director David Fincher
I’ve been revisiting the Alien films, stringing them out since there’s been no rush. I recall really disliking Alien 3 when it came out, I vaguely even recall reading negative reviews about it and thinking that it might still be interesting. It was directed by this guy, David Fincher, who was known for making videos. Unlike Alien (1979) or Aliens (1986), made by Ridley Scott and James Cameron respectively, the third film was made by a relative unknown…
Well, Scott was pretty unknown when he made Alien in 1979. And while Cameron had The Terminator (1984) under his belt, he wasn’t yet the James Cameron that we all know today…yet. Well, it turns out that David Fincher was also not yet the David Fincher that he would become, the David Fincher of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), The Social Network (2010), Zodiac (2007), Seven (1995) or Fight Club (1999). But like Scott and Cameron before him, he would make an Alien film and then go on to become a big name Hollywood director.
The difference, however, is that Alien 3, unlike its predecessors, pretty much sucks.
It’s a hackneyed story, with Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) crash landing on a prison planet, the only survivor of the wreck, impregnated as only the alien facehugger can do, with alien spawn. The film’s palette is all dingy browns and yellow, Weaver’s head is shaved like the prisoners, and the alien is running around killing them off one by one. Oh yeah, and Ripley not just carrying any alien spawn but a queen alien spawn.
From what I’ve read, Fincher has dissociated himself from the film, citing much studio intervention, lack of control, having inherited much of the film rather than having something to craft. And given his movies since then, it’s not so hard to imagine that. Oddly enough, James Cameron’s first feature is also a horror sequel that he has disclaimed for years, Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1978). Luckily for Cameron, he did have little to do with his film and it is pretty obscure. How much Fincher had to do with Alien 3, what his limitations were, obstacles, it’s packaged in box sets with the other Alien movies and it’s got his name on it. It’s nowhere as terrible or hilarious as Piranha Part Two: The Spawning, it’s just lame and lacking in the verve and inventiveness of the films that came before it. It’s overlong, stiff, humorless. It’s not really worth revisiting unless you’re a completist of one sort or another.