Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Alien³ is a science fiction/horror movie that opened May 22, 1992. It was the feature film debut of director David Fincher. The third installment in the Alien franchise, it is preceded by Ridley Scott's Alien and James Cameron's Aliens and is followed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Alien: Resurrection.
The film was poorly received upon its initial release by critics and fans of the preceding two films in the franchise. It was considered not to have advanced the story in any meaningful way, instead merely rehashing the first film's formula of a monster lurking in dark corridors killing off people one by one. This stood in stark contrast to Aliens, which freshly presented itself as an action movie, establishing its own identity rather than trying to imitate what made Alien so successful.
Other unfavorable comparisons to Aliens were made, especially in the way Alien³ ’s large supporting cast of prisoners lacked any individuality, being little more than stock characters whose sole purpose was to be killed by the alien. In Aliens, while many of the Colonial Marines could be considered stereotypes, Cameron still took pains to make most of them defined characters.
In later years, some fans of the franchise became more sympathetic to Alien³ as the story of its troubled production came to light. David Fincher was brought into the project very late in its development, after a proposed version by Vincent Ward (What Dreams May Come) at the helm fell through. Fincher had little time to prepare, and the experience making the film proved almost agonizing for him, as he had to endure incessant creative interference from the studio.
The original 2 hour 25 minute work print edit by David Fincher was finally made available on the nine-disc 2003 Alien Quadrilogy DVD box set. And yet Fincher himself, although giving 20th Century Fox his blessing in releasing this work print to DVD in the first place, was the one director from the entire franchise who declined to participate in the DVD set, even to record a commentary, as he is still reportedly deeply bitter about the experience. This work print edit contains many new scenes including:
- New opening scenes with Ripley blackened, lying on the beach, Clemens finding her and bringing her into the facility, Oxen towing the EEV.
- Dog chest burster is totally replaced with the original Ox chest burster.
- The trapping of the alien in a nuclear waste storage unit.
- Golic setting it free, thinking he was a servant of the beast.
- Other small scene additions including another Bishop at the end stating he isn't an android and the original Ripley suicide without chest-burster appearing.
The bonus disc for Alien³ in the 2003 set includes an interesting documentary on the film's rough production, but again, lacks Fincher's participation. The website The Digital Bits posted a harsh criticism of this disc, pointing out that the studio had, ironically, cut the documentary to delete a handful of behind-the-scenes clips in which Fincher openly expresses his anger and frustration with the studio.
Having escaped from LV-426 after the disastrous Marine rescue mission, Ellen Ripley crashes on a maximum security work correctional penal colony inhabited only by men whose "double-Y" chromosome patterns mark them as extremely violent and dangerous offenders. In order to rehabilitate — though there is really no hope of their release — the prisoners have embraced a fanatical apocalyptic brand of religion.
In a plot twist that severely alienated fans of the previous films, both Newt, the little girl Ripley bonded with and rescued in Aliens, and Cpl. Hicks have been killed. Only Ripley and Bishop, who is severely damaged, survive. Ripley soon befriends the penal colony's doctor and is protected by another inmate from the rapacious other men, upon whose vows of celibacy her presence is having a serious effect.
During Ripley's rescue, a dog gets implanted by an alien facehugger. Soon, the dog gives birth to the alien and it goes on a killing rampage through the colony. It is soon a fight to stay alive before a rescue ship can come to get them off the planet. Ripley discovers that she too has an alien queen embryo growing inside of her.
In the climax, Ripley sacrifices herself for the future of humanity, in order to prevent the Weyland-Yutani company from harvesting the queen embryo from her body and developing it into a form of bioweapon. She is seen plunging into a fiery death, her arms outstretched in a cruciform fashion, just as the creature bursts from her chest. Thus the film is seen as a religious allegory , with Ripley the Christ-figure.
A few critics have seen the picture as an allegory for AIDS and Holocaust-era detention camps. The alien creature, as the Village Voice put it in 1992, humps people to death, and, moreover, kills men by making them pregnant. In particular, the alien's insidious parasitic eggs (undetectable until specialist tests reveal them, and leading to certain death) are viewed as the clearest symbol of AIDS.
The prison planet, with its shaven-headed prisoners (including Ripley), in which all inhabitants are deemed expendable, mirrors the history of Holocaust death camps.
- 1979: Alien, directed by Ridley Scott
- 1986: Aliens, directed by James Cameron
- 1992: Alien³, directed by David Fincher
- 1997: Alien: Resurrection, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
- Sigourney Weaver .... Ellen Ripley
- Charles Dutton .... Dillon
- Charles Dance .... Clemens
- Paul McGann .... Golic
- Lance Henriksen .... Bishop II
- Vincent Ward... Story
- David Giler ... Screenplay
- Walter Hill... Screenplay
- Larry Ferguson ... Screenplay
- Dan O'Bannon... Characters
- Ronald Shusett ... Characters
A very early script treatment was written by noted science fiction author William Gibson. At the time of Gibson's involvement, Sigourney Weaver was not interested in reprising her role as Ripley, and so Gibson's treatment focuses on Hicks as the main character.
Other notable screenwriters to work on the project were Eric Red , David Twohy , John Fasano and Rex Pickett . The proposed scripts from all these writers can be found on the Internet.
- Gordon Carroll .... producer
- David Giler .... producer
- Walter Hill .... producer
- Ezra Swerdlow .... executive producer
- Sigourney Weaver .... co-producer
- Alex Thomson .... Cinematographer (replacing Jordan Cronenweth )
- Terry Rawlings .... Editor
- Elliot Goldenthal .... Music composer
- Richard Edlund .... Visual effects supervisor
- Alec Gillis /Tom Woodruff Jr. .... 'Alien' creature effects
- Alien3 at the All Movie Guide
- The Big Picture—article portraying Alien3 as an AIDS allegory in Issue 203 of Socialist Review, December 1996
- Textfiles.com - William Gibson's proposed script
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