Alien Resurrection (1997)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet directs Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder and Ron Perlman in this fourth entry in the Alien saga where a clone of the long deceased Ripley contains xenomorph DNA and a desire to survive.

Me and my sister went to see this on the big screen. My first Alien film at the cinema. As a teenager it delivers everything you think you want from an Alien film: space marines, space pirates, slapstick gore, swimming xenomorphs, ❤️Winona❤️! But it doesn’t really work. The only disc on the quadrilogy I tend to avoid. It wasn’t quite as awful as I last remembered on this cautious revisit but it is a definite downgrade. The comic book stylings of the first act – we are essentially watching a scratch draft of Joss Whedon’s Firefly – get lost in the scraping, dirty mix. Even Ryder and Perlman struggle to hold focus as the chaos unspools. Some of the production design is excellent (the space lab malfunctions nicely, the pirates have their secret weapons), there’s a lot of quirky visual stuff going on… but you really notice that most of the later scenes take place in the same two corridors. The new mutated Ripley frees Weaver up to have some malicious larks but you lose any engagement with her once she starts fucking the globulous Queen. Who is she after that? What are her motivations? Feelings? Does she feel used? Fulfilled? Human? Such a ‘throw it up on screen and hope the worst shit is forgotten’ attitude doesn’t fit with the three tightly calibrated perfect predecessors. 3 was and is misunderstood. No such defence here. 4 is still a big, loud, steaming hot mess of a movie. One that it is better to detach your brain from and just let it frazzle your retinas for 109 minutes. A serious stumble for the series that it never really has recovered from yet still more uncanny and inventive than most franchises’ fourth entries.

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