Friday, July 06, 2012
This post inaugurates a new feature in which I will look back at previous movies in a franchise as the occasion warrants. With Prometheus still fresh in memory, I thought it would be fun to look back at the Alien films.
Alien (1979): Well, what else is there to say, really? I honestly can't think of another truly shocking scare that, since 1979, has entered the zeitgeist the way the chest-burster scene has. Regarding the special edition, I find it and the theatrical cut about a wash. The demise of the Dallas scene is a fascinating addition, but it's not absolutely essential. GRADE: A+
Aliens (1986): Still my favorite of the series, simply because I like action films better than horror films, and that's what the difference is in the first two films when you get down to it. The special edition is the superior cut; Cameron cut back too far when he deleted the references to Ripley's daughter, which gives her scenes with Newt more pathos. However, I would have still left the initial look at LV-426 on the cutting room floor - it diminishes the introduction of Newt. Either way, this still gets my vote as James Cameron's best film. GRADE: A+
Alien 3: Yeah, the third film is overly murky and logic gaps abound. You really expect us to believe the Alien queen laid an egg during the brief time it was on the Sulaco? Whatever. All that said, I find the film underrated, in both its theatrical cut and its more fleshed-out expanded edition. Neither version is what David Fincher really wanted, but it's a fascinating glimpse of the director forming his style, and the ending packs a wallop. GRADE: B+
Alien Resurrection: On sheer visual style alone, I have to recommend the movie. It's full of many imaginative visual quirks that are obviously from Jean-Pierre Jeunat. the director of Delicatessan and The City of Lost Children and, later, Amelie. I also admire Sigourney Weaver's half-human/half-alien performance. But the scares are more based on gross-out than suspense, and the ending (one of many scripted) does not work at all. GRADE: B-
Prometheus: Still my choice for the best film of this year. Read my full review here.