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March 07 2011

Alien Resurrection - the unproduced script that shaped Joss' career. Time for another reevaluation?

I'd never reflected on the parallel themes in those works. Thanks. Thoughtful piece.
Not bad, more meat than the film article though it could still do with proof-reading and i'm not sure about some of the points made, particularly as to how unique they are to Joss. I mean re: corporate greed/corruption Ash was acting under company orders in 'Alien' and Burke (also a company man) was the villain of 'Aliens' (I don't count the aliens themselves, they're just doing what they do) - that idea runs through the films (and many other films for that matter), it's not something Joss came up with.

Some of the points also seem to me to be more aspects of creating fiction, part of drama rather than unique to Joss (or at least not in the way mentioned).

The point about season 6 ending with a warning about magic out of control is fair enough BUT it points out "...just like the magic that resurrected Buffy, or the genetic experiments that cloned Ripley. The resurrection took away something of both charactersí essence and personality.". Except, the resurrection issue with Buffy was nothing to do with the perils of using magic, it was about being resurrected at all - she was suffering because she was in "heaven" and was then pulled out, it was the ultimate come down, the mechanism is irrelevant (not to Willow of course but then resurrection's irrelevant to Willow - except as another step down her dark path - so it's one or the other, not both).

I also don't really buy the point about facing backwards and facing forwards or 'Alien 3' being more overtly religious than 'The Gift' (in Western media, if you have a person sacrificing themselves while making a cruciform then it has religious connotations, that's unavoidable). Buffy and Ripley both sacrificed themselves, both made active choices to do so, both made a cruciform in the process (because of the obvious visual shorthand for selfless sacrifice). And Buffy's death may look more like an "act of struggle" because she took a running jump and she's buffeted on her way down but to me that's a difference in style rather than theme (also, if Ripley's sacrifice is supposedly more religious because she goes passively, accepting her fate it may be worth remembering that Jesus doesn't, not in all accounts anyway).

(and as the article notes, these quite similar scenes are between BtVS and 'Alien 3' i.e. one Joss didn't write)

Well worth a read though, the stuff about Dawn and Call was nicely observed for instance and even if you disagree with it, it's saying something worth disagreeing with.
I also would have to disagree that Buffy's resurrection took something away from her essence and personality. Season 6 shows her having a difficult re-entry to mortal life, but the take-away ending of Season 6 has Buffy embracing life again, and realizing that she wants to live it fully.
I never watched any of the Alien movies. Is Joss's worth watching?
It's not as worth watching as 'Alien' and 'Aliens' IMO (both excellent - if very different - films) but it's worth watching, yep. There's two thirds of a pretty decent film there.

(particularly if you're a 'Firefly' fan, you can see a lot of the elements in prototype form)
Truthfully Tumnus? As a huge fan of not just Joss but Jean-Pierre Jeunet... no.
Tumnus, I definitely second watching the first two. All you have to know about the third is that she dies at the end. There's no need to watch this actual film either, the original script is online so go read that, it's much better and while you're at it have a look at Jeunet's original sketches for the alien, I mean they were awful in the film, but his actual concepts were horrendous!
Tumnus, my opinion is that watching all of them is worthwhile. They all have flaws and interesting ideas to a certain degree. The third film has one of my favorite Ripley scenes, ever. It isn't just Joss I would watch for, but how remarkably consistent Sigourney Weaver's performances are, even while each film differs dramatically in tone and execution. What a wonderful female warrior she is. But, I guess it all depends on the level of interest, genre, and how big of a cinephile you are.
i was a huge fan of the first three Alien movies. Aliens being by far the best, bit i thought 3 was pretty good to. i found Resurrection to be a massive disappointment though. i just couldn't get into the whole hybrid Alien thing. even though technically aliens were always hybrids.
Is Joss's worth watching?

Only movie I have ever walked out of. I revisited it on DVD a couple of years back and it was better than I remembered. Put it this way, it's preferable to Aliens vs Predators.
I'd say watch them all. Sigourney Weaver's Ripley is worth it. And the first two are really great.
Throwing in my two cents, Resurrection is possibly my favorite of the series (behind the first). The third is pretty bad, but still fun, and hey, if you shut your brain off, the AvP movies are fun too (though how they screwed up so simple of a premise is beyond me!)

Neither Joss nor Jeunet has very many good things to say about Resurrection. As a fan of both, I love it. It has enough stylistic elements of both creators, while maintaining a lot of the feel of the series (Brad Dourif's character leaps to mind...not just because he's one of my favorite actors). That said, it doesn't *entirely* feel like the earlier movies; there's a lot of weird humor that the previous movies are much lighter on. And as was said by Saje, there's definitely a "proto-firefly" thing going on!

Also, having read the script, I think the ending is better than the script ending. I also think the movie is better than if Jeunet had written it. That said, if you just want to watch it because you are a Whedon fan, well, you might not be what you were expecting.
@Tumnus: Both Alien and Aliens are great, but I have to throw in a vote for Alien. Aliens is a straight-up action movie (by James Cameron in his Terminator era), while Alien is much more atmospheric and creepy.

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