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She'll breed. You'll die. Everyone in the company will die.


Alien Resurrection 
(1997) 

(The not-the-director's-cut-but-I-prefer-it-to-the-theatrical-version) Both this and its predecessor are massively flawed, but whilst part four has worse excesses and indulgences, I also find it more engaging as a whole. Until it goes completely off the rails in the last 20 minutes (both aesthetically and plot-wise).

Even then, barking-mad Brad Dourif is there to take your mind off the hideousness of what Jeunet is doing. Visually, this is mostly sumptuous looking thanks to Darius Khondji's photography (up there with the original from that perspective). Jeunet's direction varies from a masterful grasp on the material to cartoonishly excessive (overall it's an improvement on Fincher's well-intentioned but only intermittently effective approach to shooting the predecessor from low-angles).

The Blu ray transfer is by far the least of the quartet (the scrub-ups on the previous two sequels are the most obviously improved), which is a shame as it could have looked fantastic. The Aliens themselves, even when just CGI creations, are superior to the creatures displayed in the Aliens and Alien 3. Until we encounter the disastrous Newborn, that is, at which point any goodwill evacuates its bowels.

Cast-wise, much as I love Noonie, Winona Ryder just doesn't work here (and you can see Whedon's girl power obsession all-too obviously in the characterisations of Cal and Ripley). Dan Hedaya goes for the full ham, while Leland Orser ratchets up the sweaty fear as the infected (he also gets the most shamelessly OTT gory death scene). Weaver manages to make the material almost cohesive, always giving the impression that she knows what she's playing for character-wise. Kim Flowers has a great arse (whatever happened to her?)

The gore and humour put this tonally all over the map. For all the bravado of the Alien attacks Alien scene, the underwater sequence or the Ripley discovering earlier clones of herself, too much here revisits the well of failed attempts at funnies that Alien 3 suffered from (there it was the banal back-and-forth of the British prisoners with their "wankers" and distracting but more verisimilitudinous repartee). Here we have Jeunet presenting his off-kilter Gallic sensibility, from a rubbish CGI bug at the beginning, continuing with the colourful vernacular of the Betty crew and then the treatment of deaths as punchlines. I prefer having the last moments on Earth in this version (particularly as it seems this is the end of Weaver playing Ripley), even if it evokes Ash's fate in one of the Army of Darkness endings.

***

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