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Alien 3 Recently, I watched Alien 3 again. Not only do I like this movie for its own merits (though, admittedly, I like the directors cut version better than the theatrical release). But, regardless, it is a great film. Coming off the all guns blazing action film that was Cameron’s Aliens, Alien 3 brings us back to the dark monster movie feel of the first movie, but with a darker setting. David Fincher, in directing his first feature film, keeps the story looking as grim as it is, with Ripley’s pals from the previous film all dead at the start, and a rather grim ending. Sadly, even with the grimness of the ending, they still throw a bit of the dumb Hollywood in it, with one of those scenes that almost spoils the whole movie for me (as with the terrible climax of Aliens). but I will forgive it that, as the movie is just plain great.


In Alien 3, the ship carrying the three and a half survivors from Aliens crashes on a sparsely populated prison planet, inhabited by a small body of prisoners who have taken refuge in religion and a handful of staff to watch over them. One of the key aspects to their religion (well, and their whole situation) is the absence of women… So having Ripley fall out of the sky starts some problems. But, even worse, it turns out that something more problematical fell out of the sky with her. Watching the prisoner get taken out one-by-one in the dark tunnels of the prison does certainly bring back memories of Alien, as does their weaponless attempts to stop the damn thing and, most of all, the creature being back to a hunter in the shadows, rather than the mob in the hallways of Aliens returns the series to its Horror roots.

The Alien Saga And then, to continue on with this great documentary. The Alien Saga is the story of the Alien franchise, from its earliest origins, through the (ugh) fourth movie. They have interviews with the key actors, with O’bannon, and, yes, even with the great Giger himself. The movie is fascinating, and the earlier part of it was especially nice and it continually reminded me of one of my favorite topics; the disappearance of the of the physical craft of filmmaking in the 1980’s. Watching them building and using these giant crazy sets for Alien was inspiring and quite impressive. The movie is entrancing and a must-see for anyone who is a fan of any aspect of Alien or Sci-fi movies or just hand’s-on filmmaking in general. Though I would not recommended it to anyone who has not seen the films, but plans on doing so, as they outline the plots pretty thoroughly.

Dark Star And, finally, Dark Star! Always a nice and easy viewing experience. The school-project-turned first feature film for both John Carpenter and Dan O’bannon, this great little film is the story of a crew out on a mission to destroying worlds that are in the way of the path of an interstellar freeway. A dinky cast covers the four surviving crew members, their deceased commander and the guy at mission control as they annoy each other across the galaxy. In the end, they have a 2011esque situation, in which they have to deal with convincing an intelligent bomb to not blow up right outside the bomb bay, but the whole of the movie is a smart and witty, dorky and dumb affair that is quite entertaining to watch, and not at all annoying.


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