Saturday, June 30, 2012

Definitive Alien marathon: 'Prometheus', general review

Prometheus (2012, Ridley Scott)

Significant stretches of absence between instalments in a franchise can be a curse or a blessing. It may provide writers, directors, studios executives and all others involved in the creative process to sit back and digest what they have accomplished as well as what they still set out to do. Sometimes the decisions, despite plenty of time for a meditative process, dot not evolve into what audiences were hoping for. Ask the many embittered movies goers who waited anxiously for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Live Free or Die Hard. Science-fiction is a little bit different given that its very nature allows for some slightly loopier logic than in most other genres, therefore allowing the creators a wider canvas to take a series in different directions. The Alien franchise, as of the mid 00s, had devolved into a stale, pitiless shell of its former self. The AVP spinoffs virtually spelled doom and gloom for the once revered series which gave both sci-fi and horror a serious boost. Along came Ridley Scott and screenwriters Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts in an attempt to revitalize it in ways fans were least expecting.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Definitive Alien marathon: 'Alien Resurrection' , further reflection

It was written in the general review for the film how disappointing it was for the character of Ripley to return not as her true self, but as some of sort clone variation. It always seemed to me that 20th Century Fox, in wanting desperately to make another Alien film, were caught between a rock and a hard place.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Definitive Alien marathon: 'Alien Resurrection' , general review

Alien Resurrection (1997, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

There is a threshold for everything, even plausibility. When discussing science-fiction and horror, it goes without saying that those two genres are far more permissive of out of the ordinary happenings. The sense of disbelief amongst the audience will sway towards acceptability and embrace the typically implausible, even logically impossible events that unfold. Even in those realms, some things are difficult to digest, especially when their purpose reeks of nefarious studio interference. The practice of implausibly making things happen for the sake of script and possible increase in profit at the box office can and is felt most particularly in franchises. The main thrust of a story, the smoking gun for the overall plot, can easily lose credibility in the eyes of many it it poorly masks a studio's attempt to cash in on a widely recognized property. While unique French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet brings some unexpected flavours to the fold in the fourth instalment of the series currently under review, Alien Resurrection, there are some egregious missteps.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Definitive Alien marathon: 'Alien 3', an appreciation

In the documentary about the making of Alien 3 in the blu-ray set (also available on the second disc of the Alien 3 special edition DVD for those interested), many cast and crew members who, while they cannot speak entirely for David Fincher, expressed the feeling that the up and coming director did his best to provide the picture with his own unique stamp, his own signature, much like his two predecessors had done with their respective efforts. This is, in all likelihood and with the benefit of hindsight provided by the man’s career since then, probably true. Fincher is not one to make movies quite like anybody else operating within the traditional Hollywood system. His films do not necessarily make bags upon bags money, even though most turn in modest profits, but the studios, big studios at that, continuously provide him the funds necessary to make the best movie he can. The man is a filmmaker in the artistic sense of the term, not merely in the commercial sense. For that reason, some of the decisions made with regards to the Alien 3 script may be better understood. That being said, it should also be noted that the script, or what can be described as a script, lived in a constant state of flux before and even during the film’s production. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Definitive Alien marathon: 'Alien 3', general review

Alien 3 (1992, David Fincher)

Excellence can continue for only so long. A new government is elected into office having made lofty promises during a brilliant campaign, only to lose the very next election. A sports team wins a few consecutive championships before finally meeting its match. A business will show profit during multiple quarters before forces either from within or without and beyond its control negatively affect output and revenue. A movie franchise can certainly deliver a few good entries but at some point, the law of diminishing returns will establish itself. All good things have an expiration date. Having not been a serious movie fan 20 years ago in 1992, it is difficult to fully comprehend how meaningfully that notion resonated in May of that year when Alien 3 (or Alien 'cubed' as some call it) was released to fans incredulous disappointment. Suffice to say, the reception was a cold one. Much time has elapsed since then, and while Fincher's effort has not become a favourite, many take a kinder look to it now then upon its initial theatrical release.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Definitive Alien marathon: 'Aliens' general review

Aliens (1986, James Cameron)

Arguably one of the most notable, quotable lines lines from James Cameron's high-octance sequel to Ridley Scott's quiet, brooding and claustrophobic horror film is not even a line spoken by a character in the film itself. Rather, it is Aliens' tag line which has since been remembered fondly by fans of the film and the franchise. 'This time it's war.' Not one phrase could possibly describe the nature of this incredibly popular sequel more accurately nor more succinctly. Whereas Cameron's predecessor preferred to construct and augment tension slowly and carefully, rarely, if ever, resorting to flamboyant outbursts, the Canadian-born director opted for something a little different. Who are we kidding, he blew the roof off of the Nostromo and the Sulaco is what he did.