One night I got a bucket of fried chicken and proceeded to watch all the Alien movies. That’s Alien, Aliens, Alien³, and Alien Resurrection. I took a break and returned another night with more chicken (stewed, not fried) and went through Alien vs. Predator and Alien vs. Predator: Requiem.
|In space no one can hear you scream.|
|This is a great movie.|
|Although this movie is very sci-fi, it’s mostly a horror flick in in a sci-fi setting. There was just enough gore shown in skillful ways to make your skin (or stomach) crawl away from you. In addition, a lot of it was believable, that is, I didn’t catch myself going “yeah, right” while doin’ the ol’ eye-roll. Even|
|This movie, I think, is the first truly scary alien movie. Most aliens are scary because they attack or shoot you. This alien is scary because it doesn’t want to kill you immediately. It needs you alive so it can let its children make a nice little nest inside of you. You basically become the alien’s bitch.|
|Alien made me realize why people have “favorite” directors. I don’t pay attention to who directs what, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Ridley Scott directed this movie. Like the uncultured hooligan that I am, I thought directors stayed within a certain genre (a lot do, and a lot don’t), but now I realize many directors develop a particular style and style doesn’t need to stay within genres. Ridley Scott has directed a few of my favorite movies such as Gladiator (2000) and Kingdom of Heaven (2005). Now that I know this, I will go see more Ridley Scott movies to see if I am equally entertained.|
|“You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? The perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.”|
|This time it’s war.|
|Aliens was a fabulous follow-up to Alien.|
|It’s convenient that the first film was a bit open-ended at its conclusion, but this movie definitely doesn’t let down on continuing the story. Instead of the isolation and psychological horror of the first film, this one is straight-up Call-In-The-Marines and Blow-It-All-To-Bits action, after we see some corporate bureaucracy. This movie wasn’t made to stylistically resemble Alien at all, and that is why it works — it’s not just “more of the same”.|
|So, now that I know different directors can direct different movies in the same franchise, I looked up James Cameron, the director of this movie. I find that I have seen a couple of his movies and some of his movies (Titanic) I have absolutely no intention of seeing. By the way, he made $257 million in 2010.|
|“What the hell are we supposed to use, man? Harsh language?”|
|“I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit.”|
|“You know, Burke, I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them f#cking each other over for a goddamn percentage.” (try pool players, hahaha)|
|This time, it’s hiding in the most terrifying place of all.|
|This movie wasn’t bad, even though I can feel it’s quite a bit aways from the greatness of the first two films.|
|Ripley’s escape ship from the previous film crash lands next to a penal colony/lead foundry. The characters are shallow and stodgy. The prisoners are — predictably — killed off one-by-one until they decide to make a last stand. The dialogue in this movie was not memorable. It’s a lot of yelling and religion.|
|The best part was the climatic chase scene where the prisoners try to trap the alien. I really like it that they showed parts of the chase from the alien’s point of view as it runs on the walls and ceilings. Another nice touch was how this particular alien, having gestated in a dog (or cow, if you watched the director’s cut), is more quadrupedal than the ones in other movies, which had gestated in humans.|
|No quotes from this movie got a reaction from me.|
|Alien Resurrection (1997)|
|Hell gives birth.|
|This movie is pretty good.|
|I liked the premise of the movie, that they managed to clone Ripley from previously frozen blood samples and that those blood samples had the alien queen DNA intermingled with her DNA. This angle, that the Ripley clone is part alien, is played up quite a bit in subtle ways to great effect.|
|It’s definitely a shoot-em-up type movie and the characters (who fit the typical formula for a rag-tag mercenary bunch) die in predictable ways. Lots of witty dialogue which may not have been terribly memorable but definitely elicited a chuckle at the time. Winona Ryder’s character hid a neat secret that I did not anticipate. The yellow alien-human hybrid is creepy as all hell and its features are just so well-designed.|
|The conclusion of this movie is somewhat open-ended, but I don’t forsee them continuing with sequels. We’re so familiar with the alien series that it would be hard to make a good movie that continues the story. That’s why the rumblings about the production of a prequel to the whole series makes sense and I do await that movie with interest.|
|“Hey, Ripley. I heard you, like, ran into these things before?” “That’s right.” “Wow, man. So, like, what did you do?” “I died.”|
|“I should have known. No human being is that humane.”|
That’s it for the Alien series. A friend of mine commented,
“Often overlooked fact: the Alien movies are one of the few major movie franchises that has/had a strong female lead role as the main character. Sigourney Weaver did a great job anchoring those movies. And the aliens are pretty cool too.”
I agree. Ellen Ripley is a badass character and I now feel inadequate. I would also like an orange cat named “Jones”.
Now, we deviate greatly from the original series and into the world of the Alien vs. Predator franchise which doesn’t feature Lt. Ellen Ripley (and boy is she glad it doesn’t).
|Alien vs. Predator (2004)|
|Whoever wins… we lose.|
|This was laughable but entertaining.|
|The majority of this movie takes place in Antartica. Our protagonist Alexa Woods, the guide for this little camping trip, is introduced to us early on, climbing an ice wall. She answers a phone call. True, she answers it on a handsfree set (no ticket there), but, goddammit, I highly doubt real ice climbers in precarious situations answer phone calls while they are climbing. In all Antarctic scenes, you’ll notice it’s not very cold. A light parka with no face protection seems completely adequate in a blizzard. Uh, right. There’s a lot of this “yeah, right — whatever” going on in the movie.|
|The analogy I use is: Alien vs. Predator -is to- Real Antartic expedition as Pool Hall Junkies -is to- Real pool world. You get the idea.|
|If you ignore these eye-roll moments (of which there are many and you soon become inured to them), the movie is all right. It’s predictable and not very memorable, but makes good background noise. I also liked the Lovecraftian portrayal as humans being unimportant in the battle between one species and another.|
|There was one scene that did strike a chord within me.|
Alien vs. Predator: an allegory for my league pool experience
And now, I play in tournaments where there are still annoying people who talk sh#t and shark you, but to a lesser extent. Also, the settings are generally more dignified and people’s first thoughts are not that I play pool because I am looking for a boyfriend/husband/green card.
|Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)|
|The last place we want to be is in the middle.|
|The last place you want to be is in front of this movie.|
And there you have it, my Aliens and Aliens vs. Predator movie experience. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Catching Up With Cinema and as always, your movie suggestions are welcomed in the comments section.
I’m also trying out this new social media toolbar below so if you’d like to share/tweet/email my posts to others, now you can! With ease!