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"Alien Resurrection" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

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Synopsis

200 years have passed since Ripley’s death in the furnace on Fiorina 161.  Scientists working on a remote space station have successfully cloned her and the alien queen inside her.  They remove the queen keeping Ripley alive and begin breeding more of the monsters.  Somehow, her DNA mixes with the queen’s creating a hybrid super-being.  This is fortunate because the aliens get loose in the space station almost immediately wiping out every living thing in their path and triggering the station’s failsafe auto-destruct.  Soon the only survivors are a small band of pirates, Ripley and one of the scientists.  Their only chance to avoid blowing up with the station is to get to their ship and fly away.  Despite losing a few people along they make it to the ship and escape.  Naturally, a monster makes it onto the ship and Ripley just manages to suck it out into space moments before the ship enters Earth’s atmosphere.

Specifications

  • 20th Century Fox
  • 1997, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 49 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  AVC @ 30 Mbps
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring:  Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominque Pinon, Ron Perlman
  • Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Implied
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

This film seems more about cashing in on a popular franchise than advancing or even tying up the story arc of the first three movies.  It’s pretty formulaic:  scientists want to study the aliens, they get loose, they kill people in various grisly ways and Ripley escapes by a hair’s breadth.  There’s nothing new here and premise for resurrecting Ripley by cloning, and thereby reproducing an alien queen is ridiculously far-fetched.  There are a few gems here however.  Brad Dourif as one of the scientists is simply brilliant – as he is every time he steps onto the screen in any movie.  I only wished he had lived longer as his role is far too short.  Sigourney Weaver is superb again as Ripley, or should I say Queen Ripley.  Since her DNA is partially alien, she takes on a new dark sarcasm that I found very entertaining.  I also enjoyed Ron Perlman as the goon-mercenary-pirate character.  It’s something he does very well.  The dialog is also well-written thanks to the efforts of Joss Whedon, creator of Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer among others.

Technical

The aspect ratio glitch I encountered on discs 1 and 2 of the set cropped up again on Alien Resurrection.  To restore the proper sizing, simply press Top Menu and choose Play.

Image quality has taken a step backward with this disc.  Where the first three were sharp and vibrant, the picture here is soft and murky.  Some of it is due to the lighting style which can be summed up in one word – dark.  Every scene is lit by the most minimal sources like wall sconces or control panels.  You can barely make out the details.  The color palette is fairly warm with natural flesh tones.  Everything else is either black or very dark gray.  Contrast is excellent but with so much of the scenery in shadow, a highlight feels like a long-lost puppy returning home.  This film is grainer than the others which I suspect is by design but it serves more to soften the image rather than create a mood.

Audio is reasonably dynamic with good use of the sub and front soundstage.  I still wished for more activity in the surrounds though.  There were plenty of strong pans across the front and dialog was clear though a little flat in spatiality.  The musical score by composer John Frizzel adds an appropriate amount of foreboding and tension when necessary and is easily the best part of the lossless sound track.

Extras

This disc contains both the theatrical cut and the 2003 special edition version of the film.  I watched the special edition which had a different ending.  It’s certainly worth a look.  The bonus features are shared by the entire Alien Anthology set.  To see my comments, please check out my review of Alien a few pages back.