Alien³ is a 1992 science fiction/horror film, in which Ripley continues to be stalked by a savage alien, after her escape pod crashes on a prison planet. As the third installment in the Alien media franchise, it is preceded by Ridley Scott's Alien and James Cameron's Aliens and is followed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Alien Resurrection.
Ellen Ripley edit
- I will be damned if I'm going to let those idiots from Weyland-Yutani take it back to Earth. They just might succeed, and that would be it for the rest of mankind. Maybe for all life on the planet. I don't see why these things wouldn't be able to reproduce in any animal of a size larger than, say, a cat.
- We give you thanks, O' Lord. Your wrath has come and the time is near for us to be judged. The apocalypse is upon us! Let us be ready! Let your mercy be just! Amen!
Dr. Jonathan Clemens edit
- [explaining his prison barcode tattoo, to Ripley] After my student years, despite the fact that I had become secretly addicted to morphine, I was considered to be most promising. A man with a future. Then during my first residency, I did a thirty-six hour stretch on an ER. So I went out and I got more than a little drunk. Then I got called back. Boiler had blown on a fuel plant, and there were thirty casualties... and eleven of them died. Not as a result of the accident, but because I prescribed the wrong dosage of painkiller. And I got seven years in prison and my licence reduced to a 3C. [pause] At least I got off the morphine.
[Note: Bolded lines are from the Assembly Cut only.]
- Andrews: We commit this child and this man to your keeping, O' Lord. Their bodies have been taken from the shadow of our nights. They have been released from all darkness and pain. The child and the man have gone beyond our world. They are forever eternal, and everlasting. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
- Dillon: Why? Why are the innocent punished? Why the sacrifice? Why the pain? There aren't any promises. Nothing's certain. Only that some get called, some get saved. She won't ever know the hardship and grief for those of us left behind. We commit these bodies to the void... with a glad heart. For within each seed, there is the promise of a flower. And within each death, no matter how big or small, there's always a new life. A new beginning. Amen.
- Dillon: Give us strength, O' Lord, to endure. We recognize that we are poor sinners in the hands of an angry God. Let the circle be unbroken until the day. Amen. What the fuck is happening here? What the fuck is this bullshit that's coming down? We got a murder. We got a rape. We got brothers in trouble. I DON'T WANT NO MORE BULLSHIT AROUND HERE!! NOW WE'VE GOT PROBLEMS!! WE STAND TOGETHER!!
- Andrews: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Dillon. All right. Once again, this is rumor control. Here are the facts. At 0800 hours, prisoner Murphy, through carelessness on his part, was found dead in vent shaft 17. He seems to have been sucked into a ventilator fan. At about 2100 hours, prisoner Golic reappeared in a deranged state. Prisoners Boggs and Rains are missing. There seems to be a good chance that they have met with foul play at the hands of prisoner Golic. We need to organize and send out a search party; volunteers will be appreciated. I think it's fair to say that our smoothly running facility has suddenly developed a few problems. I can only hope we are all able to pull together over the next few days until the rescue team arrives for Lieutenant Ripley.
- Ripley: [runs into the room, breathless and panicking] It's here! It got Clemens!
- Andrews: [loses his temper] Stop this raving at once! Stop it!
- Ripley: I'm telling you! It's here!
- Andrews: Aaron, get that foolish woman back to the infirmary!
- [the alien lunges down from an overhead airduct and lifts Andrews off his feet, and into the airshaft]
- Morse: [holding a chair, after the panic subsides in shocked silence] ...FUCK!
- Ripley: It's like a lion. Sticks close to the zebras.
- Aaron: Zebras? Oh, right. But look, running around down here in the dark - are you kidding? Once you get out of this main shaft, there's no overheads.
- Ripley: Don't we have flashlights?
- Aaron: We've got thousands of them, but no batteries. I told you, nothing works.
- Ripley: Torches? Do we have the capacity to make fire? Most humans have enjoyed that privilege since the Stone Age.
- Aaron: No need to be sarcastic.
- Aaron: [showing Ripley a nuclear waste storage room] Never been used. They were gonna dump a lot of nuclear crap in there. Never got around to it. Clean as a whistle inside.
- Ripley: This is the only way in or out?
- Aaron: That's right. Walls are six feet thick, solid steel. They really knew how to build these babies.
- Ripley: You're saying we get something inside... there's no way it can get out?
- Aaron: That's right. No fucking way.
- Aaron: This is where we keep it. Forget what the stuff's called...
- David: Quinitricetyline.
- Aaron: I knew that. Right, I've got to get these section arrangements organized with Dillon for the paintbrush, so...
- David: David.
- Aaron: Yeah, you can get these drums organized.
- David: Right, 85.
- Aaron: [starts walking away] And, uh... don't call me that. [leaves]
- Ripley: What's this 85 thing?
- David: Couple of us sneaked a look at his personnel file the day he arrived. It's his IQ. [about the chemicals] I saw a drum of this stuff fall into a beachhead bunker once. The blast put a tug in dry dock for 17 weeks. Great stuff.
- Dillon: Why should I put my ass on the line for you?
- Ripley: Your ass is already on the line. The only question is... what are you gonna do about it?
- Dillon: This is the choice. You die sitting here on your ass or to die out there. At least we take a shot, we owe it one! It's fucked us up. Maybe we can get even for the others. So how do you want it?
- Morse: What the fuck are you talking about?
- Dillon: I'm talkin' about killing that big motherfucker.
- Aaron: Hold it, hold it. The rescue team is on its way. We could just sit this out.
- Ripley: Rescue team for who?
- Aaron: For us.
- Ripley: They just want the beast. You know that.
- Aaron: I don't give a damn what they want. They're not gonna pick us off one by one, are they?
- Ripley: I wouldn't be so sure.
- Aaron: Come on, they're gonna take us home.
- Dillon: They're not gonna take us home.
- Morse: Still doesn't mean we should go out and fight it. Jesus Christ, give us a break!
- Aaron: You've gotta be fucking nuts! Look, I've got a wife and a kid--
- Dillon: Nobody give a shit about you, 85. You're not one of us, you're not a believer. You're a fucking company man!
- Aaron: Yeah, okay. So I'm a company man, I'm not a fucking criminal. You keep telling me how dumb I am. Well I'm smart enough not to have a life sentence on this rock! [the prisoners yell insults and profanities at him] Yeah, and I'm smart enough to wait for some firepower to show up before we fight this thing! Right?
- Dillon: Okay, fine. Just sit here on your asses.
- Morse: [sarcastically] How about if I sit here on my ass?
- Dillon:: No problem. Oh, I forgot. You're the guy that's made a deal with God to live forever, huh? And all the rest of you pussies can sit it out too. Me and her will do all the fighting.
- Morse: Okay, look. I want the same thing as you. I want to see it dead, I hate the fucker! It killed my mates too! Why can't we just wait for the company and have some guns on our side? Why do we have to go on some fucking suicide run?!
- Aaron: Right!
- Ripley: Because they won't kill it. They might kill you just for having seen it, but they're not gonna kill it.
- Aaron: That is crazy! That is horseshit! They will not kill us!
- Ripley: When they first heard about this thing, it was crew expendable. The next time they sent in marines; they were expendable too. What makes you think they're gonna care about a bunch of lifers who found God at the ass-end of space? You really think they're going to let you interfere with their plans for this thing? They think we're crud, and they don't give a fuck about one friend of yours that's died. Not one.
- David: Have you got some sort of plan?
- Dillon: This is a leadworks, isn't it? All we got to do is lure the fucking beast into the mold. Drown it in hot lead.
- Morse: Oh right... and how do we do that?
- Gregor: Yeah. What are we gonna use for bait?
- Kevin: [realizes] Aw, fuck!
- Dillon: We're all gonna die. The only question is when. This is as good a place as any to take your first steps to heaven. The only question is how you check out. Do you want it on your feet, or on your fucking knees... begging?! I ain't much for begging! Nobody ever gave me nothing! So I say fuck that thing! Let's fight it!
- Morse: Fuck it! Let's go for it!
- [Ripley and Dillon have trapped the alien in the lead mold while Morse starts the machine]
- Ripley: Now!
- Dillon: What about you?
- Ripley: I'm staying.
- Dillon: Bullshit! There's gonna be ten tons of hot lead in here!
- Ripley: I'm telling you, I wanna die!
- Dillon: We got a deal, remember?! It dies first, then you! I'm not gonna move without you! Now get going!
- [Dillon and Ripley begin climbing up the wall. The alien sees this and begins to follow. Dillon climbs back down]
- Ripley: Dillon!
- Dillon: I've gotta hold it here.
- Ripley: What about me?
- Dillon: God will take care of you now, sister!
- Ripley: No!
- Dillon: Pour the lead! [he takes off his glasses and turns to the alien] Just fuck you. [the alien attacks him] Pour it, Ripley! Go on! God damn it! Pour the lead, Ripley! Pour it now! [to the alien] Come on! Come on! That's all you got? Is that as hard as you fight, motherfucker?!
- Ripley: [waves to Morse] Morse! Over here!
- Morse: Ripley!
- Ripley: Pour the lead! Pour the lead! [Morse positions the machine over the pit] Pour it!
- [Dillon and the alien are drowned in molten lead]
- [after killing the alien]
- Ripley: Don't come any closer.
- Aaron: Wait. They're here to help--
- Ripley: Stay where you are!
- Bishop II: [steps forward] Ripley.
- Ripley: Bishop?
- Bishop II: I'm here to help you.
- Ripley: No more bullshit. I just felt it move.
- Bishop II: Do you know who I am?
- Ripley: You're a droid, same model as Bishop. Sent by the fucking company.
- Bishop II: No. I'm not the Bishop Android. I designed it. I'm very human. The company sent me here to show you a friendly face, to demonstrate how important you are to us... to me.
- Ripley: You just wanna take it back.
- Bishop II: We want to kill it and take you home.
- Ripley: Bullshit.
- Bishop II: You're wrong. We want to help.
- Ripley: What does that mean?
- Bishop II: We're going to take that out of you...
- Ripley: ...and keep it.
- Bishop II: We can't allow it to live. Everything we know would be in jeopardy.
- Ripley: You don't wanna take it back?
- Bishop II: Ripley, time is important. Let us deal with the malignancy. We've got a surgical base set up on the rescue ship. Come with me.
- Medic: It's very quick. Painless. A couple of incisions... you'll be out for two hours.
- Bishop II: And then it's over. You still can have a life. Children. And most important, you'll know it's dead. Let me help you.
- Ripley: What guarantee do I have, once you've taken it out... that you'll destroy it?
- Bishop II: You have to trust me. [approaches her] Please, trust me?
- [a short pause]
- Ripley: No. [slams gate, then begins to position the machine away from the group]
- Bishop II: What's this going to achieve? [a soldier shoots Morse in the leg] STOP!
- Morse: AHHH! Oh, Jesus!
- Ripley: Morse, will you help me?
- Morse: What do you want me to do?
- Bishop II: It was a mistake! There was no need for any of it!
- Aaron: [picks up a large wrench, then hits Bishop over the head with it] Fucking android!
- [a soldier shoves Aaron back, and another shoots him to death]
- Bishop II: I'M NOT A DROID!! Ripley, think of all we can learn from it! It's the chance of a lifetime! You must let me have it! It's a magnificent specimen! [to cameraman] No pictures!
- [after a long pause, Ripley makes her decision, looking into the furnace]
- Ripley: You're crazy.
- Bishop II: What are you doing?
- [Ripley holds her breath, then falls from the platform into the furnace]
- Bishop II: NOOOOOOOOO!
- The Bitch Is Back
- This time it's hiding in the most terrifying place of all...
- Our worst fears have come true. It's back!
- Three times the suspense. Three times the danger. Three times the terror.
About Alien 3 edit
- In the original Alien, Weaver played a young lieutenant on an industrial spaceship, who sheds her naivete to display a bold brain and steely core that leaves her the only survivor of the crew`s first encounter with the alien.
Waking up after spending 57 years in hypersleep, adrift in an escape pod, the Ripley of the Aliens sequel is made of even tougher stuff. Cynical, smart and very fit, she manages to make most of the men on board seem like posturing wimps, but still displays a tenderly fierce maternal impulse toward Newt, a little girl orphaned by the alien.
In the second film, we left her with sort of everything ahead of her. She`d found this daughter and she had, perhaps, a fellow, maybe. And I think there was, at least on my part, an expectation that maybe she`d be able to lead a normal life. But, life not being fair, she doesn`t get to pursue that dream, says Weaver.
- Lisa Anderson and Chicago Tribune, “SIGOURNEY WEAVER`S CLOSE SHAVE”, Chicago Tribune, May 16, 1992
- The maternal storyline hits a dead end in Alien 3, which, Weaver says approvingly, is much closer to the spirit and flavor of the first film.
She credits director David Fincher with that. Well, he`s amazing. He`s completely uncompromising, she says, while admitting that, I was sort of the last person to jump on the Fincher bandwagon.
I was just a little wary because I wanted very much to break new ground with Ripley. You know, you never know with these sorts of geniuses where their attention is going to go, she says, carefully. But, Fincher, particularly, I think, blew us all away by being such a committed actors` director and so patient. And I think we did break new ground with Ripley.
I feel very complete about her. I think she`s more vulnerable. I think she is truly alone. It`s very interesting to play a character who is truly alone, especially a woman, because women are always seen in relation to men or to other woman. It was a very-not to put our audience off-but it was a very existential situation in many ways.
- Lisa Anderson and Chicago Tribune, “SIGOURNEY WEAVER`S CLOSE SHAVE”, Chicago Tribune, (May 16, 1992)
- In Alien 3, Weaver landed in a movie with a history as acidically sticky as anything excreted by the alien itself. In the five-odd years since its conception, the film devoured some seven writers and three directors and so trampled its shooting schedule and estimated $50 million budget that Twentieth Century Fox halted production a year ago. Less than a month before its scheduled release, in fact, the movie`s actual ending remained in doubt.
Audience reaction, in sneak previews, Weaver says, was ambivalent.
For emotional reasons, we felt we needed to give the audience one more thing to enhance the ending.
The missing ingredient turned out to be six more seconds, drawn from the original script and shot at a price estimated at $500,000. The original ending is still there, says Weaver, but now, There`s like a period on it.
There was never any doubt, however, about Ripley`s fate, according to Weaver. This is Ripley`s last one, she says firmly.
There`s only so much bad luck that a person can have. For her to continue to wake up and confront the alien and resolve the situation, then go back to sleep and wake up to yet another situation-to me, it`s a burden on the whole science-fiction premise of the alien.
- Lisa Anderson and Chicago Tribune, “SIGOURNEY WEAVER`S CLOSE SHAVE”, Chicago Tribune, (May 16, 1992)
- I hated what they did... I couldn't stand 'Alien 3' - how they could just go in there and kill off all these great characters we introduced in Aliens, and the correlation between mother and daughter? It stunk.
- I saw the rough cut of the film, uncut, and there were some scenes in there that were pretty gross. There was an autopsy scene on the girl [Newt] and I like certain gore in the films. I do it [professionally], and it made me sick. It really grossed me out and I remember people got up and left, walked out of the theatre and I was just thinking, 'This will never be in the film. They can't show this stuff.' It was just too much I thought. And when the film came out, it wasn't in the film.
- Greg Cannom, Alien Quadrilogy: Special Features, (2003).
- "Look, it wasn't a nightmare, despite what you may have read or heard elsewhere. But it certainly wasn't an easy shoot. What was on the screen was quite removed from what was in the script. But, with that said, I don't regret that I was a part of it. I mean, I knew going into 'Alien 3' that this was a big franchise picture – and there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen on these things."
- Charles Dance in “"It certainly wasn't an easy shoot": The story of Alien 3's tortured gestation, as told by its cast and creators”, by Darren Scott, Games Radar, Contributions from SFX Staff published August 13, 2015
- Nevertheless, at least one thing was evident as shooting on Alien 3 got underway – this was not going to be the sort of special effects laden supernova that Aliens had been. “I was pleased with that actually,” admits Dance. “I didn’t go back and watch the other two films before Alien 3 – however, I did see Alien when it first came out and I remembered it fondly. On the other hand, I didn’t think Aliens was very good. To me, it was not a very good story – it was just a lot of people firing guns all over the place. What got me excited about the third film was that they toned that down. But what ended up on the screen was a different animal than what was on the page.”
- Charles Dance in “"It certainly wasn't an easy shoot": The story of Alien 3's tortured gestation, as told by its cast and creators”, by Darren Scott, Games Radar, Contributions from SFX Staff published August 13, 2015
- The film was critically panned upon its release, but has since gained a cult following. “I think Alien 3 was a better film than Aliens, to be frank,” says Dance.
According to the actor, Vincent Ward’s initial script for the film was “really spooky” and centered on a religious cult in a penal colony, but since the character of Ripley was relatively minor, “changes were made to the script.”
And the problems didn’t stop there. “Fincher had the studio on his back the whole time phoning him at all hours of the day and night—not taking into account the time change,” says Dance. “But I remember walking on this huge set at Pinewood Studios and Fincher comes up and fires off his shot list for the day. Here’s this guy young enough to be my son who knew all the crew’s jobs, all the shots he wanted, and where he was going to make the cuts in the film, and I thought, ‘My God, this guy is going to go far.’”
- Charles Dance as quoted by Marlow Stern, “Charles Dance on Tywin Lannister’s S5 Return, A ‘Game of Thrones’ Movie,’ and Sexy Peter Dinklage”, “The Daily Beast, (Updated Jul. 12, 2017 7:01PM ET / Published Nov. 18, 2014)
- [N]ow comes "Alien 3 " - as unnecessary a sequel to a major movie as we've seen in some time. First-time director David Fincher and four writers have created another horror movie, attempting existential overtones as they make the alien in this film Ripley's "Moby Dick."
- “Film review: Alien 3”, Deseret News, (May 27, 1992)
- There are a lot of problems with this film, but the worst are its dreary, dark motif; the lack of sympathetic characters; the unpleasantness of the film's premise, which has Ripley eventually discovering she has a queen alien growing inside of her; and a lengthy chase sequence that is so dark, and edited so chaotically that it becomes confusing.
- “Film review: Alien 3”, Deseret News, (May 27, 1992)
- 1992's Alien 3, the film, was a strange installment in a franchise that's struggled to find itself ever since its first two movies, an oddly somber experience that was born of complex studio strife and emerged undeniably comprised. With no guns, just a single alien and a cast of barely developed supporting characters, it represented a poor foundation for a licensed game tie-in. So it was hardly surprising that the games that did come out, bearing the title Alien 3, were only loosely connected to the events of David Fincher's directorial debut.
- Mike Diver, “Remembering the Identity Crisis of Licensed Video Games, Through the Lens of ‘Alien 3’”, Vice, (March 1, 2017)
- Aliens, a great action movie, cheapened the original by replacing one hyper-intelligent, indestructible monster with an army of gormless critters. This third entry has only one creature, but unfortunately it's just as gormless. When Ripley (Weaver) crash-lands on a prison planet full of hard-nut slap-heads, they haven't seen a woman in years. Discovering that there's an alien loose, Ripley asks the warden to break out the guns, and can't believe it when she is told there aren't any. Nor can we. Good acting has salvaged many a poor script in the past, but not here.
- DW, “Alien 3”, Timeout, (10 September 2012)
- I lost interest [in Alien 3], when I realized that the aliens could at all times outrun and outleap the humans, so all the chase scenes were contrivances.
- Roger Ebert, "Alien Resurrection Roger Ebert review". Sun Times, (November 26, 1997).
- One of the best looking bad movies I've ever seen.
- Roger Ebert, "Fight Club", Chicago Sun-Times. (October 15, 1999).
- “I thought it was dumb. I thought it was a huge slap in the face to fans,” said Cameron without hesitation. “Look, David is a friend of mine. David is an amazing, amazing filmmaker, unquestionably. But that was kind of his first big gig, and he was getting vectored around by the studio, and he was dropped into the production late, and they had a horrible script, and they were rewriting it on the fly, and it was just a mess. I think it was a big mistake.”
“I was disappointed,” added Biehn. “But I actually got into [Aliens] because another actor dropped. So, I got into the movie on a fluke, and then I got cut out of Fincher’s movie. And Fincher’s movie, because he was young and they didn’t have a good script, wasn’t any good. And the fourth one [Alien: Resurrection] wasn’t any good. … So, to me, I’m the leading man in the best Alien movie.”
Henn, who at 16 would have aged out of the Newt role by the time Alien 3 was made anyway, had already decided by that point that she wasn’t going to continue acting. She got to experience some of the hoopla, though. “Sigourney actually made sure I was invited to the premiere for it,” she said of Alien 3. “I got to experience it as 16-year old, and I knew who these movie stars were and I was like, ‘Oh, wow!’”
- Marcus Errico, “Xenomorphs Exposed! James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver, and Cast Reveal Secrets of 'Aliens'”, Yahoo.com, (July 25, 2016)
- SPJ: Ripley tries to extinguish the species a second time in Alien 3, throwing herself into the cauldron to kill the alien incubating inside her. Is this action as morally repugnant as nuking all the aliens from afar? Is it worse?
- JE: I would say it depends on your ethical framework! From a strict utilitarian standpoint, focused on maximizing some positive state like happiness, your calculus could hypothetically be that the existence of xenomorphs threatens life throughout the universe, and therefore killing more xenomorphs is an ethically superior action! On the other hand, one may have a deontological ethic (judging the rightness or wrongness of an action independently from its consequences) that does or does not include xenomorph life as valuable, and therefore either option could be thought of as morally wrong. These are, of course, just examples—but, in short, it’s a complicated question!
In this context, I don’t think we can be fully confident that xenomorph destruction is the right thing to do. But I do think Ripley is right to not want her body to have this parasitic and deadly entity growing inside her! So I would say it’s a solidly ethical choice, whereas mass-xenomorph destruction is more problematic.
- Jeffrey A. Ewing in "The Philosophy of the Alien Films: Interview with Jeffrey A. Ewing" by Ray Blank, Sci Phi Journal, (30 August 2017).
- MS: But there's this fantastic quote that I found, where you said of Alien 3 that "a lot of people hated Alien 3, but no one hated it more than I did."
- DF: I had to work on it for two years, got fired off it three times and I had to fight for every single thing. No one hated it more than me; to this day, no one hates it more than me.
- MS: At the risk of opening old wounds, what did you take from that experience that has subsequently helped you in your Hollywood career?
- DF: It was a baptism by fire. I was very naive. For a number of years, I'd been around the kind of people who financed movies and the kind of people who are there to make the deals for movies. But I'd always had this naive idea that everybody wants to make movies as good as they can be, which is stupid. [audience laughs] So I learned on this movie that nobody really knows, so therefore no one has to care, so it's always going to be your fault. I'd always thought, "Well, surely you don't want to have the Twentieth Century Fox logo over a shitty movie." And they were like, "Well, as long as it opens." So I learned then just to be a belligerent asshole, which was really: "You have to get what you need to get out of it." You have to fight for things you believe in, and you have to be smart about how you position it so that you don't just become white noise. On that movie, I was the guy who was constantly the voice of "We need to do this better, we need to do this, this doesn't make sense". And pretty soon, it was like in Peanuts: WOP WOP WOP WOP WOP! They'd go, "He's doing that again, he's frothing at the mouth, he seems so passionate." They didn't care.
- David Fincher in "Guardian interviews at the BFI: David Fincher" by Mark Salisbury, The Guardian, (18 Jan 2009).
- If I go on to make 10 great [movies], this'll probably be looked upon as my first bungled masterpiece.
- David Fincher in "INTERVIEW / A real horror show: The filming of Alien 3 was a nightmare for its director David Fincher. Mark Burman reports" by Mark Burman, The Independent, (August 21, 1992).
- I hadn’t directed a movie yet. I was just going off to do that. Once I had gone to Pinewood for two years and had been through a situation where I was a hired gun to make a library title for a multinational, vertically integrated media conglomerate, I had a different view of how writers and directors needed to work.
- David Fincher as quoted by Mark Harris, “Nerding Out With David Fincher The director talks about his latest, Mank, a tale of Hollywood history, political power, and the creative act.”, Vulture, (Oct. 23, 2020)
- I didn't like the script, but I love 'Alien,' so yeah, I signed up, naive, and went off to Pinewood [Studios] to be sodomized ritualistically for two years.
- David Fincher, BAFTA Guru, (2017)
- There's no one problem with a $65-million, f***ed-up, first-time filmmaker. Look, I made a crucial error. I listened to the people who were paying for the movie, and they said, the way to go about this is not to work with your friends. The way to go about this is to work with people who have done this time and time and time again. And basically, that translates into: meet a lot of people who are going to resent you and your age and are not going to want to take instruction from you, and allow them to tell you what you can't do.
- David Fincher, BAFTA Guru, (2017)
- Once I had gone to Pinewood for two years and had been through a situation where I was a hired gun to make a library title for a multinational, vertically integrated media conglomerate, I had a different view of how writers and directors needed to work. I kind of resented his anti-auteurist take. I felt that what the script really needed to talk about was the notion of enforced collaboration: You may not like the fact that you’re going to be beholden to so many different disciplines and skill sets in the making of a movie, but if you’re not acknowledging it, you’re missing the side of the barn. A script is the egg, and it needs a donor to create the cellular split that moves it into the realm of something playable in three dimensions and recordable in two dimensions and presentable to other people.
- David Fincher as quoted by “Alien 3 Director David Fincher Opens Up About What Went Wrong”, by Mike Reyes, Cinemablend, published October 26, 2020
- So out went my carefully constructed motivations for all the principal prisoners, my preserving the life of Newt (her killing in the film is an obscenity) and much else. Embittered by this experience, that's why I turned down Alien Resurrection.
- Alan Dean Foster (April 2008). Planet Error, Empire. p. 100.
- Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the unluckiest woman in the universe, is once again in a bind. She`s been awakened prematurely from her hypersleep by the crash of her spaceship on Fiorina 161, a distant prison work colony. It seems she isn`t the only survivor her crash, however; when the residents of the colony begin turning up shredded, and it`s up to Ripley to play the role of aliencatcher again.
Alien3 tries to get back to what made Alien great-suspense, dimly lighted glimpses of the alien, and the suggestion, rather than exposition, of gore-but is saddled by one overpowering burden. How much can you so with this storyline? The alien shows up, it kills people, Ripley hunts it down, end of movie. By the third time around, it`s just worn out. Great performances from an interesting cast (including Charles S. Dutton of TV`s Roc), convincing industrial sets, and visually exciting Alien effects can`t salvage Alien3 from its all-encompassing tiredness. (STAR) 1/2
- Kent Garneau and Hinsdale Central, “`ALIEN3` IS TIRED, NOT SCARY”, Chicago Tribune, (May 28, 1992)
- After directing a string of popular music videos, David Fincher was commissioned by Fox to direct Alien³ but left the project before editing commenced because of studio interference. If Alien³ is not his film, neither is the studio’s “extended cut” (Fincher didn’t want anything to do with the project). Unlike the director’s cut of Aliens, this extended edition of Fincher’s first film does more harm than good. Impregnated with an alien queen, Ripley lands on Fury 161, a prison planet occupied by horny religious criminals. The scenario is the same (more doubting Thomases and labyrinthine tunnels) except the returns are less exciting or scary; an amalgam of power shots (some reminiscent of Fincher’s clips for Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got a Gun” and Madonna’s “Express Yourself”), the film’s overall effect is noticeably suffocating. Charles Dutton’s preacher man, Dillon, conducts an impromptu funeral service and the extended cut intercuts his prayer with scenes from Fincher’s intended alien-birthing sequence (from canine to bovine). This creepy interplay brings to mind the final moments of Apocalypse Now but doesn’t really spill over into the rest of the film. Not only is Ripley personality-free (is the character jaded or is Weaver simply bored?), so is the alien. If the material appears to strain to offer the new alien attacks a ridiculous religious context, that’s because the filmmakers never really evoke a sense of godlessness on the planet community to begin with.
- Ed Gonzalez, “Alien 3: Review”, Slant, (December 15, 2003)
- No sooner is Ripley speeding away from the napalm-laced carnage of Aliens than she finds herself crashing into a prison planet full of Brits. Relentlessly dark and filled with unsympathetic characters, Alien³ is not loved by many. But director David Fincher seems lucky to have come away with any kind of movie, as is revealed on a surprisingly frank DVD from Fox.
As with the other DVDs in the Alien Quadrilogy, you can choose between watching the theatrical release or a new special edition. David Fincher declined to put together another cut of the film, but has approved this new half-hour longer version. All the subplots removed by the studio are now here to see, including a different dogburster scene, the convicts capturing the alien and a slightly different ending. Trouble is, the production was in such disarray that this new longer take on the movie doesn't sort much out from the incoherent nature of the original.
- Almar Haflidason, “Alien 3 DVD (1992)”, BBC, (1992)
- David Fincher has not done any new interviews for this release so other people fill in, including director Renny Harlin - who pops up in the Development featurette. Fans will be interested to hear what Harlin's vision was, the story options discussed, and why he was not keen on setting it in a prison. Still, that's nothing compared to the original idea of writer Vincent Ward to set the movie on a wooden planet populated by monks. Thanks to extensive image galleries and an in-depth featurette, you can explore what was certainly a bold, if somewhat strange, idea.
While there is undoubtedly some fascinating gossip still to be told about the fraught production of Alien³, at least Fox has allowed frank comments to be aired. There's a great shot of an alien (man in suit) sitting with his head in his hands that seems to sum up the whole experience. Major changes to the script were regular occurrences, no end ever seemed in sight on the shoot, and it was finally shut down and taken to LA so the studio could try and fathom something out of it all.
- Almar Haflidason, “Alien 3 DVD (1992)”, BBC, (1992)
- One idea would have seen Xenomorphs arriving on Earth and destroying New York City, which is as close to the film the teaser suggests as any of the unmade Alien 3 scripts.
Between 1987 and 1990, more than ten screenwriters had a bash at scripting the film, including William Gibson, Eric Red, David Twohy, and John Fasano. Drafts differed on whether Weaver’s Ripley would be in the script or not, whether Biehn’s Hicks had a bigger role or not, and whether the film would be about a “Marxist space empire”, a prison planet, or a satellite full of monks.
The latter idea came from director Vincent Ward, who was signed up to direct the project. However, Fox executives didn’t like his vision for Alien 3, with Jon Landau dismissing it as “more on the artsy-fartsy side than the big commercial one” than the studio wanted. In the end, Giler and Hill wound up writing the screenplay, inspired by various bits and bobs from different incarnations, with co-credit going to script doctor Larry Ferguson.
- Mark Harrison, “The odd story of Alien 3’s misleading teaser trailer”, Filmstories, (February 25, 2021)
- Once again, Weaver is shocked to discover the alien loose—this time in a desolate prison colony. You'd think she'd get over those surprises by now. Once again, she has to rally a group of macho men (rapists and murderers) to take on the beast; and, once again, it doesn't take a college degree to guess who'll be left facing whom.
- Desson Howe,  ‘Alien 3’], Washington Post, (May 22, 1992)
- Ironically, "Alien " is not a bad movie. In fact—here's the rub—it's too interesting to make an exciting summer flick. At the core is a promising tale written by Australian filmmaker Vincent Ward, who made "The Navigator: An Odyssey Across Time," an often brilliant, time-hopping saga about medieval men journeying into the 20th century.
His "Alien " is woven out of the same classic sci-fi yarn. The prison is a Middle Ages-type institution, with gaunt-faced, monastic characters in robes walking through dark, twisting corridors bearing candles.
- Desson Howe,  ‘Alien 3’], Washington Post, (May 22, 1992)
- This movie—peopled with English performers, including Brian Glover, Ralph Brown, Paul McGann and Danny Webb—seems more like a "Star Trek" episode than an "Alien" picture. It's also hard to get a handle on how big or small the alien is, the usual sign of low-budget horror filmmaking. Sometimes it seems small as a child; other times, it looms eight feet high.
- Desson Howe,  ‘Alien 3’], Washington Post, (May 22, 1992)
- First of all, it is difficult to empathize with (or care about) any of the characters in this film. And there is very little in the way of character development, that might help this problem. I've heard that this film was heavily cut before its theatrical release, and that there is a much longer director's cut, which is ultimately more satisfying in this respect. I wish Fox had used it here. Another problem with Alien 3 is its poorly conceived and written script. To start off with, we're asked to accept the idea that the alien queen managed to lay a few eggs unnoticed in the scant minutes she was on board the Sulaco. Then we're asked to believe that a single face hugger could cause enough damage to require evacuating the crew in an EEV, and then we're asked to believe that the EEV just happened to eject near a populated (albeit sparsely) planet. To make matters worse, all of the survivors of the previous film are immediately killed off (problems with budget or contract negotiations perhaps?), including Ripley's surrogate daughter Newt. Which leads to the script's other major problem - it's just a major downer. After the sheer horror of the first film, and particularly coming off of the edge-of-your-seat thrills of Aliens, this film seemed far too subdued and somewhat less than frightening. It just wasn't at all what I was expecting.
Which is not to say that the film doesn't have some merits. I did find the quasi-religious undertones of Fury's inhabitants compelling. And the concept of the alien creature taking on some of the physical characteristics of its host (in this case a dog) was intriguing. But again, the film stumbles over another major shortcoming, which is that the creature effects are just, well... bad. More often than not, the creature effects were accomplished by using a marionette-type puppet that was shot in front of a blue screen, and optically added to each shot with the actors. In other cases, its just a mechanical prop... and it shows. The first time we ever see the creature (in chapter 9), it just looks silly. The best thing about the creatures in the first two films, was that we barely saw them. They were far more frightening. Here we're seeing way too much.
- Bill Hunt, “Alien 3”, The Digital Bits, (5/27/99)
- "Alien 3" was already chasing a release date when Fincher boarded the project, taking over from outgoing director Renny Harlin rather late in the process, so he only had five weeks of prep time. According to Film Stories, the movie was originally scheduled to have a 12-month turnaround, from the start of production in January 1991 to a theatrical release in December 1991. The Christmas deadline was soon extended, but even before the story was finalized, an infamously misleading teaser trailer announced, "In 1992, we will discover, on Earth, everyone can hear you scream."
As anyone who's seen the film can attest, Earth was not, in fact, the setting. They began shooting without a completed script, partly because "Alien 3" had already undergone numerous rewrites and no one could seem to get it perfectly tailored. William Gibson, author of the Hugo and Nebula award-winning cyberpunk novel, "Neuromancer" (which influenced "The Matrix"), wrote a draft that kept Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the Oscar-nominated heroine of the first two movies, in a coma. It instead centered on the space Marine, Hicks, and the robot, Bishop, played by Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen, whose characters were left alive at the end of "Aliens."
- Joshua Meyer, “Why The Alien 3 Production Was Such A Nightmare”, Slashfilm, (Feb 10, 2022)
- Eric Red ("The Hitcher," "Near Dark") whipped up the next version of the script for "Alien 3" in under two months, and it was set on Earth (hence that teaser about screaming there), but it was quickly discarded. Then there was David Twohy's prison planet version, developed alongside Vincent Ward and John Fasano's legendary wooden planet version, where the setting was a kind of monastery in space.
Producers David Giler and Walter Hill and script doctor Larry Ferguson eventually fused elements of these last two versions into what became the working draft of "Alien 3," with Fincher and his own uncredited script doctor, Rex Pickett, doing further rewrites. All told, there were reportedly ten different writers on the film. While other classic movies like "The Wizard of Oz" have juggled that many writers in the past, "Alien 3" could not be termed anything other than a cult classic at best.
- Joshua Meyer, “Why The Alien 3 Production Was Such A Nightmare”, Slashfilm, (Feb 10, 2022)
- The third movie in the Alien series was a hot ticket at the time. The Bond films were halted and locked in a bitter legal battle that eventually took six years to resolve. So Alien had suddenly become one of the world's biggest franchises and was camped, almost insultingly to the impotent, sleeping Bond, on Pinewood's giant 007 Stage.
- Garth Pearce, "Alien³ – Empire's On Set Interviews With Sigourney Weaver And David Fincher", Empire Magazine, (November 2009).
- It's left to Paul McGann, playing Golic, to spell things out in a way that only McGann can. I've met him a few times by this point, going back to the 1986 production of The Monocled Mutineer, a two-part TV series on First World War deserter Percy Toplis. He's established himself, at 31, as one of our biggest stars, with Withnail And I and a sharp TV series called Dealers. He's a Scouse jack-the-lad who calls a spade a shovel – particularly when it's used for shovelling manure.
"There are more producers around here than actors," he tells me. "I wondered who the hell they were at first. It's like having an extra fucking audience for every scene. You can't get a clear picture of who wants what, it gets changed as we go along. I don't know what they're doing here. Rewriting some of the script? Getting in the way? Fuck knows. But movies are in a mess. I am in the only fucking film which is shooting in England. The situation is getting dire with this recession going on. We're going to be down to one cameraman and one sound crew in this country if we aren't careful."
- Garth Pearce, "Alien³ – Empire's On Set Interviews With Sigourney Weaver And David Fincher", Empire Magazine, (November 2009).
- Putting it into the mildest terms, Alien 3 was an omnishambles. Armed with a trailer and a release date, 20th Century Fox didn’t know what the movie was going to be about, but knew it was going to come out in 1992. A film that had already seen several writers and directors come and go, with just as many concepts making their way through the revolving door, the resulting story came partially from re-writes done by David Fincher himself. In the end, no one would know just how the experience would turn out, as a pretty impressive, yet misleading, teaser promised quite a bit:
Through his trial by fire on Alien 3, David Fincher emerged as a directorial phoenix, and went on to make Seven as his next feature film. Understanding that writers and directors literally need to be on the same page, the lessons learned from his own career and also from reading his father’s script, Fincher understood that no person is an island in the movie business. If only the Fox executives that trashed his version of Alien 3 could have learned that back in 1991, maybe we'd be talking about the "absolute classic" Alien 3, rather than the very expertly crafted euphemism that David Fincher used to describe what was essentially, a living hell.
- Mike Reyes, “Alien 3 Director David Fincher Opens Up About What Went Wrong”, Cinemablend, (October 26, 2020)
- On the face of it, Alien 3 should have been a pretty great movie. The first two films from the franchise were spectacular; it had a director at its helm that would go on to be one of the best of the modern era, it was written by the legendary Walter Hill, and it was packed to the brim with stellar acting talent. But in the end it was just downright turgid.
- Gregory Wakeman, “What Went Wrong With Alien 3, According To Tywin Lannister”, Cinemablend, (November 18, 2014)
- If it hadn’t been for the American science fiction horror movie Alien 3, one of the brightest lights in Hong Kong’s scientific community could well have spent his days staring into a microscope and performing autopsies.
“The night before the [job] interview, I went to see Alien 3 – which opens with a postmortem. I thought, ‘Do I really want to start my days with a postmortem?’ So, in the end I became a chemical pathologist – we look at blood rather than dead bodies,” says Professor Dennis Lo Yuk-ming, the Li Ka Shing professor of medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).
It seems, then, that we have American film director David Fincher to thank in part for Lo’s many contributions to health – from the development of non-invasive prenatal testing to new screening tests for cancer.
- Kate Whitehead, “How watching Alien 3 movie set top Hong Kong scientist on the road to developing cancer and prenatal health screening tests”, South China Morning Post, (Jan 6, 2022)
- Alien 3 has a certain reputation with different groups—to David Fincher, it was a nightmare first production for the enfant terrible director, one he has since refused to be associated with because the studio will not restore his child autopsy scene, which even the biggest Gone Girl fan in the world would admit is a bit much. For movie dorks, it’s a movie you like to argue is better than whoever is tolerating listening to you remembers. For most people, it’s the one where Sigourney Weaver got head shaved. For losers, it’s the one where Newt dies off-camera and they get angry. I remember Alien 3 as the first rated R movie that had a very large toy push, meaning I was being sold ephemera related to a product I technically wasn’t supposed to see.
For cyberpunk novelist William Gibson, Alien 3 was how he got his WGA card. He says as much in this books—an adaptation of a screenplay that wasn't used—introduction. Gibson’s association with Hollywood has largely been uninteresting. Adaptations of his work that have made it to screen amount to 90s-doing-80s footnotes like Johnny Mnemonic and New Rose Hotel (though he allegedly wrote most of Kathryn Bigelow’s excellent Strange Days without screen credit). For Alien 3, Gibson turned two drafts over to Walter Hill and David Giler that had little to do with the final product. That's a good thing. Gibson’s script has long been available on the internet. It’s not enough of an oddity to be interesting. It’s okay. The comic is ultimately okay too.
- Sean Witzke, “Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay”, The Comics Journal, (September 5, 2019)
“Alien 3: I Was There!” (1/9/1992) edit
“Alien 3: I Was There!”, Anonymous, Empire Online #39, (01 09 1992)
- Alien 3 was a very silly movie to work on. It had already been going for four months by the time I started, and they hadn’t even begun thinking about making the Alien. The script wasn’t even finished by that point, and I don’t think there was a director either. All there was was a bunch of models of the characters that were going to die – the Alien didn’t get made until five or six months later. In fact, the Alien was the last thing to be considered out of all the effects.
On my first day, they weren’t even sure what the Alien was going to look like – there were all kinds of different drafts of the script, and at one point it was a glass planet so they were talking about having a glass Alien, and then it was going to be all wood and they were talking about having a wooden Alien because it was supposed to adapt to its surroundings.
They had done the facehugger which you see at the beginning of the film, because that was the thing they were least worried about. There was another super-facehugger, a clear one, that took us about three months to make, on and off; that was kicked out just after we’d finished it. We also built a huge ox that the Alien burst out of, but David Fincher didn’t like that. Eventually they went back to America and reshot it anyway; now it’s a dog. It was a colossal waste of money.
- The original Alien had these kind of pipes sticking out the back that took it away from just being a man in a rubber suit, but creature designers Alec (Gillis) and Tom (Woodruff) hated them, so we left them off. The very first day we took our Alien on set, Fincher said, "Where are the stove pipe things on the back?", so he had us make some foam ones and glue them on. We made them overnight and they were strapped on with string – this is on a multi-million dollar movie – and when we got on set with them he just said, ‘Take them off’. It was extraordinary.
- The way it worked was that we’d start making something for the film and it would be written out, so we’d stop making it. Then it would be back in again, so we’d start making it again – the same thing happened with the sets. [Special effects supervisor] George Gibbs reportedly built this huge set for the ending of the film on the 007 stage at Pinewood, and they changed one aspect of the script so he had to tear it down and start again.
We also spent a huge amount of time and money making an Alien suit and some other guys did the same, making an alien puppet, and the two things just don’t match up, they don’t look like the same Alien. Again, that was because it got to the stage where it just had to be done, so consequently they don’t look like each other in the final movie.
- I suppose you can’t really blame him, you’ve got to blame the people who want to make a film without having a script to start with. You’ve got to blame Sigourney Weaver to a certain extent, too, for having too many fingers in the pie. From what I was told she had a lot to do with the script: she was the one who didn’t want there to be any guns in the film, she was the one who decided to have the love scene. There was no reason for it other than she decided Ripley had to get into bed with someone.
Review/Film: Alien 3; HAL, If You're Still Out There, Here's a Computer-Friendly Sequel” (May 22, 1992) edit
Vincent Canby, “Review/Film: Alien 3; HAL, If You're Still Out There, Here's a Computer-Friendly Sequel”, The New York Times, (May 22, 1992)
- IT'S apparent during the opening credits of "Alien 3" that this is going to be a movie for the generation that finds the computer friendly. Those of us born before 1975 can't possibly comprehend all of the introductory information that goes clicking across the on-screen television monitor, spelling out time, place and imminent crises with the relentlessness of a speed-reading exam.
The information is also so understated that only someone who speaks computer language realizes that life, as we know it, is about to crash. Yet again. What the computer generation knows, and the rest of us don't, is that this information isn't really necessary or especially relevant. Logic is out. Visceral sensation is the point.
Unlike "Alien" (1979) and "Aliens" (1986), the new film, directed by David Fincher, puts no great emphasis on futuristic technology. "Alien 3" belongs to that branch of fantasy comics, best exemplified by the "Road Warrior" movies, in which the iron and space ages meet for dizzy results.
- Fiorina 161 is a planet, but we never see much of it. Clearly, though, it is a place where the sun doesn't shine. The outside temperature hovers in the neighborhood of 40 degrees below zero. Formerly a maximum-security prison, Fiorina 161 has been decommissioned and is now home to 25 of society's worst rejects, former prisoners who have elected to remain on the planet to live lives of edgy atonement. They are members of what is called "an apocalyptic millennarian fundamentalist Christian sect." Whatever they are, they obey their own commandments.
- The production is dourly handsome, with great, chunky, dimly lighted sets that suggest dungeons out of the Middle Ages. They are actually so dark that sometimes it's not easy to know who is doing what to whom. Blood looks black, which may not be all bad. The alien is seen in glimpses, but it's seen often enough so that it seems to be nothing worse than a large, dark sticky lobster claw with a terrible disposition.
- Mr. Fincher, who has directed music videos for Madonna, Billy Idol and others, doesn't waste time trying to make things plausible. His direction of "Alien 3" suggests that he grew up reading instructions on how to program VCR's. He knows that most explanations, like directions, are incomprehensible, and thus irrelevant.
“Ripley’s Got a Death Drive: David Fincher’s Alien³ at 25” (May 19, 2017) edit
Jake Cole, “Ripley’s Got a Death Drive: David Fincher’s Alien³ at 25”, Slant, (May 19, 2017)
- David Fincher’s Alien³ may be the only film ever made to peak with its logo. As the 20th Century Fox fanfare crescendos over the studio’s familiar logo, the music holds on the minor chord before the usual last note, replacing jubilant bombast with a dissonant groan of strings. The alteration produces an immediate sense of discomfort and unease, setting the tone for something ominous and fearsome. It’s an ingenious shot across the bow from Fincher, ushering in a feature career dotted with immaculately ordered, carefully scored works of blockbuster entertainment that veered from audience-pleasing major keys to their grim underbellies.
The perversion of the Fox theme epitomizes a succinct grasp of horror that only occasionally surfaces in the film proper.
- Too often, Alien³ shows its seams, whether in its thematic arc or the design of the xenomorph, and at not even two hours it still feels weighed down by unnecessary exposition and padded suspense scenes. But blame for much of this cannot fall at one person’s feet, as the film was notoriously the product of years of production hell that saw the studio soliciting wildly different drafts from writers including (but not limited to) cyberpunk author William Gibson, writer-director Vincent Ward, and producer/filmmaker Walter Hill. Eventually, ideas from each version found their way into a Frankenstein monster of a shooting script, one further plagued by endless on-set rewrites that left Fincher so exasperated that even Fox’s officially released behind-the-scenes footage shows the director railing against the pressures of the studio’s poorly planned project.
- Considerable criticism, from both audiences and former cast and crew members on the series, was directed at the decision to callously kill off Lt. Hicks (Michael Biehn) and Newt (Carrie Henn) in the opening credits. Regarded on its own terms, though, their deaths fit well within the series’s bleak tone. Structured in staccato clips inserted between the credits, the scene shows off the sense of visual economy that Fincher picked up while making music videos. It plays out in ominous glimpses of a hatched alien egg, a facehugger stretching toward Newt’s cryogenic pod, a crack of glass, and seepage of blood into cloth. In seconds, all of the good feelings left over from the end of Aliens are brutally cast aside, robbing Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) of the ad hoc family she’d only just rallied together.
It’s a promisingly nihilistic beginning, and Ripley’s dismay upon learning of her friends’ deaths is compounded by the revelation that she’s crash-landed near a Weyland-Yutani prison, a refinery work camp whose inmates are all men with double-Y chromosomes, a defect that enhances their aggression and leaves them more likely to rape and murder. The early scenes, of Ripley interacting with men actively afraid of her presence and what it might encourage in them, mark the film’s thematic high point, balancing Ripley’s fears of a possible xenomorph outbreak against the equally immediate worries about the rippling aftershocks of her presence on the inmates’ vows of celibacy, made in a mass religious conversion among the prisoners that occurred long before she arrived. Frequently, the men use their religion as pretense for distrust of the woman, if not outright abuse. Ripley has always had to deal with unfriendly elements, but they usually came isolated in the form of company men (or androids); here is an entire facility’s worth of people with an innate antagonism against her, one that stymies her attempts to lead them against the alien threat that breaks out shortly after her arrival.
- In what’s become something of a recurring theme of the franchise since its first two entries, Alien³ arguably peaks before the alien itself takes center stage. The looming, Brutalist-style prison setting evinces a sense of decay well before the camera explores its dripping, darkened corridors and vents. The private-owned prison, more work camp than carceral institution, has a wide-open feel that paradoxically enhances the feeling of being trapped, a testament to the assurances of its builders that those who worked there would know they had nowhere, ultimately, to run. When the alien finally does begin to roam the prison, however, the environment too quickly loses its character, its labyrinthine structure and dangerous areas (a ventilation shaft with a giant fan telegraphs a gruesome human purée well before it happens) betray their usefulness to the story. No longer does the facility have its own story to tell; instead, it looks as if it were built around the alien sequences.
- The alien itself is a disappointment, as the filmmakers’ intriguing idea of having a xenomorph infect and thus absorb the DNA of a quadrupedal animal is squandered on a garish puppet creation that moves in jerky, dissonant steps that completely divorce the creature from the environment. This robs the alien of even a hint of menace, barring a few close-ups that keep the image limited to the xenomorph’s face and teeth. Prefiguring an issue that’s plagued all future Alien movies in the CGI era, the depiction of the xenomorph so casually in full view saps much of the suspense that the first two films wrung out of keeping the monsters hidden or partially glimpsed. Once its definitions are set, the creature loses its amorphous, undefinable shape and size, limiting it to something comprehensible.
The lackluster alien undeniably drags down the proceedings, but the film maintains a consistently bleak atmosphere that elevates it above its sloppy sequel and the more self-conscious philosophy of recent prequels by staying truest to the simple hopelessness of the original film.
- Even within arguably the most nihilistic franchise in cinematic history, Alien³ stands out for its consistent tone of despair. It presents a reality where even machines feel fear and agony, as when Ripley reactivates the heavily damaged Bishop droid (Lance Henriksen), its tattered face struggling to focus a sagging, milky eye as it relays Weyland-Yutani’s continued, destructive interest in capturing and weaponizing the xenomorph. Having warned Ripley, he then asks her to be shut off, saying he feels pain in his current form and fears being rebuilt into something less special and perfect than what he was.
Ripley’s death drive, always present but overwhelmed when she discovers an alien embryo inside of her, is so intense that it blunts the confrontational behavior of the men around her, even Dillon (Charles S. Dutton), the prison’s religious leader whose initial hostility toward Ripley fades when he recognizes the purity of her martyrdom. The deflating alien antics of the film’s back half sap some of the power from Ripley’s ultimate sacrifice, but her final act, taking pro-choice symbolism to self-immolating extremes, is one of the most powerful images in the entire Alien franchise.
- For all its inherent structural problems, Alien³ remains a worthy intended conclusion to the series, finding its true resolution in Ripley’s resolve to break the endless cycle of her torment. Initially panned upon release, Fincher’s film now has its supporters thanks in part to a 2003 recut that restored footage that’s even more evocative of the filmmaker’s overriding sense of dejected gloom. Yet its most lasting impact may be what it said about the direction that blockbusters would go, perpetuating the franchise’s close bonds to the state of tent-pole releases to their respective eras.
- Alien enjoyed [[w:New Hollywood|New Hollywood freedoms in its use of avant-garde production design and its deliberate, character-driven storytelling while its first sequel operated along the faster, more upbeat and cathartic tone of the mid-1980s. This film, the product of a hastily reconciliation of incomplete ideas, points to a future in which blockbusters would be crafted as if on an assembly line, no longer the product of one vision or even that of a group but of a conglomeration running on autopilot. As producer Jon Landau later said of the film, “We set out to make a release date, not a movie.”
"Renny Harlin interview: 12 Rounds, Die Hard, and the Alien 3 that never was" (May 27, 2009) edit
Renny Harlin in "Renny Harlin interview: 12 Rounds, Die Hard, and the Alien 3 that never was" by Luke Savage, Den of Geek, (May 27, 2009)
- Q: Thinking back over your career, you were attached to over Alien 3 for over a year. Can you tell us what happened there?
- Renny Harlin: I had done Nightmare On Elm Street 4, which just completely changed my life. All of a sudden I was meeting with Spielberg and meeting with the studios, and trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. And when the idea of Alien 3 came to me I felt that it was an incredible honour. I felt like Ridley Scott had made a masterpiece with Alien. Jim Cameron had made a masterpiece with Aliens. And I felt, okay if I can take it to another level, then maybe I have a chance of making a masterpiece as well. And so I eagerly took the challenge, and I had offices on the Fox lot and I felt very excited. But then, as were developing the script, opinions between the studio and I were completely different. They basically wanted to make a movie that was just like Aliens – same kind of guns, just different place.
And they, for some reason, had this idea that they wanted it to take place on a big prison ship. And I didn’t get it. I said, “who cares about a prison ship?”. The whole basic idea of the Alien movies is that in the first one, it is a bunch of blue collar guys and women who could be truck drivers. It’s totally relatable.
And in the second one, it’s a war movie, and it’s these soldiers with Ripley going to battle these aliens, and there’s this little girl who represents humanity there. So again, very relatable. But if you do Aliens in prison, it’s like “who cares about the prisoners, let them die”.
- Q: What was it you wanted to do?
- Renny Harlin: My first concept was we go to the planet where the aliens come from, with Ripley and a team of scientists and soldiers, and we find out what they really are. Are they evil, horrible killing machines who are taking over the world? Or are they just animals with a survival mechanism? That’s one way that I wanted to do the movie.
Second way, I said “aliens come to Earth”. I pitched this idea where we are in a Kansas cornfield, and you just see these things going through the cornfield and you just realise the aliens have come to Earth. I said “just show the poster to the audience – it’s the biggest movie ever”. And they were like, “nah we don’t think so, it should just be outer space”.
So for about a year we just went back and forth with these ideas and finally when we had this script of a prison ship and aliens, I said “I’m sorry, I can’t do this”. And it was a very crazy and scary thing to do. I was 29 years old, I was dealing with a huge studio, which was my dream, and I quit. But I went on to make other movies with Fox, and David Fincher ended up doing Alien 3, and of course he’s now doing fantastic. But not necessarily because of Alien 3.
"‘Alien 3′ Revisited: The Films of David Fincher" (October 4, 2017) edit
Matt Goldberg, "‘Alien 3′ Revisited: The Films of David Fincher", Collider, (October 4, 2017).
- The movie opens with spooky, effective opening credits that completely rip apart everything you loved about Aliens. If Alien is mysterious, and Aliens is hectic, Alien 3 promises at the opening to be depressing as hell, which happens when you kill an innocent little girl in the opening five minutes. Combined with the death of Hicks, Alien 3 destroys the surrogate family unit from Aliens, and now Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the sole survivor of a tragic crash and the only woman on a desolate planet populated by murderers and rapists.
Except the prisoners have found religion, and this is where you can see Alien 3‘s split personality emerge. The religious angle from Ward’s script has been retained, but now it’s been shoehorned into a story where a skeleton crew of prisoners (the film has a weak explanation of why a huge facility would be kept running by and for about twenty people) now have Christianity for some reason. The script then tries to dance with this aspect, but it only remains an interesting idea even though there was the possibility that this idea could have been developed on its own merits despite being outside of Ward’s original intent.
These men have been able to turn their lives over to God, but they’ve also been devoid of temptation. There’s not much on the planet Fiorina “Fury” 161 worth wanting, and then Ripley comes into their lives, which begs the question of the value of faith without temptation. But then the movie’s ugliness reemerges when some of the prisoners try to rape Ripley. Then Charles S. Dutton rescues Ripley, beats the crap out of her attackers, and the attempted rape is never referenced again.
- To the film’s credit, Alien 3 consciously doesn’t want to be a retread of the first two movies. The xenomorph doesn’t even carry human DNA, and instead comes from a dog, which turns it into a quadruped, even though that ultimately doesn’t make much of a difference. To quote Warden Andrews (Brian Glover), who has my favorite description of the xenomorph ever: “It kills on sight, and is generally unpleasant.” It’s also kind of background in a movie that can’t really be anything because it was torn apart at its fundamental level. They had sets with no story, characters without purpose, and discarded plotlines galore right down to seemingly insignificant scenes like the xenomorph coming out of an ox rather than a dog. The whole thing is a mess, and it’s an infuriating mess not only because it’s stifling Fincher’s talent, but because Alien 3 is littered with potential. It’s an atmospheric film, but it’s not worth breathing the air. Even Ripley is less interesting this time around even though there are plenty of places they could have gone with her character.
- When it came time for Ripley to jump, Fincher wanted to stick by the religious angle that had been so thoroughly reduced throughout the picture: “I said ‘whatever happens she has to be in peace at the end.’ It has to be a sigh rather than gritting teeth and sweat. So we talked about it and went over and shot this blue-screen element. We were shooting that shot four days before the film opened, a completely ridiculous mess. I don’t know if it works.”
And it ends with gritted teeth and sweat. I have mixed feelings about the ending. Had Fincher been able to get his vision through, then perhaps that ending would work, but as it stands in the theatrical cut, the moment fits in with the ugliness that permeates the rest of this movie. A peaceful sigh doesn’t fit with a grey-brown palette, attempted rape, and a dead little girl getting her ribcage cracked open. Ripley and the alien had become one, and it cursed her until her final moment.
“FILM / Sigourney's mate worse than death”, (22 August 1992) edit
Anthony Lane, “FILM / Sigourney's mate worse than death”, The Independent, (22 August 1992)
- That's it: the trilogy is now complete - uneven, incoherent, often unpalatable, but still one of the great achievements in popular cinema. The last part is the worst, no question, but it isn't your average sequel; for these films contained many sequels within themselves, the same old story flicking round time and again, refusing to give up for dead. As each movie came and went, the heart of darkness kept pumping away: The horror. The horror. The horror.
This time it starts with the credits. Slipped in between the names we see slashes of wild movement, the now familiar elements of evil: acid, fire, a hiss like a hot iron, something clamping on to Ripley's face. By the time we get to the name of the director, David Fincher, we know what he does best. He cuts fast and surely, like a surgeon in a hurry, delving towards the warm root of the problem. No wonder he shoots an autopsy so well. I'd heard about the scene and was dreading it, but there's nothing to look away from, unless you count the little two-handed saw shaped like a parsley chopper. Somehow it doesn't look sick; blood coils silently into a dish, no more than that, leaving our imaginations to do their worst. And their worst is their best, to judge by the nervous wailing that rose from the auditorium, dotted with giggles and gulps.
- Alien3 is hopeless, scarfed in a rusty gloom that's light years away from the sheen of a good blockbuster; no wonder that American audiences soon learnt to stay away. It reads like a suicide note, a pulp version of Celine: 'I'd rather be nothing', or 'I need you to kill me . . . I'm dead anyway'. All three movies have been dank and dour, of course, and that is their triumph. After years of brushed chrome and spacious command rooms, along came Alien, and soon the lights were going out all over space. It was the first film to suggest that a spaceship was just that, a ship in space - a wet, primitive hulk, cavernous yet cramped, with all manner of malevolence shivering behind its timbers. The new film keeps up the claustrophobia but turns it inwards, too, putting the squeeze on the souls of the inhabitants and wringing the fight out of them.
- The alien is all she has, and all she has to kill; Holmes is nothing without Moriarty, Achilles needs Hector more than he ever did Patroclus. Their whole life resides in these few hours of remorseless wrath. What of soul is left, I wonder, when the killing has to stop?
These are grand ways of looking at it, but then the Alien trilogy is grand. Not pretentious and talkative, just laden with images of doom and sexual control, the unstoppably fecund as well as the unbearably blocked. The final part doesn't let us down here, with all its writhing corridors and Satanic furnaces, the odd tongue of flame rasping against Piranesi girders and whale-grey walls. It suffers from poor supporting performances, and a plot that splutters instead of pushing on; but when the chase is on, all is forgiven. Fincher brings on the Steadicam and whips it through tunnels at alien pace, flipping upside down and bulging the walls with wide-angle lenses. You can't tell what the hell is happening, but you know it's hell all right.
I can't give the ending away, but I wish I could. Everything is wrapped up a treat - Fincher can't really tell a tale, but he can wheel on the awe with the best of them. I think he must have been watching Dreyer's Passion of Joan of Arc, which I saw again last month. Both films are graced by actresses with shaven heads and staring eyes, at the furthest reach of their powers; both pound along towards fire and sacrifice, and edit our nerves into thin strips. Dreyer made a masterpiece, Fincher made a mess; but he rounds out a modern myth, and in so doing ensures that, like Lieutenant Ripley, we will never sleep easy again.
“Alien 3” (May 20, 1992) edit
Brian Lowry, “Alien 3”, Variety, (May 20, 1992)
- The shape-shifting "Alien" trilogy reverts back to the form of the first film in this third close encounter—a muddled effort that offers little more than visual splendor to recommend it. Although certain to open strong thanks to the must-see faithful, look for a quick fade beyond the first couple of box office orbits as word-of-mouth and the dour tone pull "Alien3" down to earth, making it a likely also-ran among this summer's blockbusters.
In interviews, star/co-producer Sigourney Weaver has spoken of the producers’ conflict with Fox over crafting a more cerebral film rather than an outright thriller, and that indecisiveness shows.
- In any event, Ripley (Weaver) finds herself stranded on a planet with a bunch of converted convicts who’ve embraced religion, led by Charles S. Dutton of TV’s “Roc.” The colony’s kindly doctor (Charles Dance), with whom Ripley shares another kind of close encounter, suspects something is wrong, but throughout the early part of the story Ripley won’t share her suspicions with him that an Alien has landed on the planet.
That reticence is only one of numerous inexplicable aspects of “Alien3,” which again relies on the same faceless “company” as an unseen heavy while toying furtively with the sexual politics of a lone woman trapped on a planet of murderers, rapists and miscreants.
In that vein, a significant problem stems from the fact that aside from Ripley and perhaps Dutton and Dance, none of these characters has a defined persona, making the bald convicts all virtually indistinguishable Alien-bait.
- Music video director David Fincher doesn’t reveal much finesse with actors in his bigscreen debut, and the screenplay (by producers Walter Hill and David Giler, plus Larry Ferguson) proves fraught with lapses in reason, motivation and logic.
That leaves Weaver to carry the load, but her character is so encumbered with baggage that she can’t really showcase the qualities–particularly evident in the second film–that made the audience empathize with her. Much has been made of her shaved head, but Weaver has more importantly been shorn here, for the most part, of the epic strength that made Ripley such a striking female protagonist in “Aliens.”
As for the much-discussed re-shoot of the movie’s ending, one can only judge what’s on screen, which shows that the screams of heavy-handed religious symbolism can be heard even in space.
- The Alien itself remains a technical marvel in its three repugnant forms, more a tribute to H.R. Giger’s original design than anything else. Fincher, turning to musicvideo editing techniques, resorts to rapid-fire glimpses of the beast, relying on a variety of methods ranging from rotoscoping to puppetry.
Still, we’ve seen those dripping jaws before, and even impressive shots of the creature rapidly scurrying across ceilings don’t justify the fare to be a passenger on this latest voyage.
Other technical aspects are also top of the line, although the production design proves so relentlessly bleak that there’s no relief from the film’s oppressiveness, even when there are lapses in the tension. While the look is an accomplishment, this isn’t the sort of environment that tag-along filmgoers–or even those who bring them–will relish visiting.
“"It certainly wasn't an easy shoot": The story of Alien 3's tortured gestation, as told by its cast and creators”, (August 13, 2015) edit
Darren Scott, “"It certainly wasn't an easy shoot": The story of Alien 3's tortured gestation, as told by its cast and creators”, “Games Radar”, Contributions from SFX Staff published (August 13, 2015)
- By all accounts, Alien 3 should have been one of the most successful sequels of all time. At the close of 1986’s rip-roaring Aliens, Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, having defeated her interplanetary acid-blooded adversaries, retreated into a space pod bound for Earth accompanied by her compatriots Bishop, Hicks and Newt. All four characters were (seemingly) put into a very safe cyber-sleep. The next instalment, one assumed, would pick up shortly thereafter – with the fabulous foursome awake, and in fresh surroundings, pitted against a new horde of hot-tempered Xenomorph menace.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. With ex-music video helmer David Fincher opting to take the franchise in an unexpectedly dark and dingy direction – with a plot detailing Ripley’s struggle for survival on an inauspicious all-male prison-world – 1992’s would-be summer blockbuster, Alien 3, was not what anyone expected. Highlighting just one solitary space-beast, and a group of gun-less victims, the often-meandering movie could not be further removed from the “gung-ho”, blood-pumping bullet ballet that propelled its immediate predecessor into a pop culture phenomenon.
- Initially, the plan was to concentrate on Michael Biehn’s Hicks character – with Weaver taking a back seat to the action. When this idea was scrapped, later screenplays were commissioned – including an aliens-on-Earth option courtesy of Eric Red (who had penned the popular vampire potboiler Near Dark) to the now-legendary wooden-monastery planet take instigated by Vincent Ward (who obtained a credit for “story” on the final flick). Finally, though, original Alien creators Walter Hill and David Giler were brought in, alongside Highlander scripter Larry Ferguson, to form the film that became Alien 3 – although Fincher and his own pen-man, Rex Pickett, would do a further rejig as shooting was about to commence.
- For some, part of the interest of the Alien franchise comes from the underlying elements of maternal malevolence and gender-subversion, from a male giving birth to the penetrative-parent alien. You can see Alien 3 as extending these intriguing elements, with Ripley forced to dominate a group of males, and in the process masculinising herself (witness that shaved head), before dying in the midst of giving birth to a beast that she, understandably, does not want to introduce to the world.
According to Hill, though, giving too much Freudian thought to this tale of torrid parentage is best approached with caution. “You would really need to explain some of that stuff to me,” he chuckles. “Listen, I once made a wise ass remark. It was about 25 years ago and I have never had so many letters in my life. I said something about psychoanalysis – basically that it is astrology for intellectuals, and I got about 200 letters scolding me. Everybody has to make a living, though, and some people have obviously decided they can make living out of writing that stuff on the Alien films. But that is not the business I am in. All I know is that we just wanted to make good scary movies. Maybe some stuff got snuck in there without me realising – who knows?”
- “I was, and am, surprised that the franchise kept going,” admits Hill. “When we did Alien all we wanted to do was to bring a more sophisticated style of filmmaking to what had always been regarded as a B-picture. I always thought that if you did that you would have a commercially rewarding endeavour. But who knew that approach would lead to the Hollywood you have now, where more serious dramatic films have been squeezed out by that B-movie approach. The fact that our monster movie contributed to the loss of a wider approach to filmmaking is, in a way, quite sad.”
Such a pessimistic statement seems entirely fitting for a feature on sci-fi’s most famous feelbad follow-up. Even so, we would wager that few would argue that, in the grand scale of studio sequels, it’s unlikely that anyone will ever again dare to destroy a potent celluloid property like David Fincher did with Alien 3. For that reason alone, we can but admire the decisions – however mad – that led to this most unlikely of threequels.
”The Unloved, Part 1: ALIEN 3” (December 1, 2013) edit
Matt Zoller Seitz & Scout Tafoya, ”The Unloved, Part 1: ALIEN 3”, (December 1, 2013)
- The end product was set on an all-male prison planet, with inmates and jailers instead of monks, but it retained a bit of Ward's flavor. Everyone was bald thanks to a lice infestation. The sweaty domes, the faintly monastic single-sex casting of the prisoners, the fearful and hateful descriptions of women, and the invocation of religious language and imagery gave the whole thing a Biblical or medieval feel—and as Ripley overcame her depression and near-paralysis over losing her surrogate daughter Newt and maybe-boyfriend Cpl. Hicks in the crash, her possessed, crusading demeanor had echoes of Saint Joan. As Tafoya points out in his video essay, the direction, photography, writing and production design of "Alien 3" reference a tradition of religious art and tales of spiritual torment, even filming the shorn heroine so that she resembles Falconetti, the star of Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent classic "The Passion of Joan of Arc.
- The sight of a woman testing herself against macho environments was always a fixture in the "Alien" series, with its threats of rape and impregnation, and its mostly male casts swaggering through landscapes of industrial or military machinery, cursing and smoking and muttering about "the bonus situation" or teasing each other as "ladies." But this aspect becomes more pointed, and more poignant, in "Alien 3." The inmates' misogyny is built right into the storyline. The religious elements are teased out through prayers and talk of devils and deliverance via Ripley's Joan of Arc figure. And much of the picture is—when you boil it down to its essence—about a woman who was sleep-raped by a monster trying to abort the spawn before company executives that masterminded the crime can cut it out of her, and use it as the seed for a biological weapons program.
- Because the third film revolves almost entirely around Ripley's desire to protect the integrity of her body—specifically her womb—"Alien 3" feels more purely feminist than the previous two movies, for all their innovative images of a badass heroine fighting bugs whose bodies fused male and female genitalia into a Freudian nightmare. In the first movie, she's fighting to save her crew. In the second, she's fighting to save a little girl, and in so doing, embracing her own latent potential for motherhood; the climactic action scene even brings her face-to-face with another mother, the alien queen, in an egg chamber. These are all engaging, relatable motivations, but they're culturally conservative, because they play on the traditional image of woman as potential victim or maternal protector.
In "Alien 3," Ripley is fighting for Ripley, period. She has to. Nobody else will fight for her. She's been betrayed and abandoned by everyone and everything she ever valued. She's shattered by grief, staring numbly out at a universe that barely seems worth saving. She has allies but no protectors—nor, it seems, does she expect any, not after enduring so much suffering en route to this hellhole. The film's unexpectedly powerful final sequence flips the ending of Cameron's "Aliens" on its head. The second movie closed with an image of Ripley in hypersleep alongside her "daughter" Newt, with her potential mate Hicks slumbering nearby: a fairy tale image of a (makeshift) nuclear family, heartwarming in an almost Spielbergian way. The climax of "Alien 3" shows Ripley leaping into a firey pit to destroy the murderous "baby" inside of her. When it tears out of her gut anyway, she grabs it and holds it close to make sure it burns. Her pose evokes a mother cradling a newborn.
"Alien 3 is far from the worst Alien movie. In fact, it’s pretty great."], (May 22, 2017) edit
Peter Suderland, "Alien 3 is far from the worst Alien movie. In fact, it’s pretty great.", Vox, (May 22, 2017)
- Reviews were generally unkind to the film that eventually made it to theaters, calling it stylish but shallow. Variety described Alien 3 as “a muddled effort that offers little more than visual splendor to recommend it,” while the New York Times complained that the film was too dark and too implausible. The third installment in the franchise “is nothing to scream about,” wrote a critic for the Washington Post.
- Alien 3 is very much a David Fincher film, as distinctly the product of his dark and twisted imagination as Seven (film)|Seven]] or Zodiac or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Just as the icy survivalism of Alien helped set the tone for Ridley Scott’s career, and the guns-blazing ferocity of Aliens helped pave the way for James Cameron’s later work, Alien 3 works as a setup for the rest of David Fincher’s films.
It’s nihilistic and misanthropic, bleak and despairing, slickly shot and bathed in ragged industrial gloom. It’s a big-budget movie about human frailty and the inevitability of death in which the characters are never particularly likable or heroic and the protagonist dies at the end. As in Seven], the ending is a shock downer. As in Fight Club, the character relationships are built from a series of existential dialogues. As in Panic Room, the story is driven by the need to use one’s surroundings to survive what is essentially a home invasion. The alien of Alien 3 is, in a way, Fincher’s first serial killer.
- Visually, Alien 3 may be the most distinctive entry in the franchise. Cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth, whose work on Blade Runner defined a certain decaying urban sci-fi aesthetic, had to quit after a short time on the job. But the final work by British photographer Alex Thomson is stunning in its own way. Backgrounds are textured with steam columns, damp surfaces, and sharp beams of light that give the sets a textured physicality. For much of the film, the camera lingers close to the floor, pointed up, as if to emphasize the close confines of the prison space and the impossibility of escape.
Beyond the visuals, Alien 3 also excels as an exercise in imaginative world building. Its lonely prison planet is as richly detailed and lived-in an environment as the industrial corridors of Alien or the abandoned mining colony of Aliens. Its sequestered society, in which a religious contingent effectively runs the prison while a small group of overseers struggles to maintain a facade of control, is as nuanced a cinematic sociology as the corporate power structures that drove the first film, or the military conventions that powered the second. Like its predecessors, Alien 3 is an exploration of human power dynamics in a confined setting and the limits of institutional control.
Fincher, in other words, put his own particular stamp on the tropes that animate the Alien franchise: He took the ideas that Scott and Cameron had developed and remade them in his own image. His ideas may be too bleak, too gloomy, too misanthropic for some, but they are clearly his, and in Alien 3 they are presented as forcefully as ever.
“MOVIE REVIEWS : ‘Alien 3’: The Ultimate Duel” (May 22, 1992) edit
Michael Wilmington, “MOVIE REVIEWS : ‘Alien 3’: The Ultimate Duel”, LA Times, (May 22, 1992)
- Full of clanging corridors, belching furnaces and ravaging monsters, the cavernous maze-world of “Alien 3" (citywide) is not only seemingly the last stop for the entire “Alien” series—it looks like civilization’s last stop as well.
In a way, that’s what this erratic, ambitious super-thriller is about. It’s not just the ultimate duel between Sigourney Weaver’s beleaguered Ripley and the kill-crazy extraterrestrials that have chased her through three hellacious movies, it’s about running into the ultimate cul-de-sac.
- “Alien 3" isn’t a classy, visionary nightmare like Ridley Scott’s 1979 “Alien” and it’s not really a hell-for-leather, super-tech toboggan ride like James Cameron’s 1986 “Aliens.” It has a different mood than either of its predecessors, and a different look: stylish but gloomy, portentously grim. It does succeed in rounding the three movies off, not smashingly but interestingly.
- Fincher has good designers and a great cinematographer—Alex Thomson, who lit “Excalibur” for John Boorman—and he’s obviously trying for something closer to Scott’s “Alien” than Cameron’s. A rock video specialist, he wants eerie Gothic chic instead of a slam-bang, cleanly lit apocalypse; he wants his images to have a shine, a pizazz, a depth. But, although “Alien 3" is stylish—and ambitious—the movie doesn’t have the soul or guts to sustain that ambition. It gets swallowed up in its own technology and genre expectations. And Fincher gets stalled in the drama, trapped in too many scenes of talking heads looming out of the gloom.
- The underlying theme of all the “Alien” movies, the distant glossy ancestors of Howard Hawks’ 1951 “The Thing,” is the rot in the technology, bugs-against-machines.
In a way, this “Alien” capstone is about the end of everything, a technological and spiritual meltdown—which, considering the social and governmental breakdowns all around us, may be appropriate to 1992. But, however much it tries, the movie can’t escape the bugs in its own machine: the money-driven monsters that keep driving it into infernal cul-de-sacs.
- Sigourney Weaver - Ellen Ripley
- Charles S. Dutton - Dillon
- Charles Dance - Jonathan Clemens
- Brian Glover - Harold Andrews
- Ralph Brown - Aaron
- Paul McGann - Golic
- Danny Webb - Morse
- Pete Postlethwaite - David
- Holt McCallany - Junior
- Peter Guinness - Gregor
- Clive Mantle - William
- DeObia Oparei - Arthur
- Phil Davis - Kevin
- Niall Buggy - Eric
- Christopher Fairbank - Murphy
- Lance Henriksen - Michael Bishop (Bishop II)