Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

ALIEN 3

Alien checks out Sigourney Weaver
ALIEN 3 (1992). Director: David Fincher. NOTE; This review is of the special expanded edition/assembly cut.

After the end of Aliens, Lt. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) escaped from LV-426 with the child, Newt, and Corporal Hicks. Unfortunately, it turns out that there was an alien on board, and the ship crash lands on Fury 161, a closed prison planetoid whose inhabitants have chosen to remain on this dismal world. As if she hadn't enough heartbreak, Ripley learns that Newt and Hicks have died, and discovers something even more horrifying about her medical condition. The company is still after a specimen of that dreadful alien species, and nothing else seems to matter, leading Ripley to make a moving sacrifice to save the lives of millions. Not overly loved at the time of its release, and with undeniable flaws, Alien 3 is actually a very good horror sci-fi flick with some excellent performances, interesting psychological elements, and adroit characterizations in the screenplay by Giler, Hill and Ferguson. The supporting characters include the medical officer, Clemens (Charles Dance), who has his own secrets; Dillon (Charles S. Dutton), who has turned the other cons into religious converts; the crazy Golic (Paul McGann), who sort of "bonds" with the alien; Aaron (Ralph Brown), a kind of warden who only wants to get back to his wife and kids; and others, who are vividly brought to life both by the script and the performances. Some creepy and suspenseful sequences as well. Elliot Goldenthal contributed an effective score; a nice touch is the way the 20th Century Fox fanfare at the opening ends on an ominous, sinister and sustained down-note. Followed by Alien: Resurrection.  Fincher also directed Gone Girl and Zodiac.

Verdict: A highly interesting mix of genres and characters with some fine performances. ***1/2.
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