1992 · Twentieth Century Fox
Alien³ — Movie Review by Karthik
9 out of 10
Directing Credits
David Fincher
Writing Credits
Story by Vincent Ward; Screenplay by David Giler & Walter Hill and Larry Ferguson; Based on characters created by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett
Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dance, Charles S. Dutton, Danny Webb, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown, Lance Henriksen

The Review

This is the third in the Alien quadrilogy of movies.  Let's have a quick run-down of what went on previously, before talking about this film, shall we?

In Alien, the crew of the space ship Nostromo answered what was apparently a distress call from a remote planet.  There they encountered an extremely hostile alien creature that eventually killed off the entire crew save Lt. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), who killed the creature and went into hypersleep.  In Aliens, Ripley woke up after 57 years in hypersleep only to find out that the planet LV-426 had been colonised.  But of course contact was lost with the colonists, and a crew of marines went to the planet along with Ripley, to exterminate the aliens.  At the end of that movie, Ripley and the other survivors went into hypersleep again on board the shuttle Sulaco.

This movie begins with brief glimpses of an accident on board the Sulaco, which leads to the craft crashlanding on Fiorina Fury 161, a desolate maximum-security prison planet.  Ripley is badly injured, and the rest of the people on board the Sulaco have died.  To add to this bleak setting, Fury 161 has a population of just around 30, most of them being murderers and rapists.  The prisoners, though, have found religion on this planet, and their order is disturbed by the arrival of a woman — Ripley.

Soon, the prisoners start dying, and it becomes apparent that there is an alien loose on Fury 161.  Ripley and the prisoners must somehow find and kill the creature before it kills all of them off.  The twist in the tale is that Ripley also has an alien embryo inside of her.

I am a huge fan of the Alien quadrilogy of movies.  One reason for that is because each movie is different in it's own way.  Ridley Scott's Alien was a superb science-fiction/horror film with fantastic set design.  James Cameron's Aliens was an all out action/horror/science fiction film, and this one, the first feature from David Fincher (who had primarily directed commercials and music videos earlier, and would later go on to make fantastic films like Seven and Fight Club) is a very moody and art-like film.  The next entry in the series, Alien: Resurrection, was from French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and that one is a more action-oriented, claustrophobic-horror type movie with a lot of gore.

I find Alien³ to be very underrated — many people consider this to be one of the weaker movies in the whole series (along with Resurrection, which is generally considered the weakest).  Apparently, the whole production was plagued with problems right from the beginning, the script was constantly being rewritten, and the director literally went through hell making this movie, and eventually disowned it.

Of course, when I watched the movie — sometime in 1995 I think — I did not have this background, and this was the first Fincher film I had watched.  I fell in love with his style immediately, and I thought it was a superb film.  I still think so.

It has an atmosphere unlike any other movie I've seen, it moves along at a measured pace, it develops characters well, and I think in general, it is a very beautiful film.  Of course, it does have it's share of scares and there is a thrilling sequence where the prisoners are hunting down the alien.

The movie has a fantastic music score by Elliot Goldenthal, which I simply love, I think it is one of the best music scores I have ever heard.  It excellently complements the striking visuals in the movie, most notably being the final scene in the furnace.  This sequence, and the cremation sequence (which is intercut with the birth of an alien) are two superb sequences that I simply admire.  I think they are some of the best scenes I have ever watched!  All this makes Alien³ a strong entry in the quadrilogy in my opinion, and I think it is definitely a movie any science-fiction fan must watch, and of course, mandatory viewing for any Alien fan.

The movie is available on Video CD and DVD in India from Excel Home Videos.  I bought the Alien Trilogy VCD Box Set, which contains this movie along with the previous two movies in the series (why they didn't include the entire quadrilogy in the set is beyond me, especially considering that the cover artwork features images from the Alien: Resurrection poster!).  At Rs. 500, I think it is worth a buy.  Of course, the VCD versions feature the theatrical edition only, while the DVD version has the 2003 Assembly Cut also (see notes below).

Other Notes

In 2003, along with Twentieth Century Fox's DVD release of the "Alien Quadrilogy", a special edition of this film (called the Assembly Cut) running 145 min. was released.  I have not seen this edition but apparently it restores footage that was excised as the movie was thought to be too long by the studio.  This version is available only on DVD in India (see this link), and I will try to track it down and watch it sometime.

More Details

Running Time: 114 minutes | Country: US | Genre: Science-Fiction/Horror

Ratings Info

I rate all movies or game add-ons on a scale of 1 to 10 points.  1 is the lowest score, 6 is barely above average, 8 is good, and 10 is excellent (this score doesn't indicate something that is perfect in every way — it just means that I enjoyed it a lot).  You'll find that I tend to give ratings of 8 and above often (that's only because I enjoy whatever I'm reviewing!).  Reviews are updated as felt necessary.  Of course, everything said in these reviews is my humble opinion only.
Review Date 9 Jan 05
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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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