Sunday, July 13, 2014

Alien: Resurrection

Movie Name: Alien: Resurrection
Year of Release: 1997
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon, Michael Wincott, Dan Hedaya, Gary Dourdan, Kim Flowers, J.E. Freeman, Brad Dourif, Raymond Cruz, Leland Orser
Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

Following the debacle of "Alien 3", 20th Century Fox hired Joss Whedon to write a screenplay that would bring back Ripley, but with an edge. The selected director was Jean-Pierre Jeunet, at the time mostly well known for "Delicatessen" and "La Cité des Enfants Perdus". The story picks up centuries after the events of "Alien 3". Ellen Ripley is successfully cloned after her demise, but in the process, her DNA has gotten mixed with the alien creature, giving her some enhanced capabilities, but also forcing her to question her humanity. She comes across a team of space mercenaries, working for the army who has interests of their own, as far as the alien creatures are concerned. All of these plans go awry once the aliens go rampant and start decimating the entire ship. It's up to Ripley and her new found allies to figure out a way to stop the lethal creatures.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet is an interesting director, one that has always focused on creating excessive universes, that are a metaphor for how people ultimately treat each other. His early films were co-directed with art director Marc Caro, but "Alien: Resurrection" was his first effort as a solo taskmaster. The film suffers from a certain unbalance in finding it's own tone - whereas the previous films were dominated by a certain bleakness, menace and atmosphere, this film tries to maintain a certain level of humor, something that doesn't really gel with the material. Jeunet brings his usual collaborators to the fold, and where cinematographer Darius Khondji elevates the look and feel of the film, the contributions of Ron Perlman and Dominique Pinon, are superfluous (they almost feel like they are on a different film than the one that Sigourney Weaver's Ripley inhabits). This awkward tone, that comes from the screenplay of Joss Whedon, leaves the film in a certain limbo, between a space adventure with a crew of wise cracking mercenaries, and Ripley's story, that is ultimately what has always brought gravitas and interest to the series. Sigourney Weaver brings depth and edge to a part that she has made her own, and the visual effects of Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. are fantastic as always. This is a film that ended the series on a downward quality level, though it has some interest.