Template:Infobox Film Alien Resurrection is a 1997 science-fiction film and the fourth film in the Alien franchise. The film stars Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder and was directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
200 years after Alien³, Ellen Ripley has been cloned on the outer military science vessel USM Auriga using "blood samples from Fiorina 'Fury' 161, on ice." The United Systems Military knows of Ripley carrying the Alien Queen embryo implanted in her in Alien³ and desire to extract the Queen. After the success of the extraction, the scientists then decide to keep the Ripley clone alive for further study. The scientists then raise the Alien Queen and collect her eggs for further use. As a result of the cloning process Ellen Ripley's DNA was mixed with the Queen's, she has developed different abilities including enhanced strength and reflexes, acidic blood, also an empathic link with the Aliens.
A ship called Betty, full of U.S.M. Soldiers, arrives and deliver several kidnapped humans in hypersleep. The military scientists decide to use them as hosts for the Facehuggers, raising several adult Aliens for study. The soldiers encounter Ripley, the youngest member Call recognizes her name,she then attempts to kill the Ripley clone believing she may be a host for more Aliens. But Call is too late, the adult Aliens have escaped confinement, damaging the ship and killing most of Augria's crew. Dr. Wren one of the ships scientists reveals that the Auriga's default command in an emergency situation is to return to Earth. Realizing that if the Auriga returned to Earth it would allow the Aliens to escape, Ripley, the mercenaries, Dr. Wren and a surviving Alien host Purvis then attempt to escape on the Betty and destroy the Auriga.
As the group makes their way through Auriga, several of them are killed by the Aliens. Call is revealed to be a android, after Wren betrays the group. Using Call's ability to interface with the damaged ship's systems, they set it on a collision course with Earth, hoping the Aliens will be destroyed. Ripley learns the Queen has gained an ability from her DNA as well: the Alien Queen has grown a womb which can give birth to live offspring without the need to lay eggs and a need for human hosts an offspring called the Newborn is born with human and Alien traits sees Ripley and determines her its mother and kills the Alien Queen.
Ripley and the others arrive at the Betty as they launch the Newborn, manages to get onto the ship and then attacks Ripley and Call. Ripley then kills the Newborn by using her acidic blood to burn a hole, through a viewing pane causing the creature to be drawn violently through the small hole and into the vacuum in space. The survivors escape and the Auriga explodes over Earth, killing all the Aliens.
- Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley/Ripley 8, After her suicide in Alien³, Ripley has been cloned using blood samples so the scientists can extract the Alien Queen from her chest. As a result of the cloning process, Ripley has been affected by the Queen's DNA, which has caused her to have enhanced strength and reflexes, acidic blood, and the ability to sense the presence of the Aliens.
- Dan Hedaya as General Perez, General Perez is the commanding officer of the Auriga who supervises the experiments to clone Ripley and study the Aliens.
- J.E. Freeman as Dr. Mason Wren, Dr. Wren is one of several scientists onboard Auriga involved in cloning Ripley and studying the Aliens. After the Aliens managed to escape he sided with the protagonists in their attempt to escape the ship.
- Carolyn Campbell as Dr. Williamson, The third member of the science team responsible for cloning Ripley.
- Raymond Cruz as Vincent DiStephano, A security officer stationed on the Auriga. When the Aliens escaped confinement he joins the protagonists in their attempt to escape the ship.
- Michael Wincott as Frank Elgyn, Captain of the ship Betty. He brings the Betty to the Auriga to sell several humans in cryostasis to General Perez. He is romantically involved with Hillard.
- Kim Flowers as Sabra Hillard, The Assistant pilot of the Betty who is romantically involved with Elgyn.
- Ron Perlman as Johner, A U.S.M. Soldier and member or the Betty's crew. Johner plays jokes, has a bad temper and teases Vriess about his handicap.
- Dominique Pinon as John Vriess, The Betty's mechanic. Vriess is disabled and confined to a motorized wheelchair. He shares a close releationship with Call and an antagonistic relationship with Johner.
- Winona Ryder as Annalee Call, The newest crew member of the Betty. She has recognized Ripley and has knowledge on the Aliens. Call is revealed in the film to be an android and helps the protagonists interface the Auriga.
- Leland Orser as Purvis, Purivis is one of the several humans brought by the Betty to the Auriga in cryostasis to be hosts for the Aliens. Even though he has an Alien growing inside him he still joins the protagonists to escape the Auriga.
- Tom Woodruff Jr. as the lead Alien, Woodruff had previously played the Alien in Alien³, and described the Alien in Resurrection as feeling "much more like a dog. It's got dog legs, a more pointed nose, and a more vicious mouth." Weaver praised Woodruff's work, saying that "working with him is like working with Lon Chaney Jr., only Tom's usually covered with K-Y Jelly." Woodruff also played the lead Alien in the sequels Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.
Impressed with his work as a screenwriter, 20th Century Fox hired Joss Whedon to write the film's script. The studio initially imagined that the film would center around a clone of the character Newt from Aliens, as the Ellen Ripley character had died at the end of Alien 3. Whedon composed a thirty-page treatment surrounding this idea before being informed that the studio, though impressed with his script, now intended to base the story on a clone of Ripley who they saw as the anchor of the series. Whedon had to rewrite the script in a way that would bring back the Ripley character, a task he found difficult. The idea of cloning was suggested by producers David Giler and Walter Hill, who opposed the production of Alien Resurrection as they thought it would ruin the franchise.
Sigourney Weaver, who had played Ripley throughout the series, wanted to liberate the character in Alien 3 as she did not want Ripley to become "a figure of fun" who would continuously "wake up with monsters running around". The possibility of an Alien vs. Predator film was another reason for the character's death, as she thought the concept "sounded awful". However, Weaver was impressed with Whedon's script. She thought that the error during Ripley's cloning process would allow her to further explore the character, since Ripley becoming part human and part alien would create uncertainty about where her loyalties lay. This was an interesting concept to Weaver, who thought the film brought back the spirit of Alien and Aliens. Weaver received a co-producer's credit and was reportedly paid $11 million.
Direction and designEdit
Trainspotting director Danny Boyle was intended to direct the film. Boyle and his producer met with effects supervisors to discuss the film, although he was not interested in pursuing the project. Peter Jackson was also approached, but declined as he could not get excited about an Alien film. In 1995, after the release of The Usual Suspects, 20th Century Fox approached Bryan Singer to direct. Jean-Pierre Jeunet was asked to direct, as the film's producers believed he had a unique visual style. Jeunet had just completed the script to Amélie and was surprised he was offered the job for Alien Resurrection, as he thought the franchise had finished with Alien 3 and believed that making a sequel was a bad idea. Jeunet, however, accepted the project with a budget of $70 million. He required a translator as he did not speak much English when filming began.
Jeunet hired French special effects supervisor Pitof and cinematographer Darius Khondji, both of whom he had worked with on The City of Lost Children. Jeunet and his crew watched the latest science fiction and Alien films as reference material, and obtained production reports from the Alien films to study the camera setups. Jeunet was given creative control, contributing several elements to the script including five different endings, although the expensive ones were dismissed. He also opted to make the film a dark comedy and was encouraged to include more violence. In June 1996, conceptual artist Marc Caro had drawn rough sketches of characters' costumes, which were shown to character designer Bob Ringwood. Ringwood made several modifications for the final design, although he was not credited in the Making of Alien Resurrection book.
Special effects company Amalgamated Dynamics Incorporated (ADI) was hired for the film, having previously worked on Alien 3. ADI founders Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis also had experience working with Stan Winston on Aliens. ADI based their designs and modifications of the Alien creatures on the film's script, which included the creatures having pointed tails for swimming, making their head domes and chins more pointed, and establishing them to appear more vicious using techniques of camera angles and shot duration. After receiving the director's approval, ADI began to create small sculptures, sketches, paintings, and life-size models.
Jeunet asked ADI to lean towards making the human/Alien hybrid creature more human than Alien. An early concept was to replicate Sigourney Weaver's features, although the crew felt this design would be similar to the design of the creature Sil from the 1995 film Species. Eyes and a nose were added to the hybrid to allow it to have more expressions and communicate more emotion than the Aliens, so that it would have more depth as a character rather than "just a killing machine". Jeunet was adamant about the hybrid having a genitalia which resembled a mix of both male and female sexes. 20th Century Fox was uncomfortable with this, however, and even Jeunet eventually felt that "even for a Frenchman, it's too much". The genitalia was removed during post-production using digital effects techniques. The animatronic hybrid required nine puppeteers and was the most complex animatronic in the film.
Alien Resurrection was filmed at Fox studios in Los Angeles, California, from October 1996 to February 1997. Jeunet had difficulty securing a studio, as the filming of Hollywood blockbusters such as Titanic, Starship Troopers, and The Lost World: Jurassic Park were taking place at the same time. Alien Resurrection was the first installment in the Alien series to be filmed outside of England, a decision made by Weaver, who believed that the previous films' travel schedules exhausted the crew.
The underwater scene was the first to be shot, and for its filming Stage 16 at Fox Studios was reconstructed into a 36 by 45 meter tank, 4.5 meters deep, containing 548,000 gallons of water. The decision was made to convert the stage rather than film the scene elsewhere, since moving the film crew to the nearest adequate facility in San Diego would have been too costly for a single scene, and by converting Stage 16 20th Century Fox would be able to use the tank for future films. Because of the aquatic filming, the ability to swim was a prerequisite for cast and crew when signing onto the film. The cast trained in swimming pools in Los Angeles with professional divers to learn how to use the equipment. An additional two and a half weeks of training took place at the studio with stunt coordinator Ernie Orsatti and underwater cinematographer Peter Romano. Weaver, however, was unable to participate in most of the training due to commitments on Broadway. Winona Ryder faced a challenge with the scene, as she had nearly drowned at age 12 and had not been in the water since. She suggested using a body double, but knew that it would be too obvious to audiences due to the difference in hair length. She filmed the scene, but suffered from anxiety on the first day of filming.
Director Jeunet wanted to display Ripley's new powers, including a scene in which Ripley throws a basketball through a hoop while facing the opposite direction. Weaver trained for ten days and averaged one out of six baskets, although the distance required for filming was farther than she had practiced. Jeunet was concerned about the time being spent on the shot and wanted to either use a machine to throw the ball or to insert it later using computer-generated imagery (CGI). Weaver, however, was determined to make the shot authentic, and got the ball in perfectly on the sixth take. The ball was out of frame for a moment during the shot, and Pitof offered to edit it so that the ball was on-screen for the entire scene, but Weaver refused. Ron Perlman broke character when she made the basket, and turned to the camera to say "Oh my god!" There was enough of a pause between Weaver's basket and Perlman's statement for the film's editors to cut the scene accordingly during post-production.
Visual effects and miniaturesEdit
The film's script was laid out similar to a comic book, with pictures on the left and dialog and descriptions on the right. Jeunet planned every shot, which made it easier for visual effects artists to do their work. Blue Sky Studios was hired to create the first CGI Aliens to appear on film. Impressed with the company's work on Joe's Apartment creating CGI cockroaches, Jeunet and Pitof opted to hire the company to create 30 to 40 shots of CGI Aliens. The decision was made to use CGI Aliens rather than puppets or suited actors whenever the creatures' legs were in frame, as Jeunet felt that a man in a suit is easy to distinguish when the full body is seen.
All of the spaceships in the film were miniatures, as visual effects supervisors believed CGI was not effective enough to create realistic spaceships. The USM Auriga was originally designed by artist Nigel Phelps and resembled a medical instrument. This design proved to be too vertical for the film's opening shot, in which the camera pans out to show the ship, and did not appear satisfactory in the film's 2:35 aspect ratio. Three days before the design had to be finalized, Jeunet rejected it. Phelps, production illustrator Jim Martin, and concept artist Sylvain Despretz were tasked to redesign the ship. Jeunet felt Martin's design was too much like a space station, while he accepted Despretz's design due to its streamlined and horizontal appearance.
- Main article: Alien Resurrection (soundtrack)
Composer John Frizzel was encouraged by a friend to audition to compose Alien Resurrection's film score. Frizzel sent in four cassettes and received a call from 20th Century Fox about the fourth, which contained music from The Empty Mirror. Impressed with his work, Fox representative Robert Kraft had a short meeting with Frizzel and hired him. Frizzel spent seven months writing and recording the score, which Jeunet requested to be very different and unique from the previous films in the series. This included themes of romance and eroticism, incorporating sound effects such as a gong and rub rod. The cue "They Swim" took one month to complete as Jeunet was not pleased with Frizzel's original version, although the final result was a mix between the first and third versions he had composed.
A pre-screening of Alien Resurrection was held in Camarillo, California, and the film was released in North America on November 26, 1997. Debuting at number two at the box office behind Flubber, Alien Resurrection grossed $25 million in its first five days–$16 million over the weekend, for an average of $6,821 per 2,415 theaters. The film grossed $47.7 million in North America, the least successful of the Alien series on that continent. It was well received internationally, however, with a gross of $113.5 million, bringing its total gross to $161.2 million. It was the 43rd highest grossing film in North America in 1997.
Alien Resurrection received mixed reviews from film critics. The film scored 63% on Metacritic based on 21 reviews, and 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, higher than Alien 3, Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, although less than its predecessors Alien and Aliens. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a negative review, stating "There is not a single shot in the movie to fill one with wonder." Jeffery Overstreet of Looking Closer commented "It's time they quit killing the aliens, and just killed the Alien series altogether. ... How the mighty have fallen." Joe Baltake of the Sacramento Bee stated that "This 'Alien' should never have been resurrected", while Tom Meek of Film Threat wrote "Weaver and Jeunet's efforts are shortchanged by the ineptness of Joss Whedon's script, that seems to find a way to make action sequences unexciting."
Not all reviews were negative, however. Mary Brennan of Film thought that the movie was "A lot of fun to watch, and easy to surrender to in the moment." Houston Chronicle editor Louis B. Parks said "The film is a marvel, a well-photographed feast of visual imagery", while Richard Schickel of Time (magazine)|Time wrote that it was "Less frightening, but as much fun as ever." Washington Post contributor Desson Thomson felt it "satisfactorily recycles the great surprises that made the first movie so powerful. And most significantly, it makes a big hoot of the whole business."
Screenwriter Joss Whedon was unhappy with the final product. When asked in 2005 how the film differed from the script he had written, Whedon responded:
"It wasn't a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending; it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines...mostly...but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong that they could possibly do. There's actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking, because everything that they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from the script, and people assume that, if I hated it, then they’d changed the script...but it wasn’t so much that they’d changed the script; it’s that they just executed it in such a ghastly fashion as to render it almost unwatchable."
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