Sci-Fi Movie Month: "Alien 3" Review

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Sci-Fi Movie Month: "Alien 3" Review

-- Rating: R
Length: 114 minutes
Release Date: May 22, 1992
Directed by: David Fincher
Genre: Action Sci-Fi, Thriller

"Alien 3," a sequel to the 1979 Ridley Scott film, "Alien," is the third installment in the "Alien" movie franchise. The movie marked the big-budget directorial debut of David Fincher, who was brought in at the last moment with little time to prepare. Although it received an Oscar nomination for its amazing visual effects, the movie opened to mixed reviews. It didn't quite hold up to the success of the prequels in the United States, but it did well financially with international audiences and when released onto DVD.

The movie picks up where the 1986 sequel, "Aliens," left off. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and her crew, including Newt, Hicks, and the android named Bishop, have managed to escape the alien planet and are adrift in a space pod in a state of cryogenic hibernation. What they don't know yet is that one of the aliens has managed to stow away on the pod.

The pod crash lands on a prison-run foundry facility filled with prisoners who have violent histories. Ripley wakes up and is told by the prison doctor, Clemens (Charles Dance), that she was the only crew member to survive the crash. The prison warden, Harold Andrews (Brian Glover), warns Ripley that her being there may have a very disruptive effect on the inmates.

Still unaware that there was an alien stowaway on board, Ripley arranges for funeral and cremation services for Newt and Hicks, and she recovers Bishop and begins to reactive it. Meanwhile, the alien stowaway, which had invaded the prison dog's body, comes to life and begins to attack members of the prison colony.

Bishop informs Ripley of the alien's presence on the pod, and Ripley warns the warden of the event, filling him in on details of previous encounters with the alien. While Ripley suggests they band together to hunt it down, the warden isn't sure he believes her and informs her that the facility has no weapons. She realizes that her only hope is to survive the wait for the rescue ship that her company, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, has sent for her.

In short order, the alien spares Ripley's life, and she finds out that she has a queen embryo growing inside of her. She begs one of the inmates, Dillon (Charles S. Dutton), to kill her, but he will only comply if she can help the prisoners kill the alien first, which she does.

When the rescue team gets there, Ripley discovers that its true intention is to recover the alien queen embryo and investigate its use as a biological weapon. In order to put an end to the aliens once and for all, Ripley jumps to her death into one of the refinery's furnaces with a firm grip on the alien queen.

"Alien 3" was released on Memorial Day weekend in 1992 and debuted in the second spot behind "Lethal Weapon 3." It screened in a total of 2,227 theaters, grossing a total of $23.1 million that weekend alone. At the end of its run, the movie had only raked in $55.4 million, which is much less than was expected, but it was hit internationally, bringing in more than $104 million outside of North America. The total domestic and international receipts totaled close to $160 million, making it the second most successful movie in the "Alien" franchise.

What makes this film remarkable is the killing off of the three main characters: Ripley, Newt, and Hicks. Sigourney Weaver, who played Ripley, was fine with her part in the series coming to an end, since she wasn't happy with the direction the studio was taking with the story, but the trio's deaths were a blow to fans.

The death of Sigourney Weaver's character was probably the biggest blow, but what audiences didn't know at the time was that just five years later, her character would be revived and take the lead in the fourth installment of the franchise "Alien: Resurrection." It's no wonder Weaver opted to return, as the movie franchise had garnered her millions of dollars and several award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

Since the last "Alien" installment, Weaver has continued her successful career in movies such as "Baby Mama," "Happily N'Ever After," "The Girl in the Park," and the 2009 blockbuster hit "Avatar."

"Alien 3" is a must-see for sci-fi fans. Sigourney Weaver dazzles on the big screen as she ventures into a territory mainly reserved for male actors. The entire "Alien" franchise is a classic sci-fi story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Tags: Alien 3