The third installment of the Alien film franchise is one of the most controversial films ever with a lot of potential that just didn’t come to together for some people. Alien 3 was released in 1992 and starts with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Newt, Hicks, and the android Bishop (Lance Henriksen) all being launched out of the Colonial Marine spaceship Sulaco after a fire is started by an alien facehugger on the ship. Their pod lands on Fiorina “Fury” 161, home to a penal colony with only male inmates who are mostly rapists and murderers. Ripley is the only survivor of the four passengers and is found on the beach by the facility’s doctor Jonathan Clemens (Charles Dance). The rest of the film takes place in the prison with another alien facehugger impregnating an Ox, producing a bigger and faster Xenomorph that moves on all fours. The alien terrorizes the prisoners who must join with Ripley to find some way to destroy the creature. The Weyland Company eventually enters the picture with their usual agenda of wanting to capture the Xenomorph and use it for the weapons division.
The biggest problem that most people have with this movie is the death of Newt and Hicks. A lot of fans loved those characters and didn’t like the hard left turn the film took by killing them. The drama between director David Fincher and the studio is also well documented. Fincher feels like the film he truly wanted to make was never realized and doesn’t discuss the film in interviews. An assembly cut was released in 2003 that added 31 minutes to film and is closer to Fincher’s original vision for the film. I specifically used this version for the review. The tone and pace of the film is a little off with the beginning hour of the film being much more interesting than the second half to me. I think this is mainly due to most of the prisoner characters not being much to care about or be interested in. Weaver is great as Ripley again and Dance is also good as Clemens. Charles S. Dutton is good as Dillon, the spiritual leader of the prisoners who have mostly taken to religion in their time in the prison.
The film has medieval look and feel to it. One of prisoners even says a “dragon” killed someone after he saw a Xenomorph attack. The alien it’s self doesn’t look good at times, specifically when it is running. The suit used for the creature works but the puppet for when it runs looks like it belongs in a different film. I think that this film works as a decent or good film that had the potential to be great and still has great aspects to it. This film has the misfortune of following two of the greatest films in sci-fi history and was most likely never to going to measure up.
Written by: James Howey