"We haven’t found the right planet."
September 28, 2014 4:59 PM   Subscribe

Alien 3 was flawed from its inception and it was certainly flawed—actually, pretty fucked up—well before we started shooting. So there you go. Take all of the responsibility, because you’re going to get all of the blame.” — David Fincher [previously]
posted by brundlefly (253 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've always liked Alien 3, flaws and all. It's like a feature length Godflesh video.
posted by crank at 5:10 PM on September 28, 2014 [12 favorites]


This movie doesn't exist, because Newt and Hicks and Ripley lived happily ever after. Sometimes Bishop comes over to help with the dishes.
posted by nev at 5:11 PM on September 28, 2014 [91 favorites]


Someone called it a beautiful failure, which I think is a great description. You can see what this movie might have been, but it didn't get there.
posted by nubs at 5:12 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


The terribility of 3 and 4 were a big part of the appeal for me, I admit it. See also AvP, Predators, etc. All I want are like 10,000 more bits of that universe, I don't even care how terrible they are.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:13 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Does that sentiment extend to Prometheus?
posted by Auden at 5:21 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


The first time I saw Alien 3 I was watching an Aliens marathon on TBS or something, so I had just come off the high of watching Aliens for the first time as well, and suddenly "Welp all that stuff meant nothing!" and after like 10 minutes I turned off the TV.
posted by hellojed at 5:22 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Cameron hated it, Scott made Prometheus and so doesn't get a vote.

I dunno, in the cold light of day I think it's fair to say Fincher did a pretty good job of filming a film that happened to be Alien 3, and that it's faults lie mainly in the script and decisions made before he laid hands on it. Also, he's a pop video director, he's not going to know what lead weighs or that melting it doesn't change that.

Also the beloved Gibson script really didn't give the actors much to do, and the monks on a wooden spaceship was insane.

If you want to get proper angry at a director read Alien: Engineers - it lacks so of the truly great bits of Prometheus (mostly David scenes) but it actually makes sense, which counts for a lot more than Scott would seem to think. And those David scenes could easily have been brought in without making the rest gibberish.
posted by Artw at 5:24 PM on September 28, 2014 [9 favorites]


This movie doesn't exist, because Newt and Hicks and Ripley lived happily ever after. Sometimes Bishop comes over to help with the dishes.

They went in to have terrifying adventures in the Dark Horse comics.
posted by Artw at 5:25 PM on September 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


Oh, and fuck whoever put the blob monster into Alien Resurrection.
posted by Artw at 5:25 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's been years since I've watched it, but I remember thinking it's an interesting movie that utterly fails as a sequel. It's at least better than Resurrection and is very pretty.
posted by brundlefly at 5:26 PM on September 28, 2014


If a bit brown.
posted by Artw at 5:31 PM on September 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


True.
posted by brundlefly at 5:31 PM on September 28, 2014


I kind of like Resurrection for making zero sense and giving zero fucks. Plus it's got at least two really memorable scenes and that's enough for me.

As for Gibson ...uh I was watching Johnny Mnenomic recently ( sinus infection, Netflix) and once you get past how BAD it is and how ...mST3K it is ( it's so bad it feels like folk art) you notice how closely the screenplay mimics Gibson's prose style and what a disastrous idea that is for a screenplay ( colorful characters meet one blank character who travel from a series of interesting vignettes and set pieces until reaching an arbitrary end point.)
posted by The Whelk at 5:37 PM on September 28, 2014 [9 favorites]


Artw: Also the beloved Gibson script really didn't give the actors much to do[.]
At least it would have been a movie, not a great movie maybe, but still a movie. As opposed to the god awful mess we got, I'd take it.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:37 PM on September 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, at least it was better than Aliens. James Cameron was the first one to ruin the franchise with a sappy story and a bunch of "MARINES!!!" with "GUNS!!!" and basically the same cookie-cutter plot line he's churned out his entire career.
posted by koeselitz at 5:46 PM on September 28, 2014 [23 favorites]


You know how Gibson's Kill Switch feels like a Compleyly different genre than the entire rest of the X-Files? It would have been amazing if they'd made a whole other show in that style. Maybe not good, but amazing.
posted by Artw at 5:47 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Everything from Aliens to Resurrection has a least a few places that feel off and make me cringe a bit.

Alien, though, I think is a masterpiece every time I watch it. I have been rewatching it over the last couple of days, and it was so ahead of its time in a number of ways. The acting is just really, really solid. You feel like the characters are real rather than following a particular acting method of the time. The sets also hold up in ways that feel real and compelling, rather than dated. I just love it to pieces, one of those "I have to watch it just because it's on TV." I don't feel that way about any of the others. Even Aliens feels a bit pretentious to me at times.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:49 PM on September 28, 2014 [16 favorites]



Does that sentiment extend to Prometheus?


I unironically loved Prometheus and I refuse to feel even the slightest moment of shame. I find the jesusyness of it unappealing but the rest of it was delightful.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:51 PM on September 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


I appreciate Ressurection mostly because in 1996-1997 Winona Ryder, with that super cute pixie cut, was at peak Winona Ryder.
posted by Auden at 5:53 PM on September 28, 2014 [28 favorites]


It's worse for those of us who were going to the theater as they came out. See, we went to see Alien, expecting "meh, maybe an OK SF movie," and we got a classic. We were happy.

Then Aliens came along. We expected that maybe it'd be very derivative, and at best 75% as good as the original, and that'd be OK, not a bad evening at the movies. But they handed us a real surprise, cutting the wheel the other direction and jamming on the gas. We were happy.

So, when it came time for Alien(3), high hopes. We had, imagine this, high hopes. And we got a crappy movie that not only was crappy on its own, but pissed all over the first two.
posted by tyllwin at 5:53 PM on September 28, 2014 [12 favorites]


koeselitz, I have difficulty believing that you are not trolling.

I'll be over here warming up my power loader if anyone needs me.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:54 PM on September 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


James Cameron was the first one to ruin the franchise with a sappy story and a bunch of "MARINES!!!" with "GUNS!!!"

I think this is probably my major gripe with Aliens. I just could. not. stand the way that the marines were represented. I was sympathetic to exactly zero of them as characters.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:55 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's been a steady slope downhill since the genius of Alien. I'm not even a fan of Aliens to be honest. Alien stands apart.
posted by Auden at 5:56 PM on September 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


A rhapsody in brown.
I've always enjoyed the strange bleakness of Alien 3. It fails as a sequel, but perhaps that's its greatest strength. The familiar characters bar Ripley are wiped out at the start, the protagonist dies in an act of rebellious (and weirdly motherly) suicide and you're left feeling bereft of narrative closure.
For those reasons, there's not a sequel like it and I treasure it.
By contrast, in the current blockbuster market, continuity between lucrative properties (such as Marvel comics) is a priority, and reboots and spinoffs are rife. Wouldn't it be great if another Fincher came along and stuck up two fingers to that status quo?
posted by alexordave at 5:57 PM on September 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


I enjoy Alien: Resurrection. It's like a Heavy Metal comic brought to life.

Alien and Aliens are equally good.

Alien^3 has excellent cinematography, mise en scene, and score, but it is not. a. good. movie.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:58 PM on September 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


A L I E N: Engineers (PDF) - Warning: Will make you mildly more disappointed with Prometheus.
posted by Artw at 5:59 PM on September 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


If nothing else Resurrection gets points for being the very first piece of Firefly crossover fanfic. Manages to hit the sweet spot between "I want to make up my own unique characters" and "This is totally the crew of the Serenity, no matter what names I'm calling them to avoid the copyright police". Few fanfic authors can really pull those two competing priorities and still have a well realized story and character development.

And for all of A3's sins, at least for me, Charles S. Dutton's performance makes up for them.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:00 PM on September 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


To clarify, Alien and Aliens are equally good with regard to one another. Alien: Resurrection is obviously lesser than either of them. And Alien^3 is behind even that.

Let's not get into the AvP movies.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:00 PM on September 28, 2014


As for Gibson ...uh I was watching Johnny Mnenomic recently ( sinus infection, Netflix) and once you get past how BAD it is and how ...mST3K it is ( it's so bad it feels like folk art) you notice how closely the screenplay mimics Gibson's prose style and what a disastrous idea that is for a screenplay ( colorful characters meet one blank character who travel from a series of interesting vignettes and set pieces until reaching an arbitrary end point.)

Gibson writes dialogue that works beautifully on the page as a sort of armature around which the meat of the novel is arranged, but exists in another realm entirely from the one in which humans live and converse. There's an extract from his new novel here, and it's in some sort of space that is so entirely Gibsonian that it's beyond the ability of hyperintelligent trickster AIs to parody.

(I am a fan though.)
posted by sobarel at 6:00 PM on September 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


You have no idea how disappointed I was by Johnny Mnemonic. No idea.
posted by Artw at 6:02 PM on September 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm always a little annoyed at discussions of Alien 3 that don't even mention Vincent Ward ...
posted by philip-random at 6:04 PM on September 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


If nothing else Resurrection gets points for being the very first piece of Firefly crossover fanfic. Manages to hit the sweet spot between "I want to make up my own unique characters" and "This is totally the crew of the Serenity, no matter what names I'm calling them to avoid the copyright police". Few fanfic authors can really pull those two competing priorities and still have a well realized story and character development.

Uh, what? Not sure if you're being literal or not, but Alien Resurrection was like 5 years before Firefly.
posted by dogwalker at 6:06 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to give William Gibson some slack considering he is basically a real world Sutter Cane.

Every Alien film is its own wonderful creature, and I'm not sure I could rank my preference of them. I do love in Resurrection that they had to cut right after Sigourney Weaver scores that over-the-back half-court shot because Ron Perlman just started swearing because he couldn't believe she had done it. On the other hand, the Humalien is pretty awful.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:07 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


colorful characters meet one blank character who travel from a series of interesting vignettes and set pieces until reaching an arbitrary end point.)

Heh! I love that thing.
posted by batfish at 6:07 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


If nothing else Resurrection gets points for being the very first piece of Firefly crossover fanfic. Manages to hit the sweet spot between "I want to make up my own unique characters" and "This is totally the crew of the Serenity, no matter what names I'm calling them to avoid the copyright police".

It kinda went the other way around, as Whedon's Resurrection involvement predates Firefly by several years. My guess is he liked the characters he developed here well enough to repurpose them for a TV show of his own.

I like all the Alien movies in one way or another, but Alien is the only masterpiece, IMO. The rest are fan films. Sorry not sorry.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:07 PM on September 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


Let's not get into the AvP movies.

Everyone knows from the Aliens movies that should the Xenomorphs reach earth it would be the end of humanity as we know it. What AvP 1 & 2 presuppose is... What if it wasn't?
posted by Artw at 6:08 PM on September 28, 2014 [15 favorites]



Let's not get into the AvP movies.


im gonna go watch it right now and clap like a giddy seal and no one can stop me
posted by poffin boffin at 6:09 PM on September 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


I watched Alien Cubed about a year ago, and I hadn't seen it since it came out. I didn't like it then, but was prepared to give it all the love I could muster. It wasn't much. In fact, I couldn't finish the film. It's a mess of a screenplay. Interestingly, the same fatal flaw as Prometheus--multiple scripts were put forth and in the end, for shooting, were sort of fused together, very ineptly. I can't see how intelligent people can let that happen, but I guess I don't understand how studios work.

Anyway, the movie looks great, of course, assuming you jack up the brightness on your TV to see anything. Fincher wanted it dark, but so many scenes are just a indecipherable muck. It gets points for style, but the first two were pretty damn stylish and had good scripts (we will not talk of Alien: Resurrection because that movie doesn't exist).
posted by zardoz at 6:09 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the franchise has moved steadily downward with each film. Alien is a masterpiece, near the top of my list of greatest movies.

It's hard for Aliens to compete with that, but it's still really, really good. One of the greatest action films of all time.

Alien 3 is an interesting failure and its biggest flaw is how bad it is as a sequel.

Alien: Resurrection is a total mess but is just weird enough for it to be oddly watchable. Every so often. It's not something I'd consciously sit down and watch like the previous films.

Prometheus is shot well but is otherwise an intolerable slog that manages to take some of the most intriguing aspects of the first film and make them deadly dull. Too self-serious to be a fun genre flick but not nearly as smart as it thinks it is. Bad combo.
posted by brundlefly at 6:09 PM on September 28, 2014 [9 favorites]


I thought Alien 3 was perfectly fine and can definitely do without all those that followed.

It will also always have a special place in my heart for my favorite recitation of the word "Fuck" in a motion picture. When the alien descends from a hole in the ceiling and draws the warden up, absolute panic ensues as the inmates scramble over tables and chairs to get away. There is then a quiet moment where everyone freezes and the character played by Daniel Webb breaks the silence with an emphatic "FUCK!" that simultaneously expresses shock, fear and, "Oh MAN, are we screwed!".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:09 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


If the Charles Dance character lived to the end, the movie would work. But the movie dies right when his character does.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:11 PM on September 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


Followed up by the inmate cautiously mopping up the puddle of blood under the hole.
posted by brundlefly at 6:11 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]




Oh, I want to put in a good word for Charles Dance, I thought he was terrific in Aliens 3. His performance was one of my favorite things in the film. In fact, the acting and casting was really top notch all around.
posted by Auden at 6:15 PM on September 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


Oh, yes. Great cast.
posted by brundlefly at 6:15 PM on September 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm reading the Gibson Alien 3 script ob1quixote linked to upthread and sniggering:

ANGLE

RIPLEY

No-ooooooooooooooooooooo!

Also, Commies in Space, apparently.
posted by sobarel at 6:17 PM on September 28, 2014


I like the space commies.
posted by Artw at 6:21 PM on September 28, 2014


Maybe stage directions are just inherently funny:

A CRASH from the corridor, a pained BELLOW, and Newt scuttles in
posted by sobarel at 6:21 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


SpacemanStix: “I think this is probably my major gripe with Aliens. I just could. not. stand the way that the marines were represented. I was sympathetic to exactly zero of them as characters.”

See, exactly – does anybody really want to hear Bill Pullman whine? But that's what he's there for; he's a stock Cameron character, the adolescent dude who's there for comic relief. Ditto the tough chick, the cool guy, etc. They're stock action-movie characters that Cameron features regularly because he knows how to push the buttons of most moviegoers.

But honestly that isn't my biggest problem with Aliens.

My biggest problem with Aliens is Newt. Yeah, I know – everybody loves Newt. She's like an adorable little reincarnation of Elliott from E.T., only a girl and more badass – which is probably exactly what Cameron's character description for her was. But why did Cameron add Newt? This is what steams me most about Aliens, because you can see his thought process – he might be the most transparent filmmaker of the past four decades.

See, what clearly happened was, Cameron watched Alien again to get a feel for where he wanted to go with the sequel, and he thought to himself:

'Hmm. Ripley seems... cool enough, I guess. But people won't connect with her. What we need to do is humanize her a bit. Like – give her a cute proxy daughter! Ooh, that's a nice parallel – the alien is a mother, she's a mother, it's mother vs mother! It'll just be a nice story about maternal instinct, and the good mother, the human mother, will win out in the end! A rollicking script all around.'

But – sorry – fuck that. Ripley doesn't need Newt. Ripley is a creature that needs to survive and has the ability to do so. She should not be defined by maternal instinct.

Look, here's the deal: Alien was about rape. That's not me making some weird leap; that's actually exactly what Dan O'Bannon, the screenwriter, said he was shooting for. And it seems to me that it's an iconic an essential feminist film for that reason: it takes the rape tropes of horror films and reverses them, it assaults long-cherished male symbols of power, and most of all it puts a fully realized, self-sustaining woman at the heart and makes her the hero.

So the absolute worst thing you could do with a sequel is water all of that frankly amazing imagery, rip out the blood and guts of it, and neuter and dumb Ripley down to a trope like "maternal instinct." It's just not fucking fair at all.

And you add in the whole context of Aliens: a military expedition flush with males – one token female, who is cool precisely because she pretends to be male! Most of the men turn out to be dumb, but not all of them, of course. One is really evil, and successfully manipulates Ripley into going on the expedition in the first place. And in the final insult, ultimately, at the end of the movie, Ripley is utterly helpless until another man sacrifices himself to save her. Yeah, he's an android; no, that doesn't matter, in a movie that's already about the most alien of creatures having male/female binaries anyhow.

Aliens ultimately leaves Ripley helpless, alone, a maternal trope, trying to fend off animals and care for her poor defenseless child; and of course, this maternal trope is still utterly helpless unless a strong man sacrifices himself to save her.

It's just fucking insulting, utterly fucking insulting to Ripley as a character and the original film as a story. The best thing David Fincher ever did was kill off Newt and make Ripley a person again. There are still huge problems with 3, but, like I said, at least it wasn't the hideous betrayal that was Aliens.
posted by koeselitz at 6:21 PM on September 28, 2014 [114 favorites]


Oh, and I should mention: Ripley having a daughter, like they retconned her to in Aliens, doesn't even make any damned sense if you actually just watch Alien. If she had a daughter back home, why the fuck would she work long mining expeditions on distant ships far away? She really wasn't that type of character in Alien – she was independent, self-reliant, nobody to tie her down. Doesn't make any damned sense, really.
posted by koeselitz at 6:23 PM on September 28, 2014 [18 favorites]


I mean – I know I've said a lot, but sort of to sum up:

Aliens basically happened the way it did because James goddamned Cameron saw Alien and thought to himself: 'this is great, but there's too much about this one woman. We need a bunch of men. Also, it would be cool if they had guns. And also one of them saves her at the end.'
posted by koeselitz at 6:26 PM on September 28, 2014 [10 favorites]


I don't have the time at the moment to respond to your comments fully, but two points:

And in the final insult, ultimately, at the end of the movie, Ripley is utterly helpless until another man sacrifices himself to save her. Yeah, he's an android; no, that doesn't matter, in a movie that's already about the most alien of creatures having male/female binaries anyhow.

I'm not sure what you're referring to here. When did Bishop sacrifice himself for her. And when was Ripley helpless?

Oh, and I should mention: Ripley having a daughter, like they retconned her to in Aliens, doesn't even make any damned sense if you actually just watch Alien. If she had a daughter back home, why the fuck would she work long mining expeditions on distant ships far away?

You must have seen the Director's Cut. That is not an element at all in the theatrical (in other words, real) cut of the film.
posted by brundlefly at 6:27 PM on September 28, 2014


But, without Ripley's daughter (who in in the Alan Dean Fister novelisation and therefore canon) who would be in Alien: Isolation?
posted by Artw at 6:32 PM on September 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I think one of the things that really works about Aliens is that these gun-toting, badass motherfucker marines are introduced as gun-toting, badass motherfuckers, but at least half of them are massacred in their first encounter with the aliens and she has to rescue the rest. And the survivors don't do so well in the subsequent encounters. The tough guy dialogue is all bluster and at no point does Ripley seem lesser than people around her.

I still don't know what you mean about a man rescuing her. Bishop bringing the dropship back around to pick her up? Because that was her plan to begin with.
posted by brundlefly at 6:36 PM on September 28, 2014 [27 favorites]


Bill Paxton, not Bill Pullman. Although, I would enjoy a Zero Effect crossover.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:37 PM on September 28, 2014 [12 favorites]


Aliens basically happened the way it did because James goddamned Cameron saw Alien and thought to himself: 'this is great, but there's too much about this one woman. We need a bunch of men. Also, it would be cool if they had guns. And also one of them saves her at the end.'

Who saves her at the end? Bishop? She still kicks a lot of ass after he picks her up in the drop ship. And I remember her proving to be more competent than the marines several times throughout the film.
posted by crank at 6:38 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


You're making sense, koeselitz, but I'd say Aliens has some claim to being feminist on the grounds that it is a film whose plot hinges around the degree to which the men listen to Ripley. Alien is about rape. Aliens is a film about a woman whose testimony about her own experience is ignored, and how she makes herself heard and fights back. That's not a bad premise for a companion piece.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:38 PM on September 28, 2014 [57 favorites]


brundlefly: “The tough guy dialogue is all bluster and at no point does Ripley seem lesser than people around her.”

Yeah, I would feel better about that if not for Hicks.

“I still don't know what you mean about a man rescuing her. Bishop bringing the dropship back around to pick her up? Because that was her plant to begin with.”

Yeah, the dropship thing. Which isn't really technically self-sacrifice, but one of the major themes of the movie is "see, this man you thought was evil actually isn't so bad after all" – in the cases of both Bishop and Hicks. It really feels to me like the whole film is intended to dull and deplete the feminist message of the first film by bringing in men for Ripley to love and a daughter who makes her dependent on them.
posted by koeselitz at 6:39 PM on September 28, 2014


Watching the marines get their asses kicked first time they tangle with the aliens is a thing that never gets old for me.
posted by Artw at 6:42 PM on September 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


The thing I've always liked about Alien 3 is that it absolutely has the courage to stand by the series' premise. Xenomorphs are catastrophes made flesh, and it's absurd to hope that they can be stopped without appalling cost. It's lovecraftian tragedy, as opposed to Greek; the ending is horrific not because of flaws in the protagonist, but because the universe itself is badly broken. :)
posted by Mr. Excellent at 6:43 PM on September 28, 2014 [39 favorites]


Bishop isn't a man. That seems important given that various pieces of technology tried to kill Ripley in Alien.
posted by crank at 6:43 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


I actually remember reading this Premiere article when it was published. I also read Film Threat every month back then. There was quite a bit of coverage of this film's production.

Probably the main reason why I remember this all so well is because I was a big Gibson fan at the time and so I wanted to like his idea for the movie, but I didn't, yet I really thought that Vincent Ward's monastery premise/setting was great -- the gynophobia and celibacy and superstition are natural (though unsubtle) ways for the implicit Freudian themes of the Alien films to present in the narrative. It's a brilliant concept that works on multiple levels at once.

It's interesting to compare this film to Resurrection in another way. I've heard Whedon talk about his frustrations while working on that film. On it, he was the one who was fighting for the narrative to make sense and the director was more interested in making a visually interesting film at the expense of everything else. Like Fincher, Jean-Pierre Jeunet is also a talented auteur, but he had the credibility to make the movie he wanted. The City of Lost Children was mad genius. But there was no way that an Alien film could be a film like that. I don't understand what the producers were thinking.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:47 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Which isn't really technically self-sacrifice, but one of the major themes of the movie is "see, this man you thought was evil actually isn't so bad after all" – in the cases of both Bishop and Hicks.

A major theme? Hicks is established pretty early on as one of the nicer, more competent marines. And the turnaround for Bishop is a comparatively minor element in the film. I rewatched it recently and was struck by just how small of a role he had. He's more of a red herring than anything else.

It really feels to me like the whole film is intended to dull and deplete the feminist message of the first film by bringing in men for Ripley to love and a daughter who makes her dependent on them.

I think that's a really, really uncharitable interpretation of the film. I might see an argument about the motherhood thing*, but the men are more dependent on Ripley than the other way around. Hicks and Ripley have a subtle connection that is never acted upon, probably because of the situation they're in, but I don't see how having a love interest for an action heroine is necessarily anti-feminist. Male heroes get that. Why not Ripley?

*Which is one of the reasons why I don't like the director's cut. Establishing that she has a daughter makes the whole thing so much clunkier.
posted by brundlefly at 6:50 PM on September 28, 2014 [11 favorites]


Interesting takes, koeselitz and justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow. Thanks!
posted by Drexen at 6:52 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


On it, he was the one who was fighting for the narrative to make sense and the director was more interested in making a visually interesting film at the expense of everything else. Like Fincher, Jean-Pierre Jeunet is also a talented auteur, but he had the credibility to make the movie he wanted. The City of Lost Children was mad genius. But there was no way that an Alien film could be a film like that. I don't understand what the producers were thinking.

Very much the problem with Prometheus: it started with some pretty cool set peices supported by the logic of the world and by the end of the scripting process that logic has been kicked out from under it, leaving only the setpeices strung together by weird save-the-cat narrative "logic" and a world that feels utterly arbitrary.
posted by Artw at 6:54 PM on September 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


It helps your enjoyment of the films to know what they are sequels to. AvP is part of the Predators franchise, and, as such, perfectly enjoyable.

Alien Resurrection is a sequel to The Poseidon Adventure.
posted by maxsparber at 6:58 PM on September 28, 2014 [22 favorites]


Adding a I Am Already a Mother backstory sounds like making Greedo shoot first but I'll have to see why it was left out of the original cut. I had no idea such a thing transpired. The idea would be that in order for the Maternal Instinct to truly kick in you must get Knocked Up and Bond, Gurl at least one time during your career as Badass Space Nomad.
posted by aydeejones at 7:00 PM on September 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's basically an additional kick in the gut to go with being lost in space for all those years - which isn't quite as much as a loss if she has nothing waiting for her.

And yes - space trucker travel times are weird - clearly faster than light but not so fast hibernation isn't required.
posted by Artw at 7:03 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I need to look up the reasoning and whether it was added in or just cut out but shot in the original as I would expect for a "cut" but since cutting is already a transformative or destructive process, many folks might allow significant new material being pasted into a "cut" or call it something specific like 20th Anniversary Director's Cut Digital Remaster with Sriracha Edition
posted by aydeejones at 7:04 PM on September 28, 2014


Worth remembering: it's a Special Edition, not a Directors Cut.
posted by Artw at 7:06 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I kind of liked the anticlimactic beginning of Alien 3 and feel like it makes the movies have very specific hard boundaries that shock us while to Ripley life is just the dogs dinner
posted by aydeejones at 7:07 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, aside from nitpicking koeselitz's points (I think that there are many people who do jobs that take them away from their families for extended periods of time because a) the money is really, really good and b) they're not expecting the separation to last for decades (in fact, it's implied in the Nostromo crew's discussion of bonuses that, with a big enough bonus, some of the crew might just quit)), I think that each of the Alien movies tried to do something very different with the premise, and how well you liked the sequels is a factor of how well you like the basic premise, and whether you wanted something like the movie(s) before it or something different.

Alien worked as well as it did not just because it was a slasher movie in space but because it was a brilliant head-fake, aided in part by the marketing campaign; the teaser trailer only showed this mysterious egg with light coming out of a crack in it (which was, in effect, a lie, since it looked nothing like the actual xenomorph egg); is it the next Starchild (from 2001) in the egg? Is it ee-vil? What? And then there's this long build-up with the crew thawing out and farting around and then the alien spaceship and more farting around and then THERE'S THIS FUCKING THING ON THE DUDE'S FACE and then more farting around and then HOLY SHIT IT'S COMING OUT OF HIS FUCKING CHEST and after that it's pretty much just the slasher movie IN SPACE but you're still reeling from the shock of having your previous expectations subverted in literally the most visceral way. (And, sorry again, koeselitz, but "the feminist message of the first film" includes having the Last Girl being surprised by the penis-headed monster right as she's just stripped down to her underwear. Um.)

The second film is Vietnam IN SPACE, which was Cameron's very intentional and deliberate choice (down to the stuff painted on the space marines' armor), and it includes a number of stock characters, but it also goes to some pains to subvert those cliches, and overall it's got a much more solid and even funny (in places) script than the first film's. If Bishop showing up with the dropship is any sort of cliche, it's less of "this supposedly strong woman needs a man, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, to save her" and more of "here comes the cavalry over the hill, which we set up some time ago" with a lashing of "oh hey, the guy who you were prejudiced against just saved your ass, you may want to rethink the whole anti-android thing." Even the whole thing about Ripley having a daughter being an improbable retcon just points out how thin the characterization of the crew members in the first film was; at least Ripley and Newt had families, once.

Alien-cubed? Well, at least Fincher & Co. were trying something different, but you probably have a problem if you actually want most of the characters to die. And I liked the fourth movie, but for someone who got equal billing with Weaver, Winona Ryder's character seemed oddly thin and unengaging. I'll also buy that Jeunet may simply have not been the right guy for the film; apparently, the giant vulva on the "newborn" xenomorph that had to be digitally removed in post-production was his idea. They're both very different approaches, and probably not the worst ideas imaginable (I can seem them both working as European Metal Hurlant- style sci-fi comics), but not necessarily concepts that you want to build what were meant to be big tentpole movie sequels around.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:15 PM on September 28, 2014 [19 favorites]


Which isn't really technically self-sacrifice, but one of the major themes of the movie is "see, this man you thought was evil actually isn't so bad after all" – in the cases of both Bishop and Hicks.

Never thought that Ripley didn't like Hicks (or thought that he was evil) - he was just one of a group of Marines who she didn't know and didn't necessarily trust because (like everyone else in the film to that point) no one gave her story any credence. She's uncomfortable with everyone on the ship - she knows no one, and they are a bunch of swaggering, macho, posturing Marines - an existing team, tightly unified, that she isn't just going to be able to fit in with. Contrast with Gorman, the other new team member - he never fits in until his final moments.

Hicks is probably the most badass Marine on the ship - he's quiet, listens, sleeps when he can, and ultimately defers to Ripley's decision making process. But I'm not sure why it is necessary to have no competent men around Ripley in order for her to qualify as a feminist icon; she's tough, decisive, capable, and when the shit hits the fan, takes charge.

As for Bishop - not sure he's even really a man. Her revulsion to it is that it's an android, and is to me at least a natural outgrowth of her experiences in the first film.

My biggest problem with Aliens is Newt. Yeah, I know – everybody loves Newt. She's like an adorable little reincarnation of Elliott from E.T., only a girl and more badass – which is probably exactly what Cameron's character description for her was. But why did Cameron add Newt?

The answer to that is really simple from my perspective - it sets up the final face-off. Ripley goes into the alien den - alone, but certainly not helpless - and faces down the Alien queen; the point is clear - Ripley leaves with Newt, and nothing happens to the eggs. The Queen puts up a fight, and everything goes up. Ripley's mistake? Instead of just leaving with the certain knowledge that the place was done and dusted in a few minutes regardless, she decides to dish out some punishment and breaks the deal.

It's about two "mothers" and their children - Ripley's adopted child, who she will fight for; and the Queen's children, who she will fight for. I don't see how it weakens Ripley's character to show that she will act in a protective manner towards a child - in fact, Ripley's actions are generally about protection and saving others. She saves the Marines in their first encounter, and is the one to figure out the defensive strategy that almost gives them a safe place to hide until rescue can come.

But I guess everyone's mileage varies.
posted by nubs at 7:22 PM on September 28, 2014 [13 favorites]


I remember thinking it's an interesting movie that utterly fails as a sequel

Even with all its flaws, it's a great sequel. It's just cruel.

Leaving aside just how well it does it, at the end of the day Alien is a monster movie with a Final Girl.

Aliens is sort of about what you do when you've been a Final Girl, re-read as something like a combat vet. You're deeply fucked up, you try to rebuild your life and probably fail several times, etc. In this case, she gets over it by facing her demons and symbolically reconnecting with humanity and so on because in movies people do that instead of getting boring therapy for years and years and slowly maybe getting kinda better sometimes.

Alien 3 is about ripping that away. You've been through hell and are deeply wounded, so you go back and you face what hurt you and you win. Full stop. As far as you know, you exterminate the species. You have absolute proof that you can be okay, and living human reasons to keep being okay. And you go to sleep and wake up and it's all ashes. They're all dead, and there was never anything you could do to save them because you were a meat popsicle. They're all dead because the universe is a terrifying and incomprehensible horror that doesn't care about you.

The team cut or whatever they call the not-the-original-cut is particularly cruel because they actually capture the alien. They win; it's over and all they need to do is wait for rescue... except one of the crazier inmates lets it out again because he thinks it's a god. Oops.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:22 PM on September 28, 2014 [14 favorites]


I think one of the better takes on the whole Alien franchise was something I read by Sigourney Weaver after Resurrection. She suggested that the films should be read as a set of variations on a theme rather than classical sequels. With that in mind, I kind of like Alien three for its apocalyptic feeling and Beowulf-like ending. It's not a perfect movie but it holds up well against what came after. I have never been fond of aliens vs. predator. It just seems too much like the classic monster-movie cash grab of putting two different monsters with two entirely different narratives on the page or screen together for the sake of making money.

Prometheus in my opinion suffered from trying to be a prequel in the same sandbox. I would've worked much better as a simpler movie of man meets god, god meets man, god bludgeons man to death with skull of his own son.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:23 PM on September 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


I probably link this in every subsequent Alien thread, but I've been on board with Cortex's take on the series since I first read it.
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 Pater Aletheias at 7:23 PM on September 28, 2014 [18 favorites]


And yes - space trucker travel times are weird - clearly faster than light but not so fast hibernation isn't required.

My personal retcon is that FTL travel is somehow hostile, like in Scanners Live in Vain or McIntyre's _Superluminal_ books. So it's not that it necessarily takes so long, you just can't have humans awake in it or they get Space Leprosy or something.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:27 PM on September 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


I've been on board with Cortex's take on the series since I first read it.

Wow. And now I am, too.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:29 PM on September 28, 2014


Basically, at the heart of the Alien stories is the mysterious and complicated biology of the alien species, its life cycle, its feeding habits, the way it builds its nest, etc. It's the mystery that's scary. Give away too much, spell everything out too clearly, and it just won't be any good at all.

Imagine how much better Aliens would have been if the RAH RAH SPACE ARMY douchebags didn't have a handy guide (Ripley and Ripley's report) telling them all about how aliens work. If they'd just got the signal from the colony and went in to take a gander totally unprepared.

Imagine how much better it would have been if all the new stuff we learn about the aliens didn't boil down to THEY'RE MOSTLY ANTS, MOSTLY. They're aliens! The scary part is that they are alien! Unfamiliar! Unknowable!

As far as I'm concerned, that's what killed the franchise, even more than the RAH RAH SPACE ARMY shit (which is perfectly fine as a concept; it just wasn't executed particularly well at all), or the SEE, THE ROBOT REALLY DID HAVE FEELINGS thing, or the WE POP THE COLLARS OF OUR OTHERWISE ORDINARY SUIT JACKETS BECAUSE FUTURE thing, or even the absolutely godawful GEE I WONDER IF THIS NOVEL YET TERRIFICALLY INEFFICIENT METHOD OF MOVING CARGO THAT WE'RE BEING SHOWN IN GREAT DETAIL FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON AND WHICH MUST HAVE COST THE FILMMAKERS A LOT OF MONEY TO HAVE MADE MIGHT SOMEHOW COME INTO PLAY LATER IN THE FILM thing.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:31 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ripley's mistake? Instead of just leaving with the certain knowledge that the place was done and dusted in a few minutes regardless, she decides to dish out some punishment and breaks the deal.
I think it is at least implied that the the Queen broke the deal by causing one of the facehugger eggs nearby to open. Or at least, Ripley believed the egg opened due to the Queen judging by the oh-no-you-didn't look she gives before she lets loose.

For what it is worth, count me in on the "Aliens is at least attempting to be feminist" side of the argument. Ripley as a character is treated exactly the same as a male lead would be in a similar film - competent, brave, and strong-willed (and right about everything). The only possible male leads (Hicks and Bishop) are at best side-kicks, who Ripley saves on more than one occasion.

The theme of motherhood is laid on with a trowel, but I don't watch films about face-hugging aliens for subtlety.
posted by AndrewStephens at 7:36 PM on September 28, 2014 [14 favorites]


Let's not get into the AvP movies.

The first one is a perfectly serviceable bug hunt. Like many Paul Anderson movies, it is a B movie. It is unashamed to be a B movie. And it's substantially better in most respects than a B movie has to be. It has a script that's better than required for a B movie, its effects are better than required, the acting is better than required, and while it's made on a budget every damn dollar is on the screen.

And it has Sanaa Lathan who is one of those people who's so insanely gorgeous that it makes you proud to be part of the same species as her.

And our hero is a black woman and nobody ever gives her shit for it, or treats it as remarkable or worthy of mention, or even mentions it. Or treats her (or the other women on the team) as anything but badasses.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:38 PM on September 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


The only possible male leads (Hicks and Bishop) are at best side-kicks

Oh... now I need to go to an alternate universe where John Carpenter doesn't hate women* so I can see the version of Big Trouble in Little China where Wang Chi is a woman.

*Proof: Vampires. The second most womanhatering movie ever, the first being Species 2.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:43 PM on September 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Koeselitz, I don't agree with your characterisation. To start with, there's already a Newt-analogue in Alien: the cat, which Ripley rescues. So if you're down on Aliens because of Newt, you'll have to explain how rescuing (and cuddling! and adopting!) the cat is somehow less maternal.

I think Aliens is arguably more feminist than Alien, precisely because it brought the idea of maternity to the front and center. Alien was about rape because the monster we saw was "male": it wants to trap you and use you, it's sharing your space, it's stronger than you and you have no way of protecting yourself. Also, at least initially: nobody believes you.

Aliens is a sequel, and Ripley has learned. LV-426 is a mining colony and is therefore symbolically male: the miners exploit the planet by physically entering it and stripping it of its wealth. The marines have the stereotypically-male attitude of going in and fighting the aliens (a "bughunt"), but Ripley makes the sensible suggestion that they just nuke them from orbit. So there's a contrast here - the marines want to fight; Ripley wants to survive. The same thing goes on inside with all the macho stuff about establishing perimeters and so forth. Note that Burke literally tries to have Ripley and Newt impregnated by the aliens - it's underscoring the idea that the aliens are male, the marines are male, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation is male.

Ripley knows that you can't keep the aliens out; she's focused on being safe, on surviving until they can escape. She's the sensible one, the protective one, the one who has seen it all before. But she isn't the one with the power: that would be Burke. In other words, Ripley is a mother. When she goes down to rescue Newt it's still not about winning: she actually "loses" the colony when she destroys the hive, but that doesn't matter: Ripley is unsentimental and knows what's important.

This is why I don't really care for the fight at the end when Ripley is wearing the cargo loader. She doesn't need to "beat" the alien, because the alien was already beaten when it lost the ability to harm Newt. The fight was cool but it wasn't thematically appropriate and it would have been better cut from the movie.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:43 PM on September 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


Can anyone sum up all these different A3 endings that kept being mentioned?
posted by gottabefunky at 7:43 PM on September 28, 2014


Awesome thread!
posted by batfish at 7:54 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah. Interesting takes on Aliens.
posted by Trochanter at 7:55 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Back on topic, I quite like Alien3, especially the director's cut. The whole thing is just so weird. I saw it for the first time at the cinema when I was 16 and was completely confused but it has grown on me.

One way to rate the Aliens films is to image how they would be if they didn't contain any aliens. In the order I would watch them:
Alien : Tense drama set aboard a space barge, as the crew is awoken early with a damaged hypersleep system and the isolation gets to them. The ship was never designed to support the crew being awake for months at a time. As tempers flair in the cramped conditions, the crew splits along class lines and only the science officer seems unaffected by the stress. Then the murders start...
Alien3 : Thriller. A woman crash lands on the prison planet filled with murderous criminals. Rescue is coming, but she must interact with the local population for weeks. Luckily they have found God, more or less. Then the murders start....
Alien Resurrection : Action/Comedy. A wacky crew of unlikely mercenaries stop at a military station to deliver slightly shady cargo. While there they get involved with a captive woman who is part of a secret experiment. Against their better judgement, they rescue the woman and flee into the 'verse where you can't take the sky from them...
Aliens : Porno. A civilian joins a term of marines on a mission to find out why a remote colony hasn't checked in for a while. On arrival, the squad's android and technician easily fix the dish misalignment that caused the blackout, and the colonists don't know how to thank them...
posted by AndrewStephens at 7:56 PM on September 28, 2014 [10 favorites]


To be fair on Aliens, it doesn't really work without the Aliens. The others would all be watchable.
posted by AndrewStephens at 8:03 PM on September 28, 2014


There always has to be one guy that shits on Aliens. Clearly for nerd cred. Always. Please don't embarrass yourself.
posted by phaedon at 8:05 PM on September 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


Never fails to make me think better of Aliens, TBH.
posted by Artw at 8:07 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Good points, all; I'm really looking forward to the Alien: Isolation game. Looks like it holds to the ethos of Alien
posted by Renoroc at 8:08 PM on September 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I avoided Alien^3 until last year when I got the box set of blu-rays of all four movies and watched both the release version and the "Assembly Cut" version and while the studio's version does mostly suck, the Assembly Cut really worked for me. It's still my third favorite of the first three but not too far behind.

I actually love the brass of killing off Newt and Hicks in the prologue. It's as if Return of the Jedi just casually killed off Han and Leah in the first ten minutes. Movies shouldn't be so worried about pleasing crowds.

I still have never seen Alien:Resurrection.
posted by octothorpe at 8:08 PM on September 28, 2014


Also worth remembering: The aliens being basically ants wasn't a cliche until Aliens.
posted by Artw at 8:09 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Alien: Realism
Aliens: Cartoon
Alien 3: Realism
Alien: Resurrection: Cartoon
Prometheus: Cartoon Realism/Realistic Cartoon
posted by Auden at 8:12 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Alien:Resurrection's an example of giving a French director an opportunity to imitate Cameron's fusion of action and humor and failing spectacularly. It worked for Fifth Element, but of course relegating it to B movie status (ironically the fifth element on the periodic table is Boron), however I did not need to see Sigourney Weaver play basketball. Also ruined Dan Hedaya for me.

Fincher more than made up for the mess 3 was, so he gets a pass. Hell, I'd give him another crack at it. Just watched Se7en last night.
posted by phaedon at 8:22 PM on September 28, 2014


There always has to be one guy that shits on Aliens. Clearly for nerd cred. Always. Please don't embarrass yourself.

I think there are some pretty valid reasons to not like Aliens. Or anyway, there are some very valid reasons to like it much less than Alien. There are plenty of wildly popular films I don't care for, and I certainly wouldn't appreciate someone dismissing my take on them as contrarianism (especially if I'd expended 5000 words or something explaining what about the movie in question I didn't like).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:27 PM on September 28, 2014 [12 favorites]


Alien Resurrection is a sequel to The Poseidon Adventure.

Serenity is the prequel for Alien: Resurrection.
posted by bonehead at 8:27 PM on September 28, 2014


casually killed off Han and Leah

o_O

You just lost like a million nerd points. Leia

also pls to be continuing with the Alien nerding it is the best thank you
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:29 PM on September 28, 2014


You just lost like a million nerd points. Leia

I occasionally misspell my own name.
posted by octothorpe at 8:32 PM on September 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


"The aliens being basically ants wasn't a cliche until Aliens."

I'd say that cliche had a long pre-Aliens life going at least as far back as Starship Troopers (1959) and the whole subgenre it spawned (including Ender's Game, which was published a year before Aliens).
posted by mbrubeck at 8:38 PM on September 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


What HR Giger was doing during Aliens.
posted by Artw at 8:38 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'd say that cliche had a long pre-Aliens life going at least as far back as Starship Troopers (1959) and the whole subgenre it spawned (including Ender's Game, which was published a year before Aliens).

Eh. insectoid but fails to conform to the very specific caste system and lifecycle you saw everywhere after Aliens.

Weirdly I'd say a bunch of stuff from Aliens got back-ported into the Starship Troopers movie.
posted by Artw at 8:41 PM on September 28, 2014


Oh... now I need to go to an alternate universe where John Carpenter doesn't hate women* so I can see the version of Big Trouble in Little China where Wang Chi is a woman.

The secret to Big Trouble in Little China is that Jack Burton is not the hero.

Jack Burton is Wang's sidekick.

Wang leads the mission and rescues the girl. Wang is the only one that defeats one of the Three Storms in a straight-up fight; the other two are merely fortunate happenstance. Burton kills Lo Pan, but it's comic relief -- exactly what a sidekick could do.

The movie is a straight-up adventure, but told from the perspective of a character that only thinks he's the hero.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:42 PM on September 28, 2014 [34 favorites]


The Martians of Quatermass and the Pit would be another insect civilization fir that list too.
posted by Artw at 8:43 PM on September 28, 2014


And let's not forget the giant ants in Them!, who were really actually ants.
posted by The Tensor at 8:54 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


CPB, that is the reason I am suggesting what I am.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:56 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love Alien 3 and I don't care who knows it. The sheer nihilism of it is delightful right from the very beginning, with Hicks and Newt getting their shit all snapped up. It is completely Lovecraftian in its portrayal of humans as insignificant in the face of the infinite horrors of the cosmos.

All that Dropship backing-and-forthing and the tremendous loss of life and an actual thermonuclear explosion on LV-426 was for nothing, same way uniform shipping containers and the internet/Black Plague and Hiroshima/Nagasaki are (ultimately) for nothing here on earth.

It is thrilling and chaotic and just stinks of sci fi as I have always loved it and always will. Only downside is the dodgy alien FX. But in the end, a great, great movie. I'll watch it over Aliens any day of the week (and I fucking love Aliens). Plus the extended cut is awesome.

Resurrection, though, was a repulsively stupid pile of shit. Just like the new Dark Horse comics are gonna be if that godawful first issue of Prometheus (and the actual Prometheus movie) are anything to go by, which I suspect they are.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:01 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


now i am watching Predators and i would just like to remind everyone of adrien brody's majestic nostrils
posted by poffin boffin at 9:01 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


I certainly wouldn't appreciate someone dismissing my take on them as contrarianism

And yet, that's exactly what it is. Film criticism gone too far. Ripley qua mother serves as an interesting counter-point to the introduction of the Alien mother, which didn't exist in the original movie. Also, Newt isn't literally her child. It is established early on in the movie that Ripley already is a mother. The "family" that is built in the movie is not some super-traditional return to aprons and tupperware. This is like criticizing Terminator 2 for watering down Linda Hamilton by introducing John Connor.

Ripley is not a weak character in Aliens. She's far ahead of the curve in the beginning of the movie, and saves the day at the end. One movie may be about rape and the other about family, but I disagree with the characterization of Ripley as not being "fully realized" simply because she feels a connection to a child. She's always cared about people and valued life; in the first movie, her job was to preserve quarantine. Everybody else was either following orders or looking for a quick payday.

Of all the directions that the Alien franchise has moved in post-Alien, Aliens is the only one that works.
posted by phaedon at 9:03 PM on September 28, 2014 [12 favorites]


... as it suddenly occurs that I did in fact see Alien Resurrection, or part of it anyway. It's the one where Wynona Ryder plays an android and still manages to come off as overly robotic or whatever. Completely unconvincing. The performance and the movie, as I seem to barely remember it.
posted by philip-random at 9:11 PM on September 28, 2014


Resurrection, though, was a repulsively stupid pile of shit. Just like the new Dark Horse comics are gonna be if that godawful first issue of Prometheus (and the actual Prometheus movie) are anything to go by, which I suspect they are.

Fun fact: Dark Horse had to rewrite all it's Prometheus, Aliens and AvP comics it had planned for this year in a hurry after the studio withdrew approval and sent them a big long list of things to change. Basically they got screwed over by Prometheus 2.

Still, they seem very enthusiastic about the project, which has several self contained series overlapping into a whole, even if Prometheus #1 didn't set my world on file.

Oh, and there's an Alien: Isolation comic on the way with art by Henry Flint.
posted by Artw at 9:13 PM on September 28, 2014


phaedon: “There always has to be one guy that shits on Aliens. Clearly for nerd cred. Always. Please don't embarrass yourself.”

Isn't there the faintest, most distant possibility that people just disagree about movies?
posted by koeselitz at 9:20 PM on September 28, 2014 [18 favorites]


I did not need to see Sigourney Weaver play basketball.

What makes that scene work for me is the moment when she does the over the shoulder, nothing but net shot. You assume that it's camera trickery, but somewhere - either in a director's commentary or an interview - it comes out that Weaver trained for weeks on that shot, and really struggled with it. And they couldn't figure out how to drop it in from outside the frame that looked right from the camera angle. So they decided to cut it.

Weaver, after a lot of hours on the court trying to get that shot down, was not happy. And so, when they filmed the scene, she - as a bit of a "fuck you" - did it anyway. And it dropped perfectly.
posted by nubs at 9:21 PM on September 28, 2014 [29 favorites]


She really is one of my favorite people.
posted by Artw at 9:23 PM on September 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


Basically they got screwed over by Prometheus 2

A real shame since Dark Horse evidently knows what's up when it comes to Aliens, that early stuff is rock solid (for comics, anyway). But that issue of Prometheus, jeez. First comics I'd been pumped for in a while.

Dan Abnett writing Isolation, with Flint providing art duties, is something I find myself very interested in, however.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:33 PM on September 28, 2014


Here's the over the shoulder shot story. Little different than I remember, but basically the same.
posted by nubs at 9:36 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Isn't there the faintest, most distant possibility that people just disagree about movies?

Sorry, I'm oddly evangelical about Cameron. And with so many craters in Scott's wake, I feel that he should be commended for his work. It's not exactly close-up of a screaming cat-style terror, but hell, he even includes an homage to that in the opening sequence.

The more I think about it, Ripley's humanity is the only thing that really keeps the franchise together. All these for-profit and military structures man has created, and at the end of the day, the person that cares and values human life the most survives impossible odds. She represents the spirit the alien threatens to kill but can't. Even her own species tries to do her in.

I think this is what makes 3 and Resurrection so confusing and unsatisfying. They've stripped her down to nothing. She is no longer the moral anchor. The AvP sequels don't even bother to set this up. The point is that Cameron stayed true to the Ripley character and only made her better.
posted by phaedon at 9:41 PM on September 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


This thread is what I wish FanFare would be.
posted by painquale at 10:04 PM on September 28, 2014 [20 favorites]


What HR Giger was doing during Aliens.

In addition to pickling black licorice.
posted by painquale at 10:09 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Prometheus: Cartoon Realism/Realistic Cartoon

I watched Prometheus with the sound off on a long-haul flight (I am generally sleepy and uncomfortable and in a state of hyper-boredom and sound bothers me), and while it didn't make any sense, it was beautiful to watch.
posted by Nevin at 10:25 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Alien 3 has the single best 20th Century Fox logo fanfare opener of any movie ever. Shame the rest of the film couldn't live up the promise held in those first 30 seconds.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:33 PM on September 28, 2014 [12 favorites]


Artw: A L I E N: Engineers (PDF) - Warning: Will make you mildly more disappointed with Prometheus.
I had stuff to do tonight goddammit. It's amazing how that's nearly the same movie, but, ya know, good.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:38 PM on September 28, 2014


Yes! The soured fanfare is amazing!
posted by brundlefly at 10:46 PM on September 28, 2014


Actually, do you have a story to go with that script, Artw? How did that get turned into what got foisted on us?
posted by ob1quixote at 10:50 PM on September 28, 2014


Alien 3 has the single best 20th Century Fox logo fanfare opener of any movie ever. Shame the rest of the film couldn't live up the promise held in those first 30 seconds.

And the whole title sequence is incredibly beautiful and evocative, the shots of the vast emptiness of space interspersed with brief, claustrophobic shots of catastrophe aboard the ship. I think it's one of my favorite title sequences of all time, actually.

I'm going to have to go watch the whole thing again after this thread.
posted by Auden at 10:57 PM on September 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


ob1quixote: Actually, do you have a story to go with that script, Artw? How did that get turned into what got foisted on us?
Yeah, so… a naive Google search turned up everything I wanted to know:

PROMETHEUS Screenwriter Jon Spaihts Confirms Earlier Script for ALIEN: ENGINEERS, Plus Changes from Script to Screen, Dave Trumbore, Collider, 14 November 2012

Screenwriter Jon Spaihts On The Prometheus That Never Was, Nick de Semlyen, Empire, Undated (Presumably 2012)

How Alien: Engineers differs from Prometheus, Ryan Lambie, Den of Geek, 14 November 2012
posted by ob1quixote at 11:09 PM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Surprised the thread has gone this far with no mention of Eliot Goldenthal's fantastic soundtrack. Whatever you might think of the film, the soundtrack is perfectly matched to the atmosphere.
posted by kokaku at 11:33 PM on September 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


yes, Goldenthal's sparse, haunting music with its ethereal vocals is an essential ingredient of that beautiful title sequence I mentioned. So great.
posted by Auden at 11:48 PM on September 28, 2014


I remember hearing about how Alien3 was a cluster-fuck a long, long time ago and wondering whether I just had bad taste or experience movies differently from everyone else. I thought it ended the series on a perfect note. Each of the films is very different from the last, but it ended like you knew it had to end...

And, oh my god, the soundtracks. Each one of them is outstanding. Alien3's is easily my favorite of any movie, ever.
posted by smidgen at 12:19 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


That Jon Spaihts' original screenplay is so interesting, I would've loved to have seen that film. With a different cast. Well, Fassbender could stay. Maybe Rapace and Theron.
posted by Auden at 12:29 AM on September 29, 2014


Yeah, that ALIEN: ENGINEERS script is definitely better. Although the whole Chariots of the Gods thing is still just annoying to me.
posted by brundlefly at 1:11 AM on September 29, 2014


More like chariots of my asshole
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:13 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Aliens was really a fantasy projected by a very underperforming xenomorph and it's all in their head. Just like Ferris Buhlers Day Off.
posted by hellojed at 2:07 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


My favorite part of Alien: Resurrection is still the bit where the alien empties out her purse, cleans it, and then puts everything back in.
posted by sonascope at 3:32 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I watched Prometheus with the sound off on a long-haul flight (I am generally sleepy and uncomfortable and in a state of hyper-boredom and sound bothers me), and while it didn't make any sense, it was beautiful to watch.

It didn't make a damn bit of sense with the sound on either.
posted by octothorpe at 4:11 AM on September 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'll proudly admit to loving Aliens 3 and 4, but Prometheus was so bad the only reason we didn't walk out was our stunned disbelief.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:07 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I prefer to live in my own alternative universe where there are only two Alien movies and there never was a shitstorm clusterfuck passing itself off as a prequel. Also featured in my AU, George Lucas has not made a film since Jedi, and Coppala dropped the mike after Godfather II.
posted by Ber at 5:28 AM on September 29, 2014


Sorry, I'm oddly evangelical about Cameron.

No kidding.
posted by aught at 5:34 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I finished reading the Gibson Alien3 script, and - yeah - I can see why that never got off the ground. It's basically the exact same story as Aliens (of which it feels more like a continuation than a sequel) of hubris leading to a slaughter, only with the central character being personality-vacuum Hicks. None of the new characters introduced made the slightest impression.

The Cold War in space bit is interesting, but largely irrelevant to the plot. The point, if there is one, seems to be that Space Capitalists (SPAPITALISTS) and Space Communists (SPOMMUNISTS) will both exploit the aliens for their own ends, so a plague on both their houses. I guess.

There's also a Zero G battle against an alien horde that a) does the entirely predictable "we're down to our last round of ammo, but oh look there's a plot device that will save us" thing and b) would presumably have been insanely expensive to film.

I have to give ol' Bill props though for the Vietnamese space communist commando lady with a barcode tattoo. Full self-parody mode enabled.
posted by sobarel at 5:34 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, at least it was better than Aliens. James Cameron was the first one to ruin the franchise with a sappy story and a bunch of "MARINES!!!" with "GUNS!!!" and basically the same cookie-cutter plot line he's churned out his entire career.
posted by koeselitz at 1:46 AM on September 29


This, a hundred times, this. I saw "Alien" in my teens and was blown away by the visceral creepiness and horror of it. It didn't matter that it was basically a haunted house movie in space because the elements of it were just so damned good that it hugely transcended the cliche. Then, having read all the raves for "Aliens" I went to see that with great expectation. I don't think I have ever been more disappointed by a sequel, before or since. Everything that made "Alien" special was gone, to be replaced by tedious cliche upon tiresome set piece. The terrifying apparent invincibility of the creature? Gone. The uniqueness of it? Gone. The interesting human characters and the tense, taut interplay between them? Gone. The horrific mystery of a "monster" glimpsed (at least until the ending) only in nerve-shredding brevity and shadowy, slithery obscurity? Gone.

Instead we had a bunch of men in suits playing cannon fodder for a bunch of gung-ho arseholes. In space. It's like everyone involved in the film just did not get why "Alien" was so effective in the first place. They didn't get it at all. Or worse, they got it but they didn't care. So they made a shoot-em-up with a bunch of cardboard cut-outs and lots of noisy guns.

Alien 3 was, as others have said, at least interesting, and I certainly appreciated the way it was so completely different from its execrable predecessor. I forgive it a lot for that reason alone.
posted by Decani at 5:53 AM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


And yes, "Prometheus" made "Aliens" look like a masterpiece.
posted by Decani at 5:53 AM on September 29, 2014


If nothing else Resurrection gets points for being the very first piece of Firefly crossover fanfic. Manages to hit the sweet spot between "I want to make up my own unique characters" and "This is totally the crew of the Serenity, no matter what names I'm calling them to avoid the copyright police".

You know, last night I did something I had meant to do for a decade at least: watched Blood Simple and Fargo back to back. And really, it is embarrassing how much the guys who made Blood Simple stole from Fargo, down even to the set piece of someone trying to deal with a body on a lonely highway late at night and then suddenly having the tension ratcheted up by a set of headlights coming into view in the distance. And at another point in each movie, a woman being pursued through her home by a man runs into the bathroom. In the one flick, her pursuer checks the shower while she has actually gone out the window, while in the other, he checks the window while she is actually hiding behind the shower curtain. Such a transparent rip-off!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:16 AM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've thought that Alien 3 works thematically as an inversion of Alien. The Xenomorph is a metaphor for rape; but in Alien 3 it's not a threat to Ripley because she's host to the queen. The threat of rape and other violence is from the men in Alien 3. It's interesting, and pointed, to suddenly have Ripley who was able to fight the Aliens, have real trouble dealing with and navigating the threat from the men around her.

I think Alien Resurrection was trying to go further with this inversion of the Motherhood themes in Alien, but I'm not sure it works as well.
posted by Grimgrin at 6:24 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm always a little annoyed at discussions of Alien 3 that don't even mention Vincent Ward ...

The link philip-random provides makes a passing mention of someone else pulled into the Alien machine, whirled around and spat out:

Next at the keyboard was David Twohy, who had just written Critters 2 and who, a decade later, would pen and direct the incredibly fun, Aliens-alike Vin Diesel vehicle Pitch Black.

When Pitch Black came out, I knew Twohy only as the guy who had written The Fugitive and made the modest but entertaining alien invasion flick The Arrival a few years earlier and had no idea he had ever been yanked into working on the Alien franchise. I did, however, say to the friends I saw it with that "That was a better Alien movie than several of the Alien movies."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:05 AM on September 29, 2014


There were two other female marines besides Vasquez: Ferro and Dietrich.

BTW: I've never seen anyone so determined to find reasons to dislike Aliens, so congratulations, I guess.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:33 AM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


I don't get the praise for the darkness and nihilism of Alien^3, especially with regard to the opening. Darkness and nihilism are actually quite easy - the hard part is keeping people invested. The opening sequence was far too much like Michael O'Donoghue's joking advice to always end stories with, "and then everybody was run over by a truck".

Alien was dark, but it also created a real sense of wonder and weirdness. Aliens was also dark, but then it was actually able to somehow turn itself into a genuinely rousing war movie, with Ripley as the hero.

But what did Alien^3 have, outside of the craftsmanship? Am I supposed to be impressed by the willful pointlessness of it all? It's not even a Lovecraftian kind of darkness - there is no Big Other, no awe-inspiring weirdness. Just, "and then everybody was run over by a truck".

All in all, it makes me feel like Armond White has a point. Alien^3 is exactly the kind of slickly produced but hollow, self-congratulatory, "cool" nihilism against which he rails. The production was a disaster from the beginning, so I don't really blame Fincher or anyone else. But, as a movie unto itself, it's a pile.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:35 AM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


This thread is what I wish FanFare would be.

Threads like this are why I've been surprised at how quiet FanFare is.
posted by not that girl at 8:06 AM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]




If you watch Alien 3 as a movie about abortion it can be interesting.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:22 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, at least it was better than Aliens. James Cameron was the first one to ruin the franchise with a sappy story and a bunch of "MARINES!!!" with "GUNS!!!" and basically the same cookie-cutter plot line he's churned out his entire career.

This!

I love Alien 3, it's flawed, sure, but you can see what it could have been, and still it's so gorgeous and cold and grimy and mean and hopeless. And Charles Dance is wonderful (I adore how they give you that brief storyline of hope for Ripley having something good happen and then it's just...gone). I love it unashamedly. Except for the very end with the Jesus Christ Pose, which I can do without. And yes, it's better than Aliens, which I find pretty much unwatchable.

My beloved husband and I argue about almost nothing, but our opinions of the Alien franchise differ and may never reconcile. For me, it's Alien, Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection (so silly, but so entertaining), and then nothing (I hate Aliens THAT MUCH, with its strident, wooden performances, and everyone looking like they'd rather be making another movie), whereas he can't stand A:R and quite likes Aliens. Oh well, he still has many good qualities. And at least we agree that Alien is a masterpiece.
posted by biscotti at 8:41 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Who was the producer from this series who came up with the idea that each movie would be a different genre? I remember reading once that one of the producers felt that Alien was a horror movie, Aliens was a war movie, and Alien3 was a prison movie.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:43 AM on September 29, 2014


...and Resurrection was a disaster movie (Poseidon Adventure 2: In Space) while Prometheus was 1950s-style B-movie science fiction.

We're due for Alien:Buddy Cop or Alien:RomCom.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:48 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think since Aliens they're all disaster movies. Well, they're disastrous, anyway.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:50 AM on September 29, 2014


Alien 5 should take place on Earth, in a violent, near-future version of the 80s, a la Streets of Fire, L'Amour Braque, etc.

Or, it should be a giallo, set at a vast, opulent masquerade ball.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:52 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Or, it should be a coming-of-middle-age dramedy, in the vein of The Upside of Anger, The Big Chill, etc.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:53 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Alien3 is difficult to see as that much of a genre shift - it's essentially a rerun of the ship portions of Alien with a different setting.
posted by Artw at 8:55 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think it should be an old school drawing room mystery, with the xenomorph as the butler.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:55 AM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


I knew Twohy only as the guy who had written The Fugitive and made the modest but entertaining alien invasion flick The Arrival

Ahh, the Arrival. Great monster movie terribly miscast. If you make a 1:1 budget replacement of Charlie Sheen, and get someone at the same level at that time, we'd all be talking about a cult classic. James Spader, anyone?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:00 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


There were two other female marines besides Vasquez: Ferro and Dietrich.

And I can't believe how far we've gotten in this thread without talking about what a revelation the Vasquez character was at the time.

Also (especially considering the original script), wouldn't Alien3 be

Alien:Name of the Rose?
posted by ikahime at 9:04 AM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Alien3 is difficult to see as that much of a genre shift - it's essentially a rerun of the ship portions of Alien with a different setting.

Exactly, and that's maybe its central flaw. On that level, it's not different enough from the others to justify its existence.

Also, they don't play around nearly enough with the concept of it being a prison. The whole "no weapons" thing doesn't seem far enough away from what life had been like on the Sulaco. What if high-tech mechanisms designed to keep prisoners locked up, or to "protect" the prisoners from one another, wound up backfiring, but then also wound up being unexpectedly helpful? Ankle bracelets which zap you when you don't report to your cell by sundown...fatal for a prisoner who needs to escape, but maybe also a problem if you're a xenomorph who suddenly inherits one...
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:08 AM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


...gene therapy for prisoners is intended to keep them docile and to facilitate their rehabilitation/reeducation...but when a prisoner gestating a chestburster receives the treatment, the result is something unexpected...perhaps the entire prison colony turns into a sort of hive, where the xenomorphs and the humans work in grotesque harmony...and only the most sociopathic prisoners are immune...

I don't know. Point being, Alien^3 is too similar to the first Alien.

Also, Alien and Aliens together compose a well-formed Saga of Ripley. The franchise was doomed to fail when it tried to extend that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:26 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'd also like to point out that, although Vasquez gets much respect (Dietrich's main plot function, aside from apparently being a medic, is to get caught alive and implanted), as someone pointed out in another Aliens thread somewhere (maybe on the blue?), Ferro's last act, upon coming face to face with a xenomorph, is to go for her sidearm.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:28 AM on September 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


There really needs to be one for EVERY genre. Manic Pixie Dream Alien. Step Up: All Alien. Too Fast Too Alien. Honey, I Shrunk the Alien.
posted by kyrademon at 9:31 AM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also, Alien and Aliens together compose a well-formed Saga of Ripley. The franchise was doomed to fail when it tried to extend that.

The comics were pretty smart in jumping forwards a few years and following Newt* and Hicks. For the movies though you really need Ripley.

* or "Billy", in a rather crappy post-Alien 3 edit.
posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on September 29, 2014


Honey, I Shrunk the Alien

Oh god, little virus sized xenomorphs gestating and bursting out of cells by the millions and then just growing and growing...
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:34 AM on September 29, 2014


"...a la Streets of Fire..." "Honey I Shrunk the Alien"

Great. Now I want to see a remake of Streets of Fire with an alien in the Rick Moranis role...

Listen Cody, I didn't know you had a thing with Ellen in the old days, but you better get some smarts and learn to adjust to the fact that you're out of the picture now. See Cody, I do things for her. Things that a guy like you could never do. Things that matter in the real world. Things like having a second set of jaws inside the first one, and busting out from inside of people's chests.
posted by Naberius at 9:41 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Little shop, little shop of xenos...
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:46 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Tommy Wiseau's The Xeno
posted by Twain Device at 9:56 AM on September 29, 2014


In my alternate telling, a British expedition to the South seas in the mid-1770s uncovers a stray Engineer pod, and with the advanced alien tech, they successfully harness the Xenomorph for its territorial forces.

Meanwhile, in Boston, Benjamin Franklin goes through multiple versions of a new contraption that harnesses the power of the electrical aether. He finally introduces Gen. Washington to this "personal friend," which he calls "model 41, version A, of the pulsed rifle."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:04 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


What if high-tech mechanisms designed to keep prisoners locked up, or to "protect" the prisoners from one another, wound up backfiring, but then also wound up being unexpectedly helpful?

Whatever they had wouldn't matter, because it hasn't been a proper prison for a long time. The "guards" are just minders and administrators and the only real security is that you'd need an interstellar spaceship to get anywhere. The only differences between Fury-161 and just a shitty colony are that the residents can't decide to move to another planet, on account of being murderers and rapists of women, and that they don't allow weapons on the planet for the same reason. The Company no longer cares whether the prisoners are locked up, so long as they don't get off-planet, and if they ever cared about protecting the prisoners from each other that stopped with whatever contracts they had.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:37 AM on September 29, 2014


Threads like this are why I've been surprised at how quiet FanFare is.

Maybe MeFi threads about single movies could be cross-posted to FanFare, at least while the site finds its feet. There'd be more reason to scan the FanFare front page if it included a bunch of very active discussions about Aliens.
posted by painquale at 10:42 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


In Aliens defense, it has one of my fave lines:

Ripley: "...Are you okay?"
Newt: [deadpan thumbs-up]

We always quote this when life is being challenging.
posted by ovvl at 10:47 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I hate Aliens THAT MUCH, with its strident, wooden performances, and everyone looking like they'd rather be making another movie

None of this is remotely correct. Strident, wooden performances don't result in the metric tonnage of memorable quotes that this movie produced. Okay, maybe Newt had a few clunky line readings, but she was a kid, and still gave us "They mewstly come at night, mewstly".

I'm pleased to see one of my favorite lines is on YouTube. That is not the yell of someone who'd rather not be in this particular movie.
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:56 AM on September 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


I think Aliens is probably the most quotable movie ever made.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:03 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Whatever they had wouldn't matter, because it hasn't been a proper prison for a long time.

Yes, I understand the movie such as it was. The setting was a bore.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:10 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


There really needs to be one for EVERY genre.
Art house edition!

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Alien
The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Alien
A Room with an Alien
The Remains of the Alien
I Am Curious Alien
posted by ikahime at 11:13 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


My Big Fat Greek Alien.
posted by Trochanter at 11:16 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I hate Aliens THAT MUCH, with its strident, wooden performances, and everyone looking like they'd rather be making another movie

Are... we watching the same movie? That film is chock full of good performances, and they all seem to be having a ball with it.

Also, I really don't understand the claim that Cameron has a single "cookie-cutter plot line he's churned out his entire career". Looking at his filmography, the only real through lines I see are (Titanic aside) science fiction and action.
posted by brundlefly at 11:17 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


And, I mean, there are even ways to make that particular setting interesting, but the script never found an angle. Alien had the claustrophobia and the workaday nature of a mining ship; Aliens had a destroyed colony under siege; but Alien^3 just had...a bunch of dudes...in a place...but, uh, you can't leave. It's as if the movie was too exhausted to come up with its own setting: as it stands, it felt just sort of like a big brown loading bay, if a well-shot one.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:20 AM on September 29, 2014


I think Aliens is probably the most quotable movie ever made.

You're overdue to watch Casablanca.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:25 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, I really don't understand the claim that Cameron has a single "cookie-cutter plot line he's churned out his entire career".

I also don't agree with the cookie-cutter statement.

However...

A small group of misfits, with at least one tough female, uses unorthodox methods and hard-won occupational or cultural expertise to fight against a corrupt authority figure.

I've just described Terminator, Aliens, Avatar, the Abyss and Titanic.

Plus a little dusting of Rambo II, for which he wrote early versions of the script.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:27 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not very well, mind.
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on September 29, 2014


Good point, Cool Papa Bell.
posted by brundlefly at 11:31 AM on September 29, 2014


Strange Days would also fit that mold.
posted by brundlefly at 11:32 AM on September 29, 2014


A small group of misfits, with at least one tough female, uses unorthodox methods and hard-won occupational or cultural expertise to fight against a corrupt authority figure.

Congratulations, you've just described nearly every movie ever made, from the Wizard of Oz to Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:35 AM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


A small group of misfits, with at least one tough female, uses unorthodox methods and hard-won occupational or cultural expertise to fight against a corrupt authority figure.

James Cameron directed Robocop? and Serenity? and The Fast and the Furious? and...

That's not a formula, it's a recipe for a pretty high percentage of all the action movies ever made. The only clause that's relatively rare is "with at least one tough female" and I'm not going to fault Cameron for making that a standard feature in most of his movies.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:36 AM on September 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


Off the top of my head, Star Wars, Sneakers, Hackers. Caddyshack nearly counts. If you need to set the parameters that broadly to pigeonhole Cameron, there might be a problem with the thesis.
posted by figurant at 11:36 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


And... good point, to you guys as well.
posted by brundlefly at 11:39 AM on September 29, 2014


Are... we watching the same movie?

You let your guard down and let one person criticize Aliens, the next thing a little armada of contrarians is telling you Pitch Black is a better movie.
posted by phaedon at 11:54 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


basically the same cookie-cutter plot line he's churned out his entire career.

Well... Cameron has directorial thumbprints, like anyone with any style at all. Off the top of my head, his four big ones are:

1. characters introduced by a closeup of their feet hitting the ground
2. important scenes taking place partially or entirely underwater
3. a child or adolescent playing a crucial plot role
4. a nuke

He does not go four-for-four everywhere: the Terminator movies have nothing in the water, I think, but The Abyss and Titanic... well, duh. The nuke in Titanic is an iceberg.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:58 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I do count his fondness for nuclear weapons as a plus point, it has to be said.
posted by Artw at 12:02 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


You let your guard down and let one person criticize Aliens, the next thing a little armada of contrarians is telling you Pitch Black is a better movie.

Special pleading FTW.

I was the only one in 190 comments to mention Pitch Black and then only to say that I found it a better evocation of the feel of the franchise than some canonical installments (Resurrection, let us say.) Finding A:R unsatisfying is hardly a contrarian position, nor yet am I an armada.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:03 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Rose totally blew Jack out of the airlock.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:04 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


FACT: Every single James Cameron movie features a character getting hit with an iceberg. Who could forget the iconic moment from Terminator 2, when the titular Terminator 2 gives a "thumbs-up" while descending into molten metal, only to then be crushed by a plummeting iceberg? Or the scene from Avatar, when Sully trips over an iceberg in the middle of the ground, only to exclaim, "well, if that doesn't avatar my unobtainium!" To say nothing of the final two hours of Titanic, in which the sinking Titanic is repeatedly smacked by icebergs, and then all the passengers each turn into icebergs and that starts sinking the boat faster, but then the boat can't sink anymore because the ocean is now an iceberg, but then again, the ship is an iceberg now as well, and also air is ice, too, so then everything everywhere is all just a bunch of ice.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:07 PM on September 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


"I think it is at least implied that the the Queen broke the deal by causing one of the facehugger eggs nearby to open. Or at least, Ripley believed the egg opened due to the Queen judging by the oh-no-you-didn't look she gives before she lets loose.
posted by AndrewStephens at 7:36 PM on September 28 [8 favorites] "

And one of my favorite things about this scene is that Ripley may be *wrong* in her belief that the Queen broke the deal. I mean, consider: Do we even know that the Queen has any physiological connection to her eggs, once laid? And even if there is a physiological connection, there's still the open question of whether that connection is under voluntary control - humans, for example, have all sorts of bits we have either no control over, or very limited control.

Viewed in this light, the whole scene becomes sort of a microcosm of anarchy in the realpolitik sense - neither Ripley nor the Alien Queen necessarily *intend* betrayal, but they can't be sure of the other's intentions, so they must be hyper-acute to the slightest hint things are going wrong. And once you've got the least bit of destablization - well, game over, man. Game over.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 12:13 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


nor yet am I an armada

more like a flotilla really
posted by poffin boffin at 12:19 PM on September 29, 2014


And one of my favorite things about this scene is that Ripley may be *wrong* in her belief that the Queen broke the deal.

Totally. That's the thing about the eggs: They open when there's a nearby face to hug. We know this, because we saw it happen in the original eggspedition. (I made a pun!) Ripley, IIRC, doesn't, because she didn't.

Personally, I read that scene as reflecting Ripley's tendency to anthropomorphize, whether it's risking her life --and all of humanity -- to save a cat she loves like it's her own child, or assuming that a monster plopping out a seemingly infinite stream of self-sufficient monsterlets cares about them like they're her precious little snowflakes in the same way a small-littered mammal might care about its wholly dependent offspring.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:28 PM on September 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


This is a total aside, but one thing that I've always hated about Aliens was the unimaginative use of kitbashed models for their military craft which appeared to be simple mashed-together combinations of current military weaponry with a slight tech updating. The same level of thinking that gives you futuristic suits = jacket collars up.
posted by Auden at 12:32 PM on September 29, 2014


A small group of misfits, with at least one tough female, uses unorthodox methods and hard-won occupational or cultural expertise to fight against a corrupt authority figure.

Man, I loved Stripes.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:37 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq makes a good point about the anthropomorphization. The staging creates the illusion that this battle is personal. This is further cemented by the "get away from her, YOU BITCH" line. Of course, from the Queen's perspective, there is no such thing as a "personal" battle. This is all simply pure instinct: she is neither good nor evil, but rather just an animal feeding and reproducing.

Other directors, even competent ones, might not have found that angle, or even if they had, they wouldn't have made it work as well as it does.

The final battle winds up being not just the climax of Aliens, but also of Alien itself. She is getting revenge for everything she has been through. She is showing why she had always been better than the sneering, arrogant marines, who would not listen to her. She is protecting Newt, who is not a cutesie kid, but rather, like Ripley, a weathered survivor. And she's also acting out her rage at not being able to grow with her daughter.

I dunno. I think some people take it for granted that Aliens is as good as it is, and that movies like Aliens can be as good as that. But, there's a big difference between "that was fine" and "HOLY SHIT THAT WAS AWESOME", and that difference is often the product of many small-to-moderate tweaks to a seemingly familiar formula.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:52 PM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Congratulations, you've just described nearly every movie ever made, from the Wizard of Oz to Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

It's one thing to sit around and bullshit about movies, quite another to be deliberately obtuse about the point.

And don't bring Ferris Bueller into this. Just don't.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:06 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it is very strongly implied that the Queen is connected to the eggs since only moments before we saw her commanding the alien guards to back the fuck off.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:48 PM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, she definitely came off as protective of the eggs to me.
posted by brundlefly at 1:58 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq makes a good point about the anthropomorphization. The staging creates the illusion that this battle is personal.

Thanks for agreeing, but I said that's how I read it, not that that's how it is. Unfortunately, every indication is that the scene is intended to be read at face value.

I think it is very strongly implied that the Queen is connected to the eggs since only moments before we saw her commanding the alien guards to back the fuck off.

It seems as if their whole reason for existing is to collect huggable faces. Usually that would involve cocooning, but, hey, when something with a face wanders into the egg room, you can stop chasing it. How did Ripley and Newt end up in the maternity ward in the first place? They were driven there by the swarm. So maybe the queen is saying, "Thank you, boys; that'll be all."

And then one of the things with faces starts shooting fire and she just freaks right out.

(That said, again, this is just how I read it.)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:07 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I read the egg scene as not necessarily one of broken promises, but fact. Like, sorry lady, but if any of those eggs are hatching, they've gotta all go.
posted by nev at 4:39 PM on September 29, 2014


Cameron has directorial thumbprints, like anyone with any style at all

5. Someone crawls along (or up) a metal grate or set of handholds.

Once you notice it you won't be able to unsee it.
posted by nev at 4:53 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The staging creates the illusion that this battle is personal. This is further cemented by the "get away from her, YOU BITCH" line. Of course, from the Queen's perspective, there is no such thing as a "personal" battle. This is all simply pure instinct: she is neither good nor evil, but rather just an animal feeding and reproducing.

The fight with on the ship with Ripley in the loader drives this home. It's presented as the queen jumping on the ship to get revenge on Ripley for killing her babies. I hadn't considered until just now that the queen just abandoned the nest since it all her eggs were destroyed and was looking to start over in the nearest place she could find with faces to hug. She was in such an instinctive panic to propagate her species that the first thing she did when she got on the ship was lay an egg with a face-hugger that would spawn another queen (which it did in Alien^3). The fight only happened because the queen was checking out the noise and looking for faces to get hugged.

Now I'm going to have to re-watch the whole series to see if that makes any sense.
posted by VTX at 5:03 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid
posted by phaedon at 5:28 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


A small group of misfits, with at least one tough female, uses unorthodox methods and hard-won occupational or cultural expertise to fight against a corrupt authority figure.

I've just described Terminator, Aliens, Avatar, the Abyss and Titanic.


Not Aliens. The "corrupt authority figure" there is the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, which is too big and diverse to attack; Ripley's dispute with Burke (its local representative) is hardly what drives the movie. Aliens isn't even about a group; it's about Ripley. The expedition goes to LV-426 because they didn't listen to Ripley. They land because they didn't listen to Ripley. They get slaughtered because they didn't listen to Ripley. The only survivors are the people who listen to Ripley. And Ripley herself, of course, because Ripley is awesome.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:30 PM on September 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


> in the first movie, her job was to preserve quarantine

That moment (as I lay there in bed under the covers) was when Alien turned from a movie I liked into a movie I loved.

Alien is not a movie full of characters that acted stupidly ("running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door"). Better yet, it's not a movie where the hero is the only smart person. Everybody acted in intelligent or (at worst) in believably scared ways, and Alien didn't have to go meta or parody to do so.

Alien respects its audience.
posted by Monochrome at 7:57 PM on September 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


For anyone still reading who's in the UK, Abandon Normal Devices has a screening of Alien as part of their "Watch the Skies!" festival at Jodrell Bank this Saturday: Link.
posted by pharm at 4:12 AM on September 30, 2014




insectoid but fails to conform to the very specific caste system and lifecycle you saw everywhere after Aliens.
I'm not sure whether you're talking about Ender's Game or Starship Troopers from the context, but both novels made the aliens' caste systems major plot points.

Spoiler alerts to anyone who hasn't read the novels; IIRC the movies didn't make these points so clear:

In Ender's Game the warrior "drones" were basically subsentient, and the sentient alien "hive queens" controlling them assumed that our warriors were the same way; the fury with which the aliens attack and then the horrified realization with which they retreat are a mirror for Ender's own genocide under ignorance.

In Starship Troopers the "warrior" and "worker" castes are easy enough to capture, but they are "basically animate machinery" (so the humans are still ignorant of those aliens' motivations) which the aliens abandon when no longer useful (so the humans haven't been able to perform any prisoner exchanges). There's also a "brain caste" and "queens" which the humans hope might be more useful to study and to exchange for human prisoners, and one of the main conflicts in the book was the danger of going under ground to capture them.

Of course, first they cleared the landing zone when the orbital Navy "plastered the islands and that unoccupied part of the continent until they were radioactive glaze".

It's the only way to be sure.
posted by roystgnr at 8:11 AM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's not Aliens but there's a Matrix thread starting on FanFare right now...

1999 Movie ONLY.
posted by Artw at 9:41 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


[obligatory comment about how there is only one Matrix film and it was released in 1999 so why would be discussing any other one]
posted by entropicamericana at 9:54 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Link to Matrix Dupiscussion
posted by The Whelk at 10:07 AM on September 30, 2014


You know what?

Aliens is a really fun movie. It expertly plays with the tensions between horror and action and leaves you with a completely cathartic ending. I mean it's fun to see a character, that isn't a cypher, come out on top over abject terror realized. All I'm saying is I'm cool if you want to pull out the plasma rifles for the eyeless creatures mostly made of teeth, plus more teeth, that hunts people down to violate them to death. You want to drop a nuke on the parasitic aliens with acid blood? Let me get my sunglasses.

I just don't have a problem with the movie and it's relatively few flaws. Even the made up ones.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:05 PM on October 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I know I'm like a week late to this thread, but I'm delighted to see so many people here also think Aliens is bad! I think it's just plain awful, hilariously crappy.

Alien is maybe one of the greatest movies ever, of all time, creepy and still and tense and frightening and horrifying, centered entirely on this dreadful phenomenon that has no place in the human experience. And then Aliens makes that horrifying Encounter With A Total Other into a dumb pat human war movie where the message is no longer a radical shift from anthropocentrism and the gasping-for-air feeling that such a narrative move induces, but the simplest possible version of "problems are coolly solved by shooting them while spouting taglines on the level of Ice To See You". Its goofiness would be kind of charming as a stand-alone film, but as a sequel to (as Fincher says in the OP article) one of the ten perfect movies ever made, it's seriously drecky.

It reads like a satire of Hollywood, like if you followed Casablanca with a movie that starts with Renault saying to Rick, "Buddy, you know what you need? You need to GET LAID!" and then it cuts to Spring Break in Miami, where Rick has a series of bumbling sexual misadventures full of tit-shots and stuffy old men falling into pools.

I mean I'm not gonna lie, I would watch that, probably, if it was on Netflix, and I was extremely high.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:04 PM on October 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


in this scenario is renault played by rodney dangerfield y/n
posted by poffin boffin at 9:12 PM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Curtis Armstrong circa Better Off Dead
posted by Greg Nog at 9:23 PM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Alien is maybe one of the greatest movies ever, of all time, creepy and still and tense and frightening and horrifying, centered entirely on this dreadful phenomenon that has no place in the human experience.

Huh? Lots of humans have been killed and eaten by animals, which is the basic situation after Brett is killed.

"problems are coolly solved by shooting them while spouting taglines on the level of Ice To See You".

I find it baffling that anyone could watch Aliens and take that away from it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:06 PM on October 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think some people hear all that tough guy dialogue at the beginning of Aliens and are never able to get past it.
posted by brundlefly at 10:49 PM on October 5, 2014


Get Away From Her You Bitch
posted by Greg Nog at 6:22 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Greg, did you start off this morning with a big plate of Wrongberry Pancakes with Lie Juice and False Coffee?
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:45 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Alien - Isolation review
posted by Artw at 6:51 AM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Did the part in the movie where Cameron completely subverted the tough guy "oorah" marines trope, by dropping them into the middle of an unwinnable nightmare, get cut out of the movie for some people? Did the point about our thirst for war is really driven by capitalistic ideas get missed or did Cameron have to make that dumbed down colonialist POS Avatar to make the point? If I slap someone in the face with a fish, should they be complaining about the fish, the slap, or both?
posted by P.o.B. at 8:08 AM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Huh? Lots of humans have been killed and eaten by animals, which is the basic situation after Brett is killed.

No humans have been impregnated by animals and then killed and eaten by them.

wait except for that squid lady oh god
posted by poffin boffin at 8:50 AM on October 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


No humans have been impregnated by animals and then killed and eaten by them.

Nobody in Alien was impregnated and then killed and eaten, either. Kane had a parasite that killed him, which has happened to millions to billions of humans, if not in such dramatic fashion. Or, if you want to think of it that way, millions to billions of humans have been impregnated, had their bodies thoroughly infiltrated, and utlimately been killed by plasmodium.

After Kane, all you have is an animal that kills humans and eats them (except in the DC). The crew of the Nostromo doesn't know this until it kills Brett, as before that they think they're looking for a bitey rat-sized animal that's as dangerous as other bitey rat-sized animals. Like rats. After Brett, they know they're hunting and being hunted by a large man-eating predator. Which is not something terribly unusual in the 100,000+ year sweep of humanity.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:54 AM on October 6, 2014


It's sort of unclear if the Alien actually eats.
posted by Artw at 9:58 AM on October 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


Did the point about our thirst for war is really driven by capitalistic ideas get missed or did Cameron have to make that dumbed down colonialist POS Avatar to make the point?

Aliens aside, Cameron is one of the most consistently anti-war mainstream filmmakers I can think of.
posted by brundlefly at 10:01 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's sort of unclear if the Alien actually eats.

I assume that the xenomorph life cycle is sort of like that of a parasitic wasp: it needs bodies for its facehugger through chestburster phases, but the adult forms may eat something else. I can't recall if we ever see the adults feeding in the films though, or even remnants of aliens eating people.

They have to eat something. A chestburster just doesn't have the mass (or energy) available to get to full adult size, let alone become a possible queen. Perhaps they subsist on undifferentiated hydrocarbons, like hydraulic fluid or diesel fuel.
posted by bonehead at 10:23 AM on October 6, 2014


Yeah, it's not about killing people and eating them, it's about wrapping up their huggable faces and saving them for later.

Maybe the grownups eat spaceship and poop resin?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:24 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I prefer to imagine that the xenomorphs are the three-dimensional spawn of a vast, four-dimensional creature. Facehuggers create a conduit in their victims, into which a portal to the fourth dimension is created. Mass and energy flow through this conduit. Inside of each xenomorph, this conduit remains, and that is how they grow. They do not need to eat in this realm: they only exist to propagate.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:28 AM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Aliens aside, Cameron is one of the most consistently anti-war mainstream filmmakers I can think of.

Right, but Aliens is not an aside to that point. The military is rendered completely useless not only by the opposition, but also by its behind the scenes benefactors. I'm not quite sure how people are assuming we're supposed to be cheering on the military when they are almost completely wiped from the screen save for one half dead dude.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:32 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


P.o.B, I'm not disagreeing with you in the least. Aside may have been the wrong word to use there. I was trying to say that even beyond Aliens his work is anti-war.
posted by brundlefly at 10:40 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe the grownups eat spaceship

Given what their saliva/blood is like, being metallovores makes decent sense. It would help explain their durability too.
posted by bonehead at 10:40 AM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I seem to recall the xenomorph in Alien3 eating some of the the prisoners. If not eating then at least gratuitously tearing apart the corpses of its victims.
posted by brundlefly at 10:51 AM on October 6, 2014


If we consider the Alien Vs. Predator II video game as canon, and we should because it was awesome (well except for playing as the Predator which was boring like it always is), then xenomorphs definitely eat people to regenerate health, but can't eat synths which makes them extra annoying as end-game mobs.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:56 AM on October 6, 2014


It's sort of unclear if the Alien actually eats.

Conservation of mass offers some firm opinions about that question.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:46 AM on October 6, 2014


That's the assumption, but I like the idea that it is better left unsaid. It must be unimpregnated fresh meat then because in Aliens they found plenty of uneaten chest bursted bodies. Did they feed the captured xenomorphs in 4?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:52 AM on October 6, 2014


It's sort of unclear if the Alien actually eats.

Conservation of mass offers some firm opinions about that question.


It's sort of unclear whether aliens conform to conservation of mass.
posted by Artw at 12:06 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Since 3 introduces the idea that they take the form of the host, it makes me wonder if I were in the business of breeding them and only had one choice then what would be a great host? I think I would go for a cheetah, or kangaroo. Maybe an elephant, or even a vulture.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:10 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


That was answered at the end of AvP; the best host is a yautja.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:31 PM on October 6, 2014


if I were in the business of breeding them and only had one choice then what would be a great host?

Parasaurolophus walkeri
posted by Sys Rq at 12:46 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


The best hosts would be all of the Wacky Racers, all at once.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:47 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Incorrect, the best host would be a shark riding on an elephant's back, just trampling and eating everything it sees.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:54 PM on October 6, 2014


Facehugging an Engineer produces an Ultramorph - I'm not even sure the Greek of that makes sense.
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on October 6, 2014


Since 3 introduces the idea that they take the form of the host, it makes me wonder if I were in the business of breeding them and only had one choice then what would be a great host? I think I would go for a cheetah, or kangaroo. Maybe an elephant, or even a vulture.

This is essentially the premise of the totally bonkers 90s toys.
posted by brundlefly at 1:40 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, those are from the Saturday morning cartoon.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on October 6, 2014


Seriously.
posted by Artw at 1:51 PM on October 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


Alien 3, Operation: Aliens and the Dark Horse comic with a Predalien were all from 1992-1993, so now I'm wondering if they influenced each other or all hit on the same dumb idea at the same time .
posted by Artw at 2:21 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I like that people used to make Saturday morning cartoons out of hard R-rated movies. See also: RoboCop and Rambo.
posted by brundlefly at 2:41 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]




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