Two hundred years have passed since Ripley made the ultimate sacrifice on Fiorina 161. But over the years, and after seven horrific failures, scientists have finally cloned a perfect replica of Ripley, which includes the alien Queen growing inside her at the time of her death. But this new breed of alien is far more intelligent than its predecessors – a fact the scientists don’t realize until after The Betty has arrived with additional human hosts.
eyelights: the extra development.
eyesores: the new opening shot. the straight-to-video vibe. the redundancy of this so-called “special edition”.
“My mommy always said there were no monsters. No real ones. But there are.”
In 2003, in preparation for the release of their extensive ‘Alien Quadrilogy’ boxed set, 20th Century Fox enlisted the help of ‘Alien: Resurrection‘ director Jean-Pierre Jeunet to conceive of a special edition to his picture. After all, there were directors’ cuts of the second and third entries in the series. Plus which they had managed to coax Ridley Scott to revisit the original, too.
Jeunet naturally did the same. But he did it with one caveat: the new version would play with an introduction that he filmed, indicating that the theatrical version was in fact the director’s cut – and his preferred version of the two. He considers the special edition merely an alternate version of the same story. And, as such, he didn’t allow it to be labelled a ‘Director’s Cut’ (unlike Scott).
There are very few new scenes, although some of the existing footage has been rearranged in some instances:
- The most jarring change comes in the opening and ending bits. The opening shot is of a toothy alien bug that first suggests the xenomorphs. As the camera pulls back, it reveals the CGI insect. It looks really crappy. In fact, it sucks so hard that I thought I was watching straight-to-video fare – an impression which wasn’t helped by watching some guy crush it then shoot it into the window with a straw. !@#$. Awful, awful stuff. I heard that Jeunet had intended his film to be more comedic, but c’mon…
- Ripley wakes up as they’re sewing her back up, after having removed the xenomorph from her ribcage. She clutches the surgeon’s arm and crushes it. Aggressive as she is, I couldn’t help but wonder how she got back into her cell after this scene. The picture made more sense without this scene for that reason alone; the first time we see her she’s still sedated. Which you’d expect anyway.
- When the scientists are doing tests on Ripley, they discover that much of her adult abilities and memories were retained or returning. There’s an extended bit where she is shown a drawing of a girl, and she begins to smile to herself and weeps. That’s it. They didn’t develop that moment any further. Presumably she was remembering her daughter and/or Newt (from ‘Aliens‘). Presumably.
- When Frank asks General Perez to let his crew stay on board for a couple of days, the original has him mutter “Mi casa, su casa”, and that’s it. It didn’t make sense that he would allow it. Here he insists on a few rules, including no fighting. This made more sense, but then the crew get into a fight and they don’t get expelled. So it’s a no-win scenario: whether it’s in or not the scene doesn’t make sense for one reason or another.
- The ending has Ripley and Call sitting outside the Betty, looking down at a devastated Paris. Based on their ambivalence, it suggests that this is the general state of things on Earth. There’s a finality and hopelessness there, whereas the other ending seems to leave things more open. Perhaps that’s why it was changed: no doubt FOX insisted on the change to allow for another sequel.
There are other changes in this special edition, but they’re fairly insignificant. For a full breakdown please consult the following page: http://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=1399
What I found really interesting about this version of the film is that the tone seems different: there’s more comedy, and it feels like a low-budget b-movie. But I wonder if it was just the beginning that affected my perception, or if the time of day (I watched it midday instead of late at night) or my incredulity going in influenced me. Either way, it felt like a different film to me.
I also became aware of some things that I hadn’t paid attention to the first time around:
- Firstly, the dialogues are stupid: “Who do I have to !@#$ to get off this ship?”, Ripley asks. Really? This is the best that the writers could come up with? And this is supposed to sound in character for Ripley? Give me a break… If anything, to me it sounds like a desperate attempt by an aging action heroine to hold on to her sex appeal. Because otherwise, she would just say “Who do I have to kill to get off this ship”. Period.
- I suddenly occurred to me that, if Ripley’s blood is acid, how could the medical crew remove the xenomorph from her chest? Wouldn’t their equipment melt at the touch of her blood and goo? Similarly, why didn’t Call’s knife melt when she stabbed Ripley in the hand? And why didn’t Ripley’s blood splatter around and burn Call or the others? I mean, it did later on, when it was convenient (ex: when she had to get rid of the crossbreed xenomorph), but not when it should have.
- On a similar note, at one point Ripley shoots through a xenomorph’s mouth from a hole in the floor, but she is not splattered by any of its blood or guts – which should at least have trickled downward, if not poured outright onto her. Pretty clean shot, huh?
- When Ripley burns up the content of Room 7, Call should have been left behind, based on how they were positioned when she gave Ripley the flamethrower. And yet, when Ripley steps out of the room, Call is in the hall with the others. Hmmm… not so sure.
- At one point, when the group come out of the water, they find themselves surrounded by nesting facehuggers. Ripley gets one in the face, but manages to get it off after a long underwater struggle. Really? Was it a lame facehugger, one that couldn’t find her pie-hole?
I have no idea why I started noticing these things this time around. Seems like I’m late to the party. But there you have it.
I don’t have much to say about ‘Alien: Resurrection SE’, except “skip it”. The original is already flawed and somehow this one makes matters worse. I didn’t think that it was possible, but I ended up liking this even less – and I used to be one of the few defenders of this picture. Well, so much for that. I am now of the opinion that ‘Alien’ is fine on its own (although ‘Aliens’ has its strengths too).
Beyond that, however, the series is a tosser.
Date of viewing: December 28, 2014