Imagine getting 40K for shaving your head, well Sigourney Weaver did.
Quick note, I watched the assembly cut for this movie, its much better than the theatrical release.
Talk about studio interference. There is a lot of backstory when it comes to Alien 3. The legendary David Fincher directorial debut back in 1992. To this very day Fincher has a hard time talking about this project and rarely does so. In fact there was so much studio interference in the making of Alien 3, which they spent roughly 13 million dollars on 10 separate writers before finally locking down a final draft for the movie. After the massive success of James Cameron’s Aliens, FOX wanted to cash in on this mega franchise and thought they needed another Alien movie a.s.a.p. So after all sorts of re-writes, some involving Ripley – some not. A draft even involved Hicks and Bishop to be the main characters while Ripley would be in a coma for the majority of the movie. To many cooks in the kitchen can best describe Alien 3. The studio could never figure out what exactly they wanted and little did they know they had a master craft of a director at the helm, who had a vision and could never fully let it be played out.
So Alien 3 takes place right after the events of Aliens, we have our three survivors in their stasis pods in hyper sleep. When an egg is onboard their ship, it crash lands on “Fury 161” a wasteland of a planet, home to an all male prison facility. Right off the bat, fans were not happy, because they killed off both Newt and Hicks. We had come to love these characters in Aliens, and Ripley finally had a sense of happiness and somewhat of a family. That was taken away so quickly in this movie, so Ripley goes to sleep at the end of Aliens the happiest she’s ever been, to waking up and realizing her whole world has been turned upside down. Personally I wanted to see the characters of Hicks and Newt explored more and was bummed out the first time watching this, and finding out they won’t be a part of this continuing journey that we see Ripley go on. The biggest change we see Ripley go through is the fact that Sigourney Weaver shaved her head for this role. I like it, it works for the movie, and everyone at the prison is bald, because they have a lice problem. I’ll give it to Sigourney she pulls off the look. One other thing about Sigourney Weaver, she was nominated for an Oscar for her work in Aliens, so let’s just say she went into Alien 3 with some clout. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but when you have clout, it can go a long way. With that, she didn’t want any guns in this movie, she is very anti-gun, so that was one of her stipulations, and FOX agreed to meet that demand. Because a big plot hole of Alien 3, is that they are located at a maximum-security prison but have no weapons and I always found that to be odd.
So Ripley finds herself surrounded by killers and rapists, but is never intimidated or scared. Again it’s Ripley she’s a total badass and doesn’t back down. Dillon (Charles S Dutton) is the leader of these guys; he’s a believer and very religious man. One of the biggest themes of the movie is religion and about finding God. They were all once terrible men, but now they believe they can make peace with God and still be accepted into heaven when they are dead. Charles S. Dutton is just spectacular; actually all around the acting is top notch. Sometimes it’s hard to work with such a poor script, so everyone is really doing the best work they can with the material provided. Dillon gives some incredible speeches throughout the movie, and for me, he’s one of them most memorable characters in the alien universe. The guy fights one with his bare hands, he’s just got a real hard attitude and Charles S. Dutton, did a bang up job portraying this guy. Ripley finds herself nestling up to the medical doctor Clemons (Charles Dance) as she needed some sort of comfort after everything she had been through. I enjoyed seeing their relationship grow, but again whenever something good comes along in her life, it fades even quicker. Clemons doesn’t stick around too long, again I would have liked to see him survive a bit longer or even till the very end. Charles Dance is a phenomenal actor, and they didn’t use this man properly in Alien 3. The other inmate worth mentioning is actually the lone survivor of the movie, Morse (Danny Webb) and I friggin love this guy. He serves as the comic relief for this movie. The inmates, especially Morse, don’t care for Ripley all that much and treat her poorly. Some even try to rape her during the movie, but when things start to go to shit, Ripley steps up and the inmates realize how strong and courageous this woman really is. Especially Morse, when she saves him during the final act of the movie.
So when a face-bigger attaches itself onto an Ox, a new breed of Xenomorph is born. Something that Ripley has never seen before and it’s stalking the prisoners one by one. With no weapons to kill, what the prisoners call “the beast” they all have to come together and think of a way to get rid of it. When Ripley finds out that she has one inside of her and not only that but a queen. She realizes that things just got serious, when her ex employer wants to take the creature out of her and study it. The tone of Alien 3 is a bit iffy, it wants to be suspenseful like Alien, but also give us some action like we saw in Aliens. The effects in this movie are not the best in the franchise. Considering this came out after Alien and Aliens, you would imagine this would have the best effects of the three. That’s not the case, I’m not saying they are bad, but they simply just don’t hold up the way the other two films do. The Xenomorph itself at times looks great, when you can tell it’s being done practically, but when it’s not, it can be a bit messy at times. Fincher used the POV shot of the alien running a lot in the third act of the movie, it’s a cool effect but its a tad overused.
Here are my final thoughts on the movie. This movie is really only hated or loved. There really isn’t a middle ground for Alien 3. I feel that it’s so hard to try and compare it with what came before it, because both of those movies are masterpieces. So you have to look at this movie with those in the back of your mind, and just take it for what it is. Remember, there was so much interference with this movie, that it’s hard to tell what David Fincher ultimately wanted to accomplish, and I can’t even begin to imagine what working on a big budget movie like this would be like, let alone having hundreds of people breathing down your neck, or questioning every little decision you make. I love the last 45 minutes, it’s some of m favorite alien stuff, and I’m on the side of people who love this movie. I feel like maybe over time, more people will come to the idea of liking it the way I do. Appreciating it for the way I do, and understanding that this isn’t a perfect movie, and understanding that so much stuff was happening behind the scenes, and Fincher has gone on to make some incredible films. If you look up interviews of him talking about this movie, good luck because they are super rare. When he does talk about it, you can see how much it pains him, because he had a vision for what he wanted this movie to be and it never got to happen, and being a film maker that is probably their biggest fear. This was the last great alien movie, okay until Prometheus, but that took almost 20 years to happen, so enjoy this movie for what it is, because I know I do.
Check ya later,
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Alien 3 = 77/100