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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 89 - Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Alien was a legitimately scary and entertaining sci-fi-thriller from director Ridley Scott about a space crew that discovers alien creatures on a downed ship after receiving a distress call.  It did just about everything right in a time before CGI took over the big screen.  Almost two decades after the release of the first film, Alien: Resurrection defecated all over the memories of the original.

The plot takes place two centuries after the events of the first with Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) cloned and used to carry the spawn of an alien.  After things go awry Ripley is back... with alien powers!  This movie is laughably bad.  It has none of the elements that made the first film a smart and scary film.  The fact that Ripley is no longer a butt-kicking babe with a gun and is now endowed with pseudo-super powers eliminates much of the tension.  The film also manages to make the Aliens less scary by inserting a mix of practical and CGI aliens that look and feel very stupid.  The screenplay is the film’s ultimate tragedy however, written by fan-favorite Joss Whedon, about four years before Firefly would grace television screens everywhere.  

There are some bad performances here.  Sigourney Weaver is silly as a dark and ominous hybrid, Ron Pearlman lacks any of the charm he’s famous for, and Wynona Ryder seems very, very out of place.  This one is a mess from start to finish.  It was directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who wouldn’t direct another film until 2001 when he would go behind the camera for the superb foreign-language film Amélie.

Alien: Resurrection is really just a shameless sequel.  It is attempting to cash in on a long-running franchise by trying to create a new generation for the mythos.  There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this, but the way it is done here completely defiles what the first film created.  There are reboots then there are just plain bad wannabes.  This one seems so out there that it barely even feels like it belongs in the same universe.  It isn’t scary, it isn’t exciting, it is just bad.

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