194. Alien³ (US 1992)

 

Ripley finds herself on a prison colony planet.

Director: David Fincher

Screenplay: David Gilet, Walter Hill, Larry Ferguson

Story: Vincent Ward

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dance, Brian Glover, Charles S. Dutton, Brian Glover, Danny Brown, Lance Henriksen

Bit parts: Paul McGann, Carl Chase (the scariest gob in Liverpool and outer space)

Fact: Ward’s original story was mangled out of all recognition (as the appearance of three screenwriting credits would testify). Many scenes were  from the final cut at the studio’s insistence (including a graphic scene of Weaver covered in tiny caterpillar-like parasites) and Fincher was unhappy with the final ‘dog’s breakfast’ version which was released.hich was finally released.

 

Peter Postlethwaite (with 'ciggy'); sent to prison planet for poor quality comedy Indian (via Warrington) accent in 'The Usual Suspects'

The original Alien is best, but this comes second in the quadrilogy. The much vaunted Aliens is spoilt by the ridiculous gung-ho posturings of the actors playing the ‘space marines’ and its ridiculous, bombastic screenplay (two of the above named screenwriters were responsible along with James “I’m the King of the World” Cameron). It also looks very dated and very ‘eighties’ (when used in a pejorative sense).

                 

There’s lots wrong with Alien³ (as has been chronicled by many others), but director Fincher creates a suitably dark, melancholic world (anticipating his own much better ‘7’ in the process) and it’s enjoyable to see a variety of British B, C and D listers being wasted by the alien and other sundry plot devices.

There are good performances from Weaver (mimicking the look of Carl Dreyer’s ‘Joan of Arc’), Glover (for once his show off tendencies are curbed) and particularly Dance as a disgraced doctor sent to the prison planet for bad behaviour on Earth.

Carl Chase (two along from Weaver): part man, part dog.

Many of the other actors are wasted. McGann is barely visible, Carl Chase’s visage is too scary even for an ‘R18’ and the actor who played ‘Gavin’ in Brookside (as he’s known at the Old Vic) barely registers on the scale. Does anyone else remember the risqué dialogue from early Brookside ? ‘Gavin’ had problems conceiving with ‘Petra ’ because of (and I quote) “a vein in his thingy”.

Charlie Kaufman couldn’t have written that line,

Ripley checks the vein in Gavin's thingy for alien spores.

A particularly solemn film which is closer in spirit to Ridley Scott’s film than Cameron’s awful Americanisation/McDonaldsisation of the franchise.

 And Alien Resurrection’s horrible imagery makes me want to spew up. But it’s better than Aliens.

 

Bizarrely, Alien³ and Terminator2 (Cameron, again) share the same blast furnace/self sacrifice ending, but Fincher’s version just shades it, if only for the homage to Dreyer as Weaver falls to oblivion.

A bit pretentious I know; in fact, I’m stroking a perfectly trimmed goatee* as I type this.

*On my arse.

Ripley: after using the Blue House 'toilets'.