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Checkpoint: Alien Anthology Edition

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I wrapped the last of the four Alien movies on Blu-ray yesterday. The franchise’s downward trajectory was reminiscent of the Terminator movies where the first two were stellar movies and the subsequent ones fell well short of expectations.

I don’t usually do movie reviews, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on these four face hugging sci-fi “horror” movies.

Alien

Like with the first Terminator movie, Alien’s pace was methodic and deliberate. The Alien, like the Terminator was something to be feared. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the sets and costume work held up after all these years.

Alien edges out the second movie for me by just a hair because it didn’t have any glaring faults. I give it a lot of credit for successfully managing suspense and tension

In the end, I did find it humorous that curiosity killed the humans while the cat survived. I guess the cat wasn’t so curious?

Aliens

Mirroring Terminator 2, Aliens was a more action packed movie. Even with the firepower of space marines, the xenomorphs proved to be just as deadly as their portrayal in the first movie. It wasn’t as suspenseful as the first movie, but it had its share of gruesome and cringe worthy scenes.

Aliens was also the first movie of the franchise that I watched a significant portion of before. Years ago, I watched the film on TV and caught it just before the marines were decimated by the xenomorphs inside the nest.

I didn’t see the setup and simply thought the movie started with her in another perilous situation. (I knew it was a sequel) I had no idea Ripley served as a consultant to the marines and I had no idea she allowed them to get knee deep into that situation.

I also began questioning how everything works with these xenomorphs. How did one facehugged human lead to an entire colony of xenomorphs? Was it a queen? If it was a queen? How did it get fertilized? So many questions about them and the Weyland-Yutani corporation who would sacrifice human lives for them.

Alien 3

Aliens was an impressive feat of set design and costume work. I was very impressed with the practical effects. Alien 3 and its reliance on CG marred the experience for me.

The inexplicable actions (or lack thereof) by Ripley also left bad impression. Her hesitance to warn people about the xenomorphs proved fatal once again, but it was her impulse coitus with the prison doctor that convinced me that this was no longer a horror film. The entire movie was filled with obvious twists and red herrings.

There were redeeming qualities such as the premise of an xenomorph wreaking havoc on a prison from the future and we did get to see more of the infamous Weyland-Yutani company. But those two bulletpoints were overshadowed by the film’s faults.

Alien: Resurrection

With expectations thoroughly slashed to pieces by the third film, I came into fourth film expecting more of the same; lots of xenomorphs, more people getting face hugged and dying brutal deaths. I got all those and plenty of laughs along the way.

I felt the fourth film made a mockery of the first two films, but they did so in a way that was seemingly lighthearted and fun. The movie was filled with Alien tropes with a new twist. Chestbursting through two chests anyone? Or how about Weyland-Yutani being purchased by Walmart?

There was a better effort in the CG department, but it didn’t have the same visceral impact that the costumes brought in the first two movies.

Waiting for Prometheus

While it isn’t a direct prequel to the Alien, Prometheus was the sole reason why I wanted to rewatch/watch the Alien movies. It looks like Ridley Scott will be taking us back to the kind of science fiction horror that he brought forth in the first Alien movie which I’m all for.

All the trailers and faux TED talk is making this out to be a special film. I just hope it delivers.

Still playing Mass Effect 3 and enjoying my time with Shepard. I think I’m near the end. It has been 33+ hours after all.

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