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Resurrection Is the Most Underrated Alien Franchise Movie

Resurrection Is the Most Underrated Alien Franchise Movie


  • Alien: Resurrection offers a unique and fun take on the franchise with dark comedy and a comic-book vibe.
  • The film features an unsettling and creative horror element with the uncanny valley creature and compromised Ripley character.
  • The dedicated cast and crew had fun creating the movie, with practical effects giving it an ’80s sci-fi feel that has aged well.

The Alien franchise has some incredible entries, but the most underrated film in the series is Alien: Resurrection. Released in 1997, the movie was met with mixed reviews that leaned towards the positive, but was still buried beneath both a historically great year for cinema and the high expectations of fans. Since then, opinion remains mixed on the film and its place in the franchise. Resurrection is certainly odd and at times frustrating, but this movie is an example of what great sci-fi often is: strange, thought-provoking, and challenging to viewers.

Alien: Resurrection is certainly different from the other movies in the Alien franchise. There is an air of intentional dark comedy from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and the script by Joss Whedon gives the movie a comic-book feeling to it that the seven other films in the series (including the Predator crossovers) did not have — yet this somehow works for the film. With a stellar cast, a talented director, an original plot, and a large budget, this movie stands as not only one of the most fun Alien films, but also the most underrated.

The Most Daring and Imaginitive Alien Film (Besides the First One)

When director Jean-Pierre Jeunet was given the opportunity to direct the fourth film in the Alien franchise he was understandably surprised, given the finality of the ending of Alien 3. Five years later, it was time to “resurrect” the series. Jeunet had experience in creative science fiction with his first two films, The City of Lost Children and Delicatessen, but hadn’t directed anything along the horror lines of Alien.

Related: Alien Movies in Order: How to Watch Chronologically and By Release Date

Joss Whedon’s script was largely based on the style of the Dark Horse comics that were popular at the time. Originally, he intended to bring Newt back as a clone rather than Ripley. Producers wanted Sigourney Weaver back though. When she read the script, Weaver was delighted at the new take on her character, even becoming a producer on the film. She was ready to shake up the franchise, and so was everyone else after the panned Alien 3.

Weaver loved the final product, as did H.R. Giger, the famous artist behind the Xenomorph design. The movie has since developed a cult following, with many franchise followers claiming that while Alien and Aliens may be great sci-fi horror movies, Resurrection is simply more fun to watch. The humor is witty and sharp, the action scenes are incredible at times (like the chase scene in the water), and the originality of it all made Alien: Resurrection the freshest take on the franchise since the very first movie had its groundbreaking effect on the sci-fi and horror genres.

Unsettling and Creative Horror That Falls Into Uncanny Valley

One of the most unique and ambitious parts of Alien: Resurrection was the strange new alien hybrid creature, born from DNA of both Ripley and a Xenomorph. Unpredictable, grotesque, even Lovecraftian, the monstrous thing was peak “uncanny valley,” the place where something is recognizably human but still monstrous or flawed in some way. The too-human eyes and infant-like mannerisms of the creature made it horrific in a way that was vastly underappreciated at the time. Since the film’s release, fans fall in one of two camps: loving it, or hating it.

Related: Alien: Romulus Star Says It’s a ‘Very, Very, Very Different’ Film for the Franchise

In a more subtle representation of unsettling horror, Ripley herself was a character that had now been compromised: she was brought back to life with Xenomorph DNA inside her, and suddenly she was a heroine that could no longer quite be trusted. Her motives became unclear, her powers were new, and Sigourney Weaver played up this aspect of Ripley with ferocious delight. A review by Salon noted that it was her finest work in the series, stating that “Weaver obviously relishes playing this feral, sarcastic new Ripley, and her pleasure is infectious.”

The theme of cloning and its possible horrors was relevant in the late ’90s as well, with the cloning of “Dolly the sheep” happening only one year before this film’s release. It remains relevant today too, with a “chimera monkey” created from cloning only recently. Ripley confronting the previous clones of herself, all failed and misshapen, was a sharp confrontation of such technology — not to mention an especially horrific scenario that was well-executed.

A Dedicated and Passionate Cast and Crew Having Fun

Sigourney Weaver wasn’t the only one enjoying herself. The cast and crew were all not only dedicated, but clearly having a blast (with some exceptions, like Winona Ryder forced to face her fear of drowning for the underwater chase). The memorable “basketball scene” where Ripley throws blindly over her shoulder and makes a long-distance shot is one example.

Weaver didn’t make it on the first try, as internet legend now claims, but rather on the very last one — before they were about to give up and do it with CGI.

While there are some CGI scenes, the spaceships are real miniatures, and every shot of a Xenomorph that doesn’t include their legs is done with animatronics. This gave the film a more ’80s sci-fi feeling to it than similar late-’90s movies which relied too much on special effects that did not hold up with time. Another example of the dedication to the genuine feeling of the film was the scene in the beginning that had a video game in the background. Jeunet had a real video game made to add to the realism, which helps immerse viewers early on.

Alien: Resurrection remains underappreciated among horror and sci-fi fans alike, but it has seen a growing cult following in the years since its release, which praises it as a highly rewatchable part of the franchise that has aged better than expected. For those who love the Alien series, the film is worth a revist; and for newcomers, it is an essential and canonical addition to the franchise that represents the style of fun, flawed ’80s sci-fi that has since died away.

For more underrated horror, check out this video on horror films that deserve more appreciation:

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