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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"It gets exponentially prefixy."
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May 08 2007

Joss' Alien Resurrection in Chud's 50 Biggest Disappointments list. Gets a five on the travesty scale of 1 to 10.

Isn't on Joss's personal Ten Biggest Disappointments list? Perhaps he should sue people who say he wrote it. The credits really should specify who vandalized the script.
Only movie I've ever walked out of at the cinema. Big disappointment at the time. But watching it on DVD a while back it's not that bad. Miles better than Aliens Vs. Predator.
Yeah, they should've made mention of the fact that the final product didn't actually resemble Joss' original script, and the fact that he himself hates it (though I kinda like it).

And "glib bullshit"? I wouldn't call anything Joss has done "glib bullshit"; I guess I can kind of understand that criticism for the witty repartee even if I disagree, but Joss always always always invests in his characters. That's like his main selling point, that and the dialogue. Sounds like the writer's not a fan.
Y'know, and I'm sorry to Joss for saying this... while things were changed from his script, the tone of the film is pretty consistent with what I read. I don't think it was a knock-out of a draft either way (referring to what I read online. Maybe it's a butchered version).

[ edited by The Dark Shape on 2007-05-08 16:31 ]
The movie clearly was terrible, but there were many hands stirring that pot, and I think singling Joss out almost as the sole target of the "disappointment" is a little misdirected. The editing and directing of the film was a mess, as were the performances by the actors, and we still don't know how much of the final script was Joss's work (or at least I don't).

But, in my mind, there is not a single aspect of that film that worked -- and, as someone who loved the first two installments, and who lamented the third, I didn't think anyone had a chance to make a fourth film believable (although I was there on the first day to see it -- I still regret that). To the extent that it represents Joss's work in any way, all I can say is that he certainly has improved with experience.
This interview (my all-time favorite) has thoughts from Joss about the movie.

Also, remember one time when Kai had threatened to make him watch some (undisclosed) movie? My theory was always that it was this one. ;-)
Anybody else aware Joss said he cried the first time he saw it? That's a sign of a problematic film if ever there was one.

Fun fact: there's one of the early Alien 4 drafts available -- legitly -- on one of the Alien 4 DVD sets. It's on the DVD. You get an impression of what Joss was intending with it.

Joss gave some more information about the development of this movie at his Edinburgh Film Festival interview. I'm not sure it ever made it's way online, but the jist was JW and the director not entirely having the same vision of the project, I thought. For example, the ending kept getting rewritten.

And yes, I've no idea what that glob of an alien being sucked out the hole in the wall was all about. Blergh.
Watching Alien: Resurrection for the first time, before I was exposed to Joss's best work, was merely disappointing. Watching it years later is actually worse, because I can see the little glimmers of potential, wasted, surrounded and drowned by nobody seeming to care while they go through the motions of making a movie. (Although Brad Dourif always seems to pull something interesting out of even the worst movies :)

ADD: jam2, THANK YOU for that interview link. Though the Wonder Woman section made me sniffle all over again...but with that dead in the water, does anyone else think Joss would be one of the few who could write and direct a decent She-Hulk movie?

[ edited by damaged justice on 2007-05-08 17:53 ]
The writer obviously just has some unconscious need to rile up fanboys. No big deal. Everyone knows Alien Resurrection was a shitty movie. Most of all Joss Whedon.

In any case, I've been enjoying Chud's fifty biggest disappointments list. It's fun.
damaged justice - count me in for a Joss penned She-Hulk film! Wonder Woman may be more iconic than Shulkie, but she's not nearly as much fun.
BE: Okay, and I’ve got one final one, and I promise this is it, but my editor’s as big a geek as I am (You wish, Pop Boy – Ed.), and he wanted to know how different was the final version of “Alien Resurrection” when compared to your script? I mean, was it really dramatic...???

JW: know, it wasn’t a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending, it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines... mostly... but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong that they could possibly do. There’s actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking, because everything that they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from the script, and people assume that, if I hated it, then they’d changed the script...but it wasn’t so much that they’d changed the script; it’s that they just executed it in such a ghastly fashion as to render it almost unwatchable... Good times..." -

And yeah, jam2, I love the Joss InFocus interview by Jim Kozak... source of best Joss-quotes ever:

"...So I just gave them dialogue and stuff, but I don’t remember writing, 'A withered, granny-lookin’ Pumkinhead-kinda-thing makes out with Ripley.' Pretty sure that stage direction never existed in any of my drafts."
New York, New York, Lord, yes, what an awful movie. I routinely list it as my personal worst of all time. Just horrendous.

On another note, in the Star Trek piece:

"Fans of Joss Whedon’s Firefly take a certain pride in their role in resurrecting a failed TV show and turning it into a mediocre movie."

I take issue with pretty much every point in this sentence.
BTW, in the past, some folks at CHUD have not exactly been Joss' biggest supporters (see here, here and here.) Not trying, even remotely, to stir up anything, and don't really feel like playing any little reindeer games at the moment, just think it's important to have a little historical attitude-context...
"Fans of Joss Whedon’s Firefly take a certain pride in their role in resurrecting a failed TV show and turning it into a mediocre movie."

I take issue with pretty much every point in this sentence.

I think the only thing I could argue with is the 'mediocre' part. The rest is pretty factual.
Wait. Joss pitched Batman? Wow, I need to get my head around that. Imagine what he could have done with it!
Devin's comment is especially funny in light of the fact he gave the movie an 8.0/10 review. He's just trying to rile up the fanbase.
Rouge Slayer, unless I've misapprehended a lot of information about the development of Serenity, I don't think the fans "resurrected" Firefly into the movie, did we? I believe Serenity was already underway before the spectacular Firefly DVD sales, no?

And, the show, by my lights, was decidedly not a failure.

Further, I think Serenity was a splendid movie.
joss and she-hulk? I don't know, I don't like her too much, she's somewhat too prissy, but then, I read maybe five she-hulk issues.

joss and batman: wow that'd be cool. but as we learned the hard way: there's joss brain on the one hand, and there's hollywood on the other, and they don't really mesh well...

but, even if they don't love you, we still do!
Joss and Hollywood should mind merge... You know, like that great Trek episode. Yeah. Throw in some tribbles and you have Gremlins on acid.
Rouge Slayer, unless I've misapprehended a lot of information about the development of Serenity, I don't think the fans "resurrected" Firefly into the movie, did we? I believe Serenity was already underway before the spectacular Firefly DVD sales, no?

And, the show, by my lights, was decidedly not a failure.

You too with the Rouge?? Rouge sounds much less threatening than Rogue, I tells ya! No one ever called Faith the Rouge Slayer...*pouts*

Wasn't this already some argument back and forth about the role fans had? And the writer didn't say fans resurrected it by themselves, he says 'role in resurrecting', which is kind of how I thought Joss had presented it--that fans had a role in it's existence.

And Firefly was an awesome show, but it was a failure nonetheless, as far as the benchmarks we generally consider for a show to be successful. Primarily being...staying on the air. It certainly didn't fail in entertaining us faithful, or fail in being sharp and witty, but it failed as a 'tv show'.
from the Joss' mouth - again:

AH: You mentioned Universal got it, there, was part of the reason they wanted to make the film the fact that there was this sortof fanbase for the show, or did you.. was it just purely the strength of the script and the ideas you had?

JOSS: It was really just, you know… what sold it was the show itself. The DVD hadn’t come out yet, so they didn’t really know about the fan-base. They knew that there might be some sortof cult thing, but nobody really knew how big it was until well after they had commissioned the script. There was no script, there were just fifteen episodes and me saying, “Here’s what the story will be.” And they took it from there.

So they really came on board with very little. When I say they got it, all they did was watch it. -

• • • • •

JOSS: I’m privy to the essentials. Ultimately how good the DVDs sold certainly helped. But nobody ever said to me “Ok we need a number on the DVDs before we greenlight the movie.’’ I was already into the script, I was giving it to them, the timing was fortuitous and if nobody had bought the DVDs they might well have gone, “Well gee I don’t know.” At the same time, everybody knew that nobody saw the show so we didn’t really know what a big fanbase there was.

I don’t think Universal gets enough credit. People assume they decided to do it after the DVD sales. But they’d been in it for almost a year before that. Based on the shows, the cast and the world they said “Yeah there’s a movie in there.” -
Joss doing She-Hulk? Not a big fan of Shulkie. I don't care too much for Wonder Woman, but certain writers have done fantastic things with her. Haven't read anything with Shulkie that's really tripped my trigger.
Just a note: It wasn't Devin Faraci or Nick Nunziata who wrote this particular article, as some people might assume. It was just a semi-regular site contributor by the name of Jeremy.

CHUD is known for their occasionally somewhat over-opinionated staff. That's part of what makes it a good website and it's the reason they've gotten into overblown flame wars with sites like this one in the past.

One opinion isn't really anything to get excited about.
What really pisses me off about stuff like this, and I mean really pisses me off...The first two Alien movies were about the best damn movies that I have ever seen. Ripley was my favorite female character for the longest time, I still love her. Now onto the thing that gets my goat. Joss or whoever is responsible for bringing Ripley back to the series seriously had their work cut out for them. Watch the third movie, the one that TRULY sucked beyond belief and then tell me how ANYONE could have done any better? Given the total disaster that was left after the credits rolled in the third movie, I'd say this one was a masterpiece.
Spoken by a die hard Alien fan.
joss and she-hulk? I don't know, I don't like her too much, she's somewhat too prissy, but then, I read maybe five she-hulk issues.

Were they recent ones? I grew up with the original semi-cheesy Stan Lee "Savage She-Hulk", and John Byrne's more dramatic and meta-cheesy "Sensational She-Hulk", including the graphic novel that capped his series. Haven't been exposed to any treatments of the character since that time. Anyway, the character can be quite a fascinating and complex one, and I'm confident Joss would do right by her.

cheryl: Am I the *only* one who likes all three Alien movies? :)
I'm in a small minority who thinks Alien 3 was better than Aliens. The main problem to me with Resurrection, right back from when I first watched it and had no idea who Joss Whedon even was, was that it didn't feel like an Alien film. The tone - largely due to the direction, but presumably some of it was due to the script - was all wrong, to me.

Personally, I think Alien is another example of a film which stood more than well enough on its own, and didn't need sequels.
Wow, 'Aliens' is one of the best sequels of all time IMO. It's obviously totally different to 'Alien' in tone but I like sci-fi actioners as much as I like sci-fi horror so not a problem. 'Alien 3' on the other hand, had some good ideas but lost me almost from the start due to the way they killed Newt and Hicks (hard to imagine a pair of main characters being treated less respectfully - which translates pretty directly, for me, into disrespect for the audience that liked them). Horses/courses etc. ;).

The quote of Joss' about sticking to the script but still being wrong is interesting. Reminds me of his "You know what happens to a toad when it's struck by lightning ?" line from X-Men (one of the bits that survived from his draft, "You're a dick" - probably the funniest line in the movie - apparently being another) where he's said that Halle Berry delivered it completely differently to how he imagined, hence the extreme crapitude (the impression I got was he was after a more quippy, Buffy style delivery).

And the ending of 'Resurrection' was just ridiculous. Physically, narratively and visually ridiculous (quite liked most of the rest of it though - especially the Ripley/Alien DNA mesh idea).

But then, as pure escapist nonsense, I quite enjoyed 'Aliens vs Predators' so what do I know ?

(just seeing an Alien swung about by the tail and battered off walls was worth the price of admission alone I reckon ;)
My issue with Aliens as a sequel to Alien is exemplified by how easy it was to kill off a whole bunch of 'em, when only one had been all but unstoppable in the first film. Don't get me wrong, I like Aliens well enough - the theatrical release, not the Director's Cut, which I think significantly inferior - but I still think Alien stood well enough on its own. By making a big actiony sequel, they got rid of much of what had made Alien such a great and groundbreaking film, to my mind. Alien 3, although flawed, did go back to the original concept of the unstoppable single alien creature. I still think it is a better sequel than Aliens. But I know I'm in a pretty small minority.
Man, the reason I love Aliens is because it's a proper sequel. It exists for a reason -- it's different from the first, so a motion picture in it's own right. The problem I had with the second Pirates film, for example, was 'Yeah... But - why?'. I dread the third.
Actually, and not merely to be contrarian, I mostly liked A4 — except (of course) for the ending. Or maybe it's just that I liked it so much more than A3, which I mostly don't even count (like the Carter presidency).

A4 had a good, creepy feel to a lot of it, and Ripley-reloaded was a good, eerie touch. Liked a lot of the dialogue as well ("I get that a lot").

The ending, of course, was garbage.

But then I also liked A vs P more than I expected, so I have zero credibility with this crowd.

Oh, and I think the guy at CHUD has issues. But on that, I think I'll get less disagreement.
Oh, and I think the guy at CHUD has issues,

Play the ball, not the man.
Just like the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, the fact that Joss wrote the script doesn't have an influence on how the movie is actually shot and directed. The entire tone of the film can be changed to a completely different animal. I feel the same can be said about "Alien:Resurrection". I have the Alien Quadrilogy dvd set and it includes both the pre-script as written by Joss and the post-script that was actually filmed. The changes in dialog are subtle, but the tone among the characters were completely different in meaning. The one I found most jarring was Ripley herself. In Joss' version, she was resigned as just accepting the the aliens were a part of her faith, yet she still tried to warn the others not to follow. In the actual film, she was a mean, Joslin stick figure.
Jam2, thanks for the link to the Joss interview. In the meantime, I went to this place where I can find movie scripts and I found what was called a "shooting script" for Alien 4: Resurrection. It has Joss' name on it - does the term mean it was ready for filming but it was altered after that?

Alien 4: Resurrection Shooting Script
Amusingly, my Japanese Serenity DVD came with a sticker on the front proudly announcing it as being from "The writer of Alien 4". I kept the sticker on.
Heh, I bet Joss shouts that from the rooftops at every opportunity Kiddo ;).

Tonya J, that script (or the end anyway) is pretty close to the one on the Quadrilogy box set which is billed as 'First Draft by Joss Whedon'. Given how different the ending is to the released film, I suspect they weren't very near shooting when it was changed. Joss' ending, unsurprisingly, is way better (I like the way they try all the previously successful methods for killing an Alien - airlock, fried by engines etc. and then have to come up with something new). Plus, way more Ripley bad-assery which can only be a win.
Toasted or fried. Could I have deep blazed with a touch of honey?

[ edited by Madhatter on 2007-05-10 00:45 ]
Glad I'm not the only one who liked Alien3. I really appreciated the dark tone and look, although I'm aware I'm in a small minority. Didn't David Fincher direct?
And as for CHUD, whether it's the guy or the site in general that has "issues" .... not a site I'll be frequenting. In my book, calling Serenity mediocre is an offense that should get one eaten by reavers :-)
Yes, it was Fincher's first. They brought him in as a young unknown who they thought they could control, after going through a couple of directors and script rewrites, but they couldn't. There was a lot of interference, I think with him being threatened with removal. There was a good documentary about the whole Alien series I saw on TV some years ago which went into more about it (it may be on the Quadrilogy box set?). The best link I can find for this on a very quick search is here
Fincher is as - erm - proud of Alien 3 as Joss is of Resurrection, not taking part in any of the DVDs in any way. But I agree with Shey about the "dark tone and look" and I think all credit to Fincher for that. He's one of my absolute favourite directors. I am so looking forward to Zodiac.

But this isn't Fincheresque so I'll leave the Alien 3 talk there.
Kiddo, welcome to the room.
You know, I have a soft spot in my heart for A3 - there's one particular scene in it that Sigourney Weaver just nails particularly well, and is just a uniquely Riplerian moment. I'll let you think about which one it might be (hint: it's in the mess hall shortly after she's arrived). Plus, Charles Dance, who I adore.

I think what I'll do is read the script I found, then get A4 from Netflix and watch it again. I'm probably just dazzled by the sight and sound of Ron Perlman, which I always am. Worse thing about A4? Winona Ryder, who seems totally out of place.
At least Alien 3 had skinheads and the constant threat of prison rape. Watching Alien Resurrection is like watching Jason X.

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