Jump to content
Peter T Chattaway

alien: the director's cut!

Recommended Posts

Clint M   
Clint M wrote:

: So the Alien franchise comes full circle with parallelisms in movies 1+4 . . .

That's an intriguing argument, since I've always seen 3 as an attempt to get back to the scary-monster-picks-people-off-one-by-one approach of 1, whereas 4 brings back the quasi-military-team-fights-hordes-of-aliens-while-Ripley-does-the-surrogate-mother-thing approach of 2.

spoilers1.gif

Well, I was thinking about that aspect more last night. Then I couldn't sleep, so I started making a list of events in the endings of Alien and Resurrection.

So... (and my memory might be fuzzy because I haven't seen Alien in a year or so)

Alien

1. Ripley, apparently the only survivor of the Nostromo, rushes to the self-distruct switch.

2. Ripley activates the self-distruct, which has a four-minute window before it cannot be canceled.

3. (deleted scene from original, restored in SE) Ripley, rushing towards the escape ship, hears human voices. She goes into a room, which reveals that the Alien has been collecting the humans in a "hive". The captain of the Nostromo asks her to kill them, and she does so with a flamethrower.

4. Ripley runs towards the escape craft, grabbing Jonsey the cat on the way.

5. As she approaches the craft, she sees the Alien guarding the doorway.

6. Ripley runs back toward the self-distruct switch, but is unable to reverse it in time.

7. She runs back to the ship; the Alien is gone; she boards the ship (with the cat) and barely escapes the Nostromo's explosion.

8. Ripley relaxes, begins to prepare herself for the return trip to Earth.

9. Suddenly, the Alien appears. Ripley slips herself into a spacesuit, straps herself down, and opens the main hatch, allowing the Alien to slip outside the spaceship.

10. The Alien holds on to the spaceship, but Ripley turns on the main thrusters, which forces the Alien to release his grip on the ship. His body floats away in the darkness of space.

11. Ripley finishes a report, gets in her sleep unit, and drifts off as her ship goes back to Earth...

Resurrection

1. Ripley (#8) and others, apparently the only survivors of a horrible accident, rush to an escape pod. This is after the android Call easily defeats the main computer (known as "Father") and sets the ship to pilot itself toward the atmosphere of the Earth.

2. As the others goes on, Ripley is stopped, then trapped in the Alien hive.

3. Ripley witnesses the birth of the Alien-Man, who proceeds to kill the Queen Alien. The Alien-Man possesses a strange attraction for Ripley.

4. While the creature is distracted, Ripley escapes.

5. Ripley runs down the long corridors of hallways, which appear incessantly long.

6. Ripley sees the ship; Call opens the door; Ripley makes a long jump from the main ship into the escape ship.

7. While trying to stabilize the ship, the Alien-Man kills one crewmember in the bottom of the ship, while terrorizing Call.

8. Ripley goes to face the Alien-Man, and they appear to have a mother/son bonding moment. In that time, Ripley cuts her hand, and sends her blood towards a small window. Her mixed Alien/Human DNA has allowed her blood to be acidic, which depressurizes the cabin.

9. Ripley and Call entangle themselves in what they can; the Alien-Man is sucked through the window into space through means of extracting its innards by force.

10. The crisis adverted, the ship appears to land on Earth.

11. (SE only) The Earth is revealed to be a vast wasteland, as Ripley and Call view the tattered remains of Paris.

So, there's a similarity there in the endings, I think. There's certainly a mix of what Peter pointed out about the Aliens/Resurrection similarity; but the endings for 1+4 have similar event sequences, at the very least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But the creme de la creme of how bad this movie became was an ending where

the rubbery man-alien has his insides sucked through a hole in the spaceship

was about as stupid as one could get.  And yet, it's another event that's copied from the original, just remixed to look more fanciful. 

This is, and isn't, exactly copied from the finished, original Alien. Yes, the idea that the creature is once again

defeated by being blown into the vacuum of space

, is directly related to the original (heck, Aliens did the same thing), but the idea of having the creature

sucked through a small hole in the ship

actually comes from one of writer Dan O'Bannon's early drafts of the original Alien. In an interview from volume 1 of Cinefex magazine, director Ridley Scott says...

Lambert's (Veronica Cartwright) fate was never specifically recorded, but in an earlier version of the script she was to have died as a result of an abortive attempt to trap the alien in an airlock and eject it out into space -- an attempt which instead

breaches the hull of the ship and causes explosive decompression throughout the ship

.  "Because of budget reasons and time, we just couldn't shoot it."  Ridley Scott explained, "but I wanted Lambert to

get sucked out of the ship through an opening about the size of a keyhole

.  Not a very heroic ending -- but dramatic."  A number of possible filming techniques were discussed, including a life-size inflatable dummy and a lot of fast cutting, but Brian Johnson (FX supervisor) was opposed to the idea.  "Being

sucked out of a tiny hole

simply isn't possible, even if there is a

vacuum

on the other side.  You might get a helluva blood blister, but you're certainly not going to

suck a whole human being through a hole that's only a sixteenth of an inch in

diameter."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Whedon, I believe he says in one of the featurettes that he originally wrote a script in which there was no Ripley at all -- she did DIE in the previous film, after all -- but then the studio said he had to bring her back somehow. So, given such a radical change to his original idea, who knows, it's possible he wasn't really interested in making the film all THAT good.

Re: the decompression, wasn't this done years earlier in one of the James Bond movies?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Re: the decompression, wasn't this done years earlier in one of the James Bond movies?

spoilers1.gif

The only Bond decompression deaths I can find are Milton Krest's (Anthony Zerbe) death in a decompression chamber in 1989's License to Kill, and Hugo Drax's (Michael Lonsdale) death in Moonraker... although Bond shoots Drax with a poison dart, which I presume kills him, prior to Bond sending him into the vacuum of space.

I think these deaths are more reminiscent to those in Peter Hyam's Outland, where exposure to the vacuum of space causes people to literally explode, rather than the even more gruesome Alien: Resurrection death described in the previous posts.

BTW, here's a great link to The Bond Film Informant, which lists in great detail the synopsis, characters, gadgetry, deaths etc. related to all the Bond films.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shantih   

Yep, that's right. Although the effect of the decompression is considerable different to that in Alien: Ressurection... Man, that would be *grim* otherwise...

Phil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Alien' prequel takes off

Twentieth Century Fox is resuscitating its "Alien" franchise. The studio has hired Jon Spaihts to write a prequel that has Ridley Scott attached to return as director.

Variety, July 30

- - -

As I mentioned at my blog two months ago, there was a rumour back then (confirmed by Ridley's brother Tony) that the Scotts would be PRODUCING a prequel to Alien. But the director was going to be somebody else.

In any case... what could this prequel possibly be about? Are they going to integrate the standalone Alien franchise into the cross-over Alien Vs. Predator franchise (which takes place a few centuries before Alien itself and is, thus, in some sense a prequel already)? Will it be all about how that OTHER alien species crashed on Acheron in the first place? Could there possibly be any human characters in this prequel?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was all set to post the same story about 40 minutes ago, but decided to read trough this thread, and look up some info from an old Cinefex magazine that had some pre-Nostromo Alien history. Anyway, you beat me to it Peter.

As far as what a prequel might cover, one answer might be found in an earlier post of yours in this very thread.

Ridley Scott speculates that the "space jockey" ship may have been a "carrier" of some sort for the eggs -- like a car carrier or an aircraft carrier -- and that the space jockey's race was using the aliens for bio-military weaponry long before The Corporation thought of it. And now that I think about it, I wonder why this never seemed obvious to me. I had always thought the eggs were planted there by the aliens themselves after one of them burst out of the space jockey's chest, but now it occurs to me that, if that were the case, then we should have seen living adult aliens running around somewhere. If the eggs were all deliberately put there by the space jockey, then it makes sense that one of them might have let loose a face-hugger and attacked him, perhaps so long ago that the single alien which emerged from his chest died off long before this film begins. (I'm still not sure how any of this squares with James Cameron's assumption that there needed to be a Queen Alien laying these eggs -- was it already there when the first film took place? was it born after the humans colonized the planet? -- but anyhoo.)

I think this would be an interesting angle to take, a story about the Space Jockey's race and their involvement with the aliens (don't even involve humans).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Baal_T'shuvah wrote:

: I think this would be an interesting angle to take, a story about the Space Jockey's race and their involvement with the aliens (don't even involve humans).

Oh, absolutely. To quote Jeffrey Wells:

Honestly? I would love to see a subtitled film about a crew of 30-foot-tall life forms with elephant trunks dealing with an alien invasion. No humans, I mean. That would be very cool, very avant-garde. Joe Popcorn wouldn't like it, of course, but a studio chief who looks to Joe's wants and needs for movie inspiration needs to go on a sabbatical.

The question is, would 20th Century Fox ever greenlight such a thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Baal_T'shuvah wrote:

: I think this would be an interesting angle to take, a story about the Space Jockey's race and their involvement with the aliens (don't even involve humans).

Oh, absolutely. To quote Jeffrey Wells:

Honestly? I would love to see a subtitled film about a crew of 30-foot-tall life forms with elephant trunks dealing with an alien invasion. No humans, I mean. That would be very cool, very avant-garde. Joe Popcorn wouldn't like it, of course, but a studio chief who looks to Joe's wants and needs for movie inspiration needs to go on a sabbatical.

The question is, would 20th Century Fox ever greenlight such a thing?

With James Cameron's connection to the Alien series, I hope that the folks at FOX are letting Ridley Scott get some early sneaks at the innovations that Cameron has made for Avatar (also a FOX release), before proceeding too far into preproduction. Just from what I've heard from the recent comic-con in San Diego, Cameron has made some giant leaps in CG and 3D technology, which could lend themselves really well to creating a whole new and original Alien experience (sorry if that sounds like a theme park ride).

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excl: Ridley Scott Talks Alien Prequel

Since the prequel was announced, it’s been assumed that it would tell the story of how those nasty, slavering xenomorphs came to land on LV-426 in the first place. But after listening to Sir Ridley, suddenly we’re not so sure…

“It’s a brand new box of tricks,” said Sir Ridley. “We know what the road map is, and the screenplay is now being put on paper. The prequel will be a while ago. It’s very difficult to put a year on Alien, but [for example] if Alien was towards the end of this century, then the prequel story will take place thirty years prior.”

Empire, October 29

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm very intrigued by this ALIEN prequel. Mostly because Scott is involved. While he's not the filmmaker he was when he made ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER, it will be interesting to see him revisit one of his greatest classics. Even if it's a failure, it will still hold some level of curiosity. And knowing Scott, if it's a failure, it'll be a stylish failure.

Scott has been interested in returning to the franchise for years, and has often talked about how he knew the whole nature of the franchise would have to be altered if it were to continue, and you can get an echo of that in the quote above. I hope he carries through on that. The franchise was feeling more than a little tired by the time we hit installment #3, and now feels practically exhausted. It needs serious shaking up. I'm really interested to see what's in Ridley's "new box of tricks."

Edited by Ryan H.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not quite sure what to make of this, myself. On one level, I think it's good that Sir Ridley is making a prequel, not a sequel, because he will avoid the temptation to give himself the last word on what the other directors have done, story-wise. (I assume he will be ignoring the Alien Vs. Predator cross-over movies, which are prequels of a sort in and of themselves, but I can't imagine anyone would complain about that.) On the other hand, the later movies did develop the alien SPECIES in ways that, for continuity purposes, ought to apply to the prequels as surely as they apply to the sequels, and it is not clear to me that Sir Ridley would keep those elements (such as, e.g., the Alien Queen).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'm entirely happy for Ridley to ignore the existence of any post-ALIEN development, particularly since doing so would grant him more artistic development (and while I like moments in the sequels, I have to admit they're almost wholly disposable). If we end up with two continuities that overlap with the first film, then so be it. That said, I don't see any indication that Sir Ridley does intend to ignore the sequels. Back when he was attempting to develop ALIEN 5, he was intending on keeping the continuity and the rules that were established.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryan H. wrote:

: Well, I'm entirely happy for Ridley to ignore the existence of any post-ALIEN development, particularly since doing so would grant him more artistic development (and while I like moments in the sequels, I have to admit they're almost wholly disposable).

Oh, I completely disagree. I have always thought of Sir Ridley's film as a necessary prelude to the greatness that is James Cameron's Aliens (kind of like how Star Wars is, in hindsight, something of a necessary prelude to the greatness that is The Empire Strikes Back, only more so). Sir Ridley's film is fine in its own way, but it's little more than a very-stylish monster B-movie. (Admittedly, "very-stylish" can go a long way in this genre.) It doesn't have the emotional connection of Cameron's film, nor does it have the somewhat epic scope. But I don't mean to belittle it; without Sir Ridley's film, Cameron's film couldn't exist.

That being said, I admittedly have little use for Alien3 (which begins by undoing virtually everything that Cameron had achieved, and all before the opening credits are finished; where Cameron did everything right, in terms of making a sequel that respected the original film yet went its own way, David Fincher did everything wrong) or Alien Resurrection. So I wouldn't cry too much if those films were ignored.

In any case, I'm not really sure that either film added anything to our understanding of the aliens as a species: in Alien3, we learn that aliens absorb some of the attributes or mannerisms of the host organisms in which they incubate, but if Sir Ridley sticks to human victims, that would be neither here nor there; and if Alien Resurrection introduced anything new, I suspect it was all the result of genetic engineering -- which, of course, Sir Ridley could easily ignore even if his film wasn't a prequel.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have always thought of Sir Ridley's film as a necessary prelude to the greatness that is James Cameron's Aliens (kind of like how Star Wars is, in hindsight, something of a necessary prelude to the greatness that is The Empire Strikes Back, only more so). Sir Ridley's film is fine in its own way, but it's little more than a very-stylish monster B-movie. (Admittedly, "very-stylish" can go a long way in this genre.) It doesn't have the emotional connection of Cameron's film, nor does it have the somewhat epic scope. But I don't mean to belittle it; without Sir Ridley's film, Cameron's film couldn't exist.

I fail to see anything truly "great" about ALIENS, or at least anything about it that's superior to the original. In every way it's inferior to the original. Giger's production design and Derek Vanlint's breathtaking cinematography is replaced by a shallow, less satisfying imitation. The organic and convincing character development of the crew of the Nostromo is replaced by hackneyed and heavyhanded character beats (Cameron's never been one for characters). Furthermore, a deap-seated, perfectly paced suspense is replaced by an altogether less striking action exhilaration. The first film gets under your skin with Lovecraftian horror; the second just overwhelms you with spectacle and action beats, losing the wonderful intimacy of its predecessor. A stylish monster B-movie ALIEN may be, but it's the B-movie done to absolute cinematic perfection, with magnificent artistry. But Cameron's no artist, he's a showman, and if the first film was dinner at Sardi's, then Cameron's sequel is a buffet at Chili's. It's still goes down pretty well, but I'd much rather have the former.

That being said, I admittedly have little use for Alien3 (which begins by undoing virtually everything that Cameron had achieved, and all before the opening credits are finished; where Cameron did everything right, in terms of making a sequel that respected the original film yet went its own way, David Fincher did everything wrong) or Alien Resurrection. So I wouldn't cry too much if those films were ignored.

While I'm not happy about where ALIEN 3 goes, I'm delighted by what Fincher accomplishes during the title sequence (and what a great title sequence it is). It's only a shame that the setting--the prison planet--is so dull. I wish they'd adhered closer to Vincent Ward's treatment by having it not be a prison planet, but a kind of luddite monastic society.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Delayed reaction here -- sorry 'bout that.

Ryan H. wrote:

: I fail to see anything truly "great" about ALIENS, or at least anything about it that's superior to the original. In every way it's inferior to the original. Giger's production design and Derek Vanlint's breathtaking cinematography is replaced by a shallow, less satisfying imitation.

Tastes will differ, of course. I've never been wild about Giger's production design, and I appreciate those parts of it that Cameron carried over into his own movie while adding something of his own that helped to make his movie not too Gigeresque. Plus, there are scenes in Alien where you can clearly tell that the monster is a man in a rubber suit, and I can't think of any scene in the sequel that breaks the spell like that.

: The organic and convincing character development of the crew of the Nostromo is replaced by hackneyed and heavyhanded character beats (Cameron's never been one for characters).

I'm not sure Ridley Scott has ever been a great one for characters either, but FWIW, I do like aspects of the character development in Alien that are not quite so present in the sequel: the guys who bicker about their wages, for example. To quote what I wrote in this thread six years ago:

Second, this film has CHARACTER in a way that the first film simply does not. (The Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Kotto characters in Alien provide comic relief, but not character.) I like the fact that the "special edition" includes the references to Ripley's daughter, who grew up and died of old age while Ripley was lost in space in suspended animation between the two movies; this was a detail that I knew about back in the '80s only because
Time
magazine's article on the film happened to mention this bit of back-story. While I could take or leave most of the extra footage in the "special edition", the one added moment that I REALLY liked was the scene where Ripley puts Newt to bed (which was in the theatrical version), and Newt compares the aliens that gestate inside their hosts to human fetuses (which was not in the theatrical version); I love Ripley's smile when she hears that and replies that human babies are different; I love the way Newt asks if Ripley has ever had babies, and Ripley says yes, once, but that daughter of hers is "gone" now, and Newt, reading between the lines, says, "You mean, 'dead'." That little moment gives Ripley some extra humanity, and it makes the bond between her and Newt that much stronger.

That being said, I also find hackneyed elements in Scott's film, from the guys who stay together UNTIL the red herring (i.e. the cat) slips out of their grasp, thus somehow requiring them to split up so that the monster can pick them off one by one, to the android's cliched speech about admiring the monster's purity. As I said in another old post:

. . . I was reminded again of how much I prefer the sequel. It really does improve on a number of the original film's themes. (E.g., the bit where the android says he admires the "purity" of the alien, because it does not have "delusions of morality" etc., is one of the hoariest sci-fi clichés; contrast this with the scene in
Aliens
where Ripley says to Burke, "I don't know which species is worse; you don't see THEM fucking each other over a percentage." There's a bit more ambiguity in the latter scene, because it is PRECISELY human morality that allows us to make these sorts of moral judgments, yet at the same time, it is recognized that only humans are capable of certain kinds of awful behaviour.)

And while we're on the subject of greater ambiguity, consider also how the android in the first film was a monster, a clear-cut symbol of all that was wrong with "the company", while the android in the second film, despite also being a representative of "the company" on some level, is a little more ... human.

: Furthermore, a deap-seated, perfectly paced suspense is replaced by an altogether less striking action exhilaration.

I think enough suspense survives into the sequel. And I do love action. :)

: While I'm not happy about where ALIEN 3 goes, I'm delighted by what Fincher accomplishes during the title sequence (and what a great title sequence it is). It's only a shame that the setting--the prison planet--is so dull. I wish they'd adhered closer to Vincent Ward's treatment by having it not be a prison planet, but a kind of luddite monastic society.

Didn't Ward's treatment involve some sort of wooden structure floating in the vacuum of space? It definitely would have marked a break from the gritty realism of the first two movies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've never been wild about Giger's production design

8O

Plus, there are scenes in Alien where you can clearly tell that the monster is a man in a rubber suit, and I can't think of any scene in the sequel that breaks the spell like that.

They're not quite as "man-like" in the sequel, but the aliens still aren't particularly convincing. ALIEN does better by having less shots of the alien. They're not particularly frightening in ALIENS.

I'm not sure Ridley Scott has ever been a great one for characters either

I would agree in general, but not with ALIEN, where the character interactions are often so convincing they could pass for footage from a documentary. The dialogue in ALIENS is always very scripted, and many of the characters are sketched with broad strokes. Sure, Cameron gives his characters more of an arc or so-called "depth," but they ultimately feel far less genuine than the characters that inhabit Scott's film.

That being said, I also find hackneyed elements in Scott's film, from the guys who stay together UNTIL the red herring (i.e. the cat) slips out of their grasp, thus somehow requiring them to split up so that the monster can pick them off one by one, to the android's cliched speech about admiring the monster's purity.

Both are cliched moments, but effective nonetheless. I have no problems with the android's speech about the monster's purity. It's perhaps the best version of that cliche in existence, and I doubt it was quite so tired around the time of ALIEN's original release.

I think enough suspense survives into the sequel. And I do love action. :)

I prefer horror and straight suspense.

Didn't Ward's treatment involve some sort of wooden structure floating in the vacuum of space? It definitely would have marked a break from the gritty realism of the first two movies.

It did, and featured Bosch-like dream sequences. But I wouldn't want something that out-there.

Edited by Ryan H.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tastes will differ, of course. I've never been wild about Giger's production design, and I appreciate those parts of it that Cameron carried over into his own movie while adding something of his own that helped to make his movie not too Gigeresque. Plus, there are scenes in Alien where you can clearly tell that the monster is a man in a rubber suit, and I can't think of any scene in the sequel that breaks the spell like that.

Really? I greatly enjoy Aliens...but one example I can think of? Those Aliens crawling above the ceiling are clearly guys in suits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nezpop wrote:

: Those Aliens crawling above the ceiling are clearly guys in suits.

I don't think we get a good-enough look at them, or a long-enough look at them, to have that reaction, personally. But some eyes are quicker than mine. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryan H. wrote:

: They're not particularly frightening in ALIENS.

Maybe no single alien in Aliens is as frightening as the one alien in Alien was, but what they lack in quality they more than make up for in quantity. :) To put it another way, I'm fine with the idea that what's scary is not the notion of some god-like monster haunting the ship, but the ever-present swarm of these things coming at the heroes from all sides.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryan H. wrote:

: They're not particularly frightening in ALIENS.

Maybe no single alien in Aliens is as frightening as the one alien in Alien was, but what they lack in quality they more than make up for in quantity. :) To put it another way, I'm fine with the idea that what's scary is not the notion of some god-like monster haunting the ship, but the ever-present swarm of these things coming at the heroes from all sides.

It's like the fast versus slow zombie debate... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryan H. wrote:

: They're not particularly frightening in ALIENS.

Maybe no single alien in Aliens is as frightening as the one alien in Alien was, but what they lack in quality they more than make up for in quantity. :) To put it another way, I'm fine with the idea that what's scary is not the notion of some god-like monster haunting the ship, but the ever-present swarm of these things coming at the heroes from all sides.

Sure. But Cameron never plays up the horror in ALIENS. There's some suspense, but never a deep horror. As I said before, the film's more exhilarating than scary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SDG   
Sure. But Cameron never plays up the horror in ALIENS. There's some suspense, but never a deep horror. As I said before, the film's more exhilarating than scary.

I see it differently. Alien has a quality of existential dread or horror in a way that Aliens doesn't, true, but Aliens is certainly scary, even terrifying. (Though I won't deny that it's exhilarating too.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nezpop wrote:

: It's like the fast versus slow zombie debate... ;)

As one who doesn't have a dog in that fight (an undead dog, of course), I love the analogy. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×