Next up in the Sci-Fi Chronicles book is Joss Whedon’s take on the Alien series, with the very divisive Alien: Resurrection. And while I, personally, despised the final act of the film, the xenomorph hybrid and all the hoopla that came with it, there are some redeeming things throughout.
The stories of how Fox messed with Whedon’s original script, and the fact that the director had a different vision from the one conveyed in the script are legend, and legion, so I won’t rehash them here.
I will say this for the film, however, you can see the seeds of Whedon’s science fiction series, Firefly in the crew of the Betty, and their interactions with each other, and their universe, even as trouble is hatched.
The Betty is a small ship that takes jobs where they can find them, and is crewed by a bunch of misfits. She is manned by her captain, Elgyn (the gravelly voiced Michael Wincott), pilot, Hillard (Kim Flowers), engineer, the wheelchair bound Vriess (Dominique Pinon), muscle, Johner (Ron Perlman) and Christie (Gary Dourdan) and the mysterious girl with a secret, Call (Winona Ryder).
They are dropping off their cargo to a military ship, the Auriga, that is headed by General Perez (Dan Hedaya) where a science team, including Gediman (Brad Douriff) are conducting cloning experiments from recovered Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) DNA, and growing a xenomorph queen.
Things go bad, as they do, and instead of being able to vanquish the alien menace, they are forced to run for their lives, and hopefully find a way off the ship before things get really bad.
This isn’t the Ripley we’ve encountered before, she’s a clone, with some memories, but also her DNA has mixed with the xenomorph’s, she’s cold, brutal, and not to be messed with. Weaver imbues her character with recognizable traits, but not only from her character but that of the alien as well.
The Betty’s crew is slowly whittled down as the aliens run rampant, but their dialogue while it happens and when they are introduced, feels very familiar.
And while I always enjoy seeing the xenomorph onscreen, I can’t help but wish that once again, Fox had trusted the writer and creative teams, and let them make the film as originally planned.
The first half of the film actually works pretty well, it’s when things go sideways that the story takes a dive, which is too bad, this could have been something really cool. I love the look of the world, it’s set some 200 years after the events of Alien 3, and the world seems like a logical extension of what we have seen in this universe before.
The stuff with the clones is very cool, and should have been explored a little more, we needed more time with the crew, as they were just fun, and seeing them interact was cool, but then, Whedon has always had an ear for dialogue, and it was interesting to see the xenomorph in new environs, but I just wish it could have been more. Still, I definitely prefer this film as opposed to the horrid Alien Vs. Predator films. Ugh.