Scifi Horror
Dir: David Fincher
Star: Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dance, Charles Dutton, Brian Glover
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 1992
Format: DVD R2

Onboard the Sulacco there lurks is a surprise. Before the Alien queen was defeated at the end of Aliens she left behind a couple of eggs (where she got them from I have no idea!). These hatch and the creatures cause a fire leading to the hyper sleep chambers to be evacuated in an EEV escape vehicle. This crash lands on the Weyland Yutani prison planet Fiorina "Fury" 161, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the only survivor. She is met by the remaining inmates all twenty five of them. They have found god and refused to leave when the company shut the facility down. Before long it becomes apparent then she isn't the only survivor of the crash as the inmates start to die. There is a Alien on the prowl so here we go again.

The previous film had the tag line 'this time its war' this one should have had the tag line 'this time its pants' or maybe 'in the cinema no one can hear you scream... to get out'. This is the runt of the alien litter, am I being unfair, well let's see. After the masterpiece in tension and horror that was Alien, and the exquisite action that was Aliens, Alien³ was going to have to be pretty special to compete. It isn't, for a number of reasons.

The first is the script. It is a mess, going through about five writers and a large number of drafts before filming began. In fact it is rumoured that when filming did begin only the first part was completed. Various ideas were considered for the film including setting it on a prison planet, or an intergalactic monastery (with a wooden spaceship would you believe!). In the end we have been given an unhappy mix of both. Another mistake was the attempt to bring the movie home to its roots in other words make it more like Alien. Interesting but ultimately pointless, this idea may have been an attempt to reign in the budget, or more likely an attempt to recapture the magic of Ridley Scott, it doesn't work. Add to this many over talky scenes, gratuitous swearing, and massive plot holes and you are left with something which should never have been made.

It's a matter of scale. The first film pitted one alien verses a flame thrower armed crew of a spaceship. The second pitted heavily armed marines against loads of Aliens. This film pits unarmed prisoners against one 'dog' alien, I mean really, what chance to they stand. A sequel has to be bigger, better (or at least as good), or different than the previous film. Alien³ is smaller, worse, and the similar to the first film , and as such is a waste of time. Hell if a whole section of marines couldn't defeat these things what can a bunch of prisoners without so much as a battery do.

Things could have been redeemed by some brilliant effects and direction, but not in this case. David Fincher fresh from pop videos is obviously still learning his trade and he makes some fatal mistakes. For a start many scenes drag and thus fail to build any tension. Also he shows far too much of the Alien creature, and this leads to massive effects problems. Initially the creature was a animated puppet, but the studio felt this was so unconvincing a decision was made to replace it with CGI. This was a brave decision at the time (as no one had attempted a totally CG creature) but unfortunately the technology was not up to the job. In short the CG creature does integrate properly with the background and looks abysmal.

Are there any good points? Well yes. The cast are good especially Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dance, Brian Glover and Charles Dutton. But apart from Ripley they are saddled with characters that are hard to like, or even care about. Lance Henriksen also returns from Aliens playing two roles, and while the second is inexplicably pointless, its good to see Bishop again. Apart from this the rest of the cast are anonymous, maybe this is because its so hard to tell them apart.

Lets face it there are Alien rip off movies that are better than this. As part of the Alien saga it is pointless and can be safely skipped (in fact I recommend it). Lacking excitement, horror, and anything resembling cool technology (it could have been set in ancient Rome) it just doesn't fit in with the rest of the films in the series. Add to this the less than competent direction (Fincher did redeem himself latter with Se7en), the ropey effects, and the fact that everything is coloured toilet brown and you have a real turkey. At best this is a disappointment, at worst it is pants.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic A little grainy but shows those browns really well
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Good Soundtrack with nice spatial effects
Features Making of Featurette (20 mins) which concentrates on the other movies in the series as much as this one
Verdict The movie is well presented but there are few extras. The question is do you care?

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Link Back Top Home