Worst to First: Ranking the Alien movies
In a crowded summer movie season, Ridley Scott’s latest entry in the Alien prequel series has gotten squeezed out at the box office despite decent reviews. What does that mean for the future of the Alien franchise? It’s hard to say at this point, but it seems like as good a time as any to rank the Alien movies from worst to first.
Note: I am not counting the Aliens Vs Predator movies. Those are an inferior, not to mention completely awful, adjunct to the series so it’s best to ignore them. I will be focusing on the four movies in the original Alien series released between 1979 and 1997 and the two (so far) prequels.
Spoiler Warning: I will be discussing elements of the plots of these movies so if you haven’t seen them and plan to, I’d advise holding off on reading the article until you have seen them.
6: Alien 3 (1992)
Box Office: 55,473,545
Rotten Tomatoes Ranking: 46%
Director: David Fincher
Summary: The third entry in the series takes place not long after the events of Aliens on prison planet Fiorina 161, a prison planet. Here Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) finds herself facing her famous foe yet again. Only this time, there’s a connection that may have far greater implications for her.
The Good: The cinematography is very good., This was David Fincher’s debut feature film after several years of music videos and commercials and he shows that he is a technically gifted filmmaker. The story does try to be ambitious in its use of the alien as an AIDS metaphor.
The Bad: The main problem with the third entry in the series is that it completely negates the ending of Aliens!! Killing off Newt and Hicks just won’t do.
In addition to that problem, the movie has a hastily thrown together feel. From what I’ve heard, they never had a completely locked script for it. Hence, the haphazard feel. Fincher reportedly battled with studio executives over this. He was once quoted as saying:
They look at these movies like a franchise. There are people, who shall remain nameless, that I was bumping into as I was trying to put this thing together who were putting the experience into a really interesting kind of perspective. They were saying ‘Look, you could have somebody piss against the wall for two hours and call it Alien 3 and it’s going to do $30 million worth of business, you can’t keep people away. They’re going to go the first night to see what it is.
Verdict: It is for these reasons that Alien 3 ranks at the bottom of the Alien pyramid. I know a few people who swear by it. But I tend to agree with Fincher who disowned the film because he was so disappointed in the final result. Luckily, he rebounded from that and managed to gain true creative control and go on to make masterpieces like Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac and The Social Network. But did the Alien series recover? Read on.
Next: Alien Resurrection