'Alien: Resurrection' Review

Updated on March 19, 2019
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie survival movies, but I love classics and various cult pieces too.

How to resurrect a franchise whose last film was loathed and its main character is undeniably dead? You call Joss Whedon (Toy Story, Buffy, The Avengers) to write your script, you bring Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie, Delicatessen) to direct, and you assume total commitment with a borderline-pulp plot on cloning and mixed breeds.

And although at the time the franchise was at its lowest point and the reviews were mixed, the truth is that Alien: Resurrection achieved its purpose. It's a dignified, grotesque, fun and bloody addition to the saga.

200 years have passed since the infamous events of Alien 3. Weyland-Yutani Company no longer exists (Walmart bought it lol), but the United Systems Military Auriga is the new unethical greedy corporation of humankind.

After 7 failed attempts, they have managed to clone Lt. Ellen Ripley (and most important, the alien queen inside her) thanks to a blood sample collected in the furnace where she committed suicide.

The result of the experiment is a Ripley-8 (Sigourney Weaver) with some aspects of the xenomorphs and an alien queen with her own reproductive system. Disgusting. Wonderful.

A group of colorful and charismatic mercenaries including Call (Winona Ryder), Johner (Ron Perlman), Vriess (Dominique Pinon) and Christie (Gary Dourdan) arrive at the Auriga to deliver several illegally kidnapped humans in stasis, which will be used by the military scientists as hosts for the aliens.

Of course, all hell breaks loose.

One of the many achievements of Alien: Resurrection is that the xenomorphs are back on being unstoppable, threatening blood-thirsty creatures. This is unquestionably an action film, but the horror is lurking.

Not only do "traditional" aliens prove to have their characteristic superior hunter instinct, but the design of the new aliens, such as the newborn (a hybrid between xenomorph and human) are creepy, horrendous nightmare fuel.

Of course, Ripley's femininity and doomed motherhood remain the most important theme of the saga. Ripley-8 is a mix of memories and genetic material. She has the memories of the original Ripley but also has acid blood and superhuman strength.

She also quotes Newt as if they were his own words. Ripley-8 is the mother (Ripley) and the daughters (the biological, the adopted, and the alien one) completely merged. She is also an echo of what this movie means for the saga: A resurrection of a memorable legacy with an experimental, risky mix.

Ripley-8 is the most sexually explicit version of Ripley. Her stare, her movements, her dialogues, all have an implicit seduction and a powerful erotic drive. This film suggests a sexual relationship between Ripley-8 and the xenomorphs, in addition to making clear her strong maternal connection with the final hybrid alien.

She is a woman with few reasons to believe in mankind, who just keeps looking for that intimate contact even with her humans and aliens antagonists

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The Alien saga, like any good Sci-fi dystopia, exists to contextualize the shadow of our humanity. "No human being is that humane," says Ripley-8 when she discovers that Call is an android.

Alien: Resurrection gives respite to Ripley and eliminates technophobia (very present in Alien and Alien 3) within the same move: Ripley-8 and Call end up holding each other back on Earth, planning their future.

Of course, everything isn't perfect. The planet is devastated, thanks in large part to the self-centered and greedy patriarchy. But two women, as damaged, mutated and produced by that same system as they are, have survived and want to live. There is hope.

Movie Details

Title: Alien: Resurrection (Alien 4)

Release Year: 1997

Director(s): Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Actors: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon, a.o.

3 stars for Alien: Resurrection

© 2019 Shepards


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