ALIEN: RESURRECTION (1997) Reviews and overview

  

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‘Hell gives birth.’
Alien Resurrection is a 1997 science fiction action horror film in which Ellen Ripley is revived as a powerful human/alien hybrid clone. Two hundred years after her death, along with a crew of space pirates, she must again battle the deadly aliens and stop them from reaching Earth.

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Big Bug; MicmacsAmélie; The City of Lost ChildrenDelicatessen) from a screenplay written by Joss Whedon, based on characters created by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett.

The 20th Century Fox-Brandywine Productions movie stars Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, Michael Wincott, Kim Flowers, Dan Hedaya, J.E. Freeman, Brad Dourif and Raymond Cruz.

Reviews:
“The plot is little more than a routine monster movie, the one original plot point (involving the character of Ripley) not being exploited for its potential. Jeunet’s intriguing visual style spices up what is otherwise unimaginative, but it’s not quite enough. Still, fans of the genre (and those who can put the first two Alien films temporarily out of their minds) might find the film entertaining as a forgettable popcorn flick.” At-a-Glance Film Reviews

“Fierce, beautiful and sardonic, Ms Weaver makes an impressive linchpin for this series, even if she can’t make it palatable for the faint of heart. When Jeunet’s well-established taste for the grotesque yields an episode worthy of a circus sideshow, with hideously malformed creatures floating in glass containers and a grisly secret about Ripley’s past ready to emerge, not even Ms Weaver and her flamethrower can triumph over the sequence’s extreme nastiness.” The New York Times

The filmmaker’s ghoulishly fecund imagination makes this tale (a definite change of pace for the screenwriter Joss Whedon, who also wrote “Toy Story”) so murky that even the screen’s toughest woman warrior remains largely stuck in the mud.

Alien Resurrection has a bold, inventive style that occasionally compensates for story weaknesses. And, admittedly, there’s a certain visceral appeal to the action sequences. The problem is that the tension they generate is obligatory, not unique. The aliens aren’t scary anymore. Their ability to shock and frighten has been taken away, and no amount of gore can compensate for that.” Reel Views

“By refusing to let Ripley die and adding a number of ridiculous twists to the tale, Resurrection takes what was once a highly respected sci-fi series and turns it into hokey popcorn flick nonsense. If you just want to switch your mind off for two hours and enjoy a silly creature feature, then Alien: Resurrection should have you covered as it isn’t terrible at what it does.” That Was a Bit Mental

“Despite the critical drubbing, the fanboy backlash, and box office failure of Alien Resurrection, I still think it’s pretty great. It’s a fresh take on the material and effectively gets rid of the bad taste in your mouth left by Alien3. If you saw it years ago and didn’t like it, give it another shot. This is one movie that’s ripe for rediscovery. Or resurrection.” The Video Vacuum

Plot:

Two hundred years after the events of Alien 3, United Systems Military scientists on the space vessel USM Auriga create a clone of Ellen Ripley, designated Ripley 8, using DNA from blood samples taken before her death. The Xenomorph queen’s DNA has been combined with Ripley’s, so the clone grows up with an embryo inside it.

The scientists extract the embryo, raise it, and collect its eggs while keeping Ripley 8 alive for further study. As a result of the Xenomorphs’ DNA inside her, the clone has enhanced strength and reflexes, somewhat acidic blood, and a psychic link with the Xenomorphs. Additionally, the Xenomorph’s genetic memory allows the clone to have some of Ripley’s memories.

A group of mercenaries consisting of Elgyn, Johner, Christie, Vriess, Hillard, and Call arrives at Auriga on their ship Betty. They deliver several abducted humans in stasis. The military scientists use the humans as hosts for the aliens, raising several adult Xenomorphs for study.

The Betty crew soon encounters Ripley 8. Annalee Call recognizes her name and tries to kill her, suspecting that Ripley 8 may be used to create Xenomorphs, but the creatures have already been cloned. The now mature Xenomorphs, being aware of their blood’s acidic properties from the aforementioned genetic memory, escape confinement by killing off one of their own to use its acidic blood to burn through their enclosures. They then capture Doctor Jonathan Gediman and kill a second scientist. They damage the Auriga and kill some of those people who failed to evacuate, including General Perez and Elgyn. Another crew member is captured and cocooned for egg morphing.

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Military scientist Doctor Wren reveals that the ship’s default command in an emergency is to return to Earth. Realizing that this will unleash the Xenomorphs on Earth, Ripley 8, the mercenaries, Wren, a Marine named Distephano, and surviving Xenomorph host Purvis, decide to head for the Betty and use it to destroy the Auriga. Along the way, Ripley 8 discovers a laboratory containing the grotesque results of the previous seven failed attempts to clone Ellen Ripley. The surviving one begs Ripley 8 to euthanise her; she complies and then incinerates the lab and its contents.

As the group makes their way through the damaged ship, they swim through a flooded kitchen. They are chased by two Xenomorphs. One is killed, while the other snatches Hillard. As they escape the kitchen, the Xenomorph returns and blinds Christie, who sacrifices himself to kill the Xenomorph, so the others can escape.

After Wren betrays the group, Call is revealed to be an auton, an improved version of a human created by synthetics. Using her ability to interface with the Auriga’s systems, Call sets it on a collision course with Earth, hoping to destroy the Xenomorphs in the crash. She cuts off Wren’s escape route and directs the Xenomorphs towards him. Ripley 8 is captured by a Xenomorph, while the others head for the Betty.

Wren, who is already aboard, shoots Purvis, takes Call hostage and demands that she abort the collision. An injured Purvis attacks Wren and forces Wren’s head to his chest just as the Xenomorph embryo that he is carrying bursts through his ribcage, causing it to go through Wren’s head too, killing them both. The survivors shoot and kill the juvenile Xenomorph.

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Ripley is taken to the Alien nest, where she finds Gediman, still alive and partially cocooned. The Alien Queen, having developed a uterus as a result of her genetic contamination with Ripley 8, gives birth to a Xenomorph with overtly human traits. Unable to bond with the Queen, the hybrid Xenomorph recognizes Ripley 8 as its mother, so it kills the Alien Queen and Gediman. Ripley 8 takes advantage of the distraction to escape and makes her way to the Betty.

The Betty crew struggle to take off, which gives Ripley 8 enough time to reach the ship and jump on. While they further struggle, the hybrid boards, unbeknownst to the crew. The Betty can’t take off because the computer says the hatch is still open, Call goes to close the hatch. When she attempts to close the hatch she runs into the hybrid, who closes the hatch while she runs and hides.

Distephano goes to check on her and is killed by the hybrid. Ripley 8 goes to check on them and runs into the hybrid, she saves Call by distracting the hybrid. Using her acidic blood, Ripley 8 melts a hole in a window and pushes the hybrid towards it. The decompression violently blows the creature through the hole and out into space, killing it as Ripley 8 tearfully watches on.

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The countdown on the Auriga continues as the survivors escape in the Betty. The Auriga collides with Earth, causing a large explosion. As they look down at Earth, Call asks what Ripley 8 wants to do next. “I don’t know. I’m a stranger here myself,” she replies.

Cast (in credits order):
Sigourney Weaver … Ripley
Winona Ryder … Call
Dominique Pinon … Vriess
Ron Perlman … Johner
Gary Dourdan … Christie
Michael Wincott … Elgyn
Kim Flowers … Hillard
Dan Hedaya … General Perez
J.E. Freeman … Doctor Wren
Brad Dourif … Gediman
Raymond Cruz … Distephano
Leland Orser … Purvis
Carolyn Campbell … Anesthesiologist
Marlene Bush … Scientist
David St. James … Surgeon

Technical details:
1 hour 49 minutes
Audio: DTS | Dolby Digital
Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1

Budget and box office:
Alien Resurrection took $161.4 million globally on a reported budget of $70 million.

Trailer:

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