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A standup fight, or another bughunt?
December 11, 2008 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Aliens vs Predator: Whoever wins, you lose - MeFi's own jscalzi talks about the worst Sci-Fi film of the year. Meanwhile Sigourney Weaver and Ridley Scott suggest making another alien movie - with Ripley but without any aliens. It's may not be all bad news for xenomorphs though - 2009 will see the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines is still just around the corner, hopefully.
posted by Artw (412 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
The distance between Weaver and Scott gabbing about another Ripley movie and another Ripley movie being made is not a negligible distance.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:45 PM on December 11, 2008


No problem, Joe.... Ripley's really good at waiting.
posted by rokusan at 12:50 PM on December 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


Yeah, it;s interesting talk but I do suspect that whatever new horrible thing happens to the franchise it will not be this new horrible thing.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I still like AvP:R (the second one) so much more than the first one. It's more honest.

They should've just made the original comic.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:50 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


slimepuppy - but that had space and spaceships, and viewers don't like space and spaceships.
posted by Artw at 12:53 PM on December 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


Aliens is what makes me desperately want a Heckler and Koch VP70z.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:54 PM on December 11, 2008


I'll confess that I actually enjoyed AvP:2 a whole lot. It's not a great -- or even remotely good -- movie, but it delivered in ways that the first one didn't come close to. For chrissakes, the "Predalien" goes on a rampage in a maternity ward. What more can you ask for?
posted by brundlefly at 12:55 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I take this opportunity to remind any gamers out there that have not yet played AVP2 on the PC to go out now and do so.

The human campaign perfectly captures the 'outnumbered and outclassed' claustrophobic atmosphere of the first two films in a way that the last two movies just didn't. The alien campaign is ridiculously fun and loaded with fan service, including the chance to actually play as a chest-burster during a chest-bursting. The predator campaign lets you play as the god-amongst-aliens interstellar bad-ass itself, wrecking havoc on the population of humans and aliens alike.

This game is like the boiled-down essence of my favorite teenage memories, purified, melted and mainlined with a dirty needle of complete awesomeness.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:55 PM on December 11, 2008 [9 favorites]


Aliens is what makes me desperately want a Heckler and Koch VP70z.

That would've been one way to prevent the crappy sequels.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:57 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


brundlefly, you had me at Predalien.
posted by saul wright at 12:59 PM on December 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


Aliens is what makes me desperately want a Heckler and Koch VP70z.

If I hadn't been smitten with her already, I would have been besmote by Sigourney Weaver when she expressed her belief that the fetishization of weaponry found in Aliens would date it. Which struck me as an incredibly insightful thing for an actress to say.

Having watched it again last week, I'd say that the gun-lust doesn't date it as much as Paul Reiser's hair. But Sigourney is still awesome.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:01 PM on December 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


'outnumbered and outclassed' claustrophobic atmosphere of the first two films

The first movie, 'Alien', had pretty much the same premise as the third movie(...except for the part where she had an alien gestating inside her for the whole movie and did not even know it...what was the deal with that?!)
posted by P.o.B. at 1:03 PM on December 11, 2008


You must understand, the predalien is both an alien and a predator. In act three he is defeated by the combined wits of Lou Dobbs and Chris Hansen.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:04 PM on December 11, 2008 [29 favorites]


The first movie, 'Alien', had pretty much the same premise as the third movie(...except for the part where she had an alien gestating inside her for the whole movie and did not even know it...what was the deal with that?!)

But the first movie got it right, and the third movie sucked. The game is a good mix between the first movie's suspense, and the second's awesome gunplay.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:07 PM on December 11, 2008


Alien3 was originally going to be on a hollow wooden planet full of monks. True story.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:08 PM on December 11, 2008


here
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:09 PM on December 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Aliens is what makes me desperately want a Heckler and Koch VP70z.

While we're on the subject, let me toss in a plug for the Internet Movie Firearms Database - which helpfully explains why Hicks getting acid-blood on himself after shooting an Alien with a shotgun is an error:
in reality, a direct shotgun blast would NOT splatter any blood "towards the shooter" or "to the sides". The force alone would direct all brain and blood splatter AWAY from the shooter. All one has to do is look a real life crime scene photos of shotgun blasts to the head. All particles or viscera are blown away from the barrel, none are to the front and very little if any is to the sides.
I trust there are no further questions.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:11 PM on December 11, 2008 [13 favorites]


I think that was after it was going to be written by William Gibson and have an alien exploding out of someones head.

As noted above, the correct way to do both any sequels to Aliens or any AVP films would have been to just do the comics.
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on December 11, 2008


Let's not forget William Gibsons' "Aliens as a virus that makes you rip off your skin" script...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:12 PM on December 11, 2008


Third movie wasn't that bad. The fourth movie...now that sucked!
posted by P.o.B. at 1:12 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


But the first movie got it right, and the third movie sucked.

Well, the third movie has a lot of problems, but I'm in that "it didn't suck" camp. But you're right about the different feel between it and Alien, though I think that's as much intentional as anything:

By the third film, Ripley knows these things, knows what they can do, knows the odds, and is tired. She's exhausted by what they've done to her—they've literally ruined her life. So whereas Alien gave us a crew of unarmed, frightened civilians against an unknown quantity, Alien3 gives us instead that same quantity and another frightened crew, but also a central, driven, angry leader. It's a fundamentally different sort of engagement.

It was good luck that Ripley survived the first film. It was bad luck that she didn't in the third—bad luck that went down before the film even opened.
posted by cortex at 1:16 PM on December 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


Third movie wasn't that bad. The fourth movie...now that sucked!

Blashphemy!

Actually, I have no idea why I preferred the fourth movie to the third. I think my expectations were so high for number three, that I had some sort of rebound and expected little-to-nothing for number four.

I also kinda had a thing for Winona Ryder...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:18 PM on December 11, 2008


The third movie wasn't great, but the fourth movie bored me. For an actioner, that is inexcusable. (also: the latest Bond movie bored me. Both made me seriously consider going to sleep)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:19 PM on December 11, 2008


You know what it is about the third that I hated as well, cortex? They killed Newt and Hicks. They didn't need to, they had an incredible number of options and possibilities for them in the new movie, and it was all wasted.

Newt and Hicks dying was basically a great big fuck off from the writers as far as I was concerned.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:20 PM on December 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


A good assessment by cortex. A breakdown that I would have imagined to give us a far better film than what it really did. It's hard not to blame this film for derailing the subsequent 3 that came along because it just seemed to lose the audience and they've been fighting to regain it ever since. (bitter)
posted by jwakawaka at 1:21 PM on December 11, 2008


I liked Alien: Resurrection. (And to fend off the common retort, I am not a fan of most of Joss Whedon's work.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:21 PM on December 11, 2008


The fourth movie...now that sucked!

The fourth movie didn't suck either, it was just wasn't an Aliens movie, exactly. Instead of calling it Alien: Resurrection, they should have called it Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "L'Hybride".

Or possibly Aliene.
posted by cortex at 1:22 PM on December 11, 2008 [28 favorites]


The force alone would direct all brain and blood splatter AWAY from the shooter.

All this means is that aliens have acid for blood AND their innards are under substantial pressure inside their exoskeletons.

Why do so many people have a hate-on for Paul WS Anderson? For me, seeing his name attached to something is a sure sign of some solidly entertaining crap.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:24 PM on December 11, 2008


The 4th movie was like an experiment to see what combination of awesome talent could produce the worst result. That said, I kind of liked it up to the Mr. Blobby alien.
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on December 11, 2008


Well, the ending to the fourth was terrible. The chase scenes were pretty cool.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:26 PM on December 11, 2008


It's hard not to blame this film for derailing the subsequent 3 that came along because it just seemed to lose the audience and they've been fighting to regain it ever since. (bitter)

I completely know where you are coming from jwakawaka. This series has always had so much promise, and since #3 it has been misstep after misstep. The fact that it still has any sort of relevance speaks volumes about the impact of the first two movies.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:27 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


WinnipegDragon: "Newt and Hicks dying was basically a great big fuck off from the writers as far as I was concerned."

Yea, I never really got past that. Killing off Newt made the who emotional/maternal arc of the second movie meaningless.
posted by octothorpe at 1:30 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know what it is about the third that I hated as well, cortex? They killed Newt and Hicks.

If you accept the idea of the three films as an epic tragedy, it's an understandable move. It bummed me out too, and I'd love to see the alternate universe film where they didn't do that, but as framing for the dead-end horror existentialism that I think is at the core of the alien as an interesting, original monster (rather than just a really good space bug), it works.

Ripley being a badass can't make everything okay, and the story of the films is not one of ever-escalating badassness and immunity. She spends two films becoming hardcore and finishes that off with a kind of ultimate-badass integrity at the end of the third film, and I read that as being essentially the best anyone could hope for while staring into the great gaping jaws of madness that a universe with the aliens in it would represent.

I think a lot of people were disappointed that the third film didn't escalate, that there was no second, better-engineered deathstar for a new squad of good guys to take down with even more impressive hijinks. People were raring for another Cameron film, mostly, and that's not hard to understand with Aliens having been so much goddam fun. And so the big disappointment with the claustrophic drama of the third isn't surprising. I just happen to think it was the right overall decision.
posted by cortex at 1:31 PM on December 11, 2008 [16 favorites]


AVP:R itself is heads and shoulders above AVP as far as both Aliens and Predator fans should be concerned. AVP was simply a mistake. But! Would you like to feel an even higher level of respect for AVP:R? Please first watch Aliens Verses Hunter. It's a direct ripoff from the fellas that also brought you such gems as I Am Omega and Transmorphers. You WILL believe a group of people can walk... forward.

That said I would eagerly watch a Ripley movie- monsters or no. I saw Aliens with my mother when I was 13 or so years old and that little eyeroll of exasperation Weaver does when Ripley is facing down the Queen in her laying room cemented- well, both of them into my personal pantheon of awesome.
posted by cheap paper at 1:31 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


The fourth movie is The Poseidon Adventure. It was Whedon's template in making it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:33 PM on December 11, 2008


Even the film's Predator doesn't have a clue what he's doing

Hahaha, yes. That ruined the movie for me. Well, so did other things, but a proper badass predator would have redeemed it somewhat.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first AVP. It had a frigging Mayan temple full of aliens under the ice of Antarctica, fer chrissake. The set design, action and effects kept me from scoffing at the cardboard characters and token dialogue. It was a good old ball of funcheese.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:36 PM on December 11, 2008


If you accept the idea of the three films as an epic tragedy, it's an understandable move.

But don't you think that the second movie took it out of that realm? If the second was more like the first, then the expectations for number three would have been met.

The whole horror/action/horror/action cycle just confused what should have been a great series.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:36 PM on December 11, 2008


Finally an Alien post on Metafilter and I'm in the middle of finals.

It's hard not to blame this film for derailing the subsequent 3 that came along because it just seemed to lose the audience and they've been fighting to regain it ever since. (bitter)

So much so. I was a huge fan of the comics (tell me this image doesn't capture the feel of the second movie perfectly) and I was eagerly awaiting the third movie to be everything I imagined. Alien was great, Aliens was greater, Alien 3 would be amazing...especially with that "On earth everyone will hear you scream"

I tried to pretend it was good. It wasn't. I've changed my mind since then a bit, especially with the release of the workprint, but it's still such a let down.
posted by Brainy at 1:37 PM on December 11, 2008


explains why Hicks getting acid-blood on himself after shooting an Alien with a shotgun is an error:

Hicks gets acid blood on himself after using a pulse rifle on the alien (in very close quarters as it's coming towards him... and it's an alien so human anatomy rules don't apply etc)

In the other cases people get splashed with acid when the alien is shot by someone else (Drake / Vasquez and Hudson/Hicks). Not that I'm obsessed or anything or just checked it on the DVD...

If you watch the extended cut on Alien3 it becomes pretty much serviceable (I won't go as far as good). After that it's just varying levels of garbage...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:37 PM on December 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


The first AVP movie was terrible.

I wholeheartedly disagree with this. It wasn't very good, but it's a long way from terrible. It had some decent actors, the locations, sets and props were all pretty good, it used a bit of cleverness (Lance Henriksen playing Weyland ties nicely into why the president of this company looks exactly like Bishop from 2 and 3) and most importantly, the scene where the Predator realizes that the human girl might be useful in a fight and provides her with a shield, is awesome. Like cheer-worthy "fuck yeah" cool.

It was written and helmed by Paul W.S. Anderson, a director of such general hackery...

With all due respect to jscalzi, I've got to completely disagree here as well. Even ignoring that Anderson did Soldier and Event Horizon, two movies I feel really did some neat things with the typical science fiction conventions, I'll simply point to the first Resident Evil as an example of why he shouldn't ever be ignored. For better or worse, it hammered home the fact that a video game movie could actually stand on it's own, and it helped to completely revitalized the zombie franchise as we know it. It played with ideas from games, like wire-frame map screens, and figured out a way to incorporate them seamlessly into the film in a way that both makes sense, and gives the viewer a sense of how utterly fucked the characters actually are.

Now the second one, AVP:R... well, I didn't completely hate it, but the less I'm reminded of it, the better.
posted by quin at 1:40 PM on December 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


Killing off Newt made the who emotional/maternal arc of the second movie meaningless.

Then again, some of the foundation of that arc hit the cutting room floor for Aliens—the theatrical cut never established Ripley's motherhood in the first place, right? So instead we're left with this relationship between this fairly cold and businesslike woman and this young girl, and the maternal stuff is there as it's developed.

There's no context of Ripley's actual motherhood, that she had had a daughter, one Newt's age, who grew old and died while Ripley was in suspension. And given the kind of Lady Rambo thing her character has going on, I think the change with having that included is pretty significant as far as how the audience perceives her character.

If all that had been in the second film as released theatrically, I think killing Newt off as it was done would have been unforgivable. As it is, it's just kind of bullshit.
posted by cortex at 1:42 PM on December 11, 2008


An Aliens movie without Aliens how ridiculous! That would be like a Planet of the Apes movie without any Apes. Oh.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 1:42 PM on December 11, 2008


You know what it is about the third that I hated as well, cortex? They killed Newt and Hicks. They didn't need to, they had an incredible number of options and possibilities for them in the new movie, and it was all wasted.

I used to feel like that. Then I saw the newer cut in the most recent box set.

Alien 3 isn't a horror movie, it's a tragedy.

Aliens is sort of about Ripley recovering from what happened to her in Alien, and learning to live again after all she'd lost (though you have to know that her daughter had grown old and died while she floated around in Narcissus). She recovers her courage, she establishes some sort of relationship with Hicks (doesn't need to be romantic, just that she can rely on someone) and Newt crudely replaces her lost Amanda since one kid is as good as another*.

And in Alien 3, all that's taken away, right off the bat. She's come through the other side, faced her demons and conquered them, but they won anyway. The rest of the movie plays out what happens to you when you go to sleep after your victory and wake to ashes.

Changes in the newer cut reinforce this.

Evcyrl naq gur cevfbaref fhpprffshyyl pncgher gur nyvra nsgre vgf vavgvny xvyyvat fcerr. Gurl qb jung gur perj bs gur Abfgebzb naq n cyngbba bs Znevarf pbhyqa'g qb: gurl pnyzyl naq rssvpvragyl qrsnat gur nyvra nsgre gurve vavgvny pbagnpg. Ohg gura Cnhy ZpTnaa, orvat n penml crefba, guvaxf gung vg'f Tbq naq yrgf vg bhg fb gung ur pna unir n pung jvgu vg. Fb fur'f orngra gur nyvra bar zber gvzr, naq rira gung trgf fgevccrq sebz ure.

*This probably makes sense to Cameron given how disposable he seems to think wives are.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:42 PM on December 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


The Alien series (1-4) is one that features surprising depth and intellectualism. I wrote a paper at some point a long time ago on them, but its at my home computer. I really love the films. And sure gross alien(s) kill people. But the first is probably my favorite horror film of all time (and a top sci-fi entry too). The second is a hell of a action film and keeps up enough of the interesting thematics (transition to motherhood, etc) for me to be happy. The third is an underrated entry that falls mostly victim to having simply followed the two excellent films before it. Especially with the feeling of "expansion" and getting a bigger picture of the world in Aliens, it was a major letdown in Alien 3 when the universe was contracted (not to mention killing off of surviving characters). The fourth was also surprisingly fun and interesting.

and then... AVP.

I hate Paul W.S. Anderson's work with the passion of a thousand suns. It's just so insanely poor I can't get over it. Most of the time he just fails to get the possible good stuff out of video games (and it can be done you know, it's just no one has really hired a good director/screenwriter to do it yet). And that's fine. But to do THAT to the alien series is just... just unspeakable. (yes AVP was a game, but c'mon). It was a completely awful, completely neutered film. I don't get angry very much when I watch films, but I was had such vitirol watching AVP unfold that I felt sick to my stomach.

AVP 2, was also terrible but a correction none the less. When you seek to make an action/horror movie and you know it's not going to be taught suspense or anything, then: be shameless, have fun with it, go overboard. Basically just make it rock. And AVP2 did that fine enough.

Still...

What a terrible shame. I'd love one last apocolyptic look at the Alien series, or even something new. It is a great universe.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 1:45 PM on December 11, 2008


Yea, I never really got past that. Killing off Newt made the who emotional/maternal arc of the second movie meaningless.

Ditto. It is completely inconceivable to me that a professional could think it a good idea to start his script in such a way that completely nullifies what happened in the first two movies. I mean, it's not like these were obscure art house pieces that nobody would care about; it's like pulling a PHANTOM MENACE except deliberately instead of because you suck at movies like Lucas.

It's like putting out a sequel to "It's a Wonderful Life" where George Bailey wakes up the next morning to find out his whole family was killed by a tornado while he slept. And expecting the audience not to care that you just dropped a giant steaming turd on a movie that a lot of people really loved.

It was worse than a crime, it was a mistake. One a child could have seen through.
posted by Justinian at 1:45 PM on December 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


If all that had been in the second film as released theatrically, I think killing Newt off as it was done would have been unforgivable.

No way. If they'd left those bits in Aliens, killing off Newt and Hicks would have been even more important to establishing the awful, numbing tragedy of the place she wakes up in. And doing it the way that they did -- with just a casual fuck-you-they-died -- would be the right way to do it. No "GO ON WITHOUT ME" moments, no last words, just wake up and they're dead.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:46 PM on December 11, 2008 [9 favorites]


I disliked Newt as a character and was glad to see her go.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:48 PM on December 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


Alien 3 isn't a horror movie, it's a tragedy.

Xenophobe, I understand what you're saying. But that's something that works much better in a novel (CONSIDER PHLEBAS, for example, which I would assume you're familiar with) but is doomed to failure in a film series, particularly one like Alien/Aliens where the previous films don't lend themselves to such a reworking.

Films are not novels, and the writers, director, and producers should have known that no-one was going to buy what they were selling.
posted by Justinian at 1:49 PM on December 11, 2008


Kid Charlemagne : Aliens is what makes me desperately want a Heckler and Koch VP70z.

I still have every intention of having one of these in my firearms collection at some point in my life. Specifically because of its roll in this film. Kinda the same way I want to take a MAC-10 and build Blade's pistol.
posted by quin at 1:49 PM on December 11, 2008


justinian, I agree that that's why A3 is the least popular, and why people dislike it.

But it's goooooood. It took me a while to admit it, but it's really good. People didn't buy what Fincher was selling, and Fincher and Fox should have known that, but people should have bought it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:53 PM on December 11, 2008


Did ROU_Xenophobe have a seizure or something?
posted by bonecrusher at 1:54 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'll simply point to the first Resident Evil as an example of why he shouldn't ever be ignored.

Beaten in front of a studio audience instead?

For better or worse,

Worse.

it hammered home the fact that a video game movie could actually stand on it's own,

Sorta. Kinda. It wandered pretty goddam far from the source material and was pretty dreck in the mean time. Not a total disaster, but not really something I'd hold up as a portrait of "a video game move" that could "stand on it's own".

Being better than Uwe Boll does not count as being good.

I say all this as a long-suffering gamer and RE nerd who goes to see these shitters anyway and enjoys the stupid fun aspect of 'em. I do not come to this opinion lightly.

and it helped to completely revitalized the zombie franchise as we know it.

Oh hell no. The other way around, at best—the recent slow revitalization of the zombie franchise was probably one of the reasons RE, addled mess of a no-win gamers-vs-moviegoers spectacle that it was, ever got greenlit in the first place.
posted by cortex at 1:54 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


But that's something that works much better in a novel (CONSIDER PHLEBAS, for example, which I would assume you're familiar with) but is doomed to failure in a film series

Oh no, please don't take my Culture movie franchise dreams away from me
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:55 PM on December 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


am the only one who didn't like the second Alien movie? The first one was scary because one alien was almost unbeatable. In the second they're all over the place getting picked off like flies. boring. they ruined a great monster. plus it's just such an obvious sequel ploy. one is bad? how about a zillion!
posted by sineater at 1:55 PM on December 11, 2008


Did ROU_Xenophobe have a seizure or something?

rot13.com awesoma powa!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:56 PM on December 11, 2008


And I have to disagree that killing her off made the maternal arc in Aliens go away or become meaningless -- the scene with Newt's autopsy relies heavily on the bond established bewteen Ripley and Newt, and on Ripley's acceptance of her as a daughteroid.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:56 PM on December 11, 2008


It's certainly very brown.

TBH, assides from the Newt thing, it was the faliure of the moltern lead to kill the alien that annoyed me the most. I mean, you can kill them with a flamethrower, so the heat should do something, and you can shoot them, so the crushing weight ought to do something, but no, it has to leap out so we can have the clever-clever thing with the sprinkler.

Not too keen on the whole aliens-use-host-DNA thing either.
posted by Artw at 1:56 PM on December 11, 2008


The fourth movie didn't suck either, it was just wasn't an Aliens movie, exactly. Instead of calling it Alien: Resurrection, they should have called it Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "L'Hybride".

This is so dead on.

I hated, hated, hated Alien: Resurrection until I watched it on DVD with the French language soundtrack and English subtitles for laughs - in effect, as a French movie. And suddenly a lot of things that had irritated me - the little guy in the wheelchair, Dan Hedaya's bug-eyed close-ups - kinda made sense.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:57 PM on December 11, 2008


I don't think I've seen rot13-ed text in 15 years. (mark, then g? in Vim, btw).
posted by bonecrusher at 1:58 PM on December 11, 2008


Wow, I never imagined my mind would be changed about Alien 3. And now I find myself needing to watch it again to see if I experience it differently having read cortex and ROU_Xenophobe's comments about it.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:00 PM on December 11, 2008


But it's goooooood. It took me a while to admit it, but it's really good. People didn't buy what Fincher was selling, and Fincher and Fox should have known that, but people should have bought it.

Eh. I come back to the point that movies are not books. What works within a book, and a story arc like they tried in ALIENS 3 might work quite well within a book, does not necessarily work with a film series. A great filmmaker might have made it work within a (long) movie; I think Jesus himself would have had trouble making it work with a 6 year gap between movies. The medium just doesn't lend itself to what they tried to do.

On another note, do I still have to call them "films" now that many never come anywhere near film stock? "Movies" sounds so informal and "Motion picture" sounds so old. So what do I call them instead of films?
posted by Justinian at 2:00 PM on December 11, 2008


Did ROU_Xenophobe have a seizure or something?

I thought it was a tribute to the Lovecraftian nature of the Aliens films.
posted by Artw at 2:01 PM on December 11, 2008


The other way around, at best—the recent slow revitalization of the zombie franchise was probably one of the reasons RE, addled mess of a no-win gamers-vs-moviegoers spectacle that it was, ever got greenlit in the first place.

Which zombie movies are you thinking of that came out long enough before 2002 to have been responsible for RE being greenlit, but distinct enough from the burst in the 80s to be a revitalization?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:02 PM on December 11, 2008


Note that I agree with cortex that another escalation in scale over Aliens would have been the wrong move. Returning to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the first was probably the right decision. But that could have been accomplished in innumerable ways without killing Hicks and Newt, offscreen, as almost an afterthought. Hell, just leave them frozen in their cryosleep pods for the whole movie if you have to. Handwave something about a problem where they'll die if you wake them up without a fully staffed trauma unit and so they can't be woken. I don't care.
posted by Justinian at 2:03 PM on December 11, 2008


> Killing off Newt made the who emotional/maternal arc of the second movie meaningless.

That was one of my favourite things about the third movie (which I had mixed feelings about, but haven't seen since it was in theatres). Newt was a cute lil' stand-in for the "helpless girlfriend character who exists only to be rescued by the hero" common to action movies; the fact that she was a kid and the hero was a woman gave the dynamic a tiny bit of gravitas (motherhood!), but not enough that I felt she did anything more than get in the way. Was acing her before the credits were even over a big "fuck you" from the writers? Hell yes, but it didn't bother me any.

> It's like putting out a sequel to "It's a Wonderful Life" where George Bailey wakes up the next morning to find out his whole family was killed by a tornado while he slept.

*scribbles this down in a notebook marked "SCREENPLAY IDEAS"*
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:03 PM on December 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


I liked RE because it had an onscreen map. I always like onscreen maps.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on December 11, 2008


Which zombie movies are you thinking of that came out long enough before 2002 to have been responsible for RE being greenlit, but distinct enough from the burst in the 80s to be a revitalization?

Whichever ones, if any, support my assertion. Please let me know if you find some, because now that I think about the timing more carefully I suspect I may be up a creek on that bit. But I'd like to wildly flail about here for a moment with the argument that the zombie rejuvenation itself was happening if only in the collective subconscious of zombie fans everywhere, and that Anderson remains a huge bucket of suck whose weird mangling of the RE franchise doesn't count for nothin' good in this world, and also that he is poopy.
posted by cortex at 2:07 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm actually bored of zombies now, who would have seen that coming?
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on December 11, 2008


I am a fan of Paul WS Anderson because he makes such anabashed trash, And there is a difference between trash and crap, although that difference is mostly a matter of what you find entertaining.

I also like him because I always get his named confused with Paul Thomas Anderson's, and I find it entertaining to imagine that the director of There Will Be Blood has a parallel career churning out sleazy actioners.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:12 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Was acing her before the credits were even over a big "fuck you" from the writers?

From what we hear, Hollywood screenwriters don't have a twentieth as much creative control as this question suggests.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:14 PM on December 11, 2008


Of course he also did the fuck-awful Punch Drunk Love.
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on December 11, 2008


cortex : Oh hell no. The other way around, at best—the recent slow revitalization of the zombie franchise was probably one of the reasons RE, addled mess of a no-win gamers-vs-moviegoers spectacle that it was, ever got greenlit in the first place.

I don't know, looking at this suggests that the only other movie that came along around that time was 28 days later, everything before that looks like B movie fluff for quite a few years. I'd say that it was the success of these two that reminded the studios that zombies are still viable scare material. (rage fueled Londoners not being zombies, notwithstanding.)

Now I'll be the first to admit that the subsequent Resident Evil movies sucked pretty hard. But I thought the first worked really well. The sense of claustrophobia, the characters not really knowing what was going on, just that bad shit was happening, the sort of cold blooded logic of the computer in trying to lock in the virus.

I guess it all comes back to the scene where there is a silent shot of Michelle Rodriguez holding her bloody hand out in space taunting them, and then it pulls back with a crash of noise, and you see a couple of dozen frantic zombies below, all freaking out trying to get her. It was an honestly powerful moment for me.

For that shot alone, I'll forgive a lot.
posted by quin at 2:14 PM on December 11, 2008


On failing to preview, I see that cortex is flailing like a scary undead windmill on this so I'll step back.
posted by quin at 2:17 PM on December 11, 2008


Ironically, it was me assuming that 28 Days Later had come out significantly after RE that had me feeling as despairing as I was about my argument; I'd say that 28DL was a profoundly more influential film on the zombie-rejuv front than RE could hope to be, so I'm going to harumph meaningfully about that now and reduce my flailing to a mild simmer.
posted by cortex at 2:22 PM on December 11, 2008


I have to 2nd “joyless, depressing bad.”
Nothing happening, nothing happening, too dark to see what’s happening. Something’s happening! - but it’s too blurry. Aaand now it’s dark again.

(also, you want the vp70m, not the z, but if you’re going to actually shoot an alien, you’d want the Mk23. It shoots .45 ACP +P’s rather than the vp70’s 9mm, and the Mk23 is supremely accurate (out of the box almost as good as my customed out 1911), where the vp70’s got a heavy trigger pull, tends to throw off accuracy. For all around “looks cool” coolness I’d get a match grade Mk23 or go with the P11 - plus, it shoots underwater)

“The force alone would direct all brain and blood splatter AWAY from the shooter.”

Pfft. Anything looks like an error if you’re going to use obey, y’know, the laws of physics.

The whole Aliens and Predator series have had problems making the switch between horror and action. Aliens is more horror-y and Predator is more action-y. But I do dislike the humanity as victim-centric thing going on. I mean, Ripley, et.al. have to be exceptional humans and therefore, the victims. There has to be something there that’s tragic in loss.
Otherwise, you have just two species competing, and stepping back, humans are far-far scarier as monsters. We really would nuke Predators along with our own people. We really would look to weaponize and tame Aliens - and why? to use against other humans(!)
So it can’t just be a small group of shnooks ambling around. We really won’t care if all we have in common with them is that we’re human. Or if the characters don’t have lives, if they’re just there to die.
And I think that’s what they lost (writers or whomever) in the later series.
I mean, look at the first one - we’ve got Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton trying to get extra shares, we’ve got all this interplay and character development so when the alien shows up it’s an interruption rather than the central event in their lives (although, yeah, quickly becomes).
Same deal in Aliens. There’s this “let’s get this out of the way” feel until it starts to get serious and bad and funny but believable when Hicks goes off about being screwed and ‘game over’.
Naturally there’s some analogue with sexual tension, childbirth, and all the stuff the Gieger imagery implies.
But that’s reiterated by, not sublimated by, the action. E.g. Paul Reiser’s betrayal and parasitic character.

So the action has to augment the theme for it to work, not be fighting it.
So even if you’re ‘winning’ though action e.g. killing the Aliens - you’re still losing because you’re serving some ulterior motive or somethings going on in the background, etc. etc. Such as in Predator. Only thing Schwartzenegger’s character got out of that was his ass, alive. He was still screwed by his own people and by the predator who blowed everything up real good.
That nihilistic horror was missing from the later films. They all sort of seemed to think they could get out of it ok, or stay the same.
One of the most horrific moments for me in film was in Blue Velvet (similar themes to Alien) when Rossellini is running down the street naked - you’ve got all this violence, rape, etc. but that’s the point it really seems to hit you (and the characters) how far beyond the pale things are.
The later films don’t have that sinking in the pit of your stomach moment. Nor do they have that return to ‘normal’ which you (now) know is just a veneer. Alien and Aliens had that. Predator had that too.
(Not that the later films weren’t enjoyable. Aliens 3 I thought was ok. 4 was watchable. And I liked Danny Glover. Etc. etc. but they are different, thematically and in other ways, from the originals)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:24 PM on December 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


Then again, some of the foundation of that arc hit the cutting room floor for Aliens—the theatrical cut never established Ripley's motherhood in the first place, right?

I forgot that the scene about her real daughter dying of old age while she was in hibernation wasn't in the original cut. All of the first three movies have multiple cuts, it gets confusing to remember what scene was in what version.
posted by octothorpe at 2:26 PM on December 11, 2008


when Hicks goes off about being screwed and ‘game over’.

Hudson, sir. Hicks is over there.
posted by cortex at 2:31 PM on December 11, 2008 [25 favorites]


I *truly* hope that we will still see a few more zombie movies in the next couple of years, the upcoming Democratic administration notwithstanding. I just finished the "Living Dead" anthology and only a couple of months ago "World War-Z"... I'm sorry, but I'm a zombie-addict. While I like some Vampire movies - this soap opera vampirism just sucks...

hmmm, wait.... soap opera zombie media will be next... Oh wait, Dead Set...

But this is a significant derail. AVP-R was on one of my HD channels the other day. So, I couldn't watch it (kids) at that time, but PVR'd it for later... I couldn't get past 30 minutes before I deleted it - the only horror I had was wasting my recording space on it...

Honestly, AVP was better - but not by much. Hell, I loved the Alien franchise so much I once had the paper-based roleplaying game, I got into Geiger's art - even had a couple limited-edition prints.
posted by jkaczor at 2:33 PM on December 11, 2008


The whole point of Alien 3 was that it was (supposed to be) the end of the series. Weaver only agreed to do the film if Ripley died, and was very much behind Fincher's vision of the film. The studio execs were the ones responsible for the crap that A3 became (we're talking interference on an almost Brazil level). I highly recommend the Alien Quadrilogy Box Sex for those interested in the series. It's telling that each of the directors are heavily involved in the supplementary material for their respective movie; everyone but Fincher, that is. He appears only in footage shot during production. Equally telling is the way that all the people involved in the nuts and bolts production (actors, DP, etc.) praise what Fincher was wanting to do, and all the execs interviewed put him down, albeit nicely. Funny to hear so many say, "If only we'd known he was going to be DAVID FINCHER . . . ."

The version of A3 in the boxed set is cobbled together with additional footage that the studio left on the cutting room floor. This results in a much better film than the one released in theaters. Depending on mood, it vies as my favorite Alien film.

Also worth seeing is Weaver shaking her head and laughing disdainfully at the idea of a possible Alien/Preditor movie.
posted by theroadahead at 2:46 PM on December 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


Or Predator, if you prefer.
posted by theroadahead at 2:48 PM on December 11, 2008


So it can’t just be a small group of shnooks ambling around.

This, in a nutshell, was Alien: Resurrection.

Every character in Alien had three dimensions. Cameron, having a comic-book mindset, could only give his characters two dimensions - but they were still embraceably appealing on that level.

Whereas Alien: Resurrection had a vaguely Latina looking woman who looked hot in a thong.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:51 PM on December 11, 2008


Danny Boyle should have directed it, and made them all smackheads.
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on December 11, 2008


Amélie vs. Predator?

The Predator is late. Amelie can only see two explanations. 1 - he didn't get the Alien. 2 - before he could attack it, a gang of space pirates took him hostage. Weyland-Yutani gave chase. They got away... but he caused a crash. When the predator came to, he'd lost his memory. An ex-con picked him up, mistook him for a fugitive, and shipped him to Istanbul. There he met some Afghan raiders who took him to steal some Russian warheads. But their truck hit a mine in Tajikistan. He survived, took to the hills, and became a Mujaheddin. Amelie refuses to get upset for a guy who'll eat borscht all his life with arthropod mandibles in a hat like a tea cozy.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:56 PM on December 11, 2008 [17 favorites]


Newt was the MacGuffin of Aliens. Without her, the story is essentially meaningless - they're Marines, they stay on the planet and fight it out to the end, and "game over". Newt provides the link between the Marines and what happened to the colonists. It's the reason why Burke's character takes a 180 once they find Newt; he knows, at this point, that he has a real shot at getting one of the aliens off the planet rather than the mission being completely search and destroy.

The first time I saw Alien3 I was really, really, really pissed at Fincher for basically killing off Newt and Hicks in the first five minutes. One of those, "I'm so pissed off, I'm not going to enjoy this movie, period." sort of attitudes. But what's the story of Alien3 without Newt and Hicks dying? There is none. LV-426 is nuked, Hicks realizes that Ripley has an alien inside her, and he offs her, just like what the bargain was in Aliens. Movie over, alien dead, there's no story at all.

This is why I thought there should have been no third movie. The Alien saga should have ended with LV-426 wasted. Maybe you have a story about another infestation, but by then you've lost all your characters, there's no suspense, it just isn't worth pursuing.
posted by mark242 at 2:59 PM on December 11, 2008


I thoroughly enjoyed the first AVP. It had a frigging Mayan temple full of aliens under the ice of Antarctica, fer chrissake. The set design, action and effects kept me from scoffing at the cardboard characters and token dialogue. It was a good old ball of funcheese.

I watched that Alien v Predator around three times en route from Sydney to Mexico City via Tokyo & Vancouver, then it showed a number of times on Mexican buses. I have fond memories of how appallingly awful it was, so much so that when I saw the novel selling for a dollar at one of those bargain remaindered book stores, I snapped it up in a second.

But you're slightly wrong about it being a Mayan pyramid: when it was first discovered under the ice, a team of scientists or historians or archaeologists or something were examining the computer-generated model on a huge screen. One of them announced: "There were three great pyramid-building cultures: the Egyptians, the Mayans and the Mesopotamians. This pyramid has features of *all three*, so it's probably the world's prototypical, original pyramid!"

That was the point at which the belly-laughs began, not to stop until long after the closing sequence.

In case anybody wants to know *SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT* the premise was that the predators built the pyramid as a test for their greatest warriors. Aliens would be incubated & born, and the predator would have to run around inside this pyramid trying to kill them all, or be killed. This happened once every ten thousand years or so, by a kind of clockwork mechanism in the pyramid. What are the odds, do you think, that the research team would be there when the aliens hatched & the predator turned up...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:00 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


IIRC they go to the pyramid because the satelite had picked up the heat signature of the pyramid waking up and/or predatorship lasering a hole down to it.

There was some bit about the whaling station beingover-run by aliens in the 1990s though, which doesn't quite work with that.
posted by Artw at 3:04 PM on December 11, 2008


The whole horror/action/horror/action cycle just confused what should have been a great series.

Sadly, one thing the boxed set makes fairly clear is that those with the rights to the Alien property (Giler and the other guys whose names I forget) view said property as much more of a money-making vehicle than a story-telling one. All this AVP crap should make that clear. We just got lucky on the first few.

(I feel the need to mention that I have not seen either of these latest "additions" to the series.)
posted by theroadahead at 3:16 PM on December 11, 2008


The best thing about AVP is the commentary were Paul W.S. Anderson claims he watches Aliens nearly every day...

That and the bit where it basically turns in to WWF wrestling (though slight disappointingly, unlike Freddy vs Jason they use actual wrestling moves)

Danny Boyle should have directed it, and made them all smackheads.

Oh yeah and Spud showing the photos off the photos of his kids thereby by ancient movie law putting himself straight on the top of the kill list

Also 'worst movie of the year'? Well it's tough but I think Hancock just edges it as it had so much further to fall...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:17 PM on December 11, 2008


Hancock is only SF by a ridiculously broad definition though.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on December 11, 2008


I just loved that the pyramid reconfigured itself every 10 minutes because the builders timekeeping was base on 10, yet still used sixty second long minutes...
posted by Tenuki at 3:24 PM on December 11, 2008


yes, i think the pyramid was discovered because it was kicking into life, and a nuclear engine or similar power source was giving off heat and/or melting the icecap around it.

hm, that ten minute reconfiguration. it makes total sense once you realise that seconds & minutes are based on fundamental & absolute constants of the cosmos, so naturally the predator civilisation used the same time measurements as we do.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:29 PM on December 11, 2008


Kind of like the Mac operating system?
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Newt provides the link between the Marines and what happened to the colonists. It's the reason why Burke's character takes a 180 once they find Newt.

180?

He sent the colonists there without warning them of the (admittedly as-yet-unverified) report of dangerous aliens to preserve his shot at making a bundle. He was always a futuristic yuppie sociopath.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:37 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just want to thank cortex and ROU_Xenophobe for giving me a coherent means of explaining why I liked Alien 3. I will try again to explain to my wife why it is a good film. And, as has been noted upthread, the cobbled together cut of it present in Aliens Quadrology is a significant improvement over the theatrical cut.

One of the persistent questions of the movies (for me - and I'm not the deepest analyst of film) has been that of which species is the worst - the humans, or the aliens. Ripley poses the question very directly to Burke in Aliens, but it is present in the first film as well (where the company risks the lives of the crew in hopes of bringing one back). The aliens are remorseless, cunning, merciless creatures with multiple methods of killing you - even through their own deaths. But they are honest creatures. Humans, on the other hand, are lying and manipulative bastards who will screw you over.

One of the things the third film did really well was to provide a whole new take on this question. Take the worst of the worst of the galaxy - outcast criminals scrapping out a living on a forgotten hell hole - and drop an alien in their midst. The resulting struggle - not just against the alien, but as the convicts struggle against their vision of themselves and their own nature to work together against the odds and destroy the alien before the company can collect it is what made the film compelling to me.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:38 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


“Newt was the MacGuffin of Aliens. Without her, the story is essentially meaningless -”

Ah, so it was Newt in the briefcase. And it’s Wallace-Yutani.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:39 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Of course he also did the fuck-awful Punch Drunk Love.

Thats Paul Thomas Anderson, not Paul WS Anderson.
posted by a. at 3:39 PM on December 11, 2008


See above.
posted by Artw at 3:41 PM on December 11, 2008


It's pretty cool how the 80's redefined action masculinity on the body of Bruce Willis and action femininity on the body of Sigourney Weaver and how these days they look a little oddly similar to one another.

The only reason I would be really excited to see another Alien movie is if they handed it to another director. The series is fascinating for the exercises in semi-auteurism it provides. Cameron, Scott, Fincher, JEUNET?! All in one box? Very cool. Who would be the most interesting director of an alienless Alien? Hmm, Soderbergh'd nail it, sure, or Danny Boyle, but they've both been in that neighborhood. What about something weird like Michael Haneke? Get a real thriller out of it.

Also, helLO sausage party.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:42 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


How can you people badmouth Resident evil?

It has Milla receiving massive tongue from an ugly monster just seconds after she confesses her love to Michelle and then kills her when she turns into a zombie. It has lesbian love, zombies, trains and lots of tongue and all on one scene! How can you dislike that movie?
posted by uandt at 3:49 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


One of the persistent questions of the movies (for me - and I'm not the deepest analyst of film) has been that of which species is the worst - the humans, or the aliens. Ripley poses the question very directly to Burke in Aliens, but it is present in the first film as well (where the company risks the lives of the crew in hopes of bringing one back).

Ash says the aliens have "no delusions of morality". But he's only guessing.

I've always loved his other line about "admiring their purity". The wounded dignity in his eyes - conveyed with the skill of an Ian Holm - gestures towards a whole other movie about androids that Ridley Scott wouldn't make for another 3 years. But it also introduces the more interesting themes of compromised-being to be found in films 3 and 4.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:56 PM on December 11, 2008


This really bugs me. Who the hell cares about Ripley? It's called "Alien" not the "Ongoing reincarnations of Ripley". Alien!=Ripley FFS.

I wish they'd just make a stand-alone alien movie resembling some of the Dark Horse Comics minis of the past 20 years. Stronghold. Laybrinth. Hive. All good plots just sitting there waiting.

The scariest Aliens thing since Alien has been the AVP2 video game. The marine campaign damn near gave me a heart attack!I personally like all the Alien movies. Can't wait for the Blu-ray Quadrilogy.

Alien was a haunted house movie in space. - 10/10

Aliens was a vietnam movie in space, and a masterpiece if you ask me. - 10/10

Alien3 was an abortion that still turned out halfway decent. I hate the "action climax." Points for style. - 8/10

Alien Resurrection was like a bad Dark Horse Comics mini brought to life. - 7/10

AVP was seriously dumb with great alien and predator effects. This is what chapter skip is for. - 7/10

AVP:Requiem was a mixed bag. At least it was a HARD HARD R-rating which is what both Alien and Predator should always be. For that I have to respect everyone involved. Works much better on video. - 7/10
posted by autodidact at 3:57 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Aliens are totally played out. We know everything about them, everything they can and can't do. There are no unanswered questions. Time to move on.

The predators, on the other hand, are still like the rabbit hole - each movie revealed just enough more about them to raise more questions than were answered. Hints of complexity of social structure going beyond the rituals we know of, indications of a vast civilization, etc.

If Scott and Weaver think that Ripley isn't played out, then perhaps she's not. But the aliens are, and the predators aren't.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:58 PM on December 11, 2008


Newt was the MacGuffin of Aliens.

I first read that as the McLovin of Aliens.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 3:58 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Aliens are totally played out. We know everything about them, everything they can and can't do. There are no unanswered questions. Time to move on.

Which is always the problem with having a monster in the story - once we've seen the monster, the mystique is gone. Which is why it might be interesting to see a Ripley movie without the monster...my fear is that they will just try to introduce a different monster for Ripley to confront, which would be less interesting.
posted by never used baby shoes at 4:06 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


But you're slightly wrong about it being a Mayan pyramid: when it was first discovered under the ice, a team of scientists or historians or archaeologists or something were examining the computer-generated model on a huge screen. One of them announced: "There were three great pyramid-building cultures: the Egyptians, the Mayans and the Mesopotamians.

Mesopotato, mesopotahto. It was of course complete hokum and blatheskite, but hearkened back to my misspent youth snarfing up the likes of Von Daniken, and I loved it.
posted by fleetmouse at 4:07 PM on December 11, 2008


Hudson, sir. Hicks is over there.

You, sir, are a god amongst men. Specifically movie-going men.

(Although the line is "Hudson, sir. He's Hicks". But you probably didn't want to know that.)
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 4:09 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hancock is only SF by a ridiculously broad definition though

How so? Are we just talking Hancock here, or superheroes in general? I've always mentally filed them under the rubric of SF, myself.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:10 PM on December 11, 2008


Aliens are totally played out. We know everything about them, everything they can and can't do. There are no unanswered questions.

I completely disagree. Each movie has introduced new facts about them. 2: Hey, they have a queen! 3: Hey, they can climb on ceilings! 4: Hey, they can swim! [OK, 3 and 4 don't deserve exclamation points - but you get the idea.]

And the biggest question remains completely unaddressed: What do they eat?
posted by Joe Beese at 4:15 PM on December 11, 2008


I liked Bishop. His blood was milk.

Was it Aliens or Alien 3 where he freaks that guy out with the super-fast pirate's poker?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:15 PM on December 11, 2008


Was it Aliens or Alien 3 where he freaks that guy out with the super-fast pirate's poker?

Aliens. Which introduces an error of sorts. If he can coordinate his arm motions that quickly, he should be able to type 1,000 words a minute when he's remote piloting the 2nd landing craft down from the ship.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:17 PM on December 11, 2008


Yeah, but what purpose would 1,000 wpm serve? He still has to wait for the various onboard computers to respond.

God, am I really this much of an Aliens geek?
posted by theroadahead at 4:25 PM on December 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


^ The series is fascinating for the exercises in semi-auteurism it provides. Cameron, Scott, Fincher, JEUNET?! All in one box? Very cool. Who would be the most interesting director ...

Woody Allen, as the director and the sole survivor of an alien-infested colony, who spends his hours talking about his anxieties with his therapist, Ripley.

Wim Wenders, who creates a 2hr movie of Ripley riding in a Greyhound bus across Texas, with music by Ry Cooder and Nick Cave.
posted by zippy at 4:29 PM on December 11, 2008 [8 favorites]


Who would be the most interesting director of an alienless Alien?

Jim Jarmusch. A black-and-white movie of Signourney Weaver sitting around and thinking.

Or Mike Leigh. Land and Freedom in the future.

Also, helLO sausage party.

Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?
posted by rodgerd at 4:30 PM on December 11, 2008


What do they eat?

They don't. They are esstentially big batteries. That's why they are full of acid. According to something I remember reading... the rpg?

(Though in the script for the original there's a scene were they come across a raided store cupboard...)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:34 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Give the next Alien film to David Lynch.

(Although the line is "Hudson, sir. He's Hicks". But you probably didn't want to know that.)

Yeah, I knew I was paraphrasing as soon as I hit comment. In my defense, the paraphrase is a little clearer out of context than the verbatim line. But mostly I just wanted to beat anyone else to the punch.
posted by cortex at 4:37 PM on December 11, 2008


ROU_Xenophobe: This probably makes sense to Cameron given how disposable he seems to think wives are.

Oh, snap!
posted by jwakawaka at 4:37 PM on December 11, 2008


Know what I think, I think the movie'll be like this:

Ripley arrives on planet with problem or something, hey Ripley, we missed you!
tech porn
new characters introduced
joke: that's not a snarfblat, THIS is a snarfblat!
new cool stuff, complicated expository dilemma revealed
only Ripley can save us because... she...um... knows PERL, ok?
joke: well, we all know what happens when you give one a cookie!
tech porn, trying on a laserhat or something
arming to fight strange dilemma, kinda a road movie feel
eery silence
confusion
spooky spaces
o hay it's
ALIENS. PSYCHED YOU ALL OUT.
TOTALLY ALIENS AFTER ALL.
WAY MORE ALIENS.
KABOOM!
BITE BITE
BLEEDING
I KNOW KUNG FOO
glowing head of Ripley blinds your minds with glory
etc.

The point being, this fan-based publicity is the funnest thing to use as a fuck-you shocker later. Sorry if it's a spoiler!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:39 PM on December 11, 2008 [19 favorites]


Who would be the most interesting director of an alienless Alien?

Oliver Stone. Sigourney Weaver shaving her head in the bathroom, as the word "ALIEN?" is superimposed.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:41 PM on December 11, 2008


On another note, do I still have to call them "films" now that many never come anywhere near film stock? "Movies" sounds so informal and "Motion picture" sounds so old. So what do I call them instead of films?

Justinian: I think "flicks" is the word you're looking for.

Anyway, what I can glean from this thread is that the 1979 film rocks, and all the rest suck to varying degrees. I am contrarian in this regard: I actually like all of them, more or less. I was disappointed in Alien^3 in 1992, but it took me a while to realize that what made it to the screen was the result of the studio hiring a 29-year-old director of Madonna videos, handing him a half-written script, and figuring they could push him around. To paraphrase the protagonist of a superior off-brand Alien movie, they did not know who they were fucking with.

Ambrosia Voyeur hits it on the head: the Alien series is all about the same basic themes and concepts being addressed by a long series of auteurs who otherwise have nothing in common. I think the biomechanical aspects of the whole xenomorph cycle cry out for Cronenberg, m'self.

And auteurism is what makes them work. The first two are generally acquitted as the most successful because they are so very much Ridley Scotts's and James Cameron's movies. As mentioned, the third is a murky power struggle and the fourth is flabby because it was a marriage of two totally different and mutually incompatible auteurs, Jeunet and Whedon. Ripley's trailer-friendly exchange of dialogue ("I thought you were dead!" "Yeah, I get that a lot.") was the kind of line that would have been perfect in the mouth of a sixth-season Buffy Summers; in Ellen Ripley's, it sounded contrived. On the other hand, the crew of the Betty is the early prototype of the crew of Serenity, in exactly the same way that Aaron Sorkin was able to do a dry run for The West Wing with The American President.

Because of this auteur-driven nature of the series, the first AvP movie is an enjoyable b-movie: Paul W.S. Anderson more or less defines the low-rent auteur. He had enough in-joke references to the previous flicks to keep the die-hard fans amused and kept things moving briskly enough to suit people who were coming into it fresh. It was far from great, but it was not embarrassing.

The second AvP was, however, shlock in which the directors exhibited an almost total lack of understanding of what the movies were about. I read several inadvertently humorous interviews (in a Spinal-Tapesque way) in which the Brothers Strause made it clear that they understood Anderson's kick at the can failed because there was not enough shootin' and stuff blowin' up, which they intended to remedy. Ah.

And note that the powered-by-auteur theory is borne out by Pitch Black, which is a better Alien movie than some of the Alien movies. Twohy is, like Anderson, a kind of bargain basement auteur: he made an engaging flick, while most of the Alien knockoffs have faded from memory.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:42 PM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


David Lynch is a very interesting choice, given his predilection for intertextual casting and his obsession with female subjectivity and its horrors. That would be an Alien film where the aliens turned out to be time-travelling creatures that resulted from the mutated DNA on the remains of an abortion Ripley had, late in her life, but did not tell the father, say, Nicolas Cage, about, and somehow it wasn't disposed of legally and got blue tc light shined on it and turned into a monster. And then, she'd go back in time, too and in so doing, without explanation, turn into someone else, played by Laura Dern.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:49 PM on December 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


tv light. light cast from a tv.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:50 PM on December 11, 2008


Amélie vs. Predator?

She hits it with that spoon.

I saw AvP on a bus from Mendoza in Argentina to Santiago de Chile, in a bootleg Spanish dub. So there was always the Andes to look at.

It's not as interesting as the Andes, it has to be said.
posted by Grangousier at 4:52 PM on December 11, 2008


And note that the powered-by-auteur theory is borne out by Pitch Black, which is a better Alien movie than some of the Alien movies.

And the sequel was yet another giant steaming turd all over enjoyment of the original, much like Alien 3 and 4.
posted by Justinian at 4:53 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


On another note, do I still have to call them "films" now that many never come anywhere near film stock? "Movies" sounds so informal and "Motion picture" sounds so old. So what do I call them instead of films?

Digital Video Product or DVP.

Except most of what's coming out of Hollywood these days is RDVP (Reconstituted Digital Video Product).
posted by Grangousier at 4:53 PM on December 11, 2008


You call them movies, FFS. Calling them films is still ok to me, not to get hung up on, without regard to whether celluloid was the actual method of image capture, but often you'll want to digress to the discussion of digital/video, and that's good, but you know, complicated. And the whole thing is still The Cinema. Now I shall bitch about how the new Lucas building at USC will have fewer film projectors in classrooms, by fiat, than the old one does, at half its size. MMMMM LUCASY.

As a BA in "Film and Digital Media" and working on the MA in "Critical Studies in Cinematic Arts," formerly Cinema-Television, jokingly called Cinema Minus Television, I can attest to the featheriness of this terminology. I'm of the "if I'm looking at my iPhone, I'm 'at the cinema'" school of fuckery, up here in the theory-weighted tipping pinnacle of the ivory tower.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:03 PM on December 11, 2008


Okay, here's my take on this universe: Alien was a gothic horror movie dressed up as sci-fi, and is brilliant in its suspense and brooding atmosphere. Not to mention the fantastic production design and, of course, the alien. Aliens is an absolutely kickass action movie, with a healthy dose of suspense in the first third or so. Both films are very good and stand the test of time.

Alien 3 went through numerous, numerous scripts, including one by William Gibson that you can read here, and they even did a poster showing an alien egg next to the Earth, implying that the story involves an alien invasion of Earth (I've been looking but can't find a copy of this poster online). THEN, they change the script again, presumably with the "monks in space" plotline. The studio kinda sorta hates what David Fincher did with it, and they kicked him out of the editing room (by some accounts literally), and apparently chopped it up to Fincher's dismay. He says his version isn't the dull, murky film that Alien 3 is, but we may never know if his version was somehow worse. I saw Alien 3 just once and remember being rather bored with it, but I'll give it another shot someday.

The other universe, the Predator one, starts with the solid John McTeirnan action movie from the 80s and with the so-so-at-best sequel Predator 2. At the end of Predator 2, Danny Glover boards a predator ship, which displays various skulls of conquests in a large atrium, and one of the skulls is an alien (which brings up the obvious logical flaw: the aliens are insectoid and have an exoskeleton, not a skeleton and hence no skull. But whatever).

Fanboys flip out at the possibilities of such a convergence, and around this time in the early 90s, a comic titled simply Aliens vs. Predator is released, depicting a war between the species with humans caught in the middle. Of course Hollywood is on this, and even James Cameron was rumored to direct the film version of AvP, but apparently Sigourney Weaver heard about this and stopped it from being made. She didn't want a non-Ripley alien movie out there. So to harness the buildup, she came up with the idea of Ripley's clone making a comeback, and from that we got Alien:Resurrection. I think this is by far the worst alien film, with childish, cartoonish, and just simply sucky direction from Jean-Pierre Jeunet, not to mention a lame script (Joss Whedon has done much better work). Ripley is absolute focus the entire film, and to me it really came across as a pure vanity project for Weaver.

I was excited when I heard about the AvP movie, but much less so when I saw the name Paul Anderson. Being a very typical Hollywood hack director, he brought nothing to the project that wanted me to see it. Ditto for the sequel.

All that said, that Mtv linked story isn't as dire as the poster makes it out to be. She and Scott are talking about taking it in a new direction with perhaps new aliens. If they can fit a predator in the story, all the better.
posted by zardoz at 5:07 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


am the only one who didn't like the second Alien movie?

No. I find it nearly unwatchable. Sigourney is all painfully strident and annoying, and I find the whole movie kind of pointless and unengaging. Plus, I mowstly want to kill Newt myself. I rate them Alien, then Alien 3, then A:R (which I also love), and then I prefer to ignore the Cameron one.

I love the third one (until the over-dramatic ending, which is just too Jesus Christ Pose for me - but the Newt autopsy scene is just beautifully done), it is a masterpiece of bleakness and grit, plus it looks gorgeous. Ripley's character evolution in A3 is entirely natural: she is doomed, and she knows it, and is brave and pragmatic about it, which is exactly what Ripley would be.

And I loved AVP, I can't understand the hate for PWSA either. He makes schlock, but really well-done schlock that the moviemakers gave a shit about. And AVP gets all kinds of points for looking gorgeous, for having a smart, savvy, African American woman as the heroine, especially since her race and gender are incidental. The relationship between her and the Predator is very compelling. And they kill off pretty well everyone you care about, and bring all the plot lines you think were going somewhere to a crashing (or crushing) halt. What I don't like is that they reduce the Aliens to just really dangerous bugs, instead of letting them be true monsters. I also don't much like the (quasi-extraneous) Predator backstory, or that the reduction of the Aliens to bugs makes the Predators just exterminators.

PWSA makes excellent movies for what they are, which is well-done, reliably entertaining, nice-looking and interesting schlock that doesn't make you stupider.
posted by biscotti at 5:07 PM on December 11, 2008


Stay frosty.
posted by vronsky at 5:10 PM on December 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


I don't think my brain can handle any one else saying they like AvP more than Aliens.

It's like hearing that someone would rather eat rotting fish than delicious sushi.

I can, with some difficulty, understand not liking sushi - but if you don't like it why would you want that rotting fish in your mouth?
posted by flaterik at 5:35 PM on December 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


And the sequel was yet another giant steaming turd all over enjoyment of the original, much like Alien 3 and 4.

Well, the sequel is like unto the Alien sequels in that it is a huge shifting of gears and and all told, probably a lesser thing than its predecessor, but it has its moments. Like both the third and fourth Alien flicks, I enjoyed it more the second time around, but had little urge to see it again after that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:56 PM on December 11, 2008


-harlequin-: "Aliens are totally played out. We know everything about them, everything they can and can't do. There are no unanswered questions. Time to move on."

I still have lots of questions about the aliens. Where's their home planet? Did they evolve like that or were they engineered as some sort of living weapon? If they were engineered, who did it? Who were they fighting? Are they still around or are they long dead? The mummified astronaut at the beginning of the first movie; who was he?
posted by octothorpe at 5:59 PM on December 11, 2008 [9 favorites]


The reference to Aliens: Colonial Marines first excited me, then disappointed me when I realized that it was a video game. What I'd love, is a straight up Space Marines movie. Maybe a movie based on Starship Troopers. Doogie Houser G.I. 90210 doesn't count, even if you dig the campy propaganda angle of the film.

I'm talking about drop ships, power armor, colonial space battles and hard-bitten badassery.

Hell, you could probably fit in some allegorical illusions to the Iraq war if you wanted to. I just want to see badass power armored marines fighting aliens.

It seems like between Heinlein, Haldeman, Scalzi, Starcraft, Gears of War, Halo, Quake2 and Warhammer there's some source material to mine here. Get Ridley Scott to direct it.

I just made 500 million dollars for a movie studio.
posted by Telf at 6:39 PM on December 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Alien was a [...] horror movie dressed up as sci-fi,

This is true; it's OK as a critic to like good sci-fi movies, but it's not OK to admit to liking horror. If, therefore, a horror movie is good, it must be something else.

(OK, I exaggerate a bit, but horror as a genre is, in many circles, so axiomatically bad, that the only way to reconcile "good" and "horror" in some peoples' head is to recast it as something else.)
posted by rodgerd at 6:43 PM on December 11, 2008


Well, I for one would enjoy reading some more Who would be the most interesting director of an alienless Alien? jokes.
posted by box at 7:12 PM on December 11, 2008


realizes that Ripley has an alien inside her

This is why A3 is so fucked up. In A2, Alien mom separates from her egg laying half, hops a ride in the troop carrier and within seconds of the carrier landing, starts attacking. She had no time and not way to plant an egg that would later implant Ripley. It not only sloppy and lazy, it was astonishingly tone deaf. Killing them off would have worked ok if we had a chance to see it or feel it and would have added to the exhausted feeling of A3. But no, they're just disappeared and we don't get any resolution. It's fine if Ripley doesn't get resolution, but the audience needed to get closure with this two characters and we needed and that's completely wrong.

That said, A3 and 4 were fine movies, but they weren't very good Alien movies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:20 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


The reference to Aliens: Colonial Marines first excited me, then disappointed me when I realized that it was a video game.

Dude, it's a proper co-op play Aliens game! My fifteen year old self would poop himself with joy!
posted by Artw at 7:31 PM on December 11, 2008


This is true; it's OK as a critic to like good sci-fi movies, but it's not OK to admit to liking horror. If, therefore, a horror movie is good, it must be something else.

This reminds me of the reaction to Event Horizon. A lot of the negative critcism seemed to come from people expecting it to be sci-fi. I thought it was a great horror movie, despite the inconsistencies.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:38 PM on December 11, 2008


I just think it's all build up and then fails to deliver anything interesting at the last minutes, TBH. I wanted something a bit more intellectually meaty than "oh, yeah, the hyperdrive takes you to a naff Hellraiser knock-off".

...and it needed more Orbital.

That said there's some great moments in that film. And I like that the dude who gets lost outside the ship survives.
posted by Artw at 7:42 PM on December 11, 2008


What makes this series so special is how different each of them is. At different points of time, in different moods and modes, each of the Aliens movies has been my favorite, in the sense of speaking a worldview to me. The comics were excellent, and when AVP came out, I was impressed by the respect they showed to the previous movies.

The variety of opinions here may speak to different types of personalities; I disagree with very little said in the thread, even contradictory statements.

BTB, I think the original concept was that the Alien was more like a virus, hijacking the DNA of the host and altering the morphological development. But that was difficult to present dramatically, and thus was begat the chestburster. This idea helps me bridge various inconsistencies, like how do they put on mass so fast.

The thing is, then I realize I've just spent brainpower stewing over a bug movie. They are wonderful, sort of like a family. Each has its quirks and irritations, each is unique, none make a complete whole and thus there is always room for more members at the table.

Yes, a family. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
posted by dragonsi55 at 7:44 PM on December 11, 2008


It's fine if Ripley doesn't get resolution, but the audience needed to get closure with this two characters and we needed and that's completely wrong.

That's what makes A3 possibly my favorite of the series. Lack of "closure" is a very real thing in life. People die suddenly, with no warning, every day. A good movie will put you inside the emotions of the characters; I can't understand why it's fine for Ripley to not have closure, but the audience deserves something better. All the shock and outrage expressed by many here at the death of Hicks and Newt, well, how the fuck do you think Ripley felt?

Why has nobody decried the death of Hudson, or Apone, or Dallas? Because we knew their deaths were coming. Not so with Hicks and Newt. Well, I have some sad news for you. Sometimes you don't see the monsters til the damage is done. That's just life, and I think that's what so many have a problem with. We want to be scared, excited, entertained by a movie. We don't like it if we are reminded that everything could be lost the next time we wake up.

But it could.
posted by theroadahead at 7:46 PM on December 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


Dude, it's a proper co-op play Aliens game! My fifteen year old self would poop himself with joy!

That said... what are QTEs? Because they sound fucking horrible.
posted by Artw at 7:47 PM on December 11, 2008


Okay, Cronenberg on Aliens, forgive me.

Ripley's getting on in age, living in the outskirts of Toronto chatting with (whoever was left alive at the end of 4... anybody? Don't recall. If not, insert a "sister" or "old friend") on the phone now and then, and likes to amuse herself and relive her heroic past by creating artistic works of her memories: abstract paintings, short stories, vaguely representational sculpture.

One night she has a lucid dream, where she is being chased by an alien but somehow chooses to succumb to the alien's impregnating attack, and is conscious though it. Though she hears herself screaming in pain, all the while she seems to be experiencing the most incredible sexual pleasure of her life. She wakes up, panting, sweaty, hand and sheets wadded and clenched between her legs, and looking just a little devious. She has come for the first time in years, she realizes.

Her Alien sculptures becomes slowly more and more representational, obsessively so, the details of the anatomy are shown and perfected, and the process is sensualized, and she brings it into the bedroom as inspiration. Then, when she is dropped in on by survivor/sister/old friend, in a beige sweater on a Thursday afternoon, the truth is revealed: it is alive and raping her, even though it is unfinished in some visible way, no legs for example, half-done legs left on the stand or something, and she's in a hypnotized state. It's procreating its way into this world from another dimension through her creative power (mother symbolism heavily sprinkled throughout) and inciting her on with their magical power to control her sexual desire. Survivor/sister/friend smashes at it with the lamp, but we witness it being bludgeoned, as part of it is still claylike, into an unrecognizeable mass, but it hisses and continues the rape, and her hands reach out to resculpt it in her dream. Say the friend gets electrocuted. Fade out on really grody insinuation: Ripley acting normal and really disheveled and lusty-looking in a grocery store, midnight, faint spatters of blood or clay or something on her cheek, buying ice cream, pickles, and an enormous piece of beef. Her tummy makes a tummy-growl sound that sounds not quite right.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:01 PM on December 11, 2008 [28 favorites]


I swear that's not just the Fly, I'm really going for The Brood and Dead Zone there, too. And eXistenz. Maybe they can be doing it on the stairs.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:04 PM on December 11, 2008


That's just life, and I think that's what so many have a problem with. We want to be scared, excited, entertained by a movie. We don't like it if we are reminded that everything could be lost the next time we wake up.

I agree and that's probably why it was hated so much. People do indeed go movies for entertainment, for something better than life and to have a movie essentially shit on that unwritten contract is lazy, arrogant and ignorant.

I can't understand why it's fine for Ripley to not have closure, but the audience deserves something better.

Because the audience is real, Ripley is not. Whatever a movie is supposed to do, be it comedy, drama or scfi, the audience reaction matters. Chopping off Hudson and Newton wasn't even a fuckyou, it was like getting meatloaf and mashed potatoes when you go into a restaurant at 7am in the morning: most people would be expecting breakfast and when they got served the aforementioned meal they would be pissed and with good reason.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:06 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Late to the party (coming from MeTa), but I wanted to throw in a defense (or an echo of one) and say 3 wasn't all that bad. It took a story with some pretty arbitrary rules (no guns) and sticks with them. Plus, it was the first time I got a look at Fincher's style of moviemaking, which, while overly stylized occasionally, is visually enjoyable.

Resurrection was just gawdawful. Aside from the story, and just tossing away the whole continuity of the story (let's put it in the future, so nothing that meant anything before has any meaning now, but let's keep Ripley in it for some reason), there was the total waste of valid badasses. Michael Wincott, with the voice that smoked a thousand cigars? Dies right off the bat. Cool dreadlocked guy with guns everywhere? Dies ugly, and in a relatively silly manner. Ron Perlman? The guy who, before Hellboy, was one of my least favorite actors, one of the most grating character actors out there? Whose character is nothing but high grit sandpaper rasped across an open nerve? He lives. And the guns? They made no sense. It seemed like the guns, and what the could do, changed randomly throughout the movie, a failing not shared with any of the previous films, where the weapons were painstakingly explained to us, making our action movie nerd hearts pitter patter with joy...

AVP 2 was better, I think, in that the Predators weren't total fuckups. I get that the predators in 1 were trainees, but still? 2 of them dying right at the start? Shouldn't they be at least a little badass? Was the movie "good" in a traditional idea of what good movies are (Oscars, and whathaveyou)? Oh, fuck no. But it delivered the goods, and the hybrid was exactly what this fanboy had wanted to see.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:06 PM on December 11, 2008


OKay, the thread is now too big by half-- full of fanwanks, dumps, spazes, and furies. So I can't read it all so apologies if I repeat something. Ahem.

What I always really liked about the Alien Series was the idea that it was a toybox. Let me explain. Like, a directior gets a box of toys and props to use, Aliens, Ripley, Claustrophia, Infection, Ect. And they've gone off and played with thier toys in different ways. The First movie is all huh-huh-huh ATMOSPHERE and creeping tension. The Second was PURE ACTION in a really good way. The 3rd is muddy and stupid and basically 3 movies pushed into one and not very interesting. The 4th is the French Sci-Fi playtime, full of haunting scenes and ideas that make no sense but really good ideas for scenes. Scenes that ...dont quite connect or playout. Very French Sci-FI which I have a hard on for, but the 4th movie did have stunning visual sense ....the basketball match, the discovery of the clones, the water race, it just never collapsed into an actual movie.


So I'd love the idea if various diectiors could take the toybox and make new Alien movies. The toys are big enough and broad enough to be used by anyone. Let's see a bunch of new Alien movies, each using the same basic, terrifying ideas of the orginal. An *actual* anthology.

It would be more than a lttle kinda cool.
posted by The Whelk at 8:07 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hate Paul W.S. Anderson's work with the passion of a thousand suns. It's just so insanely poor I can't get over it. Most of the time he just fails to get the possible good stuff out of video games (and it can be done you know, it's just no one has really hired a good director/screenwriter to do it yet). And that's fine. But to do THAT to the alien series is just... just unspeakable. (yes AVP was a game, but c'mon). It was a completely awful, completely neutered film. I don't get angry very much when I watch films, but I was had such vitirol watching AVP unfold that I felt sick to my stomach.

Freakish outlier here: I don't play video games (no interest, for whatever reason; I like all kinds of nerdy shit, but video games have just never appealed), so I have no real idea whether Anderson's film "got" the Resident Evil game (I did once play Resident Evil at a friend's place for about all of ten minutes before I got bored, and all I remember was that the controller vibrated in a "spooky" way that led to me making jokes about it and really pissing off my friend), but...dude, I love this movie, and can't imagine why anyone else wouldn't. I defy you to cite one thing in this movie that is not awesome, and -- I warn you -- I have seen this movie like fifty-six times, so good luck trying to get something by me. I admit the sequels are total fucking garbage of the stankest order. But the first one -- the first one! Is it really just that I have no attachment to the original material? I think it almost has to be, because invariably when people rip on Resident Evil, the source deviation is cited immediately. But the movie itself is beautifully made trash that never fails to pull me in. I'm sure if Anderson came to my house and peed on my Scrabble board I wouldn't like him either, but I'm telling you: If you come to the movie with no preconceptions of what it should be -- and you're the kind of person who really, really wants to see a horror/sf/exploitation movie that has no aspirations other than to be incredibly fun to watch -- you'll dig it. Unless, I dunno. You hate things that bring joy.

I, um...also like Predator 2 better than the first one. And kind of don't like Aliens that much...actually, I prefer to think of everything after the first one as fanfic or something. Although I also think 3 and Resurrection are both underrated (although I understand the usual objections completely). So, you know. Make of this what you will.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:09 PM on December 11, 2008


"You know what it is about the third that I hated as well, cortex? They killed Newt and Hicks. They didn't need to, they had an incredible number of options and possibilities for them in the new movie, and it was all wasted."

I don't understand how the movie could have gone any way other than how it did. I think cortex and others have done a good job of handling this (judging by subsequent comments), but I just need to state how it boggles my mind that you could say this. Maybe it's born out of needless sentimentality? You're supposed to have the hope contained in the second movie dashed. Ripley starts from zero and then goes downhill from there. She has to autopsy Newt, in a crude and unceremonious fashion. She's surrounded by scum, and the last of her support structure (the doctor) is killed pretty early on in the movie. She finds out she's carrying an alien. Through all of this, Ripley's incredible character shows through. I mean, she started as a regular Jane in the first movie, albeit second in command. But she was nowhere near as hard as the woman who dove into a furnace at the end of the third movie. The third movie is about courage in the face of fatalism; all hope is not merely lost but destroyed for Ripley, and she still soldiers on because she has to. She does not merely lay down and die.

Realism aside (is it the first movie since 2001 to have characters die in hibernation?), this is the only way 3 could have gone. I wish Fincher had been given the freedom to make it a better movie, but it's a decent capstone to the original trilogy.
posted by Eideteker at 8:10 PM on December 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


Ron Perlman? The guy who, before Hellboy, was one of my least favorite actors

God, you must eat children.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:12 PM on December 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


It's procreating its way into this world from another dimension through her creative power (mother symbolism heavily sprinkled throughout) and inciting her on with their magical power to control her sexual desire. Survivor/sister/friend smashes at it with the lamp, but we witness it being bludgeoned, as part of it is still claylike, into an unrecognizeable mass, but it hisses and continues the rape, and her hands reach out to resculpt it in her dream. Say the friend gets electrocuted. Fade out on really grody insinuation: Ripley acting normal and really disheveled and lusty-looking in a grocery store, midnight, faint spatters of blood or clay or something on her cheek, buying ice cream, pickles, and an enormous piece of beef. Her tummy makes a tummy-growl sound that sounds not quite right.

This totally sounds more like some awesome universe where somehow in the 1970s Roman Polanski was making movies based on Clive Barker stories, and why can't I live in that universe?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:17 PM on December 11, 2008


And the whole "We can use the Aliens who talk about our weridness about sex", which is the ..box the toys are in. Maybe a future world where random people are infected with the Alien Baby in order to create a more controllable weapon for The Company? And this infection manifests in odd, disturbing ways?

I always liked the idea that the Alien, the Xenomorph, was a creature evolved to take advantage of space travel and space-faring beings. Literally a virus with lots of life-stages.
posted by The Whelk at 8:26 PM on December 11, 2008


Because the audience is real, Ripley is not.

For that matter, neither are Hicks or Newt.

People do indeed go movies for entertainment, for something better than life and to have a movie essentially shit on that unwritten contract is lazy, arrogant and ignorant.


It seems it is your expectations of what the movie should have given you that is causing you distress. Heaven forbid that a film challenge you. You might say, "If I want to be challenged, I'll watch a Bergman film." But to me, that is what is so wonderful about A3. It is much more than just an action romp or a haunted house in space movie. The movie played against expectations; that is why so many hate it. But that is just what I like about it. I can watch Aliens about once every couple of years; A3 stands up much better to repeat viewing.
posted by theroadahead at 8:27 PM on December 11, 2008


Alien V: Didn't Anybody Think to Feed My Cat While I Was Away?

"Jones? Jonesy?"
posted by steef at 8:29 PM on December 11, 2008 [8 favorites]


I think cortex and others have done a good job of handling this (judging by subsequent comments), but I just need to state how it boggles my mind that you could say this.

It's pretty simple.

Alien3, as it was written, required Newt to die. Alien3, as it could have been, did not need this to happen. My opinion is that this second, unwritten version, could have been far superior.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:30 PM on December 11, 2008


The third movie is about courage in the face of fatalism; all hope is not merely lost but destroyed for Ripley, and she still soldiers on because she has to.

Exactly.
posted by theroadahead at 8:32 PM on December 11, 2008


I think I have to see the 3rd movie again. I recall it being full of Good Ideas, but enough God Ideas for like, 3 other movies, which never went anywhere.

Hmm.
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 PM on December 11, 2008


I'm not blind to the plot and subtext in Alien3, I'm saying that the story line didn't need to go that way. Sacrifice and courage is fine, so is perseverance and redemption.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:36 PM on December 11, 2008


And I love the idea of Ripley as the character who says "You can't fight them, you can't control them, you can only escape them." The idea of the Xenomorph being this beautiful deadly thing people want to use, but the reality that it will always, always beat you and complete it's Biological Imperative, is a very good idea to use. You can make it a metaphor for almost anything, if you want to.


Toybox!
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 PM on December 11, 2008


That's part of what annoys me about the AvP films. Whatever happened to Aliens getting to earth being the end of mankind?
posted by Artw at 8:42 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're supposed to have the hope contained in the second movie dashed.

That's fine, but it was all so idiotic, you know? It felt like hack way of isolating Ripley, from killing off those Hicks and Newt, the stupid religious like hell of the prison planet and queen egg inside Ripley.

For that matter, neither are Hicks or Newt.

Of course, but you asked why the audience should get closure while Ripley shouldn't, so I'm not sure what Hicks and Newt have to do with things.

Heaven forbid that a film challenge you.

But it didn't and to utter that sounds like a copout. The sudden appearance of an alien egg is a plot hole that stuck me on first viewing. Alien mom had no time and no way to lay eggs and since when did a face hugger lurk in the background until everyone was safely asleep?

If you're going to build a story, don't use such a shitty foundation, you know?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:43 PM on December 11, 2008


Of course, but you asked why the audience should get closure while Ripley shouldn't, so I'm not sure what Hicks and Newt have to do with things.

My point is that these are all fictional characters. You are upset about the heartless death of Newt and Hicks (fictions), and yet seem to spare not a thought on the impact of said deaths upon Ripley (another fiction). You say that the film didn't challenge you; it certainly seems to have pissed you off some.

I'm not trying to pick a fight. We just see things differently and perhaps have different expectations of what a movie (any movie) should be. The film is not flawless by any standard. As was pointed out, there was no completed script for most of the filming. But it certainly reached farther than any other film in the series, even though it fell short.

As to the appearance of the facehugger when it couldn't have happened, I'm reminded of Stephen King talking about the moment in Robinson Crusoe when he swims naked out to a ship and fills his pockets with supplies. These things happen.
posted by theroadahead at 9:00 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm tired and not expressing myself very well, so I'm going to bed. I hope I haven't pissed anyone off; it wasn't my intention.
posted by theroadahead at 9:04 PM on December 11, 2008


I watched the first AVP while suffering from a roaring sinus infection. Being that sick did not improve anything about the viewing experience one whit. Oddly, I spent most of a job interview the next week arguing that what AVP needed to be a good movie was less human interest-- in other words, more like the comics. As part of the actual interview, no less, which started around there and ended with some lengthy debate about The Invisibles. (Didn't get that job. Am somewhat glad in hindsight.)

I've also worked with the director of the previously-mentioned ripoff Alien vs. Hunter on some other project. I will speak no more of such dark matters, however.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:15 PM on December 11, 2008


Werner Herzog.

Ripley wakes up in an insane asylum populated entirely by midgets. After looking on helpless as the escaped inmates crucify a monkey, an alien wanders onto the premises (played by Klaus Kinski), but rather than actually killing anything, the alien lumbers around and stares at the midgets, occasionally convincing them to eat each other. Ripley tries to convince the alien to eat her, in order to prove to the midgets that it is evil, but the alien ignores her, as do the midgets, because they are all insane and already quite content with their cannibalism. As the camera pans away from the monkeys feasting on the dead bodies of the midgets, Ripley wonders silently and in German whether they were really the sane ones.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:33 PM on December 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


that Werner Herzog version sounds like the best thing in the history of the universe, including all parallel universes that are infinitely older than ours.

what's say we all chip in all of our life savings in order to ensure it is made? are you all with me? how can you do anything else?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:46 PM on December 11, 2008


Someone at Hulu has a sense of humor. The popup ad for an Aliens 3 clip (where they alien explodes) says "Olay: Love the Skin Your In" and the clip summary reads: "If molten lead doesn't work, try spraying the alien with cold water so the lead contracts. That should work in most cases."
posted by mecran01 at 9:47 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


and i've gotta say, klaus kinsi as the alien would have to be a thousand million times as terrifying as those silly geigeresque puppets...
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:48 PM on December 11, 2008


Hm. I loved the first two but ignored the box set because of the last two. If the alternate versions are an improvement, I might go looking for them.

Aliens, not AVP, that is.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:18 PM on December 11, 2008


Who would be the most interesting director of an alienless Alien?

Miyazaki? My brain hurts trying to figuret that one out.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:09 PM on December 11, 2008


/coughs and brushes the Cheetoh dust from his shoulders, mumbles "Nerds."
posted by bardic at 11:27 PM on December 11, 2008


As to the appearance of the facehugger when it couldn't have happened,

I think this is one of a couple of things that pissed people off right away about Alien 3. They kill off three very likable characters right away(aside from Bishop being shortly revived and then at the end - which was not him), AND they dismiss the basic plot line of the movie with "there were some left over eggs...in the escape pod...." Also, a facehugger attacks the dog impregnates it and dies off, all in the span of Not to mention the fact that you learn later on somehow a facehugger got into Ripley's containment unit and infected her. But like I said before I like 3, it is pretty solid if you get past some the inconsistencies.

I like Predator 2 almost as much as the first one. Coked out gang-wars, mysterious Rastafarians spewing wisened nonsense, Bill Paxton using everything he can to stop the Predator - even the golf ball in his hand, Danny Glover playing the everyman action hero chasing down a much larger opponent, and GARY EFFING BUSEY!!!!

I'm not sure what people saw in AVP other than the studios making schlocky retread of old ideas. I mean the part where the Predator and the main character become friends was just laughable. I haven't seen the second AVP, but there are a whole hell of a lot of ideas out there that could be done with these series and they don't need to combine them into "bigger and better" to get people come back and watch them. The interview with Weaver is interesting but seems like it's just her thinking out loud about a conversation she had with Cameron.

Speaking of doing interesting things with a movie franchise and not retreading old ideas, has anyone see the trailer for Terminator 4?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:58 PM on December 11, 2008


attacks the dog impregnates it and dies off, all in the span

This sentence should've ended with 'all in the span of moving the junked space ship which couldn't have taken that long.'
posted by P.o.B. at 12:02 AM on December 12, 2008


P.o.B., I don't want to like that, but goddamn. I'm willing to give it a chance.
posted by brundlefly at 12:57 AM on December 12, 2008


Oh, btw, referring to the Terminator 4 trailer.
posted by brundlefly at 1:14 AM on December 12, 2008


How many times do I have to tell you guys: Aliens threads must start at 9am GMT so I can swoop in looking all knowledgable.

As it is, all I have to add is: What cortex said, apart from that hooey about zombie movies.
posted by Jofus at 1:26 AM on December 12, 2008


I really liked the fact that they killed off Newt. I mean it was shocking sure, but exploding the cliches seemed more than a little necesary as a palate cleanser after Aliens. If A3 had had a director that wanted to continue in the same vein it might have been different.

Cronenberg would make an excellent Alienless Alien director. I'd have nominated Aronofsky, but I'm not sure he's up to it anymore. Philip Ridley might be a good choice, if only because he'd be confused with Ridley Scott until people actually got into the theater and had the WTF moment.

Ironically, it was me assuming that 28 Days Later had come out significantly after RE that had me feeling as despairing as I was about my argument; I'd say that 28DL was a profoundly more influential film on the zombie-rejuv front than RE could hope to be, so I'm going to harumph meaningfully about that now and reduce my flailing to a mild simmer.

28DL came out three months after RE. The only film example I can think of after Army of Darkness that even vaguely fits the bill for zombie revival is the barely seen but awesome Dellamorte Dellamore (USA: Cemetery Man) from 1994. However, in video games, you've got House of the Dead 1 & 2, System Shock 2, and Thief in addition to the RE franchise. Also, the book Zombie Survival Guide was probably being researched before the RE movie came out.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:59 AM on December 12, 2008


As to the appearance of the facehugger when it couldn't have happened,

The Queen carried a couple of spare eggs in her back-pocket/pouch/whatever ... and stuck them on the side of the drop-ship's undercarridge on the way up to the Sulaco. And Ripley never checked anything before going to sleep... Come on guys, it's obvious!

And talking of dream directors... About half-way through AVP:R I started thinking that if me and a few sf/film-obsessed friends of mine had got together and hired a half-decent technical crew we probably could have done a better job. But that fan-wankery aside I'd like to see Takashi Miike given a chance (though it would be so fucked up as to be near-unwatchable)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:51 AM on December 12, 2008


Terrence Malick. That is all.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:11 AM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ok, so fun fact: Paul W.S. Anderson is NOT the Magnolia guy.
posted by Eideteker at 5:33 AM on December 12, 2008


Good thread, and I think I will have a look at A3 again. I was probably 18 when I saw it, and a huge Alien and Aliens fanboy, and I was disappointed verging on angry with it at the time.
posted by Harald74 at 5:59 AM on December 12, 2008


My point is that these are all fictional characters. You are upset about the heartless death of Newt and Hicks (fictions), and yet seem to spare not a thought on the impact of said deaths upon Ripley (another fiction). You say that the film didn't challenge you; it certainly seems to have pissed you off some.

I'm disgusted by the death of Hicks and Newt, it was a hack's job of lazy plotting. I don't have a problem with them dying, had they done so in different fashion, I probably would have enjoyed the film a lot. The problem, IMO, is how and why they died.

Still not getting your fiction vs reality comparsion, since I was talking about the general audience reactions to their deaths. Your question of "But what about Ripley?!" makes me think "Uh, yeah, we got the rest of the movie to deal with her." Their's no real resolution there.

I'm reminded of Stephen King talking about the moment in Robinson Crusoe when he swims naked out to a ship and fills his pockets with supplies. These things happen.

Sure and there have been plenty of movies that I liked that weren't plot perfect. In the end, it depends on whether the suspension of belief was successful. For me, those early plot points were so lazy and dismissive of what had happened in the previous film that it severly hampered my enjoy of the film. It seems like they had a great idea for film, but decided to shoehorn it into an Aliens flick and failed to successfully do so.

"Hicks and Newt? Yeah, they just get in the way for this movie, so we're just gonna toss'em overboard, see they're dead, lets move on, we've got to get Ripley to hell and quick, let's go!"

That said, I'm downloading A3 now and will take another look at it over the weekend.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know what would be good?

Aliens vs. Gremlins.

Make it happen, someone.
posted by flashboy at 6:43 AM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


A booked a day off work to go see Alien 3 on my birthday... you can only imagine the crushing disappointment (and I'd already steeled myself with the bad reviews). And then Alien Regurgitation was worse, so much worse.... after that the disappointment has been lessened because all hope was gone.

During A3... about 20mins from the end, the woman behind me gave a stage whisper to her boyfriend: "Where's the doctor?"... I somehow don't think she's now debating the merits of the movie.

Also, no matter how many times I go to the cinema on my birthday, a call-girl never spills pop-corn on my lap in a prelude to us going off on a wacky adventure together involving a suitcase full of cocaine... what's up with that?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:45 AM on December 12, 2008


Interesting trivia from IMDB:
"One possible idea for the film included a chest-burster coming out of Michael Biehn's character, Hicks. A replica of the actor with his chest torn open was created, but after Biehn discovered this, he threatened to sue the producers for using his likeness without his consent, and the idea was dropped. Later, the producers paid him to use his picture at the beginning of the film for the computer sequence. Apparently he received more money for use of this one image than for his role in Aliens"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:51 AM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Aliens vs. Gremlins.

Oh, totally. It would be the surreptitiously racist "there goes the neighborhood" monster movie to end all surreptitiously racist "there goes the neighborhood" monster movies.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:55 AM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Freddy Krueger vs Predator.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:06 AM on December 12, 2008


damn you all for making me want to see alien3 again. the one thing i liked in alien4 was ripley's walk through the lab of failed organisms.

MStPT: I didn't think Event Horizon was bad because it was horror rather than sci-fi. I thought it was bad because they pretty much only had one trick: "look over here. over here at the ships cat... 3...2..1..**BOO**" I could literally count down outloud to the "BOO" moment. it's the only trick they had and they beat it like a thing you beat a lot. which is a shame, because it had a few very pretty moments but they were overrun by the rest of the movie.

BrotherCaine: I love and adore Cemetary Man. I used to think it was unlike any other movie ever, and then I saw Happiness of the Katakuris. Together, they would make an awesome double feature.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:31 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Aliens Vs Predator Vs Freddie Vs Jason Vs The Thing Vs The Shape Vs Leatherface Vs Chucky Vs Ash
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:32 AM on December 12, 2008


... Vs Jaws
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:33 AM on December 12, 2008


So yeah, in the future - say, 50 years after the events of Alien Resurrection - yet another group of scientists working for the military, in an orbiting space-station, are doing genetic experiments. We see a room full of tanks, all containing embryonic cloned Gizmos. In another room, another batch of Gizmo-clones are being impregnated by facehuggers. It is Christmas, and the scientists are hanging up their stockings over the airlock doors. Also, there are Aliens in cages.

A chestburster explodes from the torso of one of the Gizmo clones. The resulting Mogwalian is furry, has two mouths, acid for blood and makes a cute chirping noise. It hides in the shadows, then leaps out and tries to hug people. The scientists, who had been hoping to create an invincible bioweapon, are disappointed, but retire to bed so that Santa will come.

Unfortunately, a level of ambiguity about when exactly midnight falls when you're in an orbiting vehicle results in the automated feeding cycle for the Mogwalien giving it food at the wrong time. As a result: Gremlian.

The Gremlian then lets all the other Aliens out of the cages. And gives food to loads of the Gizmo clones. This results in hordes of Gremlins and Aliens running around the space station, forcing the remaining Gizmo clones to team up with the humans, and an android played by Zach Galligan, to save Christmas. From this point on a number of things occur, which are excellent. The finale involves Santa, who is actually another clone of Ripley, arriving and killing the Gremlian while riding on a giant robotic Rudolph. The end.
posted by flashboy at 7:33 AM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Now in my opinion, the people who felt "pissed off" or that killing those characters was a personal "fuck you" are entirely the right people to offend, and are the sort who should probably limit their science fiction and horror cinema to the annual Michael Bay release. It's the kind of sentimentality that led to another AVP sequel.

An Aliens 3 with Newt and Hicks would have sucked in a far worse way than the Aliens 3 we ended up getting. It would have been schlocky fan service and cheese rather than the multilayered apocalypse we actually got. In fact, I'll dare say that their deaths early in the film fits the cynical eschatology that is pervasive throughout. The dead are fortunate because they will not witness the horrors of the end times.

The Whelk, a while back nailed the intent of the franchise. Rather than a series of linear sequels that we saw with James Bond or Star Wars united by a fairly consistent vision, theme, and repetition of common motifs, the Aliens franchise was to be variations on a theme with the Alien and Ripley as the only unifying elements. Heck, I'll take Alien Resurrection's attempt at blending sci fi with fantasy over the approach of yet another action sequel.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:33 AM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry: nonono, you have to decide to go to las vegas on a whim and have a gorgeous mysterious woman fall onto your car and leading you off onto wacky adventures. do be careful of that tall suave man with eyes that are different colors, though.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:34 AM on December 12, 2008


It's like putting out a sequel to "It's a Wonderful Life" where George Bailey wakes up the next morning to find out his whole family was killed by a tornado while he slept. And expecting the audience not to care that you just dropped a giant steaming turd on a movie that a lot of people really loved.

This does not happen enough. A sequel to a very popular movie is almost always a dissapointment, and because nobody takes risks with them they also hardly ever end up surprising or original.

For example, wouldn't it be awesome if there was a sequel to The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy's family decides she is crazy and sends her to a mental hospital to get electro-shock therapy, and she escapes and goes to Oz, but it turns out the Emerald City has been destroyed and all of her friends have been turned to stone? Someone was crazy enough to make that movie, and it's far better than a straight sequel would have been in my opinion.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:39 AM on December 12, 2008


@ROU_Xenophobe:
Why do so many people have a hate-on for Paul WS Anderson?

You saw 'Event Horizon', right? The was no reason _whatsoever_ for a 'Solaris' remake to degrade into 'Hellraiser' and do justice to neither film.

I'm hopeful for this non-xenomorph movie, but I'm mostly curious about the motives that sent the Nostromo to LV-426. IMHO, Paul WS Anderson wasted both Lance Henrickson and the Charles Weyland character. _That_ was a crime.
posted by vhsiv at 7:39 AM on December 12, 2008


Now in my opinion, the people who felt "pissed off" or that killing those characters was a personal "fuck you" are entirely the right people to offend, and are the sort who should probably limit their science fiction and horror cinema to the annual Michael Bay release. It's the kind of sentimentality that led to another AVP sequel.

Well said, KirkJS. Alien^3 pissed me off immensely at first, but that was because as a kid I was expecting Alienses. I have come to appreciate it for its strengths. It is very different from its two predecessors, of course: Most of the characters are sketched out more in Alien and Aliens, so when Dallas or Vasquez or Lambert or Gorman buys it, you know immediately who is lost. Alien^3 struck me as a a long series of interchangeable bald Brits getting massacred, so it did nothing for me. However, as my tastes matured, I realized it was the most interesting of the lot. I think a big part of the tepid view most people have of it is that American audiences want happy endings, and are troubled when only 99.3% of movies have them.

Ambrosia Voyeur: I think what is missing from your Cronenberg precis is that connection between the second character and Ripley. Cronenberg, from The Fly through M. Butterfly to A History of Violence has only one great theme: how long can you keep loving someone who is really changing?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:09 AM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


They should re-release Alien3... in 3D
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:19 AM on December 12, 2008


fearfulsymmetry: nonono, you have to decide to go to las vegas on a whim and have a gorgeous mysterious woman fall onto your car and leading you off onto wacky adventures. do be careful of that tall suave man with eyes that are different colors, though.

... ok, nothing rings a bell, and my Googlefu is weak... what film's this?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:22 AM on December 12, 2008


fearfulsymmetry: "into the night", with jeff goldblum as a guy with insomnia who decides to go to vegas. but michelle pfeiffer runs into him in the airport garage and they have a wacky adventure. david bowie shows up as a suave spy dude.

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0089346/

it was fun when i saw it but i have no idea how it holds up to the test of time.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:25 AM on December 12, 2008


The whole point of "It's a Wonderful Life" is sentimentality about middle-class American life; the whole point of the "Alien" movies is that humans live in a hostile universe filled with peril. While killing Bailey's family would have worked against the moral message that appreciating the little things you have leads to happiness, killing Newt and Hicks works towards the moral message that humans survive in the universe by the skin of our teeth.

@burnmp3s: It's actually interesting in that "Return to Oz" is arguably more faithful in tone than the MGM "Wizard of Oz." MGM's "Wizard" cuts short both Dorthy's confrontation with the Wicked Witch of the West, and the whole second half of the novel, in which, the companions go on a quest using their newly discovered talents. Baum's "Wizard" makes it clear that Oz is still very much a dangerous place, even if that danger is as comical as the hammerheads.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:29 AM on December 12, 2008


My friend's sister named her daughter Ripley. True story. Also, a sad one.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:34 AM on December 12, 2008


The sudden appearance of an alien egg is a plot hole that stuck me on first viewing. Alien mom had no time and no way to lay eggs

IIRC, the very last thing in Aliens is the sound of an egg opening.

You saw 'Event Horizon', right?

Yeah. Loads of fun. Good "booga" moments. Creepy shit abounded. Good and decent actors. Don't really give a shit about its quality as a Solaris remake. Only about its funness as a DEVIL! IN! SPAAAAAACE! movie.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:35 AM on December 12, 2008


This does not happen enough. A sequel to a very popular movie is almost always a dissapointment, and because nobody takes risks with them they also hardly ever end up surprising or original.

It's tricky to do and still keep the audience. Hollywood doesn't like it then you fuck with it's bottom line in order to be surprising or original.

Plus, let's of people go to movies to escape reality, at least for a while. They already know that the world can be ugly, death sudden and life futile and they're not looking for reminders of that. I suppose we could argue about whether that's "right" or what path is superior, but to completely gloss of that fact of American movies seems silly. Either work with what you got and win the crowd so you can make more movies or settle for smaller audiences and venues.


Now in my opinion, the people who felt "pissed off" or that killing those characters was a personal "fuck you" are entirely the right people to offend, and are the sort who should probably limit their science fiction and horror cinema to the annual Michael Bay release. It's the kind of sentimentality that led to another AVP sequel.

True story, I was pissed off about the the killing of those characters but have never seen either AVP,
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:37 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


"into the night", with jeff goldblum

Ah, right... never heard of it until now... I'lll have to check it out
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:37 AM on December 12, 2008


I am presonally thrilled that there are so many Mefites who not only appreciate the Aliens movies, but take them seriously. It is refreshing to see people get it.

My stance has always been that Alien is a horror movie, Aliens is an action/thriller, and Alien3 is more of an art flick. Aliens Resurrection is probably the truest scifi/horror blend (by which i mean the science at work is part of the horror), up till the catestrophic and horrid final act.

I really feel the first 3 make a wonderful character arc for both Ripley and the alien, and I think 3 does a touching job of bookending that journey. I have a hard time imagining how a story about Ripley without the Alien stands on it's own without some serious ret-con action. Ripley wasn't all that interesting till the Alien arrived... and now she's dead despite her hybridized resurrection.

Give Ripley some peace; has she not earned it?

Dark Horse has provided TONS of material that warrants filming. The universe that sprouted up in those books is very rich, and poses many of the moral/social issues that scifi is renowned for.

pops XenoZip, speeds off!
posted by butterstick at 8:45 AM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I know this isn't gonna happen—the film continuity has gone in exactly the wrong direction to accommodate it—but a film of Aliens Book 1 is pretty much exactly what I'd like to see made:

Newt and Hicks as emotionally-scarred survivors ten years on, the slow steady march of humanity's suicide-by-bioweapon-research, vignettes of the alien backstory, an exploration of the implications of cross-species telepathic interaction, religious/cult commentary on the deification of the Other, the menacing reintroduction of the Space Jockey, and shades of twisted redemption for Hicks and Newt both in the explicit context of Ripley's absence and their shared need to compensate for that in their perception of themselves and one another.

It's one of my favorite graphic novels, and it was good enough that it got me buying up a lot of increasingly-questionable Aliens books in high school. Some of Dark Horse's stuff was good, some of it was not so good at all, but that first book was rock fucking solid and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes the franchise but hasn't checked it out.

Googling now suggests they did a reissue (yay, I guess) with the names of the characters changed to accommodate the clashing film canon (boo, goddammit). Billie and Wilks? Feh.

Still, a good read and it'd make a hell of a film if it was done right. And the question of who would direct that I think is a really interesting one.
posted by cortex at 8:47 AM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Funny trivia from Aliens:

"When filming the scene with Newt in the duct, Carrie Henn kept deliberately blowing her scene so she could slide down the vent, which she later called a slide three stories tall. James Cameron finally dissuaded her by saying that if she completed the shot, she could play on it as much as she wanted. She did, and he kept his promise."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:47 AM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Aliens Vs Predator Vs Freddie Vs Jason Vs The Thing Vs The Shape Vs Leatherface Vs Chucky Vs Ash


My Big, Fat Alien Invasion.

Hilarity ensues as Carter from Aliens attempts to romance an Alien Queen, but it order to get close to her, he must...convert.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:11 AM on December 12, 2008


Also, those deriding the death of Newt in the opening of Alien3 forfeit Charles S. Dutton's beautiful eulogy for Newt. Possibly the most moving scene in the whole film.
posted by butterstick at 9:12 AM on December 12, 2008


Cortex and I should compose a guide to those Dark Horse books... Some are really fantastic, but there are also some real stinkers in there. Dark Horse has release 4 volumes of their Omnibus' of the Aliens books. Good quality re-prints, and the price is right on amazon.
posted by butterstick at 9:16 AM on December 12, 2008


butterstick, I could put together a list of the books I have and we could compare notes, divvy 'em up, and do rereads and like one-page summaries for each. That'd be some hot nerd action right there.
posted by cortex at 9:19 AM on December 12, 2008


Everyone should try to watch the 30 minutes longer cut of Alien3 on the Quadrliogy boxset. It's still a flawed film but the extended sequences give you an idea of what Fincher was trying to do with the film.

If only the studio hadn't fucked him over, Alien3 would be my favorite in the series.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:23 AM on December 12, 2008


it was good enough that it got me buying up a lot of increasingly-questionable Aliens books in high school.

Oh, I know that path well. Though the one wityh the Sam Keith art was a tough hurdle (nothing against Keith, just he was horrifacly unsuited to that book. See also Sandman)
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on December 12, 2008


Count me in on the Dark Horse summaries.
posted by Brainy at 9:23 AM on December 12, 2008


...as I have a Mark Nelson print (and soon to be a Den Beauvais one too) hanging on my wall, I meant to add.
posted by Brainy at 9:25 AM on December 12, 2008


Fearfulsymmetry used to have a pretty good article about the comics on his site, bu it seems to have gone now. IIRC It didn't cover the later stuff like Labyrinth or any of the Xenozip stuff.
posted by Artw at 9:41 AM on December 12, 2008


So to mefi projects with us then?
posted by butterstick at 9:46 AM on December 12, 2008


Or perhaps to tumblr and emailing. I'm gonna pull out my box and inventory what I've got and toss it up there; anybody else who wants to do the same should drop me a line and I'll add theirs as well, and we can go from there.

Projects when we've actually got our shit together.
posted by cortex at 9:55 AM on December 12, 2008


Fearfulsymmetry used to have a pretty good article about the comics on his site

It's been on my to-do list to do a update adding to that including the development since I wrote it (like all the AVP nonsense) plus some other stuff on the films that got missed out first time around.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:57 AM on December 12, 2008


thought it was bad because they pretty much only had one trick:

It also had crazy Sam chewing the scenary, which was pretty cool.

I'm mostly curious about the motives that sent the Nostromo to LV-426.

So, it turns out that Weyland discovers something profound about the universe: Humans and Aliens are both artifically engineered organisms. They didn't evolve on their own.

We were built as prey animals - by the Predators, who are the most ancient of the races, who go around tinkering with shit so it will develop into interesting hunts for them over the millions of years.

The Predators are our dark Gods, and Weyland wants his Human/Alien hybrids to destroy them, so that he may replace them. Bonus points if he's convinced he's a kinder, more loving God. More bonus points if one cares to work in allegories around history of Western religion.
posted by rodgerd at 10:27 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's tricky to do and still keep the audience. Hollywood doesn't like it then you fuck with it's bottom line in order to be surprising or original.

But Hollywood's usual formula seems to be to try to create an exact duplicate of the original over and over again, often handing the franchise off to less talented directors in the process, until everyone gets sick of it. That's why they end up having to resort to reboots like Batman Begins or just canning the franchise when things get bad. I think that Hollywood movies would be more interesting if every sequel was a significant departure from the last.

In the music world, there is also a lot of pressure for bands to stick with what they've already done and put out the same types of songs ad nauseum, but some of the best and most commercially successful bands reinvent themselves for nearly every album. If the Beatles had always stuck to their original sound or Bowie had kept rehashing Ziggy Stardust, they never would have been as consistently good and popular as they were.

When I go to a Cohen brothers movie or buy a Radiohead album, it's not because I'm expecting the same thing I've already seen or heard before, it's because I know they are talented artists whose work I generally enjoy. Sure, I end up not liking some of it, but Hollywood makes more than their share of clunkers by using their formula.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:39 AM on December 12, 2008


Predators are way to goofy to originate Humans or Aliens, clearly it's the work of the navigator dudes.
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on December 12, 2008


I think that Hollywood movies would be more interesting if every sequel was a significant departure from the last.

That sounds like boring art for arts sakes, as opposed to making a sequel for a good reason.

For better or worse, consistency sells and Hollywood likes things that sell.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on December 12, 2008


“Oh look, bad stuff can happen randomly!” is overated as a deep insight.
posted by Artw at 11:17 AM on December 12, 2008


So is "Everything always turns out all right!" but it is the driving force behind 99%+ of Hollywood movies.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:24 AM on December 12, 2008


It's possible to combine them for some ultimate super-suck: "Look! The soldiers have arrived, the world hasn't ended after all and you don't need to shoot your family from Lovecraftian horrors. oh you did? Ha ha!"
posted by Artw at 11:39 AM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


It also had crazy Sam chewing the scenary, which was pretty cool.

It is one of my 2 favorite Sam Neill gets wiggy movies, the other being, of course, In the Mouth of Madness. Sigh, I wish he would do more.
posted by nikitabot at 11:43 AM on December 12, 2008


I'll argue that Alien 3 has proven to be somewhat critically successful because we are still talking about Fincher's vision 16 years after it was made. How many discussions are there to be had about Terminator 3, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Die Another Day*, or Home Alone 3, movies that were the third iteration of a previously-established formula?

Or even worse, we could have had a Superman 3 or Escape from L.A..

* Working from the starting point that Tomorrow Never Dies was something of a stylistic reboot of the Bond franchise.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:45 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now, if the end of Event Horizon was half as clever as the end of Mouth of Madness that would be quite a movie.
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on December 12, 2008


I didn't think Event Horizon was bad because it was horror rather than sci-fi. I thought it was bad because they pretty much only had one trick: "look over here. over here at the ships cat... 3...2..1..**BOO**" I could literally count down outloud to the "BOO" moment. it's the only trick they had and they beat it like a thing you beat a lot. which is a shame, because it had a few very pretty moments but they were overrun by the rest of the movie.

Yes, but instead of it being a dead teenager in a closet with an ice pick in his neck, it was Sam Neill with his eyes gouged out. IN SPACE.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:58 AM on December 12, 2008


I'll argue that Alien 3 has proven to be somewhat critically successful because we are still talking about Fincher's vision 16 years after it was made.

I agree as far as that goes. But if he hadn't gone on to make Se7en and Fight Club, the concept of "Fincher's vision" wouldn't exist.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:03 PM on December 12, 2008


Eyes-gouged-out-Neill was better than the "Sam Neil returns as crap Pinhead ...IN SPACE!" we got after that.

Of course Event Horizon is about a million times better than the actual Hellraiser movie they did in space (in which the spacestation folds up to make a giant Hellraiser Box... IN SPACE!)
posted by Artw at 12:06 PM on December 12, 2008


“The mummified astronaut at the beginning of the first movie; who was he?”

That was Bob, from accounting. Didn’t you get the memo?


I think killing Newt and Hicks was a good dramatic choice. I think the exposition was really lousy. Like “oh, um, they died. And Ripley has an alien in her. And there’s an alien on the ship, and stuff.”
Really? How? That all kind of runs contrary to type and previous narrat...
“Uh...magic.”

I mean movies are about the ‘how.’ The exposition. Otherwise folks would be satisfied by a plot synopsis. I suppose there’s different forgivness levels for margins of error. And there’s no real argument to be had over taste given a certain level of competance. IMHO you can like or dislike 3, but there’s an argument to be had over whether it was competantly executed. I don’t think it was. I think what they were going for was good. But - I’ve got a whole huge essay here that proves everything I’m saying and it’s really really interesting...ah, but let’s move on.

“Aliens Vs Predator Vs Freddie Vs Jason Vs The Thing Vs The Shape Vs Leatherface Vs Chucky Vs Ash...vs Jaws”

Yeah, well, it’s Ash, so they don’t really stand a chance.

I was seeing an Aliens v Predator v Terminator comic somewhere.
My first thought was - do you know how bad-ass the humans from that reality would be?
I read something, I think it was Frank Miller, just a bit about a human from the Terminator future - totally violent and ruthless - who got physically ill at the thought of a human killing another human.
It was a minor detail in one panel which for me made the whole thing.

“My Big, Fat Alien Invasion.”

Yeah, but windex cures Alien infestation.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:12 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Of course Event Horizon is about a million times better than the actual Hellraiser movie they did in space (in which the spacestation folds up to make a giant Hellraiser Box... IN SPACE!)

Was that the one with the siamese twins Cenobite? Man, they really started running out of ideas.
posted by nikitabot at 12:19 PM on December 12, 2008


Smed: I think killing Newt and Hicks was a good dramatic choice. I think the exposition was really lousy. Like “oh, um, they died. And Ripley has an alien in her. And there’s an alien on the ship, and stuff.”
Really? How? That all kind of runs contrary to type and previous narrat...


I never found disbelief suspension all that difficult in this case. The Queen left eggs on the Sulaco at the end of Aliens. Facehuggers are smart enough to follow the meat to the escape pods. As for Newt and Hicks dying, that is pretty well explained in Alien³: Hicks dies on impact (girder through the chest or something) and Newts cryotube is cracked and flooded. She drowns.

Because Ripley can NEVER catch a fucking break.
posted by butterstick at 12:25 PM on December 12, 2008


The Dark Horse comic of Alien 3 had the facehugger infect Newt, who then drowned, and the Queen chestburster crawled out of her mouth and down Ripley's throat. I think the novelization is even stranger, but then the author complained about not being able to change the plot to keep Newt alive so we can't really count on him for an explanation.
posted by Brainy at 12:40 PM on December 12, 2008


Did they not get Alan Dean Foster to do it?
posted by Artw at 12:47 PM on December 12, 2008


Alien 3: The Novelization (Paperback)
by Alan Dean Foster (Adapter), Vincent Ward (Author), Larry Ferguson (Author), David Giler (Author), Walter Hill (Author)

Wha-? That many names can't be good.
posted by Artw at 12:49 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


How many discussions are there to be had about Terminator 3, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,

Because these were successful in the first place.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:04 PM on December 12, 2008


Terminator 3 posits that each T-800 carries as a power supply a device equivalent to a small nuclear bomb... which raises some questions Re: Terminator 1 & 2.
posted by Artw at 1:09 PM on December 12, 2008


The Queen left eggs on the Sulaco at the end of Aliens.

How? She got rid of her egg making sac and she isn't carrying any eggs when confronting Ripley and Newt on the landing deck.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:13 PM on December 12, 2008


Was that the one with the siamese twins Cenobite?

I beleive so. And that one wasn't even as stupid as the one where teens are lured to an evil cenobite rave party by an evil website - woooooooo!
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on December 12, 2008


Just assume there's some xenomorph marsupial bullshit going on or something, BB. Its not like these bastards aren't pretty versatile, you know? Or maybe she sucked a couple up her egg sac entry point. Alien cloaca?
posted by cortex at 1:23 PM on December 12, 2008


She's an alien, so who knows what kind of apparatus is absolutely necessary for egg making.

Besides, she wasn't on-screen the entire time between arrival on the Sulaco and the start of the fight with Ripley. In the realm we're talking about here, that's suspendible enough for me.

Also: I now hate you for making me admit I've thought that deeply about it. I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS, MAN!
posted by butterstick at 1:25 PM on December 12, 2008


Yeah, you can totally get around it by handwaving, but handwaveyness kind of sucks.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on December 12, 2008


Dude, the alternative to the handwaving is to deny the entire premise of the movie. That's probably fine if you think it's lousy, but I think it has a lot of merit. So the handwaving really isn't too much of a stretch for me... I find it totally plausible.
posted by butterstick at 1:35 PM on December 12, 2008


Yes, but I value my willingness to occasionally wave my hands more than I do my ability to hold a grudge against flawed movies I nonetheless like.

Except when I prefer to hold the grudge, in which case I will call handwaving out as the flaming bullcock that it clearly is.
posted by cortex at 1:35 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Me and butterstick are going to go get married now. Get facehugged!
posted by cortex at 1:36 PM on December 12, 2008


Heh. The entire history of movies that lead up to it is based on an acceptance of a certain amount of handwaving, so I can't complain too much on that count. And I’ve always sort of enjoyed Alien 3 as it’s own thing, but it is loaded with irksome points like that (and the lead thing, and the not being the comic thing…)

I actually kind of like the way the whole thing gets dealt with wordlessly in the title sequence.
posted by Artw at 1:41 PM on December 12, 2008


I find it totally plausible.

NERDBLINKERS!
posted by Artw at 1:42 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just assume there's some xenomorph marsupial bullshit going on or something

Can't man. Had similar problem with Dark City in that some plot points just wreck the story, leaving me muttering under my breath "You've got to be fucking kidding me."

Besides, she wasn't on-screen the entire time between arrival on the Sulaco and the start of the fight with Ripley.

That doesn't work either, we're talking a few minutes at most. They landed, disembark and have their Kodak moment before Alien Momma gets mean.


More trivia, about alien eggs:
"The eggs laid by the queen are large, ellipsoidal, leathery objects about one meter high with a four-lobed opening at the top. As a potential host approaches, the egg's lobes unfold like flower petals and the parasitic facehugger explodes from within. Giger initially designed the eggs with a much more obviously vaginal appearance, complete with an "inner and outer vulva".[5] The producers complained that Catholic countries would ban the film if the allusion was too strong, so Giger doubled the lobes to four; so that, in his words, "seen from above, they would form the cross that people in Catholic countries are so fond of looking at."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:47 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


That sounds kind of big. In Aliens it seemed like they were a couple of foot high, if that.
posted by Artw at 1:51 PM on December 12, 2008


Metafilter: xenomorph marsupial bullshit

Wow, this isn't nearly as esoteric as Dark City... I wonder, do those offend you to similar degrees bb? I mean Dark City requires some serious fucking leaps, right?
posted by butterstick at 1:51 PM on December 12, 2008


Giger initially designed the eggs with a much more obviously vaginal appearance, complete with an "inner and outer vulva". The producers complained that Catholic countries would ban the film if the allusion was too strong, so Giger doubled the lobes to four; so that, in his words, "seen from above, they would form the cross that people in Catholic countries are so fond of looking at.

1. I believe the word he's looking for is labia.
2. Catholics love their thinly-veiled sexual imagery. What's a gothic cathedral if not a pile of stone and glass weewees, hoo-hahs, and bumholes?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:54 PM on December 12, 2008


It's been a while since I last saw it, but I liked Alien3. It was visually interesting and atmospheric. Sadly everyone seemed to want Aliens again. I remember reading a review which stated that Alien3, intentionally or not, was a metaphor for the outbreak of AIDS in the gay community. It made sense at the time, and I'll be renting it soon to see if the reviewer's point stands.

I also liked Resurrection, 'cause I'm a huge Jeunet fanboy. I thought that Weaver brought nuance to the her character; it was fun watching her interpret Ripley-which-is-not-Ripley. Also, seeing the Hybrid get sucked through a hole the size of a quarter was worth the price of admission for me.

Maybe I'm just screwed together wrong though, 'cause I rented Aliens recently and I thought that it fell flat. It still has the best one-liners of the series, but I remember the firefights being much more frantic and claustrophobic. A lot of the plot just seemed contrived to drive the special effects (only one squad aboard the Sulaco?) and gunporn.

Alien is still fantastic though.

Also, Lynch or Cronenberg for the next one, please.
posted by lekvar at 1:56 PM on December 12, 2008


It was Alan Dean Foster who wrote the novelizations. He said in Empire
I'm especially proud of the Alien Trilogy, which I had tried to weave together as seamlessly as possible. In our one conversation I found James Cameron to be perfectly pleasant, and ready to rationally debate points of contention, but after trying to fix many of the contradictions and problems in Alien 3, i got a letter from [co-screenwriter] Walter hill declaring that no changes would be permitted, that I had to follow the script exactly, and that if I did so 'It would make for a much better book'.

So out went my carefully constructed motivations for all of the principal prisoners, my preserving the life of Newt (her killing in the film is an obscenity) and much else. Embittered by this experience, that's why I turned down Resurrection.

I was only sorry I never had the chance to write a screenplay for the one Alien story every fan of that series wanted to see - the backstory to the crashed alien ship with it's cargo of eggs."
posted by Brainy at 2:00 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hence the weird credits...
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on December 12, 2008


FWIW In my particular teen-geek tribe the Alan Dean Foster Aliens novelization was taken to be the definitive, canonical version of the story.

For some reason the same didn’t apply to Alien, I guess because the whole cocoon thing didn’t seem to fit with later developments.
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on December 12, 2008


Dark City was gorgeous to look at, no question and the concept was interesting.

But really, you're going wake up in the middle of the street and just humbly go about your day as if nothing happened? Even when you have a bruise, even though you can't remember you got it from when you suddenly fell asleep while in a the middle of walking? What happens when someone is walking up the steps at midnight, what kind of condition are they gonna wake up in? Little things like that bugged me plus the explanation of what the aliens were doing seemed quite thin.

Plus Sutherland's acting was overdone to a comical degree and the ending reminded me of how silly comic book battles can be.

For Aliens3, a better explanation would have been this:
Another company ship was sent to the planet and found another nest, collected some eggs and captured Ripley's ship, since they were the only ones with up close info about the creatures. Of course the company let some facehuggers roam free among the sleep chambers, since they really don't want witnesses. Naturally, Ripley and Hicks aren't aware of being implanted, but aren't up for being held captive and attempt to escape/destroy both shipsand in the ensuing escape attempt, Hicks is killed and Newt actually winds ups sacrificing herself to save Ripley. Ripley crash lands on the prison planet and the movie as we know goes on from there.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:16 PM on December 12, 2008


For Aliens3, a better explanation would have been this:
Another company ship was sent to the planet and found another nest, collected some eggs and captured Ripley's ship, since they were the only ones with up close info about the creatures. Of course the company let some facehuggers roam free among the sleep chambers, since they really don't want witnesses. Naturally, Ripley and Hicks aren't aware of being implanted, but aren't up for being held captive and attempt to escape/destroy both shipsand in the ensuing escape attempt, Hicks is killed and Newt actually winds ups sacrificing herself to save Ripley. Ripley crash lands on the prison planet and the movie as we know goes on from there.


This is either great satire, or some of the best evidence presented so far that the only proper place for fanboys is hogtied and ball-gagged in the corner.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:29 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's cool, but at least say why it sucks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:35 PM on December 12, 2008


some of the best evidence presented so far that the only proper place for fanboys is hogtied and ball-gagged in the corner.

Also to be considered for rank within the roster of this evidence: I'm the one who brought rope.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:44 PM on December 12, 2008


A3 and onwards are clearly Ripley's nightmare from when she goes to sleep at the end of Aliens... she's gonna wake up real soon.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:45 PM on December 12, 2008


Dude, the alternative to the handwaving is to deny the entire premise of the movie.

In fairness, a lot of people seemed to dig the most recent AvP film which, as I mentioned upthread, was made by people who denied the premise to the point that it was manifest they were Unclear On The Concept. The thinking seemed to be that if all the other Alien movies each had a dramatic chestburster scene (and I think it is one per onscreen in the first four movies), then eight or ten or twelve must be a helluva lot better.

"Yeah, like wouldnt it be cool if an alien got into a hospital maternity ward and like stuck a whole bunch of eggs down some preganat ladies throat and they like hatched right away!!"

This, I submit, is like making a werewolf movie where werewolves don't need to bite people to turn them, they can do it by touching them. Also werewolves can fly and turn invisible. Cool, huh?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:47 PM on December 12, 2008


Are they mormon?
posted by Artw at 2:51 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Terminator 3 posits that each T-800 carries as a power supply a device equivalent to a small nuclear bomb

Well they're all time-travel movies which automatically means you could pick those apart endlessly. Besides, whether or not they were even good to watch doesn't negate the fact they were successful. This is the problem with Alien 3. There are a lot of people who like the movie although it wasn't so successful. Thus people go back and forth on the merits of the movie trying to validate it (or not).
posted by P.o.B. at 3:14 PM on December 12, 2008


“I never found disbelief suspension all that difficult in this case... Because Ripley can NEVER catch a fucking break.”

Well, again, mixing execution with theme. I appreciate Ripley never gets a break. But it’s just not good story telling to plug a change into the story without regard for the earlier material without some exposition. Why should I have to fill in the blanks as an audiance member? I’m not saying it’s not good to allude to something and have the audiance’s imagination cover it. But this was made up out of whole cloth. And there’s no reason to hide it (other than it being a mistake).
If we’re supposed to just following Ripley, then shift the audiance POV to first person instead of this third person semi-omniscient thing we’ve had going.

It’s as though it’s a slightly different reality we’ve entered. With some retcon going on where certain things we didn’t see happen, happened. And some things we didn’t see, did. And certain rules we thought were rules, weren’t.

I buy the argument that the strengths overcome the weaknesses in the film. I think it’s watchable.

I don’t buy the ‘marsupial’ thing or ‘they’re aliens- who knows?’
Well, the writers should know. Especially with a distinctive established set of characters. Good storytelling takes into account those established rules. Maybe you can bend them, or even break them. But you can’t simply discard them and ask your audience to make apologies.

I’m not exactly a hard case about this stuff either. I let slide the 2nd law of thermodynamics for the Matrix and I enjoyed it.

Enjoyed Dark City too. There’s a different between stretches in reality and internal failures in the storytelling.

I mean, I enjoyed the ‘in the year 2525’ thing the guy was singing as he’s mopping. That, for me, made the whole bleak vision thing. The super facehugger changes and such, not really.
And I cut the film a break on the xyy chromosome thing too. It was in vogue in the thoughtsphere at the time (media and whatnot) but those folks, while they do have some developmental difficulties, aren’t generally more aggressive.
Meh.

Typically I’m of the opinion that everything serves the dramatic elements. E.g. “The Empire in Star Wars vs. The Federation from Star Trek” - so you can argue power levels, mass, organization, blah de blah, but really, all that matters is how to combine the dramatic elements to make a good story.

In life - people take the simplest path. The federation faced with the death star would genesis bomb it. The empire, faced with teleportation technology, would co-opt it.
But it’s not a documentary. There’s supposed to be an interesting story there.

So if you had such a clash story, but hey, I don’t much like that the federation can teleport because it ruins this dramatic plot point I want to get going, so I’m going to change it or just get rid of it without explaining anything - it’s not going to work.

It’s going to be seen as a flaw, no matter how cool your dystopic neo-cyberpunk vision is.
So, want to kill Newt and Hicks (sorry corporal) horribly? Fine. Hey, want to have Hicks kill her or vice versa? Fine. But you gotta show me how. And don’t insult me by saying I’m not qualified to know what’s going on or tell me it’s different that I’d thought. Show me - not tell me.
It’s what I’m putting my money down for.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:24 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


The dark horse comics are about 25% great, 25% acceptable, 25% bad, 25% criminally bad. So a pretty standard comics quality distribution curve, but way higher than standard for licensed material. I can re-read the best stuff every few years.

If you guys put together that guide to Dark Horse aliens comics, I would like to be involved. After reading through this thread I dropped by my parents' house and pulled most of the Aliens comics from my Dark Horse box. I have pretty much all of them, except for all the anime-style AVP crap that started coming out in 1998.

The first series from 1988 is great. It features highly detailed black and white art, and an original story about what happens to Earth when Alien-worshipping cult members offers themselves to the facehuggers.

My favourite is Labyrinth, about a "company" internal affairs investigator who is looking into the goings-on at a remote space lab run by a wacko doctor who, surprise surprise, thinks he can control the Alien. Really nice pencils by a then pretty much unknown Killian Plunkett. The story goes to some very dark places.

I'm an aspiring comic book writer and artist and have pipe dreams about an alien mini of my own. This will allow me to be the auteur for one chapter, which I believe as mentioned above is the unique throughline of the franchise.
posted by autodidact at 3:30 PM on December 12, 2008


So heres one… Hadleys Hope had a population of 158, a fair number of whom would have died rather than being impregnated… and yet when you include the toll from the sentry guns there appears to be far more aliens on Archeron than that. The standard explanation for this is that the colonists must have had livestock which the aliens then impregnated… fair enough. Then comes Alien 3, and now apparently if a facehugger impregnates a dog you get a dog alien, with canine characteristics from the host DNA. So where were all the cow aliens in Aliens?

(The AvP series runs into the same thing: In the first series a container craft full of cow like creatures become a big nest of regular aliens, and yet in one of the follow ups you get a marine and a predator up against a pre-AvP:R predalien)
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on December 12, 2008


Ya, what Smedleyman said.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:37 PM on December 12, 2008


You're not qualified to know what’s going on. It’s different that you thought.

Seriously, the plot elements serve to move the story forward, nothing more, nothing less. Anything more and you're investing way too much time and energy trying to get fiction and fact to coexist.
posted by lekvar at 3:39 PM on December 12, 2008


So where were all the cow aliens in Aliens?

They were cannon fodder for the sentry guns...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:40 PM on December 12, 2008


I was about to post my collection, but it turns out I do have all the official Aliens comics:
http://www.comics-db.com/Dark_Horse_Comics/A/Alien/Aliens/

I have the vs. stuff that's not on that page, I guess because it was published by other banners, like Superman vs Aliens, Batman vs Aliens, Judge Dredd vs Aliens.

I also have almost all the AVP comics, definitely all the ones that are any good.
http://www.comics-db.com/Dark_Horse_Comics/A/Alien/Aliens_vs__Predator/index.html

Including some left out such as AVP: War.
posted by autodidact at 3:43 PM on December 12, 2008


Aliens^3 is the very alien itself, erupting from the chest of its healthy parent; an unwanted, inimical, matricidal birth. That's about the only way I can appreciate that suckturd of a movie.

Where's my Berserker movie?

Was Outland in the Aliensverse or was I just convinced of that in my teens?

/me ambles off.
posted by fleacircus at 3:44 PM on December 12, 2008


Because, it replaces a fairly simple problem with a whole Mary Sue pirate movie of a cliche. The only suspension of disbelief required by the opening of Alien 3 is how did eggs get on board the ship. (Laid by a queen? Placed on the transport by drones? Hidden by Mr. company fink?) The rest follows from previously established facts of the setting. We know that human technology is notoriously fallible. In Alien, Ripley is betrayed not only by Ash, but also by Mother who doesn't deactivate the self-destruct. In Aliens, a massive terraforming system is set to explode after taking relatively trivial damage, and Ripley's lifeboat overshoots the frontier. It's not a huge leap for Alien 3 to propose that notoriously fickle human technology failed to protect the critically injured Hicks or tiny little Newt.

Furthermore, the setting already established that humans are stretched thin over a vast quantity of space that they don't fully understand, and they travel using massive spaceships with big glowing engines. Surely, all of this activity including a very noisy sonic-boom-causing planetfall in the neighborhood would draw notice? And it requires pretty idiotic behavior on the part of the company as well. Lets see here, our mice are stuck on a planet without transportation. Rather than lay a trap they can't refuse by offering them a lift, we are going to sit in orbit, watch them die one by one while their android wiggles his way to a communications tower, and then swoop in at the last minute. Throw me a friggin bone here. Sea bass with laser beams?

And our mice escape to a prison planet? Ha ha, I'll procrastinate for several critical days, risking the death of momma mouse before swooping in to extract them. You've just set up one of Ebert's stupidity movies, a story that only makes sense if you conclude that the company is filled with complete idiots.

And what storytelling gain do we get out of all of this stupidity? Some sort of feel-good moral confrontation? A sense that their deaths were meaningful that would stand in direct contradiction with the apocalyptic moral vision of the rest of the work in which deaths are sudden, brutal, and not planned out according to an emotional timetable? Well gee, while you are at it, why not throw in a production number of "Prisoners of Love?"

There is a ton of room to criticize Alien 3. It's badly-paced. There is minimal chemistry that lets us care about the doctor. The dialog is ham-fisted at times. The final dialog between Ripley and the company man is over-the-top in terms of melodrama. Criticizing a movie about death and vulnerability for an opening sequence that establishes that vulnerability strikes me as short-sighted and silly. As is criticizing Alien 3 for returning to a horror narrative after Cameron's action-adventure excursion.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:46 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


They were cannon fodder for the sentry guns...

Dakka-dakka-dakka-spat! Moo! Dakka-dakka-dakka!

Works for me.
posted by Artw at 3:47 PM on December 12, 2008


Smedley & Blatcher, with a six year gap between productions, and the characters in cold sleep the whole time, who do you get to play the little girl? The child actress is six years too old for the role. I'm sure you could get a stand in, but that can be a bit more jarring than the handwaving. Also, when you switch directors and add new writers, perhaps you have to limit your explanations to avoid continuity errors and plot resets.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:48 PM on December 12, 2008


Smedley & Blatcher, with a six year gap between productions, and the characters in cold sleep the whole time, who do you get to play the little girl?

"Just do the comics" gets around that.
posted by Artw at 3:50 PM on December 12, 2008


I suspect there are a limited number of directors who want to slavishly follow someone else's creative vision, and yet can still produce a great movie; a sequel that we wouldn't be complaining failed to live up to the first two.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:54 PM on December 12, 2008


If you like Sam Neill getting wiggy, you really need to hunt down a copy of Possession. The less you know about it before you view it, the better.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:54 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Terminator 3 posits that each T-800 carries as a power supply a device equivalent to a small nuclear bomb... which raises some questions Re: Terminator 1 & 2.

Terminator 1 and 2 Arnold was a T-800. In T3 he's a T-850, which is the same 101 chassis upgraded, mainly with twin hydrogen fuel cells.

/such a fucking nerd
posted by autodidact at 3:55 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Whoops, model 101 mould. T850 chassis.
posted by autodidact at 3:57 PM on December 12, 2008


I’m guessing theres a reason Skynet didn’t send another T-850 bomb-bot instead of the slightly-less-good-than-a-T-1000?
posted by Artw at 3:58 PM on December 12, 2008


@Artw:Of course Event Horizon is about a million times better than the actual Hellraiser movie they did in space (in which the spacestation folds up to make a giant Hellraiser Box... IN SPACE!)

Nah. 'Hellraiser:Bloodline' (aka 'Hellraiser 4') was actually a pretty cool flick, IMHO -- Both a prequel and franchise-ender IN THE SAME MOVIE. Brilliant. The history of the box and the Angelique Cenobyte really paid off in ways that Hellraiser 3,5 and 7-8 failed to satisfy.

Am I the only one who thought (self-link) that the strength of the first film was the fucked-up Oedipal narrative and not  the Cenobytes?

And a good 'Solaris' remake has yet to be made...
posted by vhsiv at 4:02 PM on December 12, 2008


I don’t buy the ‘marsupial’ thing or ‘they’re aliens- who knows?’
Well, the writers should know. Especially with a distinctive established set of characters.


I don't totally disagree with you—a handwave is a handwave—but it's worth noting that the established characteristics of the alien changed from Giger's design to the Alien script, and from the Alien footage to the Alien theatrical cut, and from Alien to Aliens...

I'm as willing to accept a bit of Alien Queen cloaca action as I am "eggs are just trapped victims agonizingly transformed by unspecified goop in a cocoon", which was very much part of the original cut of the first film.
posted by cortex at 4:06 PM on December 12, 2008


If you like Sam Neill getting wiggy, you really need to hunt down a copy of Possession. The less you know about it before you view it, the better.

Thank you, downloading now.

I don't know what it is about Sam Neill. I can imagine him at an upscale party, dressed elegantly, smilingly pleasantly and being a perfect gentleman, then discreetly excusing himself and going to the den, drawing the doors closed, and doing battle with ancient demonic forces. If we ever need an Earth ambassador to a planet of brain-sucking insect giants, I recommend Sam Neill for that job. Because he would excel at it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:09 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Smedleyman: But it’s just not good story telling to plug a change into the story without regard for the earlier material without some exposition.

So what, we need an Orson Wells monologue to give us a moral frame for something that is rather well-presented (even shockingly so), as a montage?

So, want to kill Newt and Hicks (sorry corporal) horribly? Fine. Hey, want to have Hicks kill her or vice versa? Fine. But you gotta show me how. And don’t insult me by saying I’m not qualified to know what’s going on or tell me it’s different that I’d thought. Show me - not tell me.
It’s what I’m putting my money down for.


Well, I'm trying to figure out what exactly wasn't shown in the opening montage that needed to be shown. But the fact that the camera is not omniscient is a key tool for building drama throughout the Alien series. We find out what lurks in Kane's chest the same way the actors did, when it bursts out. We don't see what Ash is doing in his secret conversations with Mother, and only the barest hint early in the film that he's not human. There is also a critical narrative gap after Kane is face-hugged and the exploration team reach the airlock elevator. In the original theatrical cut, we don't see what happens to the bodies of the crew. We don't see the alien stalking Ripley, we see Ripley running and jumping at shadows. Revealing any of these narrative elements would have both bogged down the pace of the film, and spoiled much of the suspense.

Initially, Alien 3 is a murder mystery, and like any good murder mystery, the full story is hidden from both the protagonist and the audience, and dribbled out slowly. I'll argue this is a good thing because it forces us to emphasize with Ripley's isolation within the new environment.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:15 PM on December 12, 2008


cortex: Except that this kind of handwaving has been a central part of science fiction cinema going way back to Star Trek. As Gene Roddenbery once said, "The Enterprise is a plot device for getting characters from story to story."

It's a story with FTL communication and travel. A misplaced egg strikes me as a relatively benign plot device in comparison.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:20 PM on December 12, 2008


a good 'Solaris' remake has yet to be made...

This is blasphemy I know, but I prefer the Clooney one, mostly because I could get all the way through it without falling asleep/wandering off and doing something else.

Actually I liked the book most of all, and so win on snob points anyway.
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on December 12, 2008


empathize, not emphasize, eeg.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:22 PM on December 12, 2008


KirkJobSluder - That's certainly one of several possible valid points of view.
posted by Artw at 4:24 PM on December 12, 2008


I’m guessing theres a reason Skynet didn’t send another T-850 bomb-bot instead of the slightly-less-good-than-a-T-1000?

But they probably have at some point. The way to take Terminator all depends on how you think about the continuity of the timeline. Does it split off, or loop back? I used to think it looped back, but now I think it kind of ripples and splits off. We can only see one "story" at a time but there is basically a reality for every variation of the story, from Skynet blue-screening and judgement day never happening, to Skynet being really smart and saving some ICBMs to send back through the time displacement equipment to 1985, and everything in between. Somewhere along that continuum would like twice-as-good-as-T1000 coming back in time and blowing John Connor's brains all over Sarah Connor's brains.
posted by autodidact at 4:26 PM on December 12, 2008


I think we're violently agreeing, KJS, or at least something close to it.

Actually I liked the book most of all, and so win on snob points anyway.

You get points for reading Lem; you lose points because it's probably the worst translation possible (to English from Polish via abridged French?); you gain snob points back because, hey, France.
posted by cortex at 4:27 PM on December 12, 2008


I bought my copy in Krakow.
posted by Artw at 4:28 PM on December 12, 2008


Gesundheit.
posted by cortex at 4:29 PM on December 12, 2008


"would lie".

To be clear I think we're seeing the same characters experiencing the ripple effect of the robots' assasination attempts. There are realities where they lose badly but we're seeing the "copies of their souls" or however you want to think about it, who win.

/clear fail
posted by autodidact at 4:31 PM on December 12, 2008


Time-wimey.
posted by Artw at 4:32 PM on December 12, 2008


If we ever need an Earth ambassador to a planet of brain-sucking insect giants, I recommend Sam Neill for that job. Because he would excel at it.

I second this, instead we're wasting him on Crusoe, which is kind of like grating fresh truffles and imported parmesan into your Stagg canned chili.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:33 PM on December 12, 2008


heh.

TBH The terminator time travelly bits have always struck me as PURE HANDWAVIUM, and kind of self contradictory on the issue of whether time is immutable or not, but it's never really mattered that much as it's been a way of getting killer robots into play.
posted by Artw at 4:36 PM on December 12, 2008


"The force alone would direct all brain and blood splatter AWAY from the shooter.

Wait, wait, wait - Hicks was a jedi?
posted by ooga_booga at 4:39 PM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


BTW, I can totally recommend the Stephen Baxter sequel to The Time Machine, in which the Wellsian traveler encounters the problem of not quite being able to get back into timelines he’s previously visited because he keeps changing things. A very fun book.
posted by Artw at 4:40 PM on December 12, 2008


It's not a huge leap for Alien 3 to propose that notoriously fickle human technology failed to protect the critically injured Hicks or tiny little Newt.

Ah, but it is. My back breaks just looking at contortions the movie pulls in the opening sequence.

First a shot of Newt, Ripley and Hicks sleeping in the stasis chambers

Then a shot of an alien egg on the ceiling in some unknown part of the ship, opening and dripping goo. Since when did they put eggs on a ceiling?

A facehugger rearing or climbing over something, probably meant to be Ripley.

Then a facehugger rearing itself over a sleeping Newt in her chamber and the sound of glass breaking

Then acid spilling on the floor and quickly eating through it, which shorts out something,

Smoke under an emergency sprinkler

Then an alarm as the ship warns "stasis interrupted" and we get an medical x-ray of a space hugger over a skull.

Then Ripley kinda sorta waking up, no facehugger anywhere around here, followed by many cuts of fire breaking out, alarms, stuff breaking.

Then the sleep chambers are automatically moved to the saddest example of an escape pod ever. Seriously, it looks like a futuristic gun clip, not aerodynamic at all. It tumbles end over end as it approches a planet, crashlands there and is then found. As the criminals move the pod to their base, a dog barks at the facefugger, still alive, hiding in the shadows.

So we got a facehugger born from an upside down placed egg, when there was literally no chance for a momma alien to be on the ship AND have an egg. Said facehugger acts really quickly, because the time from implanting Ripley to the acid wrecking everything isn't long and then it doesn't die, seems to make a pass at Newt, the escape pod crash doesn't kill Ripley despite the broken glass 4 inches from her face and oh, the facehugger is still alive and taking an interest in dogs. Those are some major leaps in the first 5 minutes of the film.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:50 PM on December 12, 2008


So what, we need an Orson Wells monologue to give us a moral frame for something that is rather well-presented (even shockingly so), as a montage?

No brought up or asked for Orson Wells, so I'm not sure where you're pulling this strawman from.

Because, it replaces a fairly simple problem with a whole Mary Sue pirate movie of a cliche.

Ok, how would you expalin how an egg got on the ship?

Rather than lay a trap they can't refuse by offering them a lift, we are going to sit in orbit, watch them die one by one while their android wiggles his way to a communications tower, and then swoop in at the last minute. Throw me a friggin bone here.


I have no idea what you're talking about here, 'cause it's not what I wrote. The Company probably would send another ship, like they did in A3, because they want the creature. I never said they'd sit orbit and lurk in the background, but they would send a rescue ship to figure out what the hell happened and probably would be looking for escape ships and if so, grab it.

And our mice escape to a prison planet?

Yeah, A3 was a prison planet, weren't you watching? I'm saying put another 10 minutes or so in the beginning, then essentially pick up the A3 storyline when she crashes on the planet.

And what storytelling gain do we get out of all of this stupidity?

You get Ripley in hell after watching them die and feeling 10 times worse.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:09 PM on December 12, 2008


There are not too many aliens in the movie if you accept the theatrical release without the sentry guns as canon, which James Cameron says is the case. In the theatrical cut, although it seems like hundreds, we only see about forty aliens get killed on screen (or implied killed) by the marines.

I never understood people who criticize Aliens by saying "they turned the aliens into harmless ants" because a squad of marines was able to kill a bunch of them before being slaughtered horribly. The sentry gun scene kind of does reduce them to mindless ants, which is why it's edited out and thus not a detraction from the monster's lethality.

I'm gonna watch one of these tonight, either Alien or Alien3, considering I watched Aliens two weeks ago.
posted by autodidact at 5:11 PM on December 12, 2008


ahem

I SAID
I CAME HERE WITH ROPE
TO TIE UP FANBOYS
ITS A FLIRTY METAPHOR
FOR MY PWNAGE IN THE REALM OF SF MOVIES
BUT ALSO FLIRTY
DID YOU CATCH THE FLIRTY

*pout*
*hands Marisa her cocktail and heads for the door*
*mumble mumble, room fulla geeks and they're totally oblivious, stupid sausage party, I'm gonna go home and get high and put They Live on and chew an entire pack of Bazooka, is what, mumble mumble*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:14 PM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Fincher's rather vague dramatic license of putting an egg on the ship, strikes me as a rather tame biological improbability compared to Scott's magically-growing Alien (perhaps it's a breatharian), or Cameron's self-amputating queen. If Cameron can have his Queen drop body segments just to put her in front of the Checkov's gun he blatantly waved in our face in Act I, then Fincher can be forgiven for smuggling and egg with her.

Brandon Blatcher: Since when did they put eggs on a ceiling?

But we know next to nothing about Alien biology other than what is demanded of dramatic license: they are big, ugly, and use humans for a stage of their lifecycle. If alien physiology was limited just to what was previously presented, then we wouldn't have the big Queen vs. Mecha-Ripley fight to look back on.

But I'll argue that an egg on the ceiling is well within the capabilities of Aliens as presented. We've seen Aliens hang out on walls and ceilings, and we've seen Aliens redecorate entire passageways with glue. We've also seen them act with at least a limited form of intelligence.

Does the opening sequence specify how many facehuggers or eggs are on the ship? I didn't think so. The rest of the narrative seems to be fairly reasonable in progression. Facehuggers attack Ripley, Newt, and possibly Hicks. Acid from them causes an electrical fire, triggering a failsafe that puts them into a lifeboat.

It's certainly as reasonable a proposing that a group of marines don't have the ability to communicate with their own ship without a tower, or that a Queen suddenly has the ability to amputate a chunk of her body to hitch a ride on a spaceship.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:16 PM on December 12, 2008


WE'RE TALKIN' ABOUT SERIOUS IMPORTANT STUFF HERE, DAMMIT
posted by cortex at 5:17 PM on December 12, 2008


*sips Ambrosia's cocktail*

Mmm ... mint julep ....
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:32 PM on December 12, 2008


Ok, how would you expalin how an egg got on the ship?

Well, who said there was only one queen?
posted by lekvar at 5:47 PM on December 12, 2008


Dammit woman, there's someone on the internet who. is. wrong.

Kirk, we'll just have to agree to disagree. My whole spine is aching from the contortions I think you're doing now and that's just how it's going to be. The film worked for you, so these points are minor, while obviously it didn't for me so I'm hung up on it how the damn egg got on there 'cause there needs to be a reason for the damn movie to exist.

I'm watching A3 now and I have to take back what I said about it being a good movie. It's hamfisted, the pacing is awful, the horror elements are all rote cliches and the plot is just too damn ludicrous to take its damnation and hellfire seriously. I do like cortex's explanation of the themes, but the implementation is just so awful, I feel I'm owed a reboot.

Well, who said there was only one queen?

Please be respectful of blood pressure, thank you.

Look, there's not fucking reason for the egg to be on the ship. NONE. It's a godamn hack, it's always been a hack and it always will be a hack. Hicks and Newt died for hacky reasons.

Now Tara on the other hand, that death played out well, but don't get me started on Walsh's death, I could nail Whedon to the cross for that (minus his typing hand of course).

I'm sorry, these things MATTER.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:01 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


In Alien, Ripley is betrayed not only by Ash, but also by Mother who doesn't deactivate the self-destruct.

[dork]
I don't think it was meant to be a refusal. The scuttle procedure works by turning off the cooling systems to the engines. I always figured that after 5 minutes they just got hot enough that there was no way to stop them from detonating.
[/dork]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:06 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Keep in mind the movie is 16 years old. If you are calling it hack then you should be comparing to previous movies. Yeah?

Let's just say the queen pooped the egg(s) out and hucked them through the door of the space ship when no one was looking. Works for me.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:11 PM on December 12, 2008


Please be respectful of blood pressure, thank you.

Seriously. More than one queen at the site doesn't even make sense, especially when you consider the dearth of viable hosts on LV-426 and, further, the maternal-killing aspect of the established queen breeding cycle from the comics.

More likely is that there are infinitely many parallel universes, and the egg found its way onto the ship from another universe's hive via a wormhole opened by the nuclear payload detonated from orbit.

I could nail Whedon to the cross for that

You have to admit that was one goddam effective bit of melodrama, though. I don't know if I've ever heard an entire theater shut up like that.
posted by cortex at 6:12 PM on December 12, 2008


Brandon Blatcher: Ok, how would you expalin how an egg got on the ship?

Well, that's the core problem. I don't feel this is a problem that needs to be explicitly addressed anymore than the dozens of other examples of dramatic license that are central to Alien movies. In fact, I think it's entirely the sort of wrong question to ask. There was an egg (at least one) on the ship. Krypton exploded. Heathcliff is haunted by the ghost of Kathy. The force is strong in Luke Skywalker. Harry Potter is not only a wizard, he's the personal adversary of a former dictator of wizards. Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time. I don't feel that any of these examples of dramatic license are worth spending more than a moment of pissing about.

I mean heck, it's an egg, on the ceiling, of a spaceship. That entire premise is so loaded with multilayered wrongness that you might as well accept the whole thing if the rest of the work well-structured around it.

Which should be the key question. Not how the egg got onto the ship, but does the egg serve the purpose of the rest of the dramatic work. Which it does. You can certainly criticize the ham-fisted dialogue, the pacing and the use of horror elements, but pissing about the egg is juvenile and shallow criticism.

My whole spine is aching from the contortions I think you're doing now and that's just how it's going to be.

Now you see. I find the egg narrative to be much more simple in structure than your proposal of a company ship that didn't have aliens, somehow matching velocities a tiny speck of matter in a big hunk of space, boarding it, infecting Ripley with aliens they didn't have, and then letting her run away to possibly get killed while they twiddle their thumbs for days.

The problem with your narrative is how the fuck did the company get Aliens? Did they beat the marines to the site, in which case, they have no need for Ripley? Or did they arrive while the marines were on-site, when they could have easily "rescued" Ripley? They couldn't have gotten the aliens from the site after the events of Aliens. So even with your narrative you have an egg on a spaceship problem.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:21 PM on December 12, 2008


I read the DH comics in High School too, but I'm sorry, cortex, they ain't cannon.
posted by lekvar at 6:24 PM on December 12, 2008


Look, there's not fucking reason for the egg to be on the ship. NONE. It's a godamn hack, it's always been a hack and it always will be a hack. Hicks and Newt died for hacky reasons.

Oh please. There are dozens of plot twists and devices in the saga for which there is no fucking reason. There is no fucking reason for Bishop to crawl into a tube. There is no fucking reason for colonists to be on that planet. There is no fucking reason for a chest-burster to get so damn big. Pissing about a fucking egg is just fucking silly.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:24 PM on December 12, 2008


Aliens are important to American culture. There are many examples of Aliens in American culture throughout the ages. Without Aliens, American culture would not be the same. This is why there are so many Aliens in American culture today.

forgive me
posted by flaterik at 6:30 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


the egg found its way onto the ship from another universe's hive via a wormhole opened by the nuclear payload detonated from orbit.

Nonsense, the egg was stuck to the ceiling, if it came in via wormhole it would have been just discarded on the floor as opposed to glued into place.

Let's just say the queen pooped the egg(s) out and hucked them through the door of the space ship when no one was looking.

No. She didn't have any damn egss when she getting ready to confront Ripley and Newt on the landing deck, so she can't huck anything.


Kirk, one last point (maybe):

You mentioned the frailty of machinery and cited the base going nuclear after "trivial" damage. Perhaps, but I think that is a great example where strict adherence to reality doesn't matter. After all, if it's terrafarming a planet, there's problem some delicate parts in there somewhere, right? So some stray gunfire probably would be enough to set it off, especially since it had been set up that the thing could blow up from a single misplaced bullet, hence the Marines were supposed to use flamethrowers only. Which, in retrospect, was a terrible idea, according to Frost.

Also, it's clear from the conversation in the mess hall the the Marines have been all over the place and Frost even had sex with some alien being who was actually male, but it didn't really matter with that species. So idea that humans are scattered far and wide with little contact really doesn't hold up either.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:31 PM on December 12, 2008


Remember when Ripley went and got in the Loader Mech, yeah that's right...poop eggs.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:35 PM on December 12, 2008


I read the DH comics in High School too, but I'm sorry, cortex, they ain't cannon.

Yeah, but the beauty thing is that in the parallel universe, they are.
posted by cortex at 6:43 PM on December 12, 2008


I don't feel that any of these examples of dramatic license are worth spending more than a moment of pissing about.

Well, you are wrong and broken. It's not dramatic license it's hack designed to explain why there's even a movie in the first place.

but pissing about the egg is juvenile and shallow criticism.

Seriously no. It's the whole reason there's a movie and without it, nothing else can happen. Not having the egg there negates the entire damn movie, so they should put some thought into how the egg got there and at least watch the last movie so they can do an adequate job of the explanation.

how the fuck did the company get Aliens?

It's a big planet, with more than one nest. Nuking one site doesn't destroy the other nest(s). Some division or part of the company knows about aliens and wants them. Ergo, once contact is lost with the Marines they send in the heavy hitter "fixers," designed to get the Aliens at any cost, get any info and kill the witnesses.

There is no fucking reason for Bishop to crawl into a tube.

He needed to reach the undamaged communication tower to call up the 2nd drop ship since aliens killed the pilots of the first ship and caused it to wreck.

There is no fucking reason for colonists to be on that planet.

Somebody has to oversee the machinery.

There is no fucking reason for a chest-burster to get so damn big.

Hey, kids grow up !

Pissing about a fucking egg is just fucking silly.

Well, first of all, we're talking about two different movies. Frankly there's no real reason why Momma alien went after Ripley, you'd think Mom would grab some warriors and head for the hill so she could start over as opposed to going on a murderous rampage. BUt that's ok, it fits thematically.

But back to A3, which is the movie I was actually bitching about:
If you're going make a movie because of an egg is on the ship, I want to now how and why the egg was on the ship, especially since previous events show there was no way an egg could be on the ship.

No plot is perfect and pretty much any piece of fiction has holes on it. That's fine, it's ok, we're not doing precise analysis where everything has to measure up. But if you're telling a story, try not to contradict yourself too hard.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:54 PM on December 12, 2008


Remember when Ripley went and got in the Loader Mech, yeah that's right...poop eggs.

She had no way to poop eggs and she was busy hunting for Newt who was scurrying around underneath. Too busy to poop, even if she could.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:56 PM on December 12, 2008


I find your lack of faith in the alien queen's multitasking skills disturbing.
posted by cortex at 7:02 PM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


She had her own personal 66 Order. You didn't see Anakin stopping to impregnate someone while he was working, did you?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:12 PM on December 12, 2008


You have to admit that was one goddam effective bit of melodrama, though. I don't know if I've ever heard an entire theater shut up like that.

Not to mention that it makes the last fights serious. The first time I saw it, they'd wrecked Serenity and killed Wash, so it really seemed like this might be Whedon giving the franchise a Viking funeral. So by the time they start fighting Reavers, maybe they're all going to die.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:15 PM on December 12, 2008


It's a big planet...

Planetoid, actually.

Frankly there's no real reason why Momma alien went after Ripley...

You mean other than Ripley torching her entire eggchamber?
posted by lekvar at 7:16 PM on December 12, 2008


You didn't see Anakin stopping to impregnate someone while he was working, did you?

We didn't see Anakin poop either, but he sensed Count Dooku on a daily basis.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:20 PM on December 12, 2008


You mean other than Ripley torching her entire eggchamber?

Yeah, most moms attempt to save what kids they have. If she has an egg, as many her have said, you'd think she would hightail it to someplace away from the fire breathing dragon.

Uh oh, interesting conversation in A3, about 47 minutes in. As Ripley is questioning a shattered Bishop, who is plugged into the ship's records, she asks if there an alien on board. Bishop replies yes and Ripley asks, exact quote, "Was it on the Sulaco or did it come with us on the EEV(the escape pod)"

Bishop replies, "It was with us all the way."

"Does the company know?" Ripley asks.

Bishop responds, "The company knows everything that happened on the ship. It all goes into the computer and gets sent back to network."

"And they want it," says Ripley

Bishop then asks to be disconnected.

So that whole exchange is deliciously vague.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:35 PM on December 12, 2008


I don't know what it is about Sam Neill. I can imagine him at an upscale party, dressed elegantly, smilingly pleasantly and being a perfect gentleman, then discreetly excusing himself and going to the den, drawing the doors closed, and doing battle with ancient demonic forces.

Also, he would have made a great Hannibal Lecter.
posted by rodgerd at 8:32 PM on December 12, 2008


Seriously no. It's the whole reason there's a movie and without it, nothing else can happen.

Silly me, I thought the whole reason there's an Alien 3 is to put Ripley in a no-win situation in which her only allies are a group of criminals whose only collective redeeming value is a deep faith in their own damnation.

And the whole reason there's an Aliens is to give Ripley a showdown with more Aliens and some really big guns. Everything else in the move is "plot hackery" to serve this purpose. Very little of Aliens can be justified objectively. A company that exists to make money is going to put a hugely, enormously, unimaginable capital investment on top of a biological weapon? They design a hugely, enormously, unimaginable capital investment such that small arms fire can create a thermonuclear explosion? The marines of the future lack portable ground-to-orbit communications technology that was developed in the 1970s? These are three blatant examples of science fiction plot hackery that serve the purpose of getting Ripley on the planet, putting her under a deadline, and keeping her on the planet until the deadline almost expires.

If we are going to wail about plot hackery in the Alien franchise, we might as well apply the same standard to Cameron, Scott, and Junet as well as Fincher.

I just watched the ending of Aliens to confirm, and the last sound in the movie really is of an egg opening. It really makes no sense to criticize Alien 3 for running with a plot device that was introduced as a possibility in the closing seconds of Aliens.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:31 PM on December 12, 2008


But I suspect that wailing about the egg is rarely ever really about the egg. And I have my doubts that Ripley/Newt/Hicks shippers would be any less critical of any script that killed them in the first act.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:39 PM on December 12, 2008


You have to admit that was one goddam effective bit of melodrama, though. I don't know if I've ever heard an entire theater shut up like that.

Yeah, same thing happened when I watched it in the theater, all two of us.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:32 PM on December 12, 2008


Alright, kids.

I set out tonight to answer the question, "Does Alien 3 suck?" It can only be answered in the proper context, and thus I have so far reviewed the first two films. I have (re)learned that the first is brilliant, and that James Cameron is a fucking studio hack who couldn't tell a believable story to save his life. Or maybe watching two hours of military porn and trite blockbuster-style emotional manipulation just puts me in a bad mood.

I'm kind of looking forward to the third, though. Maybe all of this unbelievable nonsense you all are talking about is just a sendup of the unbelievable nonsense in the second? We shall soon find out...
posted by kaibutsu at 6:01 AM on December 13, 2008


Silly me, I thought the whole reason there's an Alien 3 is to put Ripley in a no-win situation in which her only allies are a group of criminals whose only collective redeeming value is a deep faith in their own damnation.

Theme vs plot. You're talking the first, I'm talking the latter, so we're never going to agree. I do like the themes, but feel they were poorly implemented by a shitty plot, horrible pacing, a shitty plot, poor writing and a shitty plot.

And the whole reason there's an Aliens is to give Ripley a showdown with more Aliens and some really big guns.

That and to give her closure on the events in Alien and a return to a sane life. Look, I like Aliens, but I'm bitching about A3, so I have no idea why you want to keep dragging A2 back into this.

A company that exists to make money is going to put a hugely, enormously, unimaginable capital investment on top of a biological weapon?

Not sure what you're talking about here. They wanted to terrafarm a planetoid, they set up machinery, oops there's something else there a colonist discovered after we built all our crap.

They design a hugely, enormously, unimaginable capital investment such that small arms fire can create a thermonuclear explosion?

I know, right? I can believe that the fuel tank for a car is in the car, what kinda design process is that?!

The marines of the future lack portable ground-to-orbit communications technology that was developed in the 1970s?

They did, but it was destroyed in the firefight. Did you miss the thematic and plot of the technological superior force getting their ass handed to them?

These are three blatant examples of science fiction plot hackery that serve the purpose of getting Ripley on the planet, putting her under a deadline, and keeping her on the planet until the deadline almost expires.

Dude, I'm not saying a movie has to be plot perfect. I've said before there is no such movie.

That said I liked the basic plot of Aliens: Hey some of that nasty creatures we didn't believe you about and grounded your career over? Wellllll, maybe they exist, maybe not, but if you take a look, we'll give you your career back, so come on! Oh shit, THEY DO EXIST, and we wrecked the place trying to fight them off, now it's gonna blow up, but that's not a real problem, we got a plane and we're getting outta here right now and once we do we're nuking the whole fucking site, case closed. OH SHIT, they wrecked our getaway plane, now we have to figure out how to get another one, which takes us dangerously close to the time when the whole place blows up.

I just watched the ending of Aliens to confirm, and the last sound in the movie really is of an egg opening. It really makes no sense to criticize Alien 3 for running with a plot device that was introduced as a possibility in the closing seconds of Aliens.

Not really, 'cause it still makes no sense. Hey, I liked A2, but that doesn't mean I'll cut it slack for introducing a crappy plot device.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:47 AM on December 13, 2008


I just watched the ending of Aliens to confirm, and the last sound in the movie really is of an egg opening.

Also, can anyone else confirm this?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:59 AM on December 13, 2008


Not sure what you're talking about here. They wanted to terrafarm a planetoid, they set up machinery, oops there's something else there a colonist discovered after we built all our crap.

The Nostromo received unexpected orders to land on LV-426, and Ripley discovers from Ash and from Mother that the company is prioritizing capture and return of an alien specimen over the lives of the Nostromo's human crew.

There's no oops here. They built a terraforming station on a planet they knew had potential bioweapon nastiness lurking around. To what degree that decision is the result of massive futuristic corporate bureaucracy vs. explicit dark meddling is a fun question, but it's not "oops".
posted by cortex at 7:43 AM on December 13, 2008


Somebody want to explain to me how Alien Mom knew how to operate an elevator in Aliens? Fuckin' resourceful bitch, I tell ya.
posted by phaedon at 7:49 AM on December 13, 2008


Oh that, thanks for the reminder.

Sounds oopsy considering the 57 year time span and probable high level secrecy of the original order. Lots of stuff gets lost or forgotten.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:53 AM on December 13, 2008


Exhibit A, phaedon.

Lots of stuff gets lost or forgotten.

But "could have been forgotten" has much less compelling explanatory power than "clearly must have been forgotten", and I think you are stuck here with the former.

Burke as proxy for the company certainly had no trouble putting two and two together, and Weyland-Yutani was happy to contrive Nostromo Redux when the opportunity arose, so, yeah, I still find "oops" hard to credit.
posted by cortex at 7:58 AM on December 13, 2008


Also, can anyone else confirm this?

Yes, sadly, in Aliens: Collector's Edition, after all the credits roll, "RELEASED BY TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX CORPORATION" flashes on screen and you hear something scurry by.

I would totally argue against it being the sound of an egg opening, because you can pretty definitively hear the noise moving from right speaker to left.
posted by phaedon at 8:15 AM on December 13, 2008


.. it's a facehugger skittering by.
posted by autodidact at 8:24 AM on December 13, 2008


Somebody want to explain to me how Alien Mom knew how to operate an elevator in Aliens?

How could they take the elevator, man? They're animals.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:33 AM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Amélien

A child-like, yet emotionally exhausted woman finds her attempts to help the people around her achieve love and happiness thwarted by the fact she is a bloodthirsty xenomorph killing machine.
posted by Sparx at 8:42 AM on December 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Burke as proxy for the company certainly had no trouble putting two and two together, and Weyland-Yutani was happy to contrive Nostromo Redux when the opportunity arose,

Ok, lets say it's a plot hole. It differs from how the egg got on the ship in that based on what A2 showed, there's literally not a single second where it could have happened. That's the fatal plothole there, they actually showed the entire activity of Alien Queen. Had they waited until Ripley, Bishop and Newt had left the ship to get a stretcher for Hicks and then come back and the queen attacked, there would be a nice hole of time where egg planting could have occurred. Oh wait, she had ditched her egg planting half, so she still could've planted any eggs.

As to the colonists and terrafarm, nothing is ever shown and since they are colonists, it's easy to come up with different scenarios of they came to be on the planet with something that could blow up if damaged by fire, explosions and plasma rifles.

Also, can anyone else confirm this?

Yah, i downloaded it from iTunes, which lists it as 1999 movie as opposed to '86 and there is the sound of a facehugger scurrying about. So it was definitely there at the end of A2, but it's still a glaring plothole.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:49 AM on December 13, 2008


Well, 200 comments of this thread were fun.
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on December 13, 2008


If Scott and Weaver think that Ripley isn't played out, then perhaps she's not. But the aliens are, and the predators aren't.

I disagree. The aliens are initially portrayed as mindless bugs that just kill shit. But A4 (as awful as it was in so many ways, except for Sigourney's badass no-camera-trickery one-hand-nothing-but-net shot) showed us that they think--tearing one apart to melt through the walls. So what do they think? What happens when humanity meets their home planet, not just some random outpost colony as they did in Aliens? How did they get there? We know from Alien that they have huge--and beautiful--interstellar ships, which implies a whole host of things we don't know about them.

Oh, these poor beans on this plate...

Also many thanks to cortex. I've always loved A3, and like others was unable to put my finger on precisely why.

And the biggest question remains completely unaddressed: What do they eat?

That sounds like a silly question, but it's not. How do they survive? They use other living beings for reproduction... but how do they sustain themselves?

I think the biomechanical aspects of the whole xenomorph cycle cry out for Cronenberg, m'self.

Holy fuck. Cronenberg + Geiger = Y HALLO THAR NITEMAER FUEL.

Also, would be awesome in the most awesome of awesomest awesomosityesque awesome ways.

I was only sorry I never had the chance to write a screenplay for the one Alien story every fan of that series wanted to see - the backstory to the crashed alien ship with it's cargo of eggs."

Oh yes. Yes please. This. YES. NOW. WITH CRONENBERG IN CHARGE AND STRACZYNSKI HELPING WITH THE SCRIPT YES YES YES YES I HAVE TEN DOLLARS IN MY POCKET TO START THE BUDGET FUND WHO'S WITH ME
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:26 AM on December 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


AVP:R is starting right now, and as it's the only movie in the franchise I haven't seen, I am going to watch the hell out of it.
posted by Eideteker at 9:35 AM on December 13, 2008


Wait 'till the end credits.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:47 AM on December 13, 2008


While I watch, enjoy some of these classic lolaliens.
posted by Eideteker at 9:51 AM on December 13, 2008


We know from Alien that they have huge--and beautiful--interstellar ships, which implies a whole host of things we don't know about them.


Actually, no, we don't know that. We know a very large humanoid was infected and subsequently had a queen burst out of his chest.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:57 AM on December 13, 2008


Wow, that was feculent.
posted by Eideteker at 10:59 AM on December 13, 2008


Actually, no, we don't know that. We know a very large humanoid was infected and subsequently had a queen burst out of his chest.

Heck, we don't even know that. We know that a giant alien humanoid, a/the apparent pilot of an alien space craft, had a great big hole burst in his chest from what I figure we can safely assume was a chestburster, but we don't know that that chestburster was a queen.

Why a queen? Because of all the eggs? Nonsense. The eggs are cargo. Whatever the hell that pilot thing was, he was of some alien race willing to collect and store and transport these things en masse, and he was doing just that when something went badly wrong and he ended up burstin'.
posted by cortex at 12:44 PM on December 13, 2008


Maybe it was like that episode of Futurama where they go to that planet and find all those delicious little nuggets. Then at the end of the episode they figure out that they are babies of a very large alien race.
Hell, those eggs might make great eatin' when fully cooked.
Maybe that was just the food delivery guy.
Besides, wouldn't (s)he need an extra large facehugger? Also, wouldn't the size of the chestburster to come out of him/her have been 2 to 3 times what we've seen already?
posted by P.o.B. at 1:48 PM on December 13, 2008


I'll simply point to the first Resident Evil as an example of why he shouldn't ever be ignored.

This is something that pisses me off about pretty much every videogame movie- the only exception I can think of off the top of my head being Mortal Kombat. There is some kind of overweening arrogance that is apparently present in every Hollywood director and screenwriter where they get the rights to a videogame and their first action is to look at the story and plot and go "that's all shit, I can do way better!" And it turns out that no, no they fucking can't do better.

A tremendous amount of creative work goes into every video game, and it appears to me that Hollywood hasn't the slightest amount of respect for it; the typical video game-based film has nothing whatsoever to do with the game it stole its title from. (Uwe Boll's pissing all over the extremely filmable Alone in the Dark and House of the Deadseries being a prime example.) Resident Evil was only vaguely related to the games it was based on; calling the film "Resident Evil" was dishonest fraud.

I'm aware that most games' stories are thin. The answer is to add to them and flesh them out, not to replace them with completely unrelated plots until the only link to the source material is that they paid a lot of money to be permitted to put the game's name on the posters.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:18 PM on December 13, 2008


For Aliens3, a better explanation would have been this:
Another company ship was sent to the planet and found another nest, collected some eggs and captured Ripley's ship, since they were the only ones with up close info about the creatures. Of course the company let some facehuggers roam free among the sleep chambers, since they really don't want witnesses. Naturally, Ripley and Hicks aren't aware of being implanted, but aren't up for being held captive and attempt to escape/destroy both shipsand in the ensuing escape attempt, Hicks is killed and Newt actually winds ups sacrificing herself to save Ripley. Ripley crash lands on the prison planet and the movie as we know goes on from there.


Guys, the problem with this premise is that you have these company people launching this elaborate and James-Bond-villain-y scheme of secretly capturing a ship full of people they want dead, planting alien eggs in said ship, releasing said ship, and then flying the fuck away. Never mind whether the company is hoarding the eggs and won't want to part with them, never mind whether the company can catch up to and capture (and then release!) the ship with Ripley, et al, on board, etc. etc. -- the real question here is: If you want to kill a ship full of sleeping people, why release alien facehuggers to impregnate these people (which...what if they don't?) when these people are asleep and you can very easily and very definitively just kill them with a fucking gun.

Like I said, though: Freakish outlier. I know I would have followed up on the girl with the bindy ropes had I been here and not out socializing the other night. I swear: You people.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:35 PM on December 13, 2008


Hell, those eggs might make great eatin' when fully cooked.

Hmm....
posted by Tenuki at 3:38 PM on December 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


About the mini-guns, I'd never heard Cameron's thing about the film version being the absolute story. I'd always assumed that, given the number of colonists, (and arguing that the aliens have proved themselves adept at capturing hosts when that's what's called for, I mean, they managed to keep several attacking marines alive, surely they could have nabbed a large number of lightly armed, untrained colonists) there would have been at least 100 aliens, not counting the queen. Then, factoring in how deadly they were, and how the marines tended to drop like flies during fights, without the miniguns, they would have been overwhelmed in the command center. As it was, (in my mind, at least) the miniguns depleted the numbers enough so that the marines were able to hold them off for a little while.

I guess, the idea that we see forty aliens die in the theatrical release was, to me, accepting that the mini-guns, which we didn't see, were critical to their survival. That, and for whatever reason, there they were in the movie when I first saw it on TV. I remember being disappointed when they weren't there on the videotape.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:29 PM on December 13, 2008


Besides, wouldn't (s)he need an extra large facehugger? Also, wouldn't the size of the chestburster to come out of him/her have been 2 to 3 times what we've seen already?

Well, since we know from A3 that the alien takes on some characteristics of the host body, it's possible that this includes, to some degree, size.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:21 PM on December 13, 2008


Imagined conversation between myself and the maker of Alien^3. By 'maker', I mean the total of all the makers, the aggregate maker if you will. Possibly fused together in some kind of unholy freakshow not unlike the Ripley/Alien hybrids in the fourth movie. The maker's lines are not so much spoken as gibbered.

Me: I kinda didn't like your movie from the very start. I mean, you lost me at the start, and never made the ground back.
Maker: Ah, the whole Hicks-and-Newt death thing?
Me: Yeah.
Maker: Well, you've read this thread, you can see there were reasons for that happening.
Me: True, but none of the discussion really centers on the thing that bothered me.
Maker: Go on.
Me: I'm not bothered by the fact that they died. It fits with the tone of the movie, the hardscrabble fight for existence, the bitterness of it all...
Maker: Yes.
Me: And I understand it's hard to make a movie sometimes. But I thought I wasn't supposed to see the hand of the storyteller. Because the way it was handled, that's what it was like. It was like the writer stepped in at the start and said 'rocks fall, everyone dies.' It kinda cheapened the good stuff that came later. I accept that handwaving has to occur sometimes to move the story forward. And handwaving works most of the time because I want the story to move forward. But to open the movie with some rather obvious handwaving, well... <shrugs>
Maker: So from that point you assumed we just didn't care as long as we filled in 90-odd minutes?
Me: Yeah, it pissed me off that I knew right at the beginning I was going to spend the rest of the movie debating whether to leave and find something else to do with my evening, or stay and hope it got better. It felt like you poisoned my night out.
Maker: Sorry. You stayed, I guess.
Me: Had to. I was with some other people. Probably would have stayed anyway. You know how it is.
Maker: Usually storyteller fiat is used with more finesse, but that movie... Jesus. It's not that we didn't give a shit, it's just...
Me: I know, I know.
posted by Ritchie at 6:32 PM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


why release alien facehuggers to impregnate these people (which...what if they don't?) when these people are asleep and you can very easily and very definitively just kill them with a fucking gun.

So you get nifty aliens AND you kill those pesky witnesses. Heck, if you're going to kill them, might as well be efficient about it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 PM on December 13, 2008


Mmm, thanks for the shiny new wallpaper, Brainy.
posted by maggieb at 8:28 PM on December 13, 2008


I'm not sure "death by impregnation with explicitly incredibly valuable facehugger specimens which, barring the presence of a viable queen, we have no way of producing more of" counts as "efficient".
posted by cortex at 11:44 PM on December 13, 2008


The original story proposed had the company finding another nest, which suggests queen or lots of eggs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:38 AM on December 14, 2008


I'm not sure "death by impregnation with explicitly incredibly valuable facehugger specimens which, barring the presence of a viable queen, we have no way of producing more of" counts as "efficient".

Even if it is a good use of expendable human resources -- which, actually, let me break here for a second to say why it's not, probably. The company already knows what a fully-formed alien looks like, has had ample opportunity to study the aliens, etc.; and knows, above all else, that the aliens are pretty much impossible to control. Nevertheless, they want to use the aliens as weapons. Fair enough. How do you do it? Basically, the aliens are a nuclear smallpox blanket, not a smart bomb. The place to leave alien eggs is somewhere where there are lots and lots of people you want to see die, and -- if you're smart -- you get as far away as you can from that place after you've left the egg(s) there, because it's going to become unsafe for habitation for the foreseeable future. This is only a good wartime strategy if you're talking about warring with a country/planet/whatever you want dead so badly that you don't care whether its resources will ever become available to you. (Also only if you're warring with a place that is effectively "landlocked," for lack of a better term -- you don't want the aliens to go crossing borders and bite you on the ass.) I'm thinking that, while this is a great fuck-you card for any governing body to hold, this weapon will not actually be used much...if ever. Having the eggs is desirable; using them, not really.

So: What is to be achieved by turning the eggs into aliens? I don't know. Maybe you could argue that it would be good for the company to have one -- one -- around just for shock and awe, but they'd want to keep that one locked away someplace very, VERY secure. That place? Not aboard a spaceship that you then send flying away into the great beyond, with any luck to crash on a prison planet. Sure, that keeps your alien(s) trapped, but they're also outside of your control...what was the point of that? To use the alien(s) on the prison planet, you now have to capture them. Good luck.

If the incubators are people you plan to kill anyway (and they kinda better be), it makes vastly more sense to take them prisoner, lock them up somewhere that is impossibly secure (good luck!), and then make with the baby aliens. (That is, if the plan to make baby aliens even makes sense, which I really don't think it does when you have scads of material that displays quite vividly what the aliens are and what they do.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:49 AM on December 14, 2008


Nevertheless, they want to use the aliens as weapons.

Not exactly, the the bio-weapons division wants to study them to develop new weapons, as stated in A2 and A3.

Frankly, one of the largest plot holes of the movies is that someone wants to study them for a purpose other than finding out the best way to kill them, but it fits with the theme of "you don't see them selling each other out for a percentage," but humans do crazy, stupid stuff in their desire for profit and power.


From a research point of view, you'd probably want a couple of full grown aliens to see how they interact, experiment on and see how they make a queen. Doing this in deep space away from any planet seems like it would be much safer.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:16 AM on December 14, 2008


Well I just watched AVP:R, and I can safely say it sucked some serious donkey d!@k. You know how you really want to like a movie and it is going well and then all of a sudden something so ridiculous happens that you just can't process to stay within the made up world of that story? I'll get to that in a second. On the bright side, it looks like we have one person to thank/blame for both of the AVP travesties. It would be a guy named Shane Salerno. Apparently he makes seven figures to churn this BS out. I learned the basics of a coherent and believable storyline when I was in seventh grade. Something he must've missed out on.

Spoiler:
So to get back to AVP:R, there is a point in the movie where it becomes obvious that many more aliens are being produced than there were facehuggers. You know the Predalien that you may have heard about in this movie? It can facehug, with it's mouth, and inject chestbursters directly into people!! Oh, and for some reason it only does this with pregnant women. How's that for out-of-the-fucking-blue-ruining-the-whole-premise-of-a-franchise?

On subject it also looks like James Cameron is not to fond of A3 or A4.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:39 AM on December 14, 2008


From a research point of view, you'd probably want a couple of full grown aliens to see how they interact, experiment on and see how they make a queen. Doing this in deep space away from any planet seems like it would be much safer.

Yeah, but it also seems like it would be really difficult to do, practically speaking. I guess you could set up observation equipment before you put the aliens there, but after? I'm not sure who'd be ballsy enough to go down there and observe firsthand (some descendant of Steve Irwin, maybe?), but I don't think that guy would last long. And you could satellite-observe, perhaps, but the aliens seem to spend a lot of their time in darkened corridors and caverns. I think breeding them into a giant gerbil cage would be the best bet.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:40 AM on December 14, 2008


(Backing up for a second: I assume you mean "away from any planet populated by people the company gives a crap about," to tie it in with the prison planet from A3. I don't think that would work very well, for observation purposes. If you just mean, like, a ship or a station somewhere in deep space, then yeah, I'd agree.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:44 AM on December 14, 2008


Yeah, but it also seems like it would be really difficult to do, practically speaking.

Not really, especially if they interrogate Ripley and find out she was able to deal with a queen using one of the work loaders. Have the alien born in a specially designed room where those loader arms can reach each corner and you'll grab one eventually. Hell, the cage in A4 was designed to emit cold to keep them in check, the only idiotic part was placing the button to do so in plain view.

Looking back on the original premise, it is a bit of a stretch to think they'd keep all three alive at first. However, I always thought it was a huge stretch that the Company knew about the aliens, but only sent Burke to ensure that they were collected, hence the idea that of a backup ship of "cleaners" to deal with anything gone wrong. It seems more logical that this second ship was hastily assembled and quickly sent to intercept the Sulaco, then head back to LV426 to see what could be salvaged.

I assume you mean "away from any planet populated by people the company gives a crap about,"

I don't think the company gives a crap about any people :)

It makes sense that a prison planet would be in deep space too, away from inhabited planets. So, if escaping from the super secret alien experimentation lab, then it fits that the planet an escape pod would come across is a penal colony.

Thinking 'bout it some more, the main problem with A3 is keeping Ripley in the movies. A2 is at least somewhat understandable why she would encounter them again, but A3 starts to turn it into a joke. Ditch Ripley and you got a clean slate to go pretty much anywhere.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:38 AM on December 14, 2008


Whatever the hell that pilot thing was, he was of some alien race willing to collect and store and transport these things en masse, and he was doing just that when something went badly wrong and he ended up burstin'.

I can see the prequel now: "Do the aliens have large talons?"

Order I've seen the movies: Alien3, Alien, Alien Resurrection, and Aliens, and that's pretty much how I like 'em, too. A:R I can barely remember, but Aliens I actively dislike; Cameron squandered a lot of interesting backstory in favour of making some gung ho bit of tripe - and the Ripley/Newt thing is lame and vaguely sexist. If Ripley was a dude, Newt would have been a nubile 19 year old with giant boobs. But inverting that gender role cliche would have really pushed the audience's suspension of disbelief and made the movie seem really fake, I suppose.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:57 PM on December 14, 2008


im in ur chest gestatin ur offspring
posted by cortex at 6:41 AM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


If Ripley was a dude, Newt would have been a nubile 19 year old with giant boobs

Did you not notice the hot, sweaty goodness that was Corporal Hicks?! Ripley was going to get laid and get a daughter and a smart, but shy best friend (Bishop) who was incapable of hurting her!

Until the fucking egg from nowhere showed up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:52 AM on December 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


dirtynumbangelboy: WITH CRONENBERG IN CHARGE AND STRACZYNSKI HELPING WITH THE SCRIPT

Changeling pretty much cemented my theory that JMS is a total hack writer who had exactly one good idea.

Is there a timeline around for the alternate-timeline comics that Mark Verheiden started for Dark Horse after Aliens? They've got a more satisfying continuation of that story than the films, IMO, but I only got a few miniseries into it.
posted by mkultra at 10:53 AM on December 15, 2008


There's talk upthread of putting something together for Projects.

I'm sure some obsessive has posted something of that kind to wikipedia, but it's just as possible that a second obsessive has come along and deleted it.
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on December 15, 2008


Wikipedia only seems to reference the "canonical" miniseries, which deal with the survivors of Alien3.
posted by mkultra at 11:53 AM on December 15, 2008


Wikipedia's been pushing "fancruft" stuff towards Wikia. On a hunch, I looked there, & found an Aliens vs. Predator wiki. That may or may not be a good starting point for gathering info.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:53 AM on December 15, 2008


Fuck that shit.

There's another one out there, but it seems a bit obsessed with the crappy novels that were based on the comics.
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on December 15, 2008


OK, I went back and watched Alien3 last night, and it was a lot better than I remembered. The cinematography is gorgeous. The performances are solid. Once you accept the fact that it's a sci-fi/horror movie, with all the limitations that implies, it's a good flick. I suspect that it'll be one of those movies that isn't fully appreciated until after the director dies though.
posted by lekvar at 1:10 PM on December 15, 2008


I re-watched big Trouble in Little China the other night - now there's a movie with staying power!
posted by Artw at 1:14 PM on December 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


“There are dozens of plot twists and devices in the saga for which there is no fucking reason.”

Yes. Have enough of them and the film sucks.

It’s a flawed film. That’s all. I’ve said I’ve agreed they had a good vision. Just poor in execution. If it doesn’t bother you much, swell. Bothers me. I wouldn’t care if it was a really lousy film, but I do want to like it. Just some things about it that irritate me. Like having grit in your otherwise tasty oatmeal.

“Silly me, I thought the whole reason there's an Alien 3 is to put Ripley in a no-win situation”

I thought the whole reason there’s an Alien 3 is to make more money.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:01 PM on December 15, 2008


I'm always fascinated that nobody seems to worry about the relic ship from the first film. By my reckoning, if that thing was far enough away from Hadley's Hope that Newt's folks needed a big space truck thing to get to it, there's a fair chance that it (and the eggs inside it) survived the explosion of the atmosphere processors. Especially given all the wacky, wind-carved terrain surrounding it.

So now they're just sitting there. Waiting.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:15 AM on December 16, 2008


IIRC That's where the aliens from the first Alien comic came from. I seem to remember a very bad later comic showing the expedition to go get them, and possibly swinging by to pick up ripply along the way.
posted by Artw at 8:56 AM on December 16, 2008


I can't believe I just read this entire thread. I know more about these three movies than I know about ANYTHING EVER NOW.

That said, I'd like to see Alejandro Jodorowsky direct an Alien film. Right? C'mon. Right?
posted by Bageena at 7:41 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, I really wish I'd caught Robocop Vs Terminator, and that is was an active film franchise.
posted by Artw at 1:02 PM on December 17, 2008


*psst, Artw*

Possibly also, Terminator Vs. Robocop Vs. Predator.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:20 PM on December 17, 2008


Ok, so I'm a week late, but I just watched the Aliens quadrilogy all in a row.

Alien is by far the strongest, for the reasons expounded by so many above. The characters are more complex, the sets better designed, the monsters mostly hidden. It's a horror film and is on the verge of a slasher film what with the 'last girl' and the undying evil creature and all. Harry Dean Stanton is missing from the other movies.

Second best is Aliens, which is more consistent than the others in terms of themes and direction. Mostly an action film, e.g. with the strong armed rather than suspenseful showdown at the end, but a bit more horror-y in particular with the facehuggers in the med lab with Ripley and Newt, and the aliens crawling above the ceilings. When I was a kid I hated Newt, but I didn't find her at all as grating this time around, and seeing the (cut) bit about Ripley's daughter at the beginning reinforced Newt's significance.

So. Then there's kind of a tie between Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection.

Alien 3 definitely had potential (I remember a trailer I saw when I was quite young which went something like "(black screen) (text) In space..... no one can hear you scream. .... But on earth (cut to a shot of people walking in NYC, cut back to black) everybody can. (fade in alien egg opening up on black screen)." for which I almost screamed in the theater (out of excitement). I get the point made by cortex, et al above about the tragedy of Ripley necessitating the death of Newt and Hicks at the beginning of Alien 3, but it still feels like a cop out. The plot holes are gigantic and irritating: (1) eggs? how? (2) in the escape pod? how? (3) Ripley survives a long time with the alien inside her, how? Better to revive Newt and Hicks, then kill them off. Or kill off Hicks on the shuttle, leave Newt for later, whatever. ANYWAY, visually, the CG in Alien 3 is disappointing, and although the film is really brown, it fails mostly in the alien-death scene with the horrendous lead-jumping-freezing silliness and the not-so-good ripley-christ backflip. Thematically, it's all self-restraint/self-struggle/self-realization or whathaveyou. I'd say the best scenes are the autopsy and Dillon reeducating his brothers. So there. A couple good things, failure overall.

A:R. Looking at this now, knowing how Joss Wheadon writes and anticipating his style, I can deal better with the film. Seeing it in the theater the first time, I was ... angry. The direction is comic-booky and occasionally sloppy. Good shot: crewperson getting pulled away by underwater alien. Bad shot: climbing up the ladder out of the water. Almost everything about the scene is bad. Gimmicky, 10x too long, overly brightly lit, sweeping shots which make the space too big and look like a set rather than a fucked up space ship where there's fucking aliens everywhere, aliens dodging bullets(?!), etc etc. Thematically, it could be about hybrid Ripley not knowing which 'side' she's on, but it's not, she's on the human side from the moment she can be. The alien-human baby, however, seems to (almost) side with the cyborg, but then just seems intent upon killing everyone. In the end we get a cyborg and a alien-human hybrid both 'strangers' to humanity arriving on earth, which, you know, is kinda interesting but isn't well-built up by the rest of the plot.

In the end, I think A:R edges out Alien 3 because it isn't carrying the same weight of the previous story arc. It can be silly and comic-bookish and not at the same time betray the preceding chapter.
posted by beerbajay at 5:34 AM on December 18, 2008


Neo Ripley isn't a cyborg so much as a chimera, though, yes? In essence, she's just the human-looking side of the alien-human hybrid coin, not a robo-Rambo.
posted by cortex at 7:08 AM on December 18, 2008


Though given both the thematic notion of alien as weapon/(killing-)machine and the roots in Giger's biomechanics work, I can let it slide as a Cronenbergian slip.
posted by cortex at 7:10 AM on December 18, 2008


Dead links? What dead links? Robocop Vs Terminator - part 1, part 2 (with subtitles), creator's site. Sorry about that.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:52 AM on December 18, 2008


I have not seen any aliens movies, and not because I'm too young. Y'all are making me go watch these.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 12:01 PM on December 18, 2008


Isn't "cyborg" a reference to Winona Ryder?
posted by Artw at 5:15 PM on December 18, 2008


Er. Right, well, you think you have a point, but in fact my point stands for reasons involving Paul W.S. Anderson sucking.

*disappears in cloud of smoke*
posted by cortex at 6:32 PM on December 18, 2008


Yeah, cyborg = Ryder.
posted by beerbajay at 2:26 AM on December 19, 2008


After this thread I went back and read through most of my Alien comics again. There is a lot of real garbage along with a few gems. Most installments feel like a purely cynical exploitation of the license, with shit writing and crap art, especially with the one-shots, which are almost all garbage.

Some of the one-shots have almost no content...can't believe I would pay $3.75 for this type of thing in the 90s. John Byrne's Aliens: Eart Angel is the worst offender. It can be read in about three minutes, features what feels like a single throw-away scene rather than the self-contained story one expects from a one-shot, and violates what little background exists by placing the story on earth in the 1950s.

Most of the best stuff still suffers from the compressed storytelling style of comics. It feels like the story is just getting going and the next thing you know most everyone is dead and you're looking at the final letters page. I think most of the better 4-part series would work better as six issue series. The best stuff distinguishes itself by slowing down the pace and remembering to merge horror and sci-fi.

Even though we're hopefully gonna do this somewhere else, my favourites are definitely Labyrinth, Genocide, Stronghold, and Hive. One-shots are mostly crap, as is most anything with Predator in it after the original mini-series. The very first series is still pretty great despite feeling like a bit of Aliens fanwank and having far too many clunky dream/hallucination sequences.
posted by autodidact at 4:26 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


"quadrilogy"

Tetralogy. -logy is Greek; it should get the Greek prefix, not the bullshit ripoff Latin prefix. Fucking unoriginal Roman bastards. Yes, I realize it's not your fault. It's on the official materials. That just makes it officially stupid.

And I thought Wynona's character was a gynoid, not a cyborg.

BTW, queens take longer to gestate. That's why Ripley lived so long.
posted by Eideteker at 8:24 AM on December 21, 2008


Yeah, stow that "cyborg" guff, she's straight-up robo!
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on December 21, 2008


Thematically, it could be about hybrid Ripley not knowing which 'side' she's on, but it's not, she's on the human side from the moment she can be.

What other side could she really be on? They've wrecked her life, it's not like she's gonna go all Patty Hearst. The aliens may be family now, but they're more like an icky step-brother so you can't get too close, although supposedly one of Weaver's conditions for doing one of the films was that the character would get have sex with an alien, so who knows?

Anyway, Newt 2.0 is much cuter than the new family and just as much of an outcast from humanity as Ripley feels, so they form their own separate family by riding around on horseback while helping various local villages.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:29 AM on December 21, 2008


The Aliens Omnibus Vol 1. pretty much contains all of the stories that are a direct follow on to the movies, BTW, and is well worth the $17.

Vol 2. Is mostly taken up by Colonial Marines, which I've not read but I've heard bad things about, so I'm thinking that ones skippable. That said, I didn't think that much of Genocide, which is also in there, and autodidact mentions as being one of his favourites. The stuff about Xenozip starts here.

Vol 3. Has Labrynth, which is excellent and probably worth the cover price alone. Also a Mignola story and a Peter Milligan story i remember being quite good.

I don't really recognise much of anything in 4 or 5.

6 is out in Febuary, not usre what's going to be in it, but it looks like it doesn't have Hive, which is the other Aliens story I'd reallyrecommend. Not sure why that one doesn't seem to be making it into the Omnibuses when later (and less good) stories seem to have already.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


It looks like "Hive" was renamed "Harvest" and appears in volume 2, which bumps that one up to "essential" status IMHO.
posted by Artw at 11:43 AM on December 26, 2008


I should also point out that it looks like you can pretty happily read 1, 2 or 3 independantly without fear of not-knowing what's going on, though 1 very much follows on from Aliens (and follows Newt and Hicks, though they've been renamed so that it "fits with continuity", which it doesn't)
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on December 26, 2008


Omnibus 4 has Stronghold, and Berzerker (retitled as Frenzy), two of the best minis.
posted by autodidact at 2:13 PM on January 1, 2009


BTW, queens take longer to gestate. That's why Ripley lived so long.

I'm willing to buy this. BUT in just about every movie it takes something like half a day after the face hugger falls off for the chest burster to appear, and that's being generous. In the last AVP movie it was like ten minutes. I can't quite remember the time frame for Alien 3 but I think it's safe to say it was between 3 days to a week, after the crash, for Ripley to do the swan dive with her little buddy. So you're saying, at the least, it takes six times as long for a queen to gestate. I'm still not buying it. I'm content in accepting it as is without trying to justify it.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:05 AM on January 2, 2009


By the time we get to AVP aren't chest bursters taking about 5 minutes to grow to full grown aliens as well?

...and never mind what chetsbursters actualy eat to grow to such a size. I guess the Nostromo, colony and fury all had emergency stashes of food hidden in their air vents.
posted by Artw at 1:35 AM on January 2, 2009


I remember in the Alien novel there's a scene were the crew of the Nostromo find that their food storage cupboard/room/thingy has been raided - the grill from the air vent busted open, cans peeled open 'like bananas'. So presumably that as in some draft of the film script but was cut for budget/time.

Of course that was before somebody or other in some official thing or other) decided that the alien is a super-battery (hence the acid) and doesn't need food. How on earth it's supposed to get from tiny to huge with out taking on board any organic matter I've no idea...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:20 AM on January 2, 2009


Good old Alan Dean Foster and his injection of logic into things.

Of course that was before somebody or other in some official thing or other) decided that the alien is a super-battery (hence the acid) and doesn't need food.

What the fuck?
posted by Artw at 9:31 AM on January 2, 2009


And that's why you don't obsess over continuity!
posted by Pronoiac at 9:50 AM on January 2, 2009


What the fuck?

I'm sure I mentioned it up thread. Can't for the life of me remember where I read it now but it was so daft that it stuck in my mind. Probably also the same place that decided that the eggs were at least semi-sentient... well they open when there's people close, right? Must be the only explanation...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:08 AM on January 2, 2009


Some kind of daft Science of Aliens book maybe, along the lines of that Star Wars book with the stupid explanations for every bit that didn't make sense?
posted by Artw at 10:10 AM on January 2, 2009


Some (non-daft) speculation about the biology of the aliens. Note that the substance of this article really discourages any future speculation.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:22 PM on January 2, 2009


CoC Stats for Xenomorphs (lesser servitor).
posted by Artw at 12:29 PM on January 2, 2009


That article that Proniac linked to pretty much makes AvP:R non-cannon. I feel better now.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:18 PM on January 2, 2009


I read an interview a while ago with the creature designer for the Predator, who said that he drew inspiration from female genitalia when he designed its mouthparts (he said that the notion of big, burly gun-totin' men running from scary woman-parts amused him). Given that Geiger designed the Alien to be a gigantic penis, I'm kinda amused that the perpetrators of AvP:R decided to make a hybrid.

But not amused enough to rent it.
posted by lekvar at 5:52 PM on January 6, 2009


Aliens comic writer doing pretty god for himself:
Verheiden Talks "Galactica," "Heroes" & "My Name Is Bruce"
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on January 8, 2009


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