The Alien SeriesNow that I've watched - in detail - Aliens, Alien3 and Alien:Resurrection, and I've watched the making of AVP, I can reflect a bit on the whole experience.
As usual, for readability and to avoid having to structure my thoughts, here they are in point form:
- The Alien universe is a much more pessimistic one than my other favourite sci-fi franchise, Star Trek. Waaay more pessimistic; and that was hard to swallow at first. I was on auto-search for nobility, pure motivations, etc. but Ripley was the only moral anchor in a world that didn't seem particularly worth saving.
- I got a little worried when I saw the making of Alien:Resurrection, because the director didn't have red hair and a beard (look at Ridley Scott, James Cameron and David Fincher - coincidence? I think not). However Jeunet did a fantastic job - I think I like Alien:Resurrection the best of all the sequels.
- Aliens was classic Hollywood 3-act structure, and with a happy ending to boot. Alien3 was cursed by both having no final script, and the story - penned by New Zealand's own Vincent Ward, although thoroughly messed around with by others - was far more experimental and dark. Not a bad thing, but killing off all but one of your heroes in the first five minutes tends to kind of switch you off to caring about any of the characters.
- I'm quite looking forward to AVP, which means I must have gotten into the vibe of things. Watching the special features has been great; I feel like I know the producers and Sigourney and the effects team. Sort of. Gee, now I just sound like a pimple-faced fan!
- AVP was first explored as a comic book or graphic novel. Interesting how comic books, while a medium on their own, also serve as an effective test bed for cinematic ideas: Spider-man, Superman, Hulk, X-Men, Judge Dredd, Constantine, and now V for Vendetta.