I picked up this film after learning that it was made by one of my favorite directors, Jean-Pierre Jeunet (City of Lost Children, Amélie). It was my hope that this installment would be better than Alien3 which, at least on that count, it succeeds, even though that’s a low mountain to climb.
In this installment, 200 years have passed since Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) death. A splinter military group working secretly without orders clones her (and her alien parasite) from the copious amounts of her blood left over from Alien3. However, after removing her alien, they discover that the cloning process has left Ripley part alien and the alien part Ripley. As usual, the Government, now replacing that evil corporation, screws up and Ripley and some newfound smuggler friends must escape the alien hordes.
The plot for this film is a predictable rehash of the last three films. You have your evil massive organization who keeps forgetting that the aliens are really bad. You have an android subplot (this time played by Winona Ryder) which adds nothing but continuity to the rest of the movies. You even have your ubiquitous “Kill me” scene where Ripley must kill someone with a flamethrower to save them from too much pain.
However, without sounding too critical there are some good points to this film. The cast is perfect for an Alien film pairing up big names (Weaver and Ryder) with an excellent set of character actors like Dominique Pinion (The Return of Martin Guerre and Amélie), Brad Dourif (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Two Towers) and the ever odd Ron Perlman (Enemy at the Gates). This cast gives a valiant effort to bring something out of a script that seems to have been written by some stoned 13 year old boys. Even so, with lines like “Earth, man. What a shithole” and “Yeah, like you never fucked a robot” it’s hard not to wince.
However, the one thing that really saves this movie from the truly awful category is the cinematography and feel of the film. Jeunet, known for his dark films, has really kept the feel of the first two films. The underwater Alien sequence is nothing short of genius. Even the alien/Ripley love child (no, I’m not kidding) follows with the dark and brooding spirit of the original films.
The best I can say about this film is it redeems the series from the catastrophe of Alien3. However, this movie is repetitive, silly and without depth. Let us hope that this is the final film in the series so that no more slander can be thrown at what was once an terrifying experience.