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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Movie Review - Alien 3

--Alien Week--
Please note that all "Alien Week" film reviews may contain spoilers related to both the film that is being reviewed and other films in the series.
Alien 3 (1992)
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, and Lance Henriksen
Directed by David Fincher

The Theatrical Edition was watched as Fincher has never signed off on the Extended Cut.

Blogger won't permit me to type it this way, but the proper title of David Fincher's first time venture into feature film directing should really read Alien to the Third Power.  While I guess it's clever, it almost implies an overabundance of aliens whereas the second outing in this movie series was definitely the one that upped the alien ante.  Alien 3 is rather subdued and oddly bland, lacking any of the excitement or tension that is so prevalent in the first two installments of this series.

As the opening credits sequence rolls, we see that although there were four survivors of the last flick, only Ripley is left alive when their "escape pod" ship lands on a barren penal colony planet.  Although it doesn't appear that an alien is responsible for the deaths of her former friends, we soon discover that there was a stowaway onboard Ripley's ship of the non-humanoid kind and that this alien will soon cause quite a ruckus amongst the men in the prison.

Ultimately, the biggest problem with Alien 3 is that you simply don't grow to care about any of the characters, and as they start getting picked off one by one, their deaths don't resonate with the audience a bit.  The prisoners are all interchangeable with not a single one having a real discernible personality (or at least an interesting discernible personality).  I may have criticized Aliens director-screenwriter James Cameron's lack of believable dialog and sometimes cookie-cutter characterizations, but they're Shakespeare compared to what we're given here. Even Sigourney Weaver's Ripley almost feels as if she's phoning it in if only because her character isn't given a whole lot to do.  I mean, sure, she's given the interesting prospect of being impregnated by the same aliens she's been fighting for years, but the film doesn't explore this interesting twist in a manner that is all that fulfilling.

While David Fincher did give the film a unique look in the Aliens filmography -- opting for more earth-like browns as opposed to the steely, futuristic grays of the other installments -- there's unfortunately nothing visually appealing to gaze upon either.  Apparently the final product was heavily tampered with by the studio and that appears most evident in the lack of visceral tension that Fincher is usually so great at creating -- see Se7en or Panic Room or even The Social Network -- which is necessary in order for a film like this to succeed.

Alien 3 certainly isn't an awful film and it's not even the worst of the series (a bit of foreshadowing there to my thoughts on Alien: Resurrection), but it's a disappointing downturn for this Sigourney Weaver-fronted franchise.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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