On Alien3

I watched Alien3 last night. I hadn’t seen it in about two years, and I’d recently picked up Se7en on DVD and thought I’d watch another David Fincher film. Random thoughts….

Paul McGann is completely unrecognizable, and for the role he has I can’t figure how he ended up being fourth billed. He has all of about ten lines of dialogue in the whole film. Not to criticize his performance or the script, but Golic was strictly a nobody character. (Also, we never see Golic die in the film. His last appearance is when the alien is loose in the infirmary with him cowering on his bed, but the alien has left the infirmary at that point having killed the Doctor and breathing on Ripley and heading to kill the Superintendent. While I can I’m sure Golic does die–since Morse is seemingly the only survivor–we don’t know that for certain.)

I always thought Charles Dance died way too early in the film. Damn, the one sympathetic character (other than Ripley) gets whacked early and then the rest of the film happens. The reality check is that Dance dies exactly half-way through, but I think I know why I felt like he’d died too early. The first hour of the film is all character development, and the relationship between Ripley and Clemens the Doctor has some emotional resonnance to it. Out here in the middle of nowhere these two characters find some happiness in their lives, a kindred spirit, and then, BOOM, the alien comes, Clemens gets his head blasted out, and Ripley’s on the run. Okay, so I still think that Charles Dance gets booted out of the film too early. But then, how would you keep him further in the film? I can’t think of any good way to do that.

Elliot Rosenthal sucks as a film composer. Alien3, Batman Forever, Batman and Robin. Why do people keep hiring him to crap all over the films? (The odd thing is, I said at the time Alien3 came out that I could imagine Danny Elfman’s Batman score over some scenes in Alien3; ironic since Ronenthal followed Elfman on the Batman films.) Rosenthal doesn’t write music, he writes noise. Batman Forever didn’t have a score, it had a lot of banging on lead pipes. Alien3 didn’t have horrific music in the background, it had a lot of loud brass instruments blaring.

It’s amazing the film turned out as well as it did. It didn’t have a finished script when filming began. David Fincher was a late minute choice to direct. The script problems are legendary. But in spite of all that, something decent came out it.

I’ve always liked Alien3, and I’ve known a lot of people who absolutely hated it. I think the people who hate it hate the film because it isn’t Aliens. Excuse me, but nothing is going to be Aliens. Even Star Trek: First Contact tried to be Aliens, and that sure as hell didn’t work out. Alien3 was content to be its own film, and a visually stylish one at that. I can forgive a lot things.

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