I’m trying to get through the reviews of all four Alien
movies before the rerelease of the first on Halloween. That will
also finish off all of the movie
review requests I’ve received
that I can fill with ease. (Any
other requests you’d like to make can be sent to me here.)

Premise

A stowaway forces Ripley’s escape pod down on a prison planet.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Sigourney Weaver plays Ellen Ripley, with a supporting cast that
includes Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, and Paul McGann.
This
entry in the series was directed by David Fincher, and written by
David Giler & Walter Hill and Larry Ferguson, based on a
story by
Vincent Ward. Complete cast and crew info is available from the
IMDB
.

High Point

The “can we make fire?” conversation.

Low Point

The pointlessness of the film. It really seemed like someone
wanted
to write about the prison planet society, and to write the last film
in the series. The first half was about the society, and the second
half was building to the ending, with the entire plot kicked off by a
contrivance that doesn’t seem consistent with the end of the
second
film. (If the sensors could tell the thing was on board, wouldn’t
they have checked for them before taking off?)

The Scores

Once again, credit for originality is granted for
changing
genres mid-series. They tried to take this someplace new,
particularly with the way they ended the film. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were great when they were under the
control of
Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis. Once they switched to
rotoscoping,
the matte lines jumped out, the colours were inconsistent, the
feet
slipped back and forth on the surfaces, and so forth. The
rotoscoping
was just never convincing. In 1992, that was inexcusable. I give
it
3 out of 6.

The story was uneven. The first half was a
slow-paced prison
flick that was inconsisent with the previous films in a few ways
(facehuggers no longer die after implantation, aliens can spit acid
as
well as bleed it, etc.) Then there’s a sudden shift to a suspense
thriller in the second half that continues through the movie. Each
half is well done on its own, but they don’t fit well with each
other. (I don’t mind the genre shift compared to the rest of the
series; they’d already done that once.) I give it 3 out of 6.

The acting wasn’t bad, but there were so few well
defined
characters with any depth that it wouldn’t be too hard to fill out the
cast. Sigourney Weaver was the only one given anything to really
work
with, and she wasn’t as convincing as she was in the second film.
I
give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was pretty
tame. I give
them credit for the ending they used, but the rest was bloody
boring.
I give it 4 out of 6.

The production was flawed. The action sequences
weren’t
directed by Fincher, which would explain the lack of attention to
detail. I can buy a distorted aspect ratio for the way an alien
sees,
but the repeated mistake of rotating the camera from the ceiling
to
the floor through the middle of the air where the alien has
nothing to climb or walk on was a pretty big blooper. Elliot
Goldenthal’s musical score failed to inspire me, which I find is a
typical
reaction (on my part) to his work. The editing had some awkward
dissolves that seemed to serve no purpose that straight cuts
couldn’t
serve. David Fincher has done great work since, so I’ll give him
the
benefit of the doubt and choose to believe the stories about him
disowning the film and walking out after principal photography
completed because of the level of studio interference. I give the
production 3 out of 6.

Overall, it’s not a horrible movie, but it’s certainly not
great. (I only own this and the fourth film because I found a copy
of
the DVD Alien Legacy collection with a VHS price tag on it. It
was
cheaper than buying the first two on individual DVDs.) I’d
recommend
it only to die-hard fans of the series who want to bridge the gap
between the second and third films. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Alien 3 receives 25 out of 42.