Alien 3 (2003 Assembly Cut)

Rated R
Action / Horror / Sci-Fi
Try pairing with:  Classic Burgers & Caprese Salad

Jen’s Rating:  C

We hit the sofa, Jeremy filled with excitement for another Alien movie.  He informs me the version of Alien 3 we are about to watch is the director’s cut, which is so much better than the original version and longer…. UGH!

The beginning was so dark that I already knew I was going to regret watching it. The movie started slow and a bit irritating. It takes place on Fury 161, which is an all men prison so when a woman arrives you expect something exciting to happen.  The first interesting part of the movie was when a steer was brought into the prison dead. It was unknown to the people who brought it in how the steer died so they left it hanging anyway.  This is where the exciting part starts. An alien that looks like a dog rips its way out of the steer and instantly starts killing. This is where meaningless dialogue and back story happen, although some of it is interesting.

The prison looks like a giant sewer system maintained by a bunch of murderers, rapists and psychos. With the help of Ripely, played by Sigourney Weaver the residents managed to set the sewer tubes on fire to trap what they think is the only alien into a hazardous waste room. Once they trap it, the nut job Golic, played by Paul McGann killed the inmate who was guarding the room. Then Golic opened the door to see the alien because he was in love with how it killed.

The Alien continued its killing spree while Ripley collaborated with Dillon played by Charles S. Dutton on exterminating the remaining aliens on the planet.  Which was a total twist in the plot for me and woke me up from my sedation of boredom. Their final attempt to destroy the aliens was not only creative but entertaining as well.

Much like Alien and Aliens, Alien3’s best part was its ending. I gave Alien 3 a C for two reasons: the characters were seamlessly played well by all the actors and it had more interesting backstories than the other movies.  This movie was not great but it was so much better than the other two.

Jeremy’s Rating:  A+

Alien3 is a return to the horror roots of the original, while creating a balance between scares and a good amount of action.  On its initial release the film was panned by many due to its disjointed feel and copious plot holes and unexplained parts.  The director David Fincher even distanced himself from the project outright, after its completion due to excessive studio interference.  The story behind the film is almost as interesting as the film itself. When the final cut was presented to Fox Studios, they were apparently not happy with how the story was told and with the slower, more deliberate pace to the film.  They essentially recut the whole film to the specifications they were looking for and this is what caused the rift between director and studio.  This had such and effect on Fincher that he even refused to create a Director’s Cut when offered the opportunity in 2003, and the film was pieced together into a new cut by Charles de Lauzirika.  Dubbed the “Assembly Cut” this is regarded as the most true-to-original cut of the film that exists, and there are so many changes and added material in the film, it could be considered a completely different movie than the studio release.  This Assembly Cut is what we reviewed, and has been recognized by fans and the film community as a far superior movie than the studio release; enough so, that I actually consider Alien3 my favorite Alien film.

Once again, following the events of Aliens, just like as had happened in the first film, Alien, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is adrift in deep space following the events that unfolded.  Only this time, the Sulaco, the Colonial Marine dropship that they had been on, was not destroyed.  A fire in a cryo stasis compartment initiates the escape pods containing the survivors, Ripley, Cpl. Hicks, and Newt to be jettisoned, and they crash land on an outer rim world named Fiorina, or Fury, 161.  The planet is home only to an all-male penal colony that essentially governs themselves, and the population has banded together to make their lives a little bit less shitty by finding God.  The only problem with a penal colony that has no guards is that there are no weapons available in case something goes wrong…  and soon after her crash landing, Ripley is once again in trouble involving the terrifying xenomorphs.

In addition to strange killings that appear to be murders, Ripley is not welcome among the prison population, lest the presence of a woman drive them to temptation, causing them to violate their vow of celibacy they have all made.  Dillon (Charles S. Dutton), the chosen leader of the men tries to keep the prisoners together despite people disappearing and the fact that these horrible and mysterious things only started happening as soon as the feminine stranger arrived.  They all realize very quickly that they must band together if they want to survive until help arrives and devise a plan to handle the alien.  Once again, all is not what it seems on the surface, and this film in particular, despite the amazing loader scene from Aliens, has one of the most iconic final moments of any film in the series.

It is a shame that many people that had seen this film when it came out were not treated to the spectacular effort put forth in the Assembly Cut.  If this had originally hit theaters instead of the studio release, the reception of this film may have been very different.  As the studio cut could almost be considered unwatchable, I highly recommend that everyone give Alien3 another chance.  For me, this film is easily the best in the series, despite having so many other amazing entries, and I give this the highest grade I can possibly bestow, an A+.

One comment

  1. In total agreement that the Assembly Cut is the much better version of this film, closer to the version Fincher wanted us to see. For me personally, the Assembly Cut of Alien 3 is narrowly behind Aliens as my favourite of the series.

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