Space Oddities 3 : Loving the Alien 4

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Trent Trent: All you mathletes out there see the title “Alien to the Third Power” and think “ALIEN CUBED!” But no, Sigourney Weaver doesn’t throw the xenomorph into one of those junkyard compactors to turn it into a cute little biomechanical cube. Instead, Ellen Ripley escapes from the Sulaco to crash-land into a planet that hosts a space prison for those cursed with “XYY Chromosome Syndrome,” which I guess it’s something that makes some men, like, extra tall, extra manly, and extra murderous.

Beatricia Beatricia: Now, now, that last part has not been scientifically confirmed, darling. Most men with XYY syndrome grow to be perfectly normal and only as annoying as the average male. Similarly, “Alien 3” is only as annoying as the average movie, and owes its bad reputation to the facts that it’s behind-the-scenes troubles were well-publicized, and that it is slightly less crowd-pleasing than expected. But what is there so wrong about Ripley FINALLY getting to  have some sex after decades of space celibacy? She does it with Tywin Lannister!

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Not that it goes well, mind you.

Long before “Zodiac” or “Gone Girl,” David Fincher was doing a fine job in a debut that lets him color everything with a palette that I will define as “orange space dust.”

Father Hank Hank: I don’t know, babe, I think “Alien 3” also owes its bad reputation to the fact that it’s an aggressively unpleasant slog. It overestimates our affection for Ripley by shaving her head, making blood vessels pop in her eye, and turning her a visual parallel to the very slick-skulled monster she’s confronting.

Tracey Tracey: Dad’s right. I want to like this because in theory it is a radical feminist manifesto about the galaxy’s toughest woman getting by in a dirty planet in which every single male is a scumbag, a killer, a  rapist, or a robot. WHAT ELSE IS NEW, am I rite, ladies? But in practice, it feels MISOGYNIST, with Ripley being put through hell unnecessarily. It’s a tactical mistake to unleash the alien among these unsavory, yet undistinguished characters. We don’t care if these bad guys die, we don’t care if the alien lives, so we are left wondering: what should we care about? The answer is: “very little.” As for (SPOILER) the audience-slapping moves: we watched through three movies just so the studio could kill Hicks, Newt, Bishop and Ripley for no good reason? Not nice! I cried way more at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s similarly staged sacrifice at the end of “Terminator 2.”

Grandpa Felicius Grandpa Felicius: About as enjoyable as spending an afternoon inhaling fumes at a foundry- and having to PAY for the pleasure.

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Cousin Franz Cousin Franz: William “Neuromancer” Gibson. Eric “Near Dark” Red. David “Pitch Black” Twohy. Three of the ten or so cooks that threw their condiments into the script for “Alien 3.” The result is a messy soup about… Feminism? The prison system? Religion? Corporate single-mindedness? None of the above? It’s easy to see how 1992’s cinema-plex audiences scratched their heads as they bee-hived for the exits. 1978’s “Alien” was beautiful and suspenseful. 1986’s “Aliens” was thrilling and fast-paced. 1992’s misstep is slow, over-long, repetitious, and, as Beatricia puts it, has a little too much “orange space dust.” On the plus side, Fincher’s talent is already unmistakable; Weaver does what she can after the deliberate de-glamorization of her character; Charles S. Dutton and Charles Dance bring gravitas to their parts; and the doggomorph (or is it oxomorph as per the “Assembly Cut”?) is a hoot. Reluctant Cherry.

Blurbarella Blurbarella: “Alien 3”– Scientifically– Average. Bad reputation–in theory.–As enjoyable as– Messy soup.”

3 out of 6 Cherries

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