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Alien Resurrection

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Alien Resurrection

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Rated: R
RunTime: 108 Minutes
Release Date: November 1997
Genres: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller

*Also starring: Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon, Michael Wincott, Dan Hedaya, Brad Douriff, J. E. Freeman, Raymond Cruz, Kim Flowers

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
2.  Edward Johnson-Ott read the review movie review
3.  Walter Frith read the review movie reviewvideo review
4.  MrBrown read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

"My mommy always said there are no monsters, no real ones, but there are," Ellen Ripley tells the audience in the opening to ALIEN: RESURRECTION, the latest installment in the ALIEN saga.

ALIEN and ALIENS are the two of the scariest movies ever made. Most horror films are horrible with the emphasis on the grossness rather than the fright. ALIEN and ALIENS, on the other hand, are smartly written science fiction exercises in terror. After the disastrous and depressingly bleak ALIEN 3 and after the death of the story's lead, it might appear to the casual viewer than the series was over. Au contraire. Movie moguls are fully empowered to revive the dead for the sake of the bottom line.

In ALIEN: RESURRECTION an undercover branch of the United States military takes blood from the place where Ripley died and clones up a new Ripley so they can harvest the alien inside her chest. (One of the best parts of the story is the scene in the laboratory when Ripley comes face to face with large tubes filled with failed attempts at cloning her DNA.)

Sigourney Weaver, who else, appears again as the alien hunter par excellence. This time she smiles a lot with her in-joke that she is now partly alien herself. Imbued with extraterrestrial strength, she fights both man and alien.

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, whose last film was the imaginative THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, and writer Joss Whedon from TOY STORY stage ALIEN: RESURRECTION with innovation abounding. Who would have ever thought of having an underwater scene in space? And the way the meanest of the monsters is killed is effective both visually and as part of the storyline.

The writing starts off crisp and mockingly funny. "It's a queen," Ripley explains to the crew of the now inhabited ship. "She'll breed; you'll die." (In another delicious bit of humor, you'll be relieved to know that the Home Shopping Network, this time selling weapons, is still available in the future.)

Joining Ripley is Winona Ryder playing Annalee Call, who is described as a "little girl playing pirates." Annalee wants to wipe out the aliens, but Ripley questions her motives and generally seems to have her own hidden agenda. Once a valiant alien fighter, the new part human and part alien Ripley keeps a mysterious smile on her face throughout most of the picture.

The military scientists violate rule number one of alien capture. Big, ugly alien monsters do not take kindly to confinement. When suitably riled, they can and will break out of any enclosure. Once they are out all hell breaks loose and the show degenerates into the standard man shoots at monster, monster eats man scenario you've seen many times before.

The whole long middle section of the film is repetitious, tiring, and too slow. Only in the last act does the picture finally pick its genre. Being sometimes grotesque but never scary, the movie gives up and decides, correctly, that it can be a very funny space comedy. Although not nearly as humorous or effective as STARSHIP TROOPERS, which never tries to be anything more than a spoof, ALIEN: RESURRECTION did have the audience at the press screening I attended in stitches towards the end. If only the show had made up its mind from the get-go that humor was its salvation, it could have been much better.

So you ask, do they lay the groundwork for an ALIEN 5? Absolutely. You are left knowing where the next episode will be set and where the monster will come from. Any other silly questions?

Copyright 1997 Steve Rhodes

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