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The Alien Series


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So having held off getting the Quadwhatever until it reached an acceptable price, I saw today in HMV that all 4 films from that box set are being sold seperately for £10.99 each. That being the case, I grabbed the first 3 (no one needs to own Resurrection) and have stuck on Aliens first and am really enjoying the commentary with Cameron, producer Gale Anne Hurd, FX GOD Stan Winston and (best of all) Hicks, Hudson, Newt, Vasquez and Bishop!

The most notable revelations so far have been:

a) Michael Biehn and Bill Paxton were both at the time mulling over doing either this or Police Academy 3...I think they may just have made the right decision.

b) The English crew come in for a fair bit of flack regarding their attitude, apparently, they almost revolted and caused Cameron to consider moving the film elsewhere.

c) Paul Rieser (Burke) sounds to have been just as big a dick in person as the character he played - he was mean to poor old Lance H!

d) The studio - as ever - didn't get it looking at the rushes, wondering why it was so slow at the start 'and where were all the special effects, Jim?!?'

There's loads of other stuff on there too on the technical aspects, it's one of the best commentaries I've heard in ages. Well worth getting if you haven't already, especially for a little more than a tenner.

Anyway, any thoughts on the series as a whole? Do you think it was all downhill from Aliens? Are you looking forward to AvP? Was Sigourney robbed at the Oscars? Can anything truly do Giger's imagination justice? Speak now...

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Really? Even though it's depressing as Hell and, as a follow-up, was a palpable disappointment, it had some interesting ideas and could be called a noble failure. [i]Resurrection[/i], on the other hand, would be alright as just a thing-in-space movie (and Perlman is great in it) but completely lacks the feel that the other films all have. It just doesn't seem...right, silly as it may sound.

I've got 3 on now and have, after all these years, just realised the idiot warden is fucking Danny from [i]Withnail & I...[/i]. Blimey.

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Aw, nuts. Still, there isn't an Asda anywhere near me now, sadly. I seem to recall they did really ace doughnuts too...

Hmmm - an Oxburster???

Edit: And what sort of muppet sees their mate getting mauled by a beastie and runs away [i]right back to the place where said mate and beastie are[/i]? Pah. I never understood why they didn't all just get a sharp stick each and sit in a circle waiting for it. I don't care what galaxy you're from, a gang of pissed off Brit convicts who haven't had sex for God knows how long could easily fuck you up, no matter how many jaws you've got...

Um, maybe.

Poor Paul McGann, he seems to have almost be one of the main characters originally, by the looks of it. I can barely remember him in the theatrical version.

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The Alien 3 documentary is pretty intriguing stuff- all that Tales From The Wooden Planet blabbery. I'd have loved it if the original script was on the DVD somewhere, but no... ah well, nevermind. The SE cut is lovely, it makes lots more sense than the original.

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Alien stands head and shoulders over the rest. I'm with Ridley Scott on this, Aliens is just another monster movie albeit a good one, its a pity that they used the same basic alien design instead of doing something completely different. Alien is terrifying and groundbreaking in a way that Aliens just isn't.

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Aliens was never meant to be a horror movie like Alien was, though. It was conceived differently as an action film with strong characters.

I only bought the first two from the set. No matter how much people try to apologise and gloss up Alien 3 I just find it a terrible disappointment, an opportunity missed by a mile.

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Nah the Joss Whedon one is Ressurection unfortunately. It's fucking attrocious. I watched it recently hoping I might like the SE more and it's actually worse. What's that stupid CGI fly/ bug thing at the start all about? And the alternate ending where they get back to earth is dreadful too.

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The Alien 3 documentary is pretty intriguing stuff- all that Tales From The Wooden Planet blabbery. I'd have loved it if the original script was on the DVD somewhere, but no... ah well, nevermind. The SE cut is lovely, it makes lots more sense than the original.

The Vincent Ward "wooden asteroid" script is readily available on the net. It's pretty bobbins, though- chock-full of interesting ideas, but none of them are set into any kind of sensible framework. It's chock-full of stupid ideas as well. It's science fiction written by someone who doesn't really understand the genre.

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There are undoubtedly loads of great movies that could be based upon the Alien universe. Unfortunately the producers of said films can't seem to make one without shoehorning Sigourney Weaver in somehow, even if this results in a stupidly farfetched premise a-la Alien Ressurection.

How many people actually see the films PRIMARILY for the Ellen Ripley character anyway?

No offence to Ms Weaver, but "you really don't need to be in any more of them, love".

Fishy

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Watched the extended cut of 3, plus all the features/docs on the other disc last night. While the film is still flawed, nonsensical in places and generally far too grim for its own good, the new cut is far superior to the theatrical one. I particularly liked the fact Ripley just falls into the furnace without the contrived chestbursting Queen bit of the original. As for the extras, they're some of the best I've seen in ages. The Tales of the Wooden Planet was fascinating, if improbable, and the interviews with Giger and with Michael Biehn about the treatment of his character were great. Poor Fincher was on a hiding to nothing from day one, bless him.

Sabre, I'd recommend you check it out if you see it cheap somewhere. I feel much the same as you about 3 but this really is a great DVD.

Edit: Oh, and for the guy that asked, I got the discs from the HMV in the basement of Selfridges but presumably every other HMV will be selling them at the discount price too, non?

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The Tales of the Wooden Planet was fascinating, if improbable

That was an awesome docu.

I like the way you can choose between the theatrical or cut versions. There are other films were the new cut is clearly worse, but you don't get a choice (see: Apocalypse Now).

The detail of the special features is good, and thankfully most of them are actually interesting. A lot of DVD features are just bore-fests.

It would have been nice to get Fincher on board for the Alien3 features, but alas.

Oh and the series deteriorates in order.

Alien>Aliens>Alien3>Alien:R

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I like the way you can choose between the theatrical or cut versions. There are other films were the new cut is clearly worse, but you don't get a choice (see: Apocalypse Now).

Oh god yes.

The French plantation scene especially.

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and the interviews with Giger and with Michael Biehn about the treatment of his character were great. Poor Fincher was on a hiding to nothing from day one, bless him.

Sounds intriguing. What did Biehn have to say for himself? And what were the circumstances surrounding his departure from the series?

I love Aliens to bits but the latter instalments have offered ever diminishing returns. Alien 3 was a massive disappointment because everything the protagonists fought so hard for in Aliens was pissed away. Yeah, the films are set in a cold, unforgiving universe but offing Newt/Hicks and impregnating Ripley struck me as overkill. Fincher's film is so bleak it's actually tainted my enjoyment of Aliens. The efforts of Ripley, Hicks et al have taken on a sombre, futile quality. That Cameron's film should close on a cautiously optimistic note seems in retrospect like a slightly sick joke.

I actually like the look of Alien: Resurrection but it was a mistake to bring Ripley back. Turning her in to a bad-assed human/alien hybrid effectively killed any dramatic tension. Her lack of anything approaching humanity meant I didn't care for her and because she was hard as nails I had no reason to fear for her.

In my opinion Dark Horse comics covered the post Aliens timeline better with the Earth War series. Dennis Beauvais produced some of the most beautiful artwork I've ever seen. He captured the look and feel of the movies perfectly.

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The new (original?) cut of Alien 3 is a VAST improvement over the original cinema version.

I want to watch it a few times so I can erase the memory of the theatrical release!

I happen to like the new ending for Resurrection. In fact, I like the movie even if it is (now at least ) the poorest of the bunch. The ending gives the series a better close than the original ending IMO.

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The new (original?) cut of Alien 3 is a VAST improvement over the original cinema version.

I don't think this new version was Fincher's cut. I think there were even more changes and additions that he wanted to make for the original release.

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I preferred 4 to 3 because, despite some terrible moments (particularly that long moment from the hatching of that half human thing to the end of the film) it was at least entertaining in parts. 3 bored me from start to finish. However, I'm curious to know what happens in these new edits: why is 3 better in the directors cut, and what happens in 4 when they get back to earth? anyone care to spill the beans? Ta.

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I don't think this new version was Fincher's cut. I think there were even more changes and additions that he wanted to make for the original release.

I recall him saying that he had no part in it. Still, it's a lot lot better than the original cut. I for one really enjoyed the atmosphere of Alien 3. It's so fantastically bleak, and the gothic inspiration just compounds this.

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I don't understand why the cuts they made to Alien 3 happened? They were very strange, like in the theatrical release, the alien was born from a dog, but in the directors cut it came from a bull. There were other wierd changes like that and I don't understand why they were made in the slightest.

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I don't understand why the cuts they made to Alien 3 happened? They were very strange, like in the theatrical release, the alien was born from a dog, but in the directors cut it came from a bull. There were other wierd changes like that and I don't understand why they were made in the slightest.

Some of the stuff was edited out because the special effects budget ran out in post-production (I believe) and Fox didn't want to spend any more time or money on it. The dog/ ox thing is a mystery- it was meant to be filmed with a live ox mooing about and wobbling over the place until an ox-burster jumped out of it, but the ox wouldn't do anything on stage, and by the time they'd finished filming a dead ox exploding, someone must've decided that a dog would've been a better idea.

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Ressurrection is really realy dire, just horrible. As for the rest of the series I'd rate them Alien>Alien3>Aliens

damn straight. Alien pisses on them all though.

Ressurection... horrible. The sheer campness of the fleshy alien was the most hideous abuse of geiger's design I've ever seen. Unforgivable... and I've seen plenty of rubbish monsters "inspired" by the original alien.

What's with sigourney having to be in every fucking film too? The aliens are the star, not ripley. I hated that about the series. It didn't need a persistant character at all but james fucking cameron has to go and spaz it up. Terraforming as well. Cunt. Unbreathable, brutal environment to milton keynes on a rainy day in under 100 years? fuck off. A massive battleship transporting a tiny group of marines to fight against loads of aliens? with no reinforcements on board? fuck off. Plus, if you've got wicked robots like ASH and BISHOP running about, why do you need human soldiers at all? Cunts.

aliens should have been a totally unrelated thing... maybe a military outpost encountering another derelict (from a different species) drifting in space or something. A passenger liner or a colony craft anyone? That would have been fucking wicked.

as for AvP, fuck off. The predator would pwn and never put himself in the situation where he'd be overwhelmed, innit.

Aliens vs The Thing. Now you're talking. Throw in some humans and you've got a thing-infested chestburster fucking everyone's shit up. BADASS.

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[quote name='mook' date='Jun 1 2004, 03:53 PM']Sounds intriguing. What did Biehn have to say for himself? And what were the circumstances surrounding his departure from the series?

I love Aliens to bits but the latter instalments have offered ever diminishing returns. Alien 3 was a massive disappointment because everything the protagonists fought so hard for in Aliens was pissed away. Yeah, the films are set in a cold, unforgiving universe but offing Newt/Hicks [i]and[/i] impregnating Ripley struck me as overkill. Fincher's film is so bleak it's actually tainted my enjoyment of Aliens. The efforts of Ripley, Hicks et al have taken on a sombre, futile quality. That Cameron's film should close on a cautiously optimistic note seems in retrospect like a slightly sick joke.

I actually like the look of Alien: Resurrection but it was a mistake to bring Ripley back. Turning her in to a bad-assed human/alien hybrid effectively killed any dramatic tension. Her lack of anything approaching humanity meant I didn't care for her and because she was hard as nails I had no reason to fear for her.

In my opinion Dark Horse comics covered the post Aliens timeline better with the Earth War series. Dennis Beauvais produced some of the most beautiful artwork I've ever seen. He captured the look and feel of the movies perfectly.[/quote]
I agree with pretty much everything you said there, after all they'd been through in [i]Aliens[/i], it seemed like such a waste. Looking at the supplementary material, it becomes clear where they were going with it though, as it was a leftover from the Wooden Planet version of the script - Ripley was going to be on a planet of medieval style monks who believed she had brought the actual Devil with her and, given that everyone she knew seemed to die, she starts to buy into this view as well and thinks the only way to kill these things is by her also dying too. They ditched the monks, wooden planetoid and most of the heavy religious elements but kept to a very basic version 'the others die, Ripley is impregnated and trapped on a planet with a bunch of guys with no weapons' thing.

Re. Hicks - Biehn first heard about the film from his agent, who told him they wanted permission to use his likeness for a corpse. Upon finding out that he was i) dead, and ii) going to have been the host for the main alien, he told them to get stuffed but eventually agreed to them using his likeness on a computer screen. He talks about how Cameron had told the three of them they'd probably be in a follow up and that he had visions of them living as a family on Earth when the shit hit the fan or something. He was hoping to be brought back and it's something of an understatment to say he was disappointed at what happened to Hicks.

Anyone else see the horse/sheep aliens in the concept art for 3?
;)

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A massive battleship transporting a tiny group of marines to fight against loads of aliens? with no reinforcements on board?

They weren't planning on fighting loads of aliens. They went to investigate and became stranded, as well you know.

Aliens was written as a take on Starship Troopers, a vietnam in space, and was fucking aces for it. Alien is technically a finer accomplishment but I find the second one so much more entertaining. It's a classic siege movie full of tension, action, and tons of great lines.

I mean, whose life isn't enriched by being able to say "nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure" ?

The third film was a dissappointment, but not too bad if you remove it from the context of the first two.

The fourth one should've been drowned at birth.

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