WHAT THE FILM?! The Alien Franchise (Part 2)

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What The Film?! is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the plot holes Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.

If you know a film with major plot holes that you feel needs to be exposed, tell us! Email utgjames@gmail.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.



This Week’s Movie: 1997’s Alien: Resurrection (Part 2 of 3)
This week’s movie suggested by Zach Palmer


Alien: Resurrection is the third sequel to the 1979 horror movie Alien, making it the fourth in the Alien franchise. I covered the the prior entries in the franchise last week, spanning 1979’s Alien to 1992’s Alien 3. When we last left the Alien franchise, the protagonist (Ripley) had killed herself to make sure that the last remaining Alien would die with her. This was supposed to be the end of the franchise. It wasn’t.


“I'm baaaaaack!”

Alien: Resurrection continues the trend set by Alien 3 of negating prior plot points by cloning Ripley at the beginning of the movie. I understand that there is a certain amount of pressure to have a consistent protagonist in a franchise, an anchor to keep things constant, but when your lead sacrifices herself in the last movie in a way to end the whole conflict of the series, that is not something you can recover from. You could have used The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2 as an example of what to do and just emphasized that there were more Aliens out there and used a different protagonist to further the story.


It turns out that Ripley was cloned because some random military company wanted to weaponize the Alien inside her. By cloning her, they could get to the Alien embryo in her chest, which completely makes sense, guys. Besides making her heroic sacrifice at the end of the Alien 3 completely pointless, you’ve made us stop caring about her as a person. By telling us you can clone her, any and all obstacles she encounters have no impact. She can be cloned. This is why you can’t have an emotional connection to video game characters. When you see a character die and their death has no meaning, there is no weight to their death, any consequences are irrelevant.


And yet I care more about the characters in Uncharted than most movies.


Alien: Resurrection opens with Ripley’s clone inheriting all her old memories and even having superpowers from her DNA being mixed with the Alien inside her. It is as if the movie tried its hardest to make the movie as bad as possible. Do you want to know why I worry about this May’s The Avengers? Because Joss Whedon wrote Alien: Ressurection. He has since disowned the movie, saying that the script was great, it was just executed wrong. He believes he’s not to blame for this despite the fact that there is no amount of good directing that could have made this script a good movie.


The company that cloned her promptly infects 8 people with Alien embryos to weaponize (which results in 12 Aliens total for no reason) as Ripley gets introduced to a group of space pirates during a game of basketball. The basketball game promptly erupts into a poorly choreographed fight for absolutely no reason whatsoever. None of the plot makes any sense at all. Another major problem is that not a single character can be identified with. Ripley as a character is insane, angry, and absolutely a different character than she was in prior movies. You could accept this is a part of the cloning process, but it’s more of a problem with the fact that studios decided that one of the best horror movies ever made deserved a poorly written dark comedy as a sequel.


Here we have Ripley losing a game of Rock/Paper/Knife.


Let me get some positive things out of the way before going back into how bad this is. The robots they built for the Aliens are amazing. Ripley’s protective nature of Winona Ryder’s character seems like a (probably unintentional) callback to her protecting Newt in Aliens. The way the Aliens break out of their confinement by killing one of their own was a creative idea. Ron Perlman is in it. Bill Murray wisely turned down a role in the movie. When one of the high points of your movie is that comedy great Bill Murray said “No” to you, then your movie has failed.


TRIVIA: Is this Alien: Resurrection or the music video to Korn's 'Make Me Bad'?


In one scene, the group of survivors end up having to crawl up a ladder because there is only one path to where they need to go (space ships are designed horribly in the future). Once Winona and one of the survivors reaches the door, the survivor pulls a gun out and shoots Winona Ryder’s character for absolutely no reason at all. There was no benefit of her being dead and there was no motivation behind this action. Winona falls to her death into the Alien infested waters below as the person who shot her exits through the door. The remaining survivors climb up to the door to find it locked. Oh, no! They’re doomed! At the last second, the door dramatically opens, revealing Winona Ryder on the other side! They’re saved! It’s revealed that Winona Ryder is actually a Robot who can unlock the doors, a power that could have been useful at almost every point in the movie leading up to this. Plus, when there’s a much faster route up to that door, why didn’t they just take that route to begin with? This movie doesn’t make any sense.


Towards the end of the movie, the Alien queen that they hatched gives birth to what they call “The Newborn”. It’s a hybrid of Alien and human and looks like if a human’s skeleton was made out of muscles. This was the huge dumb weapon thing that the whole cloning project was created for. Does this lead to a cool third act? No. It has about 2 minutes of screen time before getting Goldfingered out a window. That’s the climax. This is how the movie ends.


I'm going to assume this too was an unintentional reference.




Dane is an expert on all types of hats and other headwear. You can quiz him on  Twitter and follow him on Tumblr.

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