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One Step Beyond: Making Alien Resurrection is a 2003 documentary directed by Charles de Lauzirika that details the production of the 1997 film Alien Resurrection. Created for the Alien Quadrilogy DVD box set, it uses extensive interviews with the film's cast and crew, as well as a wealth of behind the scenes footage and imagery, to examine all aspects of the development, filming and release of the movie.

Overview

The documentary is divided into ten separate chapters, each dealing with a different aspect of Alien Resurrection's production. As with all of Charles de Lauzirika's documentaries on the films in the Alien series, it features no formal narration but instead relies on newly-filmed and archive interview clips to tell the story of the film's development, interspersed with behind-the-scenes footage and images.

From the Ashes: Reviving the Story

The first chapter covers the development of a story that would see the Alien series continue with Ellen Ripley, despite her demise at the end of the third film. It also looks at the development of the Ripley 8 character, and what makes her different from the heroine of the previous three movies.

Includes interviews with producer David Giler, special effects supervisor Erik Henry, and effects artists Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., as well as archive interviews with writer Joss Whedon, producer Bill Badalato, and actors Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder.

French Twist: Direction and Design

The second chapter covers the hiring of Jean-Pierre Jeunet as the film's director, and his subsequent recruitment of many crew members from the French film industry with whom he had worked before. The segment also looks at the design of many of the film's sets.

Includes interviews with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, conceptual artist Sylvain Despretz, cinematographer Darius Khondji, second unit director Pitof, Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr., costume designer Bob Ringwood, and camera operator Conrad W. Hall, as well as archive interviews with Joss Whedon, Bill Badalato and Sigourney Weaver.

Under the Skin: Casting and Characterization

The third chapter covers the cast and how they got their roles, with Sigourney Weaver explaining how the film gave her a chance to put a new spin on the Ripley character.

Includes interviews with Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and actors Ron Perlman, J. E. Freeman, Brad Dourif and Leland Orser, as well as archive interviews with actors Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Gary Dourdan and Kim Flowers.

Death from Below: Fox Studios, Los Angeles, 1996

The fourth and longest chapter covers filming at Fox Studios, focusing on the difficulty and danger surrounding the complex underwater chase sequence in the film. In particular, it looks at the fear experienced by several of the actors, the filming of Hillard's death scene, several near-miss accidents on set and the particular difficulty faced by Tom Woodruff, Jr. performing underwater in full Xenomorph costume.

Includes interviews with Ron Perlman, J. E. Freeman, Leland Orser, Darius Khondji, Pitof, and underwater director of photography Pete Romano, as well as archive interviews with production supervisor Billy Badalato, Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Gary Durdan, Kim Flowers, Alec Gillis, and Tom Woodruff, Jr.

In the Zone: The Basketball Scene

The fifth chapter gives the full story of the behind-the-back basketball shot, which Sigourney Weaver accomplished for real without the assistance of any special effects trickery. It includes the full outtake of the scene, including Ron Perlman's incredulous reaction at Weaver sinking the shot.

Includes interviews with Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Ron Perlman, J. E. Freeman, Leland Orser, Pitof and Conrad W. Hall, as well as an archive interview with Sigourney Weaver.

Unnatural Mutation: Creature Design

The sixth chapter looks at the creature effects provided by Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc., including the more complex, more articulate Eggs, various Facehugger puppets, the "viper pit" scene when Ripley is captured by the Xenomorphs, and the aborted Ripely clones. Also covered is the Newborn, which was brought to life with one of the most complex animatronics ever created, and Jeunet's original insistence that the creature include obvious genitals designed as a mix of both sexes.

Includes interviews with Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Pitof, Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., as well as an archive interview with Sigourney Weaver.

Genetic Composition: Music

The seventh chapter focuses on John Frizzell's soundtrack, including some of the unusual techniques and instruments employed to give the soundtrack its unsettling qualities.

Includes interviews with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and composer John Frizzell.

Virtual Aliens: Computer Generated Imagery

The eighth chapter covers the CGI used in the film, including — for the first time — complete CGI Aliens. The documentary examines the early form of video calling pioneered to allow the effects studio in New York to communicate with the production in Los Angeles in real time, as well as the interface between digital and practical effects.

Includes interviews with Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Pitof, Erik Henry, Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Conrad W. Hall, as well as an archive interview with visual effects producer Susan Zwerman.

A Matter of Scale: Miniature Photography

The ninth chapter covers the miniature effects used in the film, in particular the Auriga and Betty models and the difficulties posed by the special ENR processing used on the film to give it a distinctive look.

Includes interviews with Sylvain Despretz, art director Matthew Gratzner, Darius Khondji, Erik Henry, model maker Ian Hunter, and Conrad W. Hall, as well as an archive interview with miniature director of photography Rick Fichter.

Critical Juncture: Reaction to the Film

The final chapter covers the response to the film, which many of the cast and crew admit was mixed. Despite this, the film was very successful in Jeunet's home country of France. The documentary closes with some thoughts from the crew on where the series might go in the future.

Includes interviews with Jean-Pierre Jeunet, David Giler, Leland Orser, Sylvain Despretz, Darius Khondji, Pitof, Matthew Gratzner, Pete Romano, Erik Henry, Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr., Bob Ringwood and John Frizzell, as well as an archive interview with Joss Whedon.

History

Originally presented in a 4:3 full screen aspect ratio for the Alien Quadrilogy box set, Lauzirika elected to "rebuild" the documentary for the Alien Anthology Blu-ray set as a 16:9 widescreen presentation. This conversion essentially entailed the cropping of the interview and vintage on-set footage to the new widescreen format, while the various title graphics were replaced with newly rendered equivalents.[1]

Enhancement Pods

For the Alien Anthology Blu-ray set, several previously-unreleased "Enhancement Pods", essentially deleted and extended scenes from the main documentary, were made available for the first time. These cover a wide range of topics, many of which are already mentioned in the documentary itself, and provide additional detail and trivia. Unlike the main documentaries, these did not undergo conversion to a widescreen aspect ratio.[1]

  • "Costuming the Betty Crew"
  • "Intentionally Uncomfortable Costumes"
  • "Creating Ripley's New Look"
  • "Downsizing the Design"
  • "Dueling Design Sensibilities"
  • "Breaking the Language Barrier"
  • "The Storyboard Bible"
  • "Preparing for Action"
  • "Winona Ryder Answers the Call"
  • "Surviving the Shoot"
  • "Swimming with Aliens"
  • "The Art of Slime"
  • "The Cloning Process"
  • "Considering Giger's Legacy"
  • "Newborn Dick Removal"
  • "The Evolution of the Alien"
  • "Designing the Newborn"
  • "Becoming a Film Composer"
  • "The Burden of Temp Music"
  • "Animating Underwater Aliens"
  • "VFX: Knifing Ripley's Hand"
  • "VFX: Shooting Miniatures"
  • "Abandoning the Bug Opening"
  • "Ending After Ending After Ending"
  • "Remembering the Premiere"
  • "Future Franchise Directions"

Trivia

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Digital Bits - Blu-ray Review: Alien Anthology". Retrieved on 2016-01-11.