Ryder's character, Call, is actually a droid--that took out the one surprise of the movie for me. Not to mention the movie is filled of giant leaps and bounds of logic that will make even Mulder flinch. Sigourney Weaver looks comfortable enough, but Winona Ryder seemed to have a hard time saying "fuck" (at one scene, I counted four "fucks" exchanged between the characters...is that really necessary?). Brad Dourif (who guest-starred on XF) was great as usual (but his character is down right creepy and simply unfathomable); but the one performance I liked the most came from the cripple (sorry, don't know his name).

As I said, I really don't know what I really think of this movie unless I've seen the first three alien movies. This world is one that I definitely need to get used to: robots, aliens, hybrids, clones, you name it. Perhaps it is because of so that I couldn't get into the Ripley character. Despite not being superior in the action realm (and definitely not living up to the preview), the film was at its best when dealing with (maybe freaky) emotional scenes. The scene where Ripley grits her teeth and destroys the mutants and the scenes where she embraces the aliens are powerful, and the last scene where she watches her child (?) get killed is probably the most freakish yet most potent scene in my shallow cinematic viewing experience. It will definitely remain in my mind long after. But I digress. . . What all that randomness about meant was that although "Alien: Resurrection" was reasonably satisfying, this first time Alien viewer feels something else is needed and that she must run to the store and rent the first three "Alien" movies immediately.

Rating: B (First viewing, 11/26/97)

C+ (Second viewing, 11/28/97) (Well, suffice to say, you can really watch blood and alien goo for that long without getting bored. And it's really hard to scream or gasp or anything without feeling stupid the second time. It *was* still funny though.)

*That the previews were actually the highlights of both my visits probably tells you something. That the previews included The X-Files movie and that I am probably one of the biggest X-Philes ever to exist on earth or elsewhere probably tells you something else.

*I actually went to see it a second time just to see the X-Files movie preview.