John Kenneth Muir’s Reflections on Cult Movies and Classic TV: Alien Week: Alien 3 (1992)


Despite it’s subject, this article (by my favorite blogger John Kenneth Muir) begs to be shared on this Nostromo-centric site because he has such a strong grasp of the mechanics of the Alien films.

John writes an intriguing article about the status of Alien 3 in the eyes of fans of the films, and makes a logical progression through them to give some perspective on why he thinks it disappointed many.

Here are some choice points John makes, to whet your appetite:

  • The film — the third in the Alien series — is lousy fan service, and yet, simultaneously, an absolutely gorgeous, challenging, and worthwhile work of art.
  • And yet, objectively-speaking, fans aren’t always the best arbiters of quality or artistic merit because their interest — plain and simple — isn’t experiencing the best, most dramatic story possible, but rather the continuation of the saga and the beloved characters, no matter what. Ad infinitum.
  • The misguided assumption here is that such an ad hoc nuclear family [read: Ripley-Hicks-Newt-Bishop] could dominate an ongoing horror film franchise.
  • To put it another way, the Alien movies are not family movies. Families don’t survive in these films, as Newt’s parents and brother would attest. As Ripley’s daughter might remind us. 
  • On the artistic merits, Alien3, in some ways, is the purist of all the Alien films.  No other entry speaks so meaningfully about Ripley’s character, and her spirituality, and no other film so clearly aims for closure. The high-tech background has been subordinated, and the film stresses close-ups of human faces over long pans across space age hardware.

Have a read, if you have an open mind about the film…

John Kenneth Muir’s Reflections on Cult Movies and Classic TV: Alien Week: Alien 3 (1992)


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