HOME   News   Reviews   Adv Search   Features   My DVD   About   Apps   Stats     Search:
  Directed by
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
    Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  • 11 Featurette
  • 6 Photo gallery
  • Storyboards
  • Multiple angle
  • Original screenplay

Alien Resurrection: CE

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 111 mins . MA15+ . PAL


Fans couldn’t believe it and neither could I when the news of this film leaked out, and who could blame us? After the finality of Alien³, how could they possibly do another film? Ah, but Hollywood never sleeps. While we fans come to terms with loss, the engines never stop in Tinsel Town. Soon, we witnessed the resurrection of Ripley and another batch of salivating Aliens and yet another pursuit through a decaying space-station with a raggle-taggle bunch of misfits trying to survive.

Alien Resurrection was upon us and while it was met with angry yawns from fanboys everywhere, it nevertheless achieved a modicum of success; but almost assuredly ended the Alien Quadrilogy once and for all.

"It’s a queen. She’ll breed. You’ll die."

It goes a little something like this...
Ripley awakes to find herself with a surgical scar across her chest from where the Alien Queen had erupted at the end of Alien³. Finding herself on a spacestation she must be re-educated and slowly learns to speak and do basic stuff like that. Soon, a bunch of space truckers drop off a special cargo which turns out to be needed for experimentation with aliens (the aliens bred from Ripley’s ‘baby’). The fact that these are live humans for the experiment belies that we are indeed among an illegal centre for the breeding of aliens for warfare.

Soon, the inevitable occurs and the space truckers are on the run from severely pissed off aliens, but not before we learn a shocking secret about this new Ripley and the breeding program.

While being a classic rollercoaster action film it is a serious diversion from the original ideal, and being set another 200 years on from the events of Alien³ doesn’t help matters. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie... yes, that Amelie) the film has a more distant feel from the abject horror of the others, with a certain amount of subtle humour balancing out the body count. This new improved Ripley, however, finally broaches the inevitable crossover between the two species and this adds its own individuality to the allover series. Each director has wanted to bring something new to the table each time, rather than rehash an old idea into a similar sequel, and in this regard Jeunet has succeeded admirably, making quite a unique story from what appeared to be a closed book.

That being said, I can see why this film hasn’t necessarily been met with immediate applause. The purity of Ripley’s character being suddenly merged with the Alien isn’t quite the way most folks envisaged the series ending (once we’d accepted there was film four on the way). Still, there is a nice final addition to this special edition that ties all the films together at last, rounding out the whole series into one family, albeit one that is a little disjointed.

Certainly a worthy addition to the series, it does lack the terror aspect of at least the first two, however does provide some nice shots, some grislier moments, action, a body count and the first tentative steps of the Aliens going CG. And that’s okay mostly, but for one scene where one looks just like a dinosaur. However, the swimming makes up for that and...

And before I forget, this version contains the original opening sequence that cost so many dollars and was eventually scrapped. I’m glad we got to see it, though in the audio commentary, Jeunet is right to say the cheaper second theatrical opening (of the morphing mutants) is the better of the two.


Delivered in the awesome screen ratio of 2.35:1 with 16:9 anamorphic enhancement, the film looks pretty sensational. Picture quality is just fine with nice detail, good flesh tones and fairly even saturation of the colour palette. My only real concern here is in the contrast. This film feels very different to the others because of this overall darkness over light dominance. Obviously intentional, it adds a certain disconnectedness from the picture – almost as if it’s a black and white film for the most part. However, it also lends volumes to the darkness of the corridors and shadows where any one of the 12 aliens may lie in wait. In that regard, shadow detail fluctuates between okay to not so good, while blacks do look nice and natural at least.

Otherwise, the film has been delivered nicely with very few artefacts and nice clear images.


Of course, with Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 an Aliens romp is gonna kick severe audio arse. Give us a DTS 5.1 option and it’s even better. Plenty of nice space thermals and echoing vaulted hallways, plus some great underwater surrounds in the underwater sequence. Dialogue is all well spoken (except for that massive Ron Perlman dude who was in that other Jeunet classic The City of Lost Children... he mumbles a bit). There are some great and memorable lines delivered impeccably here, with particular reference to Sigourney Weaver. Obviously enjoying the role of kickarse Ripley here, she has a lot of fun delivering some very tongue in cheek humour.

Musically the score by John Frizzell supports the film well and duly builds tension, exacts sorrow, remorse or whatever accordingly. It also gets around in the surrounds for quite a good deal of the film and is up to the usual quality standard of the Alien series.


Well, we’re finally at Disc Eight. So much Aliens information in me now. Ask me a question, go on...
(I’ll assume it was ‘Can you get on with it, Jules?’ and so I'll move on).

Disc One of the Alien Resurrection section features our usual two versions of the film; The original theatrical release plus the beefed up special edition. The audio commentary is definitely worth a listen here as Jeunet and cohorts (cast and crew) have a lot of fun relating their experiences and the stories behind the sets. They occasionally repeat themselves from the other extras (just a minute...) but that doesn’t matter. Easily as interesting and as worthy as the others (with the possible exception of Alien³ - I really would have liked Fincher in on that one...).

Disc Two again features our three subheadings of Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production. Nine subheadings for Production with the first being a featurette entitled From the Ashes. This is a 10:07 piece about the logic of reviving the story with cast interviews and sceenwriter Joss Whedon. Follow that with the original screenplay that contains over 400 text pages (these are roughly twice the size of regular pages which is why there’re so many).

French Twist is our next featurette, that explores the French angle of the vision and is a nice discussion that plays for 26:11. Under the Skin is another featurette, running for 12:48 which deals with casting the film. It’s interesting to note here that Winona admits to stealing stuff from the set! A good chuckle in that. Next up comes 9:53 of Amalgamated Design Incorporated’s visual tests for the effects. An interesting little featurette this one and is sistered with Sigourney’s hair and makeup tests.

Click here to enlarge and send to a friend
Possible franchise spin-offs: A Very Alien Christmas

The Mark Caro Portfolio is our first gallery of these extras and contains about 24 very unusual concept illustrations. A nice inclusion, definitely, if only for its difference from others of this sort. Then we keep with the theme for our next gallery housing The Art of Resurrection. Well over 300 images here, including the original ‘alien bug’ designs used for the new opening sequence. Storyboard archives keep up the gallery feel with more than 1000 black and white pics. No dialogue or screen direction accompanies, but they are very close to the film and fairly easily followed. And lastly for this section we have a multi-angle sequence which features storyboard, rehearsal and final footage as three streams, plus rehearsal and final soundtrack dialogue streams. An interesting bit that runs just long enough at 2:52.

Click here to enlarge and send to a friend
The Animated Kids' Series

Production houses but five subheadings here with a featurette entitled Death From Below starting things off. This is truly fascinating and explores the underwater sequence comprehensively for 31:39. Next up is the incredible In the Zone, a short featurette detailing an amazing on-set moment during the basketball scene. It runs for a brief 6:45 and is bloody awesome - the definite highlight of this section. The Production Gallery rocks in next with nine subheadings and over 350 pics, while the creature design featurette follows entitled Unnatural Mutation. This is a great indepth discussion of the creature’s new designs and runs for 26:25. Finally, for this section, we have a last gallery of pics from A.D.I.’s archives of creature building. Around 200 pics here to fill out the section nicely.

Click here to enlarge and send to a friend
Sitcom: Austr-Aliens

Post-production houses a final six subheadings with our first regarding the musical score by John Frizzell. This featurette runs for 13:12 and is called Genetic Composition. (They must have had so much fun at Fox coming up with these titles...). Next up is a short piece about the CGI elements of the film with the alien movement and such. Thankfully no wireframe animations in sight – I guess Hollywood have got the picture now that we’ve seen enough. Runs for an interesting 9:55. Another fascinating featurette follows about the miniature shooting on the film. Entitled A Matter of Scale, this is a lengthy discussion on using miniatures over CG elements that some Hollywood filmmakers should be taking a close look at. Very informative and contains some nice concept art we’ve not yet seen.

Another gallery follows from the visual effects arena with over 160 images. This is followed by A Critical Juncture – Reaction to the Film which is more a cast and crew reflection on what they’d like to see next, rather than experiences post-release. However, there are some tantalising clues here as to whether the producers will be making more of the franchise...

Finally(!), the Special Shoot gallery of pics for promotional purposes. This holds over 30 shots and is well worth the look.

I have to go to an appointment to see about my carpal tunnel syndrome now. If you’ll please excuse me...


...But not before agonisingly typing out this final bit. Alien Resurrection seemingly pulled off the most incredible and successful trick ever in bringing someone back from the dead and having us believe it. Ripley’s character, while obviously not the same as her prior incarnation, is an aggressively stronger model that meets the aliens head on rather than running away (even though everyone always runs away) and makes the film about her again. Which works. Throughout we are wondering where her loyalties actually lie and this adds a certain intrigue previously unknown in the series. (Yes, one could argue, there was Ash and Burke and that weedy guy in the third one, but they weren’t so obviously of the other team from the start).

As part of the big book of box sets, I believe Resurrection belongs here, certainly, and is a better constructed film than Alien³, while incorporating many elements of the first two and still being unique. Ripley has been brought back into her world and there’s now every chance a sequel may yet arise with her in it (not discounting Aliens Vs Predator if we are ever subjected to that...)

It’s a watchable chase film with some adventurous action sequences and some very nice early CG work and if we don’t try comparing it to the other films it can stand alone as a novel interpretation of the Alien universe. There are also some fascinating featurettes and extras here that prove Fox has really put some thought into this rather than just attempt to milk the cash cow and for this reason each of the films in the series all look as good as they ever could.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3494
  • Send to a friend.

    Cast your vote here: You must enable cookies to vote.
      And I quote...
    "Witness the Resurrection!"
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
    • Speakers:
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
      Recent Reviews:
    by Jules Faber

    Narrow Margin
    "Gene Hackman as an action star? It happened… "

    A King in New York: SE
    "Taking a poke at too many demons makes this film a little stilted and not among his best works"

    A Zed and Two Noughts
    "Is it art or is it pornography? Who cares? Both are good."

    Blake's 7 - The Complete Series One
    "Performances are fine, but the flimsy sets, the crappy props and the undisguisable late 70s hairdos are just too much."

    Heavens Above
    "While not amongst some of Sellers’ more confident roles, this one is still up there amidst the more subtle of them…"

      Related Links
      None listed


    Search for Title/Actor/Director:
    Google Web dvd.net.au
       Copyright © DVDnet. All rights reserved. Site Design by RED 5