By Biray Alsac
Arizona Daily Wildcat
December 3, 1997

A failed resurrection


Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder share an intimate moment on the set of "Alien Resurrection."

Attention Alien fans! "Alien" films one through three have been re-released at a theater near you, only they're calling it "Alien Resurrection" now. If you want that same suspenseful intensity and bald-headed Sigourney that the movies promised in the past, though, don't expect to get it from "Resurrection." What you can expect instead is a dry script full of empty one-liners and a cast of characters who are there because, well, you really aren't sure why they are there and how they ended up fighting aliens together.

Starring Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder, "Alien Resurrection" is just another way for Hollywood to make some more money by beating an idea to a slimy goop, squeezing as much out of it as possible, then feeding us the leftovers. It doesn't quite have that intense "what-is-this-mysterious-creature-that-we're-dealing-with" quality that the past films have had.

Of course, the first film, "Alien," was the start of this series, introducing the "alien" into our motion picture vernacular. Then came "Aliens," the sequel that succeeded based on that "something survived" theory. The third film, "Alien3," showed us just how bad and ugly the aliens could really be - nice special effects, great shots. But let's face it, we were all in it for Weaver's hairstyle.

In any case, along comes "Alien Resurrection" and ... nothing. The basic story line is simple, but not engaging. In other words, it's "Jurassic Park" in space. You have a bunch of stupid scientists who have a set fascination with cloning dinosaurs - I mean, aliens. They try to contain them in labs but "something" goes awry, aliens escape, eat half the crew, and in the end the park- I mean, the ship - is abandoned.

How does our friend Sigourney play a role? She is cast, again, as her acclaimed character, Ripley. Wait, didn't she die in "Alien3"? Well, Hollywood had the decency of writing her in as a clone of Ripley in the movie. Amazing how technology works these days.

To make matters cheesier, our half-alien Ripley walks around with this "don't-touch-me-I-have-acid-blood-that-can-rip-right-through-you" attitude. Meanwhile, before the scientists' ship lands on Earth, the crew (what's left of it) frantically struggles to kill off all the aliens, taking the time to burn up and destroy everything in their path, including a tiny, friendly little spider. Bad lines, bad acting and bad-ass weapons (flame throwers, as usual) abound.

Winona Ryder is also introduced into this alien equation and there is only one thing to say about that: not tough enough. She seems bored, mumbling through her lines.

However, the one good thing that carries the movie until the end is the timing. It isn't too long, getting directly to the point: must kill aliens - 12 left, move it! And don't forget special effects. They overdid the drool and mucus stuff on the aliens, but there are some nasty, bloody guts to be seen which are grossly realistic. The final alien at the end is also definitely a sight to absorb.

Despite the story line, credit goes to the filmmakers, particularly the director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and the cinematographer, Darius Khondji. Both are known for their work in "Delicatessen" and "City of Lost Children" which were praised for their innovative visual styles. "Alien Resurrection" definitely has the fingerprints of both artists. Although this film isn't as abstract as their previous work, their artistic styles and techniques show through in each shot.

It's a shame that this film did not quite meet the expectations established by its predecessors, but if you're in the mood for some hard-core violence in outer space with aliens, Weaver and Ryder, by all means, wait till video.


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