After directing a string of popular music videos, David Fincher was commissioned by Fox to direct Alien³ but left the project before editing commenced because of studio interference. If Alien³ is not his film, neither is the studio’s “extended cut” (Fincher didn’t want anything to do with the project). Unlike the director’s cut of Aliens, this extended edition of Fincher’s first film does more harm than good. Impregnated with an alien queen, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) lands on Fury 161, a prison planet occupied by horny religious criminals. The scenario is the same (more doubting Thomases and labyrinthine tunnels) except the returns are less exciting or scary; an amalgam of power shots (some reminiscent of Fincher’s clips for Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got a Gun” and Madonna’s “Express Yourself”), the film’s overall effect is noticeably suffocating. Charles Dutton’s preacher man, Dillon, conducts an impromptu funeral service and the extended cut intercuts his prayer with scenes from Fincher’s intended alien-birthing sequence (from canine to bovine). This creepy interplay brings to mind the final moments of Apocalypse Now but doesn’t really spill over into the rest of the film. Not only is Ripley personality-free (is the character jaded or is Weaver simply bored?), so is the alien. If the material appears to strain to offer the new alien attacks a ridiculous religious context, that’s because the filmmakers never really evoke a sense of godlessness on the planet community to begin with.
- David Fincher
- Larry Ferguson
- Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dutton, Charles Dance, Paul McGann, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown, Danny Webb, Christopher John Fields, Holt McCallany, Lance Henriksen
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