A small note in memory of the Alien film series, which finally passed away this January after a prolonged struggle for life. It led a long and eventful existence, after a violent and bloody birth in 1979; the classic original movie remains a masterpiece of the science fiction and horror genres. It spawned an equally classic sequel in Aliens (1986), which is still unsurpassed in terms of nail-biting sci-fi action and is still much imitated today. Both films were milestones in the careers of their visionary directors, Ridley Scott and James Cameron, and continue to be celebrated to this day by the film community.
The second sequel, Alien 3 (1992) was greeted with dismay and derision by fans upon its initial release, but with time has steadily grown in popularity and respect and today is much championed by those who relish the bleak tone and atmospheric direction by another visionary, David Fincher. The fourth movie, 1997’s Alien: Resurrection, attempted to restart the series after Alien 3’s apparent conclusion, but failed to grab the imagination of fans. Nevertheless, it was not without its own merits, and it seemed the Alien series could yet live on, if it could find its way in to a loving and expert pair of hands.
Sadly, after a prolonged bout of middle age spent in the wilderness, the Alien series was spotted by 20th Century Fox execs as having the potential for making a quick buck and, despite the franchise being one of their crown jewels, it was slapped in to a blender with another ageing sci-fi franchise, the Predator series, and handed over to the dismally talentless Paul W.S. Anderson. The resultant offering, Alien vs. Predator (2004), was met with, to say the least, disappointment. The once-frightening monsters of space had been relegated to cheap shocks and naff video-game stunts. Even poor old Lance Henriksen was wheeled out to try and disguise the fact that AvP was just a pale imitation of the glory days of old.
The fatal blow finally came with the sequel, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (2007), which was so awful that it somehow managed to make AvP look good. Despite upping the violence and blood quotient, AvPR didn’t have a single brain cell to rub together, flailing about with its appalling script, poor production values and inept direction. This death rattle of a movie only has brevity as its sole plus point.
The Alien franchise, 1979-2007. No flowers.