How desperate do you have to be to make Alien: Resurrection? How down on your luck are you that you have to contrive a painful story around equally painful characters where no one is of any interest, nor does any event help much with the progression of the plot? I was maxed out when I saw Alien³. That movie was so insignificant, so pointless in its own existence that I dreaded every minute of it. Alien: Resurrection goes one better: It put me to sleep.
I seldom fall asleep during movies. I’m either very tired, or my attention drifts far away to places filled with alternate characters and alternate story lines. But when the Alien-human hybrid monster emerged I think I had just about enough. The plot is so poor and tattered that by the time the monster made its entrance, I had no idea who was who, why anything was happening, or why the monster even existed. It’s also a weird monster, not very attractive, not very menacing. It reminds me of Dwayne Johnson’s comical transformation as the Scorpion King, where computer technology superimposed his face onto the body of a scorpion. Why this Alien hybrid grotesque is worse: It has no discernible face to speak of.
The premise of this movie involves the standard Alien conflict: Governmental and military agencies want to capture the Alien creature, harvest its eggs and young, and teach it to obey commands in order to use it as a deadly weapon. Against whom? I hear you question. Good one. I don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows. The enemy of the franchise has always been the Alien, yet the human villains point their resources at someone else. By now though, every greedy profiteer should be aware of what catastrophe the Alien can unleash. Haven’t they been keeping up to date with the previous three movies? One would think they’d want to abandon the project to eliminate the species. But no. Taming the Alien is still number one on their priority list.
All of this makes no sense to me.
And then there’s Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the veteran master of the franchise. She is as enduring as Indiana Jones, though she’s had to trudge through more bitter material. As you recall, she died in Alien³ with an Alien baby gestating within her. Alien: Resurrection opens with another Ripley, strapped to a futuristic gurney, undergoing some sort of extraterrestrial abortion. It’s been 200 years since she died, and now she’s a clone, brought back to help harvest the dangerous creatures. Give me a break.
Added to the mix is a crew of cargo handlers, not unlike Ripley’s original crew back in the very first Alien movie. Among them are Ron Perlman, Warrick Brown from CSI, and Winona Ryder as a short-haired tough girl whose reason for being present is never fully discussed. Their role, as far as I can tell, is to deliver a bunch of Aliens to Earth. I have a feeling I’m wrong about this, but I don’t really care. Aboard their ship Aliens are being born. At first they’re held captive in what look like recording studios. But being crafty buggers, they soon break free and begin terrorising everyone in sight. Sound familiar? I bet it does.
These Aliens seem bred for a single purpose. They have no secondary goals. They are born, they kill, they are born again, they kill again. They look like fully developed creatures, but they are not. They exist — in all the Alien movies — to do one thing and one thing only: To pop up and say “boo!”. Though to be sure, none of them have ever said “boo”, and some of the Aliens in this movie have evolved more versatile voice boxes; they can grunt and groan and roar like a mountain troll. Since when?
Alien: Resurrection carries on the tradition of being very well designed. It looks evil, very much like Aliens and Alien³ before it. At the helm is French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie, Delicatessen), who has a good feel for aesthetics and appearance but is let down by yet another monster screenplay that pays more attention to the monsters than to the people. I cared about none of them. I didn’t care about their problems or their danger. I didn’t even care about Ripley, because I wasn’t sure if she was really Ripley or not. Why should I give my time to a clone? Beats me. I fell asleep.
Best Moment | Nope.
Worst Moment | Ron Perlman attempting to play basketball with Ripley. Okay, that’s more of an annoying scene. If you want the worst moment, just watch the movie.