Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Brian Glover, Pete Postlethwaite
Directed by: David Fincher
Written By: David Giler, Walter Hill, Larry Ferguson
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 54 min
In the third installment of the Alien franchise, our hero Ripley crash lands on a prison planet without a script!
The production problems with Alien 3 were well documented even before the film was eventually released. Lots of studio meddling, an unfinished script and no clear vision for what this film should be, all contributed to one of the weakest installments in the series. It was certainly a massive step down from Alien and Aliens that’s for sure.
But Alien 3 is not without its charms, and considering the kind of director David Fincher is, I can’t help but wonder how much better Alien 3 would have been if the conditions before filming were more organized.
It’s certainly a stunning looking film that’s for sure with that damp rusty look throughout the prison complex, and the great outfits worn by the guards and prisoners. Everything looks like it belongs there, and despite the incomplete and ever-changing script, the cast do an amazing job with their characters.
Especially Sigourney Weaver who always manages to present a new aspect of Ripley’s character in every alien film. This time around, it’s someone who seems completely beaten mentally and physically. These creatures have taken away everything she cares about, and the only weapon she has left against them is to end her own life, but can’t bring herself to do it.
Compelling stuff, and again, it was a shame that the script wasn’t finished before filming began. Isn’t that film making class 101? Always have a script before filming begins! Anyway, we can’t change it now, despite a special edition released in 2003 – more on that later. All we can do is take what we’re given and enjoy its select qualities. Which would also include an awesome score by Elliot Goldenthal.
Alien 3 has a different look and feel to the first two films in the franchise. It’s not as action packed as Aliens, and not as scary as Alien. There are plenty of bloody gruesome deaths though, and the POV alien shots as it chases the prisoners through the prison complex are fun to watch.
Best Format: << Spoilers >>
Despite its problems, this is still a big screen event. If your local theater was screening this I recommend you attend that showing. At home a HD viewing is recommended. There is a special edition of the movie that adds about 23 extra minutes of footage. Non of that footage though in my opinion adds anything new to the story. I personally prefer the original as it keeps the running time under two hours, and it keeps the dog as the host for the Alien. Which makes more sense later in the film when you see how the Alien moves. In the special edition, the alien bursts out of a dead cow.
Best moment: << Spoilers! I’m serious! >>