200 years after the ending of Alien 3, the company is able to resurrect Ripley through cloning and the scientists successfully take the Queen Alien egg out of her. Ripley's DNA gets mixed up with the alien and she begins to develop alien characteristics, such as speed, strength, and the ability to sense the queen's location. The scientists begin breeding the aliens, but they later escape and go on a killing spree. Meanwhile, the ship is on course to earth. Onboard are space pirates, enlisted to transport the pods holding the human hosts in which the scientists incubate alien eggs. The Queen gives birth to a deadly new breed of alien, which could spell disaster for the entire human race. It's up to Ripley and a band of space pirates to stop the ship before it reaches earth.
Meat for the Beast:
The story is not complex but it is unique in certain aspects. In other regards it's similar to Aliens, in that it's about a large group of heavily armed and combat-trained people who battle the aliens. It's easy to follow with a few new ideas thrown in.
The atmosphere is not as dark as the previous movies. Even though all of the alien movies take place in space or on a ship, it feels more clean and futuristic. There's less shadows and hard to see images.
The cinematography is brighter and contains less shadows than previous movies. Not really an special shots. It's suitable.
Great FX as usual. The usual aliens for the most part with a few new aliens thrown in. The new alien at the end is pretty bad though. The brighter lighting makes the aliens easier to see so the FX need to be that much better. The sound and music are on par with the other alien movies.
Just like previously, there are several characters to keep track of but only a few major ones. Sigourney Weaver is great - her character is more animalistic this time. Winona Ryder is good here with a "different" role for her. Ron Perlman plays the gung-ho space pirate as only he can! Dan Hedaya plays General Perez, captain of the ship, wants Ripley dead and the queen to lay eggs - very dislikeable, great job! Dominique Pinon plays a very unique role as Vriess, a disabled pirate in a cool wheelchair. Brad Dourif has a tiny part as Gediman, one of the ship doctors.
I rather liked this installment but not as much as the previous three Alien films. As much as I like Sigourney, I think her character needs to be done with. They've ran out of ways to resurrect her realistically. This film had a bi too many characters to try to develop in such a short time span. The story was great up until the last quarter. The ending felt slightly better than a B-movie. Overall, not a bad movie but one which could've been great with better focus. Alien fans will either love or hate it.
This is part of the Special Edition 9-Disc Alien Quadrilogy set. It contains one disc for each of the four Alien movies, one disc of extras for each movie, and one bonus disc. The jam-packed extras for this movie are below.
Audio Commentary - 1. Jean Pierre Jeunet - Director, and Crew
1997 Theatrical Version
2003 Special Edition version
Jean-Pierre Jeunet Introduction (Extended Cut Only)
FROM THE ASHES: Reviving the Story
FIRST DRAFT SCREENPLAY: by Joss Whedon
FRENCH TWIST: Direction and Design
UNDER THE SKIN: Casting and Characterization
Test Footage #1 HAIR/MAKEUP
MARK CARRO PHOTO GALLERY
THE ART OF RESURRECTION: Conceptual Art Gallery
PRE-VISUALIZATIONS: Multi-Angle Rehearsals
DEATH FROM BELOW: Underwater Photography
PRODUCTION GALLERY: Photo Archive
UNNATURAL MUTATION: Creature Design
ADI TEST FOOTAGE
GENETIC COMPOSITION: Music
VIRTUAL ALIENS: Computer Generated Imagery
A MATTER OF SCALE: Miniature Photography
VISUAL EFFECTS GALLERY: Photo Archive
CRITICAL JUNCTURE: Reaction to the Film
SPECIAL SHOOT: Promotional Photo Archive
EASTER EGG: Alien Extra