David on Alien 3

I warned you that I tend to buck trends... and perhaps nowhere is this more evident than with the least-popular and generally reviled entry in the Alien franchise. Why oh why, you're likely to moan, have I granted it such high praise?

For starters, more than the rest of the films—including and especially Ridley Scott's two prequel misfires—it breaks out of the predictable Alien plot structure. Not entirely, granted, but enough to make it more refreshing than most sequels. It also maintains Sigourney Weaver's strong character, while adding a surprising, subtle dash of sexuality that's entirely absent from the previous entries, and which provides some leavening to an otherwise exceedingly dark film. But most of all, it's that darkness that makes Alien 3 such a standout for me. The utter bleakness is so pervasively oppressive that it threatens to strangle the viewer; that it has such power is what impresses. Ripley's plunge at the end tears your heart out more effectively than a chest-burster.

Great casting, rock-solid performances from all involved, good production value up on the screen, and (especially for me) a score that absolutely works with the film's grim tone of futility make this a worthwhile motion picture, either as part of a franchise or on its own. I understand and fully accept that I don't have much company in my opinion of Alien 3, but hey, that's what makes the world go 'round, no?


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