Director: David Fincher
It’s amazing to think that the first three films in this franchise were directed by Ridley Scott (Alien), James Cameron (Aliens), and David Fincher (Alien 3). That’s modern movie royalty, and even Alien: Resurrection was directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet of Amelie fame, if you want to add that shaky fourth film into the fold. For Fincher, this movie came before his successes with Se7en and Fight Club, back when he was a music video director, which makes his ascension all the more impressive. What isn’t exactly impressive is the film itself, Alien 3 landing far short of the intended target, falling way behind the other two that came before. It’s still a cool part of the series, still a must-watch for fans, but can’t be considered independently excellent.
After two harrowing adventures, Ripley finds herself once again in an emergency escape pod, this time crash landing on a penal planet out at the edge of known space. Her presence there is very upsetting to the inmates, men who have committed unspeakable crimes in the past but have since found a form of religion that controls their violent urges. They govern themselves mostly, but having a woman around is bound to put a kink in the works. Meanwhile, a few unexplained and nasty deaths occur around the facility, and Ripley begins to wonder if she might have brought an unwelcome guest along for the ride before she arrived. Her worst nightmares are about to come true, and it’s up to her to keep humanity safe once again.
It’s not that Alien 3 is terrible, it’s that it’s unnecessary. The prevailing feeling as you watch is one of pointlessness, as in “why did they make this if they really didn’t have any more of the story to tell?” I guess they can ship Ripley off wherever they want and have aliens pop up (literally), but after a while that begins to feel cheap and all we’re really enjoying is watching xenomorphs eat people. And that’s fun, don’t get me wrong, I’ll basically watch anything connected to this franchise, but this film at least just wasn’t required. Weaver does an OK job, her shaved head is iconic, and a general Mad Max feel is appreciated, so it’s not all rubbish, I just wouldn’t go in expecting the magic of 1 & 2; it didn’t appear a third time.
My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆