Perhaps the most misunderstood of the iconic sci-fi/horror franchise, Alien3 became a favorite of mine for several reasons after first viewing the original theatrical cut on DVD release as a young teenager. My personal love however for the black sheep of the saga only emerged when the 2003 special edition, at times falsely labelled as the ‘director’s cut’, of the film was finally released to high-praise and regretful nostalgia.
Alien3 was the most spiritual of the trilogy (yes trilogy, Resurrection does not, and never will count in my mind, sorry Joss Whedon but my god was your script was butchered!) disregarding the haunted house horror aspects of Ridley Scott’s genre-breaking sci-fi yarn and the OTT action-drama of James Cameron’s much larger sequel. We were instead treated to a more emotional experience from Sigourney Weaver and the alien creature for the third installment. The character of Ripley finally becomes the quasi-religious Virgin Mary of space that she started to amalgamate into during certain scenes of Aliens, but this metaphorical transformation is never forced down our throats fortunately. Instead the motif is lightly tread upon until the final selfless act that Ripley commits at the end of the film; sacrificing her life (again another reason why the forth entry of the saga does not exist in my mind) to prevent the Weyland-Yutani corporation from claiming the deadly Xenomorph.
The world of Fury 161 is a planet that appeals to me very much, not exactly for a holiday but due to the wonderfully bleak and horrifying design of the world stuck at “the ass end of space” to use Ripley’s own words. The awful gale force winds, the swarms of locusts trapped in the atmosphere, the disused gigantic factory equipment are all exceptionally potent visuals. However the most important factor, for me personally, is the sheer isolation of the planet. The very idea of a small group of just twenty-five people living on a gigantic and totally barren world with only a basic shipment of food delivered once every six months, is a theme I adore to watch in films which I don’t believe I’ve seen topped in science fiction since.
There are almost too many factors for me to mention when it comes to my love of this film, the incredibly well thought out and likeable cast of British actors, most notably the wonderful performances of Charles Dance, Brian Glover and Danny Webb, not forgetting the power house character played by American Charles S. Dutton. The fact that it was one of the last films of its genre to be made photo-chemically, the raw and vibrant score by Elliot Goldenthal, the Weyland-Yutani inmates costume designs (most notably Lance Henriksen’s amazing Bishop getup which I secretly desire desperately for next Halloween!) and perhaps most importantly, the fact that no one else likes the film, in a way makes my appreciation for the missed opportunity that is Alien3 even more enjoyable. Although I think making a fan club might make my life a bit more sadder than writing blogs about films I’ve had nothing to do with creatively or professionally…..oh wait…