Alien³

“The bitch is back.”

Often reviled by fans, ignored by its own director, and looked upon with disdain from even its own writers and crew, David Fincher’s first feature film, Alien³, remains the black sheep of the original trilogy.

Featuring a messy script with some stellar character performances and photography (not to mention Elliot Goldenthal’s excellent score), Alien³ remains a point of interest for fans for what it did wrong, and what it (arguably) did right.

Articles

James Cameron’s Alien III (or ‘How it was Never Going to Happen’)
James Cameron’s vague mental sketches of Alien III (as relayed by the Aliens cast)  and why the idea of his involvement in any potential third movie never appealed to him.

William Gibson’s Alien III
Cyberpunk author William Gibson was originally commissioned by Brandywine to write the sequel to Aliens. Gibson wrote two drafts before Walter Hill and David Giler looked for another direction. BOTH drafts of Gibson’s work are covered here.

Eric Red’s Alien III
Near Dark screenwriter Eric Red was approached to try his hand at Alien III. By most, if not all accounts, the resulting script was disastrous.

David Twohy’s Alien III
Pitch Black helmer David Twohy was next to contribute to the messy Alien III writing process.

Vincent Ward’s Alien III
Writer/Director Vincent Ward provided one of the strangest takes on Alien – a chameleonic Alien stalks Ripley through an orbital satellite encased in wood and inhabited by Luddite monks.

Adaptive Organism
The re-design of Giger’s original humanoid Alien into a more bestial form, from Giger’s initial involvement to Amalgamated Dynamics’ take-over.

Queenburster
A look at one discarded royal facehugger design that featured briefly in 2003’s assembly cut.

Fury
The design of the bleak prison colony on Fiorina 161.

Finding Fincher
Alien Quadrilogy/Anthology producer Charles de Lauzirika documents his ordeal re-cutting Alien 3 and his attempts to have David Fincher contribute to the project. From The Digital Bits’ Quadrilogy coverage.

Paul McGann on Alien 3
Paul McGann, who portrayed Golic, talks David Fincher, filming, Sigourney, and the film’s legacy.

Dog-Catchers
A look at Weyland-Yutani’s commando unit, seen at the end of the movie.

Interviews

Interview with Sigourney Weaver, 1992
Interview with Sigourney Weaver from Starburst issues 168, 169, and 170.

Interview with Clive Mantell, 1992
Mantell discusses director David Fincher.

Mother From Another Planet
Set visit and discussion with David Fincher, with additional quotes from Fincher regarding Alien 3 made over the years.

Debate

Bishop II: Man or Machine?
Was the enigmatic Company man ‘Bishop II’ intended to be an android, or flesh and blood?

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7 responses to “Alien³

  1. scrutinizer1

    Actually I never quite understood why Alien 3 is considered the worst? I personally liked it as much as other two films and can’t decipher the greatest Enigma of why Fincher and those who according to you “hate” it – its writers think so, it’s beyond my understanding capabilities and I guess I’m not an undemanding idiot who can be fed whatever production comes from filmmakers. Many arguments for this “messy” movie are just ridiculously unserious and lightweight, regarding not the overall plot and structure but separate plot twists taken out of the context. Alien 3 is gloomy, claustrophobic depressive and it fits perfectly the horror concept of Aliens, the story you can’t expect has happy ending like Star Wars has. Aliens isn’t a fairy tail and after Cameron’s bombastic installment, Alien 3 can be interpreted as return to Scott’s established horror climate. Alien 3 also has what the previous two didn’t – black humor and subtle sarcasm as well as polished irony that floats easily. Regardless of how often I watch it I never stop to admire it, so I fail to see its “flaws”. Perhaps some die-hard fans should change their approach to life generally to understand that their expectations isn’t synonymous with a filmmaker’s vision and I’m glad to not consider myself to be a part of any “fandom”, I call myself “an admirer” and prefer just unbiased perception.

    • scrutinizer1, you completely expressed my feelings on the matter perfectly. I always felt that Alien 3 was a good film. But, more importantly as you stated above, it actually returns to the original feel of the first film (well…almost since Alien is one of a kind and just incredible). Plus I feel it is quite good even when standing up to the “bombastic” (as you so rightly describe) sequel, Aliens.

  2. Gaius

    I have a love-hate relationship with Alien 3.

    On the one hand, I love the film’s ambiance, cinematography, and set design. To me, the mine shafts, tunnels, and installations of Fiorina are exquisite: claustrophobic, industrial, and almost cathedral-like. Perhaps gothic is the term, particularly given the robe-like coats the prisoners wear. Regardless: I fell in love with the setting of Alien 3 from an early age, and it has aged quite well in this regard.

    In addition, I think the film mobilized some profound and important concepts. The treatment of prisoners is an important issue in contemporary society, particularly in light of the prison-industrial complex, and I felt that this film set a good example in many ways. For example, Andrews respects Dillon’s authority among the other prisoners; he likewise respects the importance of their rituals. Though the prisoners certainly lament the fact that they are prisoners, and though the facility itself is located on a planet that could be described as hostile, in other ways the prisoners are fortunate: they are not dehumanized, mistreated, disrespected, erased, or silenced, and they are given a certain amount of agency within the walls of the complex.

    On the other hand…

    The first two films in the series follow a very logical progression. The first film established the creature, its capabilities, and the Company’s desire for a specimen. The second film extrapolated the capabilities of the aliens; their lifecycle; and what would happen if trained combat troops with guns fought them on a planet (instead of in space, where the acid blood poses a threat to the integrity of the ship).

    The third film made two extrapolations on the formula: it answered the question, “What would happen if Ripley herself was impregnated?” thereby ending the series (we hoped). In addition, we find out what would happen if a non-human organism were impregnated. These are important contributions to the series.

    On the other hand, the queen-chestburster seems to come out of left field — a contrivance for the sake of a long gestation time and a sense of urgency. Likewise, the film fell back on the familiar formula of the first film: a single alien slaughtering many people, with the Company hot on its heels. Narrative-wise, it added nothing new.

    To be honest, I wish Alien 3 had attempted to follow Hicks, Newt, and Ripley in the wake of Aliens in much the same way as the comics did: Hicks becoming a drunk; Newt going to a mental hospital; and Ripley (speculatively) attempting to do what she does best: stop the company from experimenting on an alien.

    Characterization-wise, I had problems with both Clemens (whom, according to Charles Dance, originated purely as Ripley’s love interest) and Ripley herself. Clemens was characterized in broad strokes, only to be killed off moments later, and I don’t like the notion that the audience needed Ripley to “have a man” in order to be satisfied. Meanwhile, Ripley was often reduced to screaming, cringing, or deferring to the people around her — all of which is out-of-character for her. In the infirmary, for example, she shies away from the creature, whereas I always felt it would be more consistent to stare down her arch-nemesis.

    Just my two cents.

  3. taffysaur

    What’s wrong with finding love? Bishop’s the robot, not Ripley. Like it or not, participate or don’t, but that is what pretty much every one of us hairless apes is ‘programmed’ to do. Having human emotions and desires doesn’t make her somehow weak.

    BTW, which comics follow Hicks + Newt post-Aliens..? Sounds interesting.

  4. Rob

    I’m really interested in Alien: Resurrection stuff. I’ve re-read all these articles on Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Prometheus multiple times. It’s endlessly entertaining but I’m hungry for more! I even wouldn’t mind a Alien vs. Predator compendium.

    I understand you aren’t a fan of those films, but it’d still be nice…

    • Unfortunately I just don’t have the time, even if I was inclined to. I’d also have to start from the ground-up regarding A:R because I know next to naught about its production (I’ve seen it two or three times since ts release almost twenty years ago) so I doubt I would be very informative. Sorry 😦

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