Alien Resurrection (or Alien 4: Resurrection or Alien 4) is a 1997 American sci-fi, action horror film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, written by Joss Whedon, and starring Sigourney Weaver. It is the fourth installment of the Alien franchise.
Two hundred years after the events of Alien 3, military scientists on the space vessel USM Auriga create a clone of Ellen Ripley using DNA from blood samples taken before her death. The Alien queen's DNA was mixed in with Ripley's, and the clone grows up with an embryo inside it. The scientists extract the embryo, raise it and collect its eggs. The Ripley clone is kept alive for further study. As a result of the alien's DNA inside her, she develops enhanced strength and reflexes, has acidic blood and a psychic link with the Aliens. Also, the alien's genetic memory allows the clone to have some of Ripley's memories.
A group of mercenaries, Elgyn, Johner, Christie, Vriess, Hillard and Call, arrive at Auriga on their ship Betty. They deliver several kidnapped humans in stasis. The military scientists use the humans as hosts for the Aliens, raising several adult Aliens for study.
The Betty crew soon encounters Ripley. Call recognizes her name and tries to kill her, suspecting she may be used to create more Aliens. The Aliens have already matured and escape confinement by killing off one of their own and using the acidic blood to burn through their enclosures. They damage the Auriga and kill some of those people who do not evacuate, including General Perez and Elgyn. Another crew member is coccooned. Military scientist Dr. Wren reveals that the ship's default command in an emergency is to return to Earth. Realizing this will unleash the Aliens on Earth, Ripley, the mercenaries, Wren, a Marine named DiStephano and surviving Alien host Purvis decide to head for the Betty and use it to destroy the Auriga. Along the way, Ripley encounters the grotesque products of failed attempts to clone Ripley. The surviving one begs Ripley to mercy kill her, and she complies.
As the group makes their way through the damaged ship, they swim through a flooded kitchen. They are chased by two Aliens. One is killed, while the other snatches Hillard. As they escape the kitchen, the Alien returns and blinds Christie, who sacrifices himself to kill the Alien so the others can escape. After Wren betrays the group, Call is revealed to be an android. Using her ability to interface with the Auriga's systems, Call sets it on a collision course with Earth, hoping to destroy the Aliens in the crash. She cuts off Wren's escape route, and directs the Aliens towards him. Ripley is captured by an Alien, while the others head for the Betty. Wren shoots Purvis and takes Call hostage, demanding that she abort the collision. An injured Purvis attacks Wren and forces his head to his chest just as the Alien embryo he is carrying bursts through his ribcage, causing it to go through Wren's head too, killing them both. The survivors shoot and kill the young alien.
Ripley is taken to the Alien nest, where the Queen, now possessing a womb as a result of the genetic mixture, gives birth to a Newborn, a Xenomorph with human traits. The hybrid Alien recognizes Ripley as its mother, kills the queen Alien and Dr. Jonathan Gediman, a scientist previously captured and cocooned. Ripley takes advantage of the distraction to escape and makes her way to the Betty.
The Newborn reaches the Betty and attacks Call. It kills DiStephano when he tries to help her. Ripley finds her way onto the ship and saves Call by distracting the Newborn. Using her acidic blood, Ripley melts the glass of a window and pushes the Newborn towards the hole. The Newborn is then violently sucked through the hole due to decompression as Ripley tearfully watches on.
The countdown on the Auriga continues as the survivors escape in the Betty. The Auriga collides with Earth, causing a large explosion. Call and Ripley look down at Earth, and when Call asks what Ripley wants to do next, she says, "I'm a stranger here myself". In an alternate ending used in some extended cuts, the Betty lands in a ruined Paris.
Why It Sucks
- The film is completely unnecessary, Alien 3 had ended with a sour note where Ripley committed suicide by back falling into the furnace. The facilities are closed down and almost all was forgotten, also, as the third film had already ended with a sour note five years earlier, the fact that there are many changes to the story compared to the first two is sort of not helping with all its other major flaws!
- In addition, Ripley is cloned after she died in Alien 3 - and she's somehow cloned with the Xenomorph Queen chestburster growing inside of her, and she barely acts like herself, and instead is weird and uncomfortable to watch.
- Just like Alien 3, the story is extremely weak and boring, with almost lack of scares and the scare factor is even far below that of its predecessors of the first two films.
- Call is held at gunpoint by Purvis, despite the fact that she is an android and cannot be hurt, yet Ripley and the others think she is in danger.
- Too many lesbian innuendos.
- Bad acting, especially from Winona Ryder as Annalee Call, and most of the casts as well.
- The film ignores a majority of events from the earlier films that came out before Alien 3 and this film.
- Most of the jumpscares are still predictable, just like the third film.
- Terrible special effects (aside from the actual Aliens), which look barely any better than what you'd have seen on most Sci-Fi TV shows at the time.
- The "Newborn" created from a hybrid of Xenomorph and Human DNA looks absolutely ridiculous, and yet it replaces the Xenomorphs as the main threat for the film's climax.
- Most of the characters are very cartoonish and over-the-top, in stark contrast to the more realistic, believable characters from the previous three films.
- Too many face touching scenes.
- There's only any crisis at all because the Auriga is programmed to automatically return to Earth in the event of an emergency. Note that this is the exact opposite of what the Sulaco was programmed to do (drop the crew off on an inhabited world and then fly into deep space) in the previous film.
- Joss Whedon's one-liners are distracting, don't fit the characters or the series, and are irritating.
- Sigourney Weaver's performance as Ripley 8 is still well done and amazing.
- Good practical effects.
- There still are some pretty scary moments.
- The scene near the end of the movie where Ripley 8 sucks the Newborn out, is admittedly pretty heartbreaking to the fanbase.
- Ron Perlman as Ron Johner is one of the few highlights of the film.
Alien: Resurrection received mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike. The film currently holds a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes, but received negative reviews from the fans of the first two movies, reaching a 39% audience score rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average of 5.8 out of 10 and a critic consensus that reads "Alien Resurrection marks a slight improvement over its predecessor, but still lacks the emotional stakes that helped make the franchise's first two entries sci-fi/horror classics.", Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film with a 1.5 out of 4 stars and stated in his review "There is not a single shot in the movie to fill one with wonder." He later deemed it as one of the worst films of 1997 and would even deem it as one of his most hated films.
Alien: Resurrection opened at #2 at the box office and grossed $16,474,092 domestically. It would later take a total domestic gross of $47,795,658. In overseas markets, Alien: Resurrection grossed $113,580,410. Overall, Alien: Resurrection grossed $161,376,068 against its $75 million budget making it a box office disappointment.
Awards and nominations
Alien: Resurrection was nominated for four Stinkers Bad Movie Awards including Worst Actress, but won none. It won one Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress - Sci-Fi for Winona Ryder. It also won a Hasty Pudding Theatrical Award for Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year for Sigourney Weaver.