Alien³ (1992)

(Second viewing, On DVD, May 2005) I didn’t like Alien 3 on first viewing, and it’s not another viewing with thirty minutes of special edition material that will enhance my opinion of the film. Sequels are usually launched with the implicit premise that the built-in audience is buying the tickets in exchange for familiar characters and premises. This film ignores this implicit agreement and spits in the face of everyone looking for a little bit of Aliens magic. But even more sadly, it doesn’t offer anything worthwhile as a replacement: muddy criminal monks, all alike, being eaten one by one. Ripley becoming a hollow shell of a character. There may be intriguing visuals here and there, but there’s scarcely a memorable scene in the entire film (well, except for the lava pit back flip), nothing that would want you to see the film another time. Let’s not even try to find a good character in this mess. Sad, humourless, dull and depressing, with nary any viewing pleasure. And there’s scarcely any innovation in terms of the Alien mythology. Fortunately, director David Fincher’s career survived this mess and went on to better things. The “Alien Quadrilogy” box-set special edition includes tons of documentary detailing in obsessive detail the flawed development process that made the failure of the film a foregone conclusion. Heck, even the commentary track participants spend some time discussing their disappointment. Fincher is nowhere to be found as a primary participant to the supplementary material: We don’t wonder why. We just wonder why the film was allowed to exist.

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