Alien Resurrection review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a very talented filmmaker, there’s no doubt about it. Over the years, he’s managed to build a unique style that not that many directors can put in their resume; with films such as ‘The City of Lost Children (La Cité des Enfants Perdus)’ and the equally grotesque ‘Delicatessen’, it’s just that Jean-Pierre was destined to succeed in mainstream cinema sooner or later (‘Amélie’, or ‘Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain’). In-between building his craft and having his big break however, Jean-Pierre made a slight detour that allowed him to helm an entry in a somewhat lucrative franchise going by the name of ‘Alien’. The result of that detour came in the form of Alien: Resurrection, a film lambasted by critics, misunderstood by casual moviegoers, and strangely enough – one that single-handedly managed to “alienate” most of the fans of the original Alien trilogy as well (full-blown pun intended).
Yet, in my humble yet irrelevant opinion, Alien Resurrection may very well be the MOST creative offering out of the four films and one that surely deserves more love than it gets as is. Let’s start from the beginning.
The original ‘Alien’ redefined the space-horror subgenre; it introduced smart, but humanely flawed characters whose only instinct was to survive an unknown predatory species (to not be confused with other franchise). ‘Aliens’ armed those characters with shotguns, semi-automatic rifles, drones, grenades, forklifts, and the power of will to persevere even when it seemed like all odds were against them. ‘Alien³’ (despite major studio interference) stripped away the horror, nullified the action, and came right down to basics: the human element of fear from the unknown. In fact, the third instalment was more about human drama and the instinct to gather in groups (tribalism) in order to survive a bigger threat than humans themselves. Alien Resurrection though? This one is all about atmosphere, strangely unique comic book characters (in a positive sense of the word), and grotesque figures courtesy of both Jean-Pierre Jeunet unique vision and H. R. Giger’s twisted imagination molded into one big biological farce (again, using farce in a positive connotation to depict a biological experiment gone-wrong).
Also, let’s pretend that ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Alien: Covenant’ do not exist for the time being, but I digress.
Alien Resurrection starts off (or at least after the initial credits) by introducing the audience with several quirkily bizarre character archetypes, including a short-fuse Rastafarian (Gary Dourdan as Christie), a bizarrely mesmerizing silent killer (Ron Perlman as Johner), a man-baby in a wheelchair (Dominique Pinon), a mysterious meek girl (Winona Ryder as Call), a hot and empathetic no-nonsense lady, and also the team lead’s lover (Kim Flowers as Hillard), and the team leader himself, the brash, street-smart guy whose deep voice could melt a bronze beam if he wanted to (Michael Wincott as Elgyn).
This unlikely team of misfits is set to deliver a stolen cargo to a corporation with a dubious history, and that’s all you need to know. The rest of the story will naturally follow.
Finally, why do so many fans of the original franchise hate this film? Well my hypothesis is that, since the majority of these fans probably reside in the States, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a European director with uniquely-to-him European film tendencies (take that as you will), these fans probably couldn’t connect with the direction he was taking with Alien Resurrection and therefore concluded that it’s a bad film. After all, we tend to dislike things we don’t understand, right?
Anyways, Alien Resurrection is a visual feast and one of the must-sees for anyone brave enough to call themselves a film buff.