Alien 3 Review

Alien 3 is a 1992 science fiction thriller horror film directed by David Fincher, starring Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dance, Charles S. Dutton, and Brian Glover.  Serving as the third installment in the Alien series, the film follows Ripley (Weaver) who crash-lands on Fiorina Fury 161, a maximum security prison. When a series of grisly deaths occur shortly after her arrival, Ripley realizes that she brought along a xenomorph.


Positives:

  • Good performances
  • Great practical of xenomorph creature
  • Great use of gore
  • Great suspense

Negatives:

  • Poor CGI
  • Tons of plot holes
  • Poor characters

Plot:  The story begins after the events of Aliens were the survivors who’re asleep in cryotubes who are launched into space after an accident on their ship.  They crash land on a nearby planet, Fiorina 161, a bleak wasteland inhabited by former inmates of the planet’s maximum security prison. Unfortunately the only survivor is Ripley and soon after she is recovered, what is thought to be skepticism soon turns into a battle for survival as she discovers that a xenomorph is hunting guards and prisoners alike.  The story might not be the creme de la creme of the series but it is an interesting one that takes it in a ballsy direction.  The isolated location, rough inmates, and lack of weapons and technology does add a lot of tension to the plot especially compared to the Marines in the second film.  Also, the story would’ve worked better had there been more backstories on the characters as well as the facility to help add depth to the story.  The story isn’t compelling but it is gripping. (3 out of 5)

Characters:  The characters are definitely a bit of a mixed bag considering that most are so unlikable and there is little exposition given to any of them.  Of course, there is Ellen Ripley, the main protagonist of the film (and series).  She’s vulnerable in so many ways, Newt and Hicks are both killed and she feels hurt and alone, she’s in a world of these seasoned criminals, especially being the only woman there.  Newt and Hicks are killed off in the most messed up way and it is a travesty to see such great characters be killed off.  Although most of the other characters are just trash, there are some standout characters, namely Dillon (Dutton) and Clemens (Dance). Both do show a lot of character and have presence. Liked their relationship with Ripley and how it evolved over the course of the film.  Clemens being killed off so early in the film was terrible writing. Also liked Morse, he had some of the best lines and was probably the most memorable criminal of the cast next to Dillon.  Andrews was simply annoying. The rest of the cast just seem like clones to be killed off. If the characters were a bit more fleshed out with more standout attributes they could’ve been awesome. (3 out of 5)

Cast:  Great performances by the main cast including Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), Charles Dance (Jonathan Clemens), and Charles S. Dutton (Dillon).  The supporting cast includes Brian Glover (Harold Andres), Ralph Brown (Aaron), Paul McGann (Golic), Danny Webb (Morse), Lance Henriksen (Bishop), Tom Woodruff Jr. (the alien), Pete Postlethwaite (David), Holt McCallany (Junior), Peter Guinness (Gregor), and Christopher Fairbank (Murphy). (3 out of 5)

Visuals:  Thumbs up to the practical effects of the xenomorph.  The scene with the alien who corners Ripley in the infirmary was perfect.  The CGI effects are definitely dated and even comical at times. Very example there is one sequence where the xenomorph is running on all fours and it is just hilarious.  Shitty, but hilarious. The movie and setting have a very rusty, old, and worn down look that is in contrast to the dark tones of Aliens.  There is gore but it isn’t overly used and when it is used it looks great. (3 out of 5)

Score:  The score is freakin phenomenal.  Elliot Goldenthal brings back original Alien music while bringing in new material.  It definitely does a great job of supporting the suspense and maintaining atmosphere. (4 out of 5)

Writing:  the biggest issue of Alien 3 is the writing.  First, Newt and Hicks’ deaths were not only a bad ideas but how they died should’ve been ironed out better.  Newt shouldn’t have died but had been written out.  Second, Dance’s character shouldn’t have died so early in the film, especially since he was such a great character.  Third, how the film addresses Ripley being “impregnated” is just complete dog crap and should’ve been written better.  How did she get impregnated?  It makes no logical sense.  The maze running sequence is pretty epic and plenty suspenseful.  But it does feel like a wacky way to kill off the extra characters.  Even with the dog, no one ever mentions the dog after it gives birth to the alien.  The prison planet was an interesting idea but the film, characters, and story would’ve worked better with a setting with innocent people and not killers and criminals.  The ending scene with Ripley’s sacrifice is done well and works as a great conclusion. (2 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Alien 3 is a mess but it is a decent watch.  There is a lot wrong with the film mainly the bad script, bad CGI, and the lackluster characters.  However, there are some great performances by a good cast, great suspense, good use of practical effects, great music, and a good story.  Alien 3 gets 3 out of 5.

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