Sunday, November 1, 2009

Alien Resurrection

Joss Whedon is one of my favorite writers of speculative fiction. I haven't seen much of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's work, but he did direct Amélie, one of my favorite films of the decade. So what went wrong here? I'm not quite sure. I feel like there's the core of a solid Alien movie in here - not as good as the first two, but still passable. Cloning Ripley, while resulting in a plot development that doesn't actually make sense to me, is a fine way to bring back the character back in a new way and actually advance the time period again, unlike Alien 3 which didn't feel new. The ship of smugglers were a nifty notion, and are pretty much a prototype version of the crew in Firefly. And there are some interesting situations and disturbing scenes that work better than anything in the last movie did. It just doesn't come together into something I'd want to watch again. It might just have been that it was before Whedon really discovered his chops as a screenwriter and Jeunet figured out what kind of movies he really wanted to make. Resurrection ends up being an interesting failure.

Man, I had some momentum until that paragraph break. It was getting kind of long though, it had to be done. Um... Whedon has talked about how it wasn't necessarily changes to the script that he thinks hurt the movie, just that the overall execution of what was written on the page was totally off. And I can sort of see that. There are a lot of lines or exchanges that could have been better with a different actor or just a different way of saying them, and the movie just feels clunky, like the people in charge of different areas just were never in sync. I'm not saying the story they had would have been a good film if these problems were corrected, it's just that it compounds the problem. An awkward and unwieldy film. Some moments totally work, but most of it just doesn't, and I'm confident that the latter half of the Alien quadrilogy can be, and probably should be safely ignored in the future.

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