- "Three times the terror."
- ―Alien3 tagline
|Directed by||David Fincher|
|Produced by|| Gordon Carroll|
|Written by|| Characters:|
|Starring|| Sigourney Weaver|
Charles S. Dutton
Christopher John Fields
|Distributor||20th Century Fox|
|Release date(s)||May 22, 1992|
|Running time||114 minutes|
|Followed by||Alien Resurrection|
Alien 3, stylized as Alien3, is a 1992 science fiction thriller film directed by David Fincher and starring Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dance, Charles S. Dutton, Lance Henriksen, Paul McGann, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown and Danny Webb. A sequel to Aliens, the story has an escape pod from the Colonial Marine starship Sulaco from Aliens crash-landing on a refinery/prison planet, killing everyone on board except Lieutenant Ellen Ripley. Unknown to Ripley, an Alien was aboard the ship, and is born in the prison where it begins a killing spree. Ripley later discovers there is also an Alien growing inside her.
Alien3 had a difficult production, with various screenwriters and directors getting involved in the project, and shooting even started at Pinewood Studios without a finished script. Upon completion, the studio dismantled and reworked the movie without Fincher's consent, including releasing a teaser trailer that suggested the film would take place on Earth. The film was released to mixed reviews, and while not very successful at the United States box office, it earned over $100 million outside of North America.
David Fincher was brought into the project very late in its development, after a proposed version written by Vincent Ward at the helm fell through. Fincher had little time to prepare, and the experience making the film proved agonizing for him, as he had to endure incessant creative interference from the studio. The film was Fincher's debut in big budget film making, and at the relatively young age of 27 he had to shoot the film without having a definite script. The added weight was also to create a film worthy of the work of the two revered directors that had gone before him, Ridley Scott and James Cameron. It was followed by Alien Resurrection (1997) and the spin-off Aliens: Colonial Marines DLC Stasis Interrupted (2013).
Following the events in Aliens, the Colonial Marine ship USS Sulaco experiences an onboard fire and ejects Ellen Ripley, Newt, Corporal Hicks and the damaged android Bishop, who are all in cryonic stasis, in an escape pod. During the launch, the ship's medical scans of the crew's cryotubes show an Alien Facehugger attached to one of the crewmembers. The pod crashes on Fiorina "Fury" 161, a foundry facility and penal colony inhabited by all-male inmates with "double-Y" chromosome patterns. After some inmates recover the pod and its passengers, an Alien Facehugger is seen approaching the prison dog. Ripley is taken in and awakened by Clemens, the prison doctor, and is told she is the only survivor of the crash. Many of the ex-inmates have embraced an apocalyptic, millenarian religion which forbids sexual relations, and Ripley is warned by the prison superintendent, Harold Andrews, that her presence among them may have extremely disruptive effects.
Suspicious of what caused the escape pod to jettison and what killed her companions, Ripley requests that Clemens perform an autopsy on Newt. She fears that Newt may be carrying an Alien embryo in her body, though she does not share this information. Despite protests from the warden and his assistant, Aaron, the autopsy is conducted and no embryo is found, and Clemens proclaims she simply died in the crash. Meanwhile, Ripley's unusual behavior begins to frustrate the warden and is agitating the prisoners.
A funeral is performed for Newt and Hicks in which their bodies are cremated in the facility's enormous furnace. In another section of the facility, the prison dog enters convulsions, and an Alien bursts from its body. The Alien soon begins to attack members of the colony, killing several and reducing an outcast prisoner Golic to a mentally deranged state. To get answers, Ripley recovers and reactivates the damaged android Bishop, who confirms that there was an Alien on the Sulaco and that it came with them to Fiorina in the escape pod. She informs Andrews of her previous encounters with the Aliens and suggests everyone work together to hunt it down and kill it. Andrews does not believe her story and explains that the facility has no weapons. Their only hope of protection is the rescue ship being sent for Ripley by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.
Back in the prison infirmary, while talking to Ripley about the situation, Clemens is killed by the Alien, which then approaches Ripley but does not attempt to kill her. She runs to the mess hall to warn the others, only to see the Alien kill Andrews. Ripley rallies the inmates and proposes they pour highly flammable toxic waste, which is stored at the facility, into the ventilation system and ignite it to flush out the creature. The prisoners reluctantly agree to the plan, but the mixture is ignited prematurely by the creature's intervention, resulting in the deaths of many of the prisoners. Suffering from pain in her chest and fearing internal injuries, Ripley scans herself with the medical equipment on board the Sulaco's escape pod and discovers the embryo of an Alien Queen growing inside her. She also discovers out that Weyland-Yutani intend to capture the Queen embryo and the adult Alien, hoping to use them as biological weapons. Deducing that the mature Alien will not kill her because of the embryo she carries, Ripley begs Dillon, the religious leader of the inmates, to kill her, who agrees to do so only if she helps the inmates kill the adult creature first. They form a plan to lure it into the foundry's lead works facility and drown it in molten lead. The bait-and-chase style plan results in the death of Dillon and all the remaining prisoners except Morse, who pours the lead. The Alien, covered in molten metal, escapes the mold and is killed by Ripley when she turns on fire sprinklers and sprays the beast with water, causing its exoskeleton to cool rapidly and shatter via thermal shock.
While Ripley battles the Alien, the Weyland-Yutani team arrives and is met by Aaron. They go to the lead works and the team's leader, a man named Michael Bishop, who looks identical to the Bishop android, introduces himself to Ripley and claims to be the android's creator, sent to show Ripley a familiar face. He tries to persuade Ripley to undergo surgery to remove the Queen embryo, which he claims will be destroyed. Ripley refuses and steps back onto a mobile platform, which Morse positions over the furnace. The company soldiers shoot Morse in the leg, and Aaron picks up a large wrench and strikes Bishop over the head with it, believing him to be an android. Aaron is shot dead and Bishop and his men show their true intentions, begging Ripley to let them have the "magnificent specimen". Ripley defies them by throwing herself into the gigantic furnace, just as the Alien Queen begins to erupt from her chest. As she dies from the wound, Ripley grabs the creature and holds it to her as she falls into the fire.
Following Weyland-Yutani's failure to capture an Alien and the death of all but one of the prison's inhabitants, the facility is closed down and the sole surviving inmate, Morse, is led away. On board the Sulaco's escape pod, Ripley's closing distress call from the original Alien plays one final time.
- Ripley .... Sigourney Weaver
- Dillon .... Charles S. Dutton
- Clemens .... Charles Dance
- Golic .... Paul McGann
- Andrews .... Brian Glover
- Aaron .... Ralph Brown
- Morse .... Danny Webb
- Rains .... Christopher John Fields
- Junior .... Holt McCallany
- Bishop II .... Lance Henriksen
- Murphy .... Christopher Fairbank
- Frank .... Carl Chase
After the huge success of Aliens, Brandywine Productions were soon approached by 20th Century Fox to create another sequel in the Alien franchise. While producers David Giler and Walter Hill were initially unenthusiastic, they began developing ideas. Early concepts included the Xenomorphs invading Earth, where they would fuse into a giant creature that destroys New York City; the idea of a massive gestalt Xenomorph entity later resurfaced in one of the scripts written for the third film, by Eric Red. Another early idea was to follow Ripley and Newt as they hunted an especially mobile Xenomorph creature in a Blade Runner-like metropolis.
Eventually, Giler and Hill settled on the idea of a final entry in the form of two movies that would provide a definitive end to the saga. The story was to revolve around "the underhanded Weyland-Yutani Corporation facing off with a militarily aggressive culture of humans whose rigid socialist ideology has caused them to separate from Earth's society". Sigourney Weaver would only make a cameo appearance in the third film, with the lead role going to Michael Biehn's Corporal Hicks from Aliens. Alien 4 would see the return of Ripley "in an epic battle with Alien Warriors mass produced by the expatriated Earthlings". Weaver in particular liked the Cold War metaphor and agreed to the smaller role.
- "I felt that Ripley was going to become a burden to the story. There are only so many aspects to that character you can do."
- ―Sigourney Weaver on her reduced role
Weaver also agreed on being removed because she did not like the changes the studio made to Aliens to reduce its run time, which included the removal of scenes regarding Ripley's daughter that she considered crucial to her character's development (these scenes were later reinstated in the extended Special Edition).
Although 20th Century Fox was skeptical about the idea, they agreed to finance the development of the story, but asked that Hill and Giler attempt to get Ridley Scott to direct Alien 3. They also asked that the two films be shot back to back to lessen the production costs. However this proved to be difficult as Scott, though interested, was busy working on three films at the time. In September 1987, Giler and Hill approached cyberpunk author, William Gibson, to write the script for the third film. Gibson, who was influenced by Alien, agreed. He initially wished to pursue the Blade Runner-type story, but was told by producers such an ambitious film would be prohibitively expensive.
- Main article: Alien III (William Gibson)
William Gibson turned in the first script treatment for a third Alien film in 1987. At the time of his involvement, Sigourney Weaver "seemed doggedly unwilling to participate" in any potential sequel and as a result Ripley was largely written out of the story. Instead, the main narrative focus became Hicks and Bishop. Gibson's effort is arguably the most well-known of the unproduced Alien3 scripts, as it has been available online for many years, although the version on the internet is, according to Gibson, "about thirty pages shorter than the version I turned in. It became the first of some thirty drafts, by a great many screenwriters, and none of mine was used (except for the idea, perhaps, of a bar-code tattoo)."
The story is set aboard a large space station called Anchorpoint, where Weyland-Yutani begins experimentation on Xenomorph material recovered from Bishop's remains aboard the Sulaco. The script also features a distinct Cold War element, with the rival "Union of Progressive Peoples" (analogous to the Soviet Union) running their own Xenomorph experiments after boarding the Sulaco before its arrival at Anchorpoint and recovering genetic material of their own. Eventually both Anchorpoint and the U.P.P space station are overrun by Xenomorphs and Hicks and Bishop must team up with the survivors to destroy the creatures.
The script ends with a cliffhanger for Alien 4 in which Xenomoprh genetic material is headed for Earth aboard the Sulaco. Bishop suggests to Hicks that humans are united against a common enemy and they must track the Xenomorphs to their source and destroy them. The screenplay is very action oriented, containing 8 Marine vs. Alien battle scenes, including a major confrontation set on the exterior hull of the space station (although a second draft removed most of this action). By comparison, James Cameron's script for Aliens contained only 2 Marine vs. Alien battles. Gibson's script also features an extended cast with many new characters. Since its release online, it has attained a considerable following on the internet. However, at the time, the producers, while liking certain aspects of the script, were unhappy with the screenplay overall. Gibson was asked to make rewrites with their newly hired director, Renny Harlin, but declined, citing various other commitments and "foot dragging on the producers' part."
- Main article: Alien 3 (Eric Red)
The next draft of Alien3 was written in 1989 by Eric Red, writer of the cult horror films The Hitcher (1986) and Near Dark (1987). Red's script had little to do with the previous entries in the series; all of the survivors from Aliens fall victim to the Xenomorphs before the story starts, the only direct link to the preceding films being a bloodied nametag bearing the name "Ripley" that is found aboard the Sulaco in the opening scene.
The script is set aboard a space station that houses an entire small-town USA settlement, including open wheat fields, farms and a small town, all housed under a giant dome. Beneath the town, the rest of the station consists mostly of a high-tech research facility, where military scientists are secretly breeding and studying the Xenomorphs. The creatures soon escape and wreak havoc, and with most of the military and science personnel killed in the initial outbreak it is left to the townsfolk to fight off the creatures. At the end of the story, the station itself becomes "infected" by the Xenomorphs and turns into a giant biomechanical Xenomorph creature.
Whereas several of the unproduced Alien3 scripts (specifically Gibson's and Ward's) have received substantial praise in recent years, Red's effort has something of an infamous reputation for it's poor quality. Indeed, after being shown Red's screenplay, then-director Renny Harlin walked out on the project, and Red was fired shortly afterwards. Red himself later disowned the widely circulated version of the script, claiming, "The piece of junk was a product of a few weeks of intense, hysterical story conferences with the studio to rush to get the picture into production and it turned out completely awful..." It was at this point that Giler and Hill abandoned their plans to produce two Alien sequels, and focussed on making a single film.
- Main article: Alien III (David Twohy)
Writer (and future director) David Twohy was next to work on the project. His version is even further removed from the preceding films than Red's script, the only reference to the first two movies being an image of Ripley seen on a computer monitor half-way through, with the word "DECEASED" written beneath it.
Twohy's story is set on a prison space station in Earth orbit called Moloch Island, where inmates act as manual labor in a giant refinery that smelts ore mined in space. The prison is also secretly being used by Weyland-Yutani to breed and run illegal experiments on the Xenomorphs, many of which involve the use of convicts as live bait. To keep the experiments secret from the prison population, only death row inmates are used, their executions faked in a gas chamber before they are revived and used in the tests. Examples include breach testing, where a Xenomorph is videotaped as it searches for — and finds — the weakest part of a structure with human bait inside, breaks through and attacks the victim. An accident at the station frees the Xenomorphs, and the surviving prisoners and staff must team up to try and escape.
When Vincent Ward was hired to direct the film, he told the studio he was not interested in filming Twohy's script and instead wanted to pursue his own idea for the movie. As a result, Twohy's draft was scrapped.
- Main article: Alien III (Vincent Ward)
The 1990 story for Alien III by Vincent Ward and the screenplay with co-writer John Fasano has Ripley's escape pod crash landing on a monastery-like space station, which is archaic in design and largely constructed from wood. This unusual satellite, called Arceon (not to be confused with Acheron), is a place of refuge for a group of all-male Luddite-like monks, who have rejected modern technology.
The story begins with one of the monks witnessing a "star in the East" (in fact Ripley's escape pod approaching the station), which his brothers at first believe to be a good sign. However, upon the arrival of Ripley, and with increasing suggestions of Xenomorph presence, the monks instead come to view the omen as the herald of some sort of divine trial for their misdemeanors, for which they are being punished by the creature that haunts them. By having a woman in their monastery, the monks wonder if their trial is partially caused by sexual temptation, as Ripley is the only woman to be amongst the community in many years. To avoid this temptation and (hopefully) the much grimmer reality of what she has brought with her, the monks lock Ripley into a dungeon in the lower levels of the space station and ignore her advice on the true nature of the beast. However, one of the monks soon comes to believe Ripley and frees her, and together they attempt to escape Arceon.
Ward's is by far the most famous of the unproduced screenplays for Alien3 and has received significant praise for its setting in particular, often making onto lists of 'The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made'. However, when 20th Century Fox began attempting to curtail Ward's ideas — contrary to the promise of full creative control they had originally made him — Ward quit the production. His replacement, David Fincher, had little interest in developing Ward's script, although the characters and plot it contained were ultimately adapted into the finished film.
Walter Hill and David GilerEdit
Short on time before filming was due to commence, producers Walter Hill and David Giler took control of the screenplay themselves, melding aspects of the Ward script with Twohy's earlier prison-set screenplay to create the basis of the final film. Even so, the script underwent numerous subsequent revisions even as filming was taking place. David Fincher did further work on the screenplay with author Rex Pickett, the latter of whom revised most of the work done by the previous authors despite eventually being fired, with Hill and Giler writing the final draft of the screenplay.
Stan Winston, responsible for creature effects in Aliens, was approached again for Alien3, but was unavailable. Winston instead recommended Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis, two former employees at his studio who had just started their own effects company, Amalgamated Dynamics.
The Xenomorph in the film was portrayed by both Woodruff, Jr. in a suit and a rod puppet filmed against bluescreen and optically composited into the live-action footage. Contrary to popular belief, wide shots of the quadrupedal Alien were not created using CGI. However, a small number of shots in the film do contain CGI elements, most notably the cracking Xenomorph head before the creature explodes. Other CGI elements include shadows cast by the (rod puppet) Xeneomorph, and airborne debris in outdoor scenes.
A mechanical Xenomorph head was also used for close-ups of the creature. The suit worn by Woodruff, Jr. adapted the design used in Aliens so that he could walk on all fours. Woodruff's head was contained in the neck of the suit, because the head was filled with the animatronics needed to move the mouth and inner jaw.
Director David Fincher suggested that a Whippet (a breed of small dog) be dressed in a Xenomorph costume for on-set coverage of the quadrupedal creature, but the visual effects team was dissatisfied with the comical result and the idea was dropped in favor of the rod puppet.
- See: Alien 3 (soundtrack)
- See: Deleted scenes
Alien3 was released in the United States on May 22, 1992. The film debuted at number two of the box office, behind Lethal Weapon 3, with a Memorial Day weekend gross of $23.1 million. It screened in 2,227 theaters, for an average gross of $8,733 per theater. The film was considered a flop in North America with a total of $55.4 million, although it did far better elsewhere, particularly in Europe, grossing a total of $104.3 million internationally for a total of $159.7 million. It is the second highest earning Alien film, excluding the effect of inflation, and had the 28th highest domestic gross in 1992.
A number of cast and crew associated with the series, including actor Michael Biehn, previous director James Cameron, and novelist Alan Dean Foster expressed their frustration and disappointment with the film's story. Cameron, in particular, regarded the decision to kill off the characters of Bishop, Newt, and Hicks "a slap in the face" to him and to fans of the previous film. Biehn, upon learning of Corporal Dwayne Hicks' demise, demanded and received almost as much money for the use of his likeness in one scene as he had been paid for his role in the entire film Aliens. Alan Dean Foster, the writer of the novelizations of the first three Alien films, called the death of Newt and Hicks "an obscenity."
The Visual Effects were nominated for an Academy Award, losing to Death Becomes Her. The film was also nominated for seven Saturn Awards and a Hugo Award.
Home video releasesEdit
The bonus disc for Alien3, in the 2003 Quadrilogy set, includes a documentary on the film's production, but lacks Fincher's participation; Fincher was the only director from the franchise who declined to participate in the box-set release. Despite giving the Quadrilogy set high marks, TheDigitalBits.com directed criticism at the bonus disc, pointing out that the studio had censored the documentary to delete a handful of behind-the-scenes clips in which Fincher openly expresses his anger and frustration with the studio. These segments were ultimately restored for the film's Blu-ray release, as part of the Alien Anthology set.
- See: Alien 3 Assembly Cut
Interpretation and AnalysisEdit
Academics analyzing the role of the Ripley character remark on the symbolism of the Sulaco's cryo chamber. Ripley is compared with an incorrupt Catholic saint preserved in a glass coffin (akin to Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, both in her lying in state in the cryotube as well as her incorrupt body, which has twice survived being almost "impregnated" by the Alien). Accompanied by the Agnus Dei of the Ordinary Mass playing in the background of the opening scene, these scholars argue that the Sulaco is transformed "into a holy site where the iconic bodies of a fetishistic religion lie in state," setting the scene for a lone Facehugger attacking its victim (corrupting it) and also causing the emergency system to eject the cryotubes into space and to plunge to Fiorina "Fury" 161 (representing the Fall of Man).
A novelization of the film was authored by Alan Dean Foster. His adaptation includes many scenes that were cut from the final film, some of which later reappeared in the Assembly Cut. Foster wanted his adaptation to differ from the film's script, which he disliked, but Walter Hill declared he should not alter the storyline. Foster later commented: "So out went my carefully constructed motivations for all the principal prisoners, my preserving the life of Newt (her killing in the film is an obscenity) and much else. Embittered by this experience, that's why I turned down Resurrection."
The official licensed video game was developed by Probe Entertainment, and released for multiple formats by Acclaim and Virgin Interactive, including Amiga, Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Mega Drive/Genesis, and Sega Master System. Rather than being a faithful adaptation of the film, it took the form of a basic platform action game where the player controlled Ripley using the weapons from the film Aliens in a green-dark ambient environment. The Game Boy version, developed by Bits Studios, was different from the console game, being a top-down adventure game. Sega also developed a rail shooter loosely based on the film's events, Alien3: The Gun.
- The decision to kill Ripley was partly influenced by Sigourney Weaver, who wanted to move away from the series by giving the character a definitive end. Of course, she later relented and agreed to star in Alien Resurrection.
- Several of the sound effects in the movie incorporate incredibly low tones, and for early screenings specialized, very large bass speakers were installed in theatres to accentuate these sounds. However, the speakers were removed when the low rumblings actually caused vibrations that forced some elderly viewers to leave for the bathroom during the film.
- Two of the actors in the movie, Brian Glover (Andrews) and Paul McGann (Golic), featured in the long-running British sci-fi series Doctor Who. Glover played Griffiths in the 1985 serial Attack of the Cybermen, while McGann played the title character in a 1996 TV movie.
- The 2013 video game spin-off Aliens: Colonial Marines/Stasis Interrupted would later reveal that Dwayne Hicks was not actually killed on Fiorina 161, and that the body that was cremated was a civilian named Turk, who was accidentally trapped inside Hicks' cryotube by Weyland-Yutani PMCs before the EEV separated from the Sulaco. Furthermore, it was revealed that Hicks actually arrived on the planet in time to witness Ripley's death, but too late to prevent it.
- Alien3 is the only film in the Alien franchise not to prominently include some kind of flamethrower, although the prisoners still use fire as a weapon against the Xenomorph.
- Alien3 is also the only film out of the entire Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator franchise where a pistol-like weapon doesn't appear (although in the theatrical version of Alien, the laser pistols carried by the crew are never clearly shown).
- See: Goofs
- Alien3 (soundtrack) — The soundtrack to the film by Elliot Goldenthal.
- Alien3 (novel) — The novelization of the film by Alan Dean Foster.
- Alien3 (comic) — A comic book adaptation of the film.
- Alien3 (1992 video game) — The first of two video games based on the film.
- Alien3 (1993 video game) — The second video game based on the film.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 David Giler, Walter Hill, H. R. Giger. Wreckage and Rage: The Making of 'Alien3' [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Strange Shapes - Cold Wars: William Gibson's Alien III". Retrieved on 2013-12-19.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Bald Ambition". Cinescape. November 1997.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Last in Space". Entertainment Weekly (1992-05-29). Retrieved on 2008-10-12.
- ↑ "William Gibson talks about the script". WilliamGibsonBooks.com. Retrieved on 2006-12-18.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Strange Shapes - Animal Farm: Eric Red's Alien III". Retrieved on 2014-01-28.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "Strange Shapes - Wooden World: Vincent Ward's Alien III". Retrieved on 2014-01-28.
- ↑ Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Sci-Fi-Movies-Never-Made/dp/1556524498/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256890375&sr=8-1
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 "Tom Woodruff, Jr. interview". Icons of Fright.com (2007).
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Fredrick Garvin (Director). The Making of Alien3 [DVD]. United States: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
- ↑ "Interview: Amalgamated Dynamics' Tom Woodruff, Jr.". Shock Till You Drop (April 14, 2008).
- ↑ "Alien 3". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2008-02-07.
- ↑ Hochman, David (1997-12-05). "Beauties and the Beast". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2008-10-12.
- ↑ "1992 Domestic Gross". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2008-02-06.
- ↑ Rotten Tomatoes review collection
- ↑ IMDB ratings
- ↑ IMDB awards
- ↑ "DVD Verdict Review - Alien3: Collector's Edition". Retrieved on December 16, 2009.
- ↑ "Criticism of Bonus Disc". The Digital Bits. Retrieved on 2006-12-15.
- ↑ Alien Woman: The Making of Lt. Ellen Ripley - Ximena Gallardo C. & Smith, C. Jason; Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004, Page 122-123
- ↑ Alan Dean Foster. "Planet Error", Empire Magazine, April 2008, Pg 100
- ↑ Jean-Pierre Jeunet, David Giler, Walter Hill, Joss Whedon. One Step Beyond: The Making of 'Alien Resurrection' [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.