Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dutton, Charles Dance, Paul McGann, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown, Daniel Webb, Pete Postlethwaite, Christopher Fairbank and Lance Henriksen

David Fincher

Running Time:
114 mins Theatrical Cut
145 mins Special "Assembly Cut" Edition





"It's here"


A fire onboard the Sulaco sees the surviving crew ejected from the ship in an EEV towards the planet Fiorina "Fury" 161, a mineral ore refinery that is also a maximum-security correctional facility. Ripley (Weaver) awakes inside the medical bay of the prison to find out that both Newt and Corporal Hicks were both killed in the escape and Bishop is damaged beyond repair. Clemens (Dance), the prison doctor tells her that she is safe and a rescue ship has been dispatched to pick her up but when some of the devoutly religious inmates start to be mysteriously killed, Ripley realises that she wasn't the only survivor to reach the planet.

How do you follow two extremely successful movies and try and make it as unique and original as the first two films were? The answer is that you can't.

Alien 3 had two hard acts to follow and from the start it was fighting a losing battle. The greenlit script by Vincent Ward was completely different to the story we see on screen. Subsequently director David Fincher had to star shooting without a finished script, under the constant scrutiny of the powers that be at Fox. Then the film was pulled out of Pinewood studios unfinished and transferred back to LA for reshoots and nearly a years worth of editing. Signs were not good and the finished movie did nothing to change that opinion.

Alien 3 is a jumbled mess that completely ruins all the good groundwork laid down by the two previous movies. Going from a horde of murderous Aliens back to a single solitary beast totally loses all the momentum gained from the battle-strewed first sequel. What you end up with is a rehash of the film that only shows you glimpses of the Alien to try and raise the tension. This was a monumentally bad decision, as the audience knows exactly what the creature looks like so there is no need to keep it in the shadows.

The movie does have some positives going for it however. The look of the film is superb and it gives you an early glimpse at the fantastic visual style of David Fincher that would become more evident in his later films like Fight Club, Panic Room and Se7en. The sets are on a grandiose scale and absolutely amazing to look at. The prominently British cast, with the exception of Sigourney Weaver and Charles Dutton, play their convict roles extremely well but most of them are underdeveloped with little background revealed before their excepted demise. Charles Dance and the always-excellent Brian Glover standout, as you'd expect and have key roles to play in the first act of the film. Charles Dutton plays Dillon, the convicted killer who has found religion and converted the rest of the inmates. This is a strong role for the gifted character actor who plays it with just the right amount of reverence and menace to never quite know how to pigeon hole the character.

These films are all about Ripley and the third incantation is no different. As her life seemed to be getting better at the end of the second film, everything is taken away again by the alien menace that has dominated her life for so long. Sigourney Weaver tries to take the role full circle but the script is just cruel towards the character as the nightmare of her life just goes from bad to worse. You actually feel happy for her when Ripley finally finds a release.

Alien 3 is a movie that the filmmakers took in the complete wrong direction. Due to monetary constraints and the limits of special effects technology at the time meant that the much talked about Alien planet story was never realised, even though it was the obvious direction to take the franchise. What we end up with is a rehash of a theme that was successfully dealt with in the first film.

Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, the transfer isn't the best of the franchise. While the picture quality is first rate for most of the movie, with Fincher's decision to use yellow filters throughout giving the film a very distinct look, the sound it another matter. During the final act of the movie some of the dialogue is accompanied by a hissing sound. This is not the fault of the transfer however but Fox themselves not funding a re-dub in post-production.



Special "Assembly Cut" Edition (145 mins)
This version of the movie does improve the overall experience of watching Alien 3. The crash landing of the EEV is extended, that shows you far more of Fiorina and the conditions that the inmates and staff have to deal with. The Alien is introduced in a completely different manner, via an ox instead of a dog. There is also an extended capture scene, which gives Paul McGann's character a larger story arc. There is also more character development that reveals more about the inmates.

Theatrical Cut (114 mins)
You can also choose to watch the original, shorter version of the movie that doesn't have as much character development but it does have the better ending.

Audio Commentary from cinematographer Alex Thompson, editor Terry Rawlings, creature effects supervisors Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr, special effects supervisor Richard Edlund and star Paul McGann
This intercut commentary gives you a fascinating insight into the troubled shot of the movie. Paul McGann talks about working with his fellow actors and how much he enjoyed working with Sigourney Weaver. All of them talk about making the movie with Fincher, who's enthusiasm drained as the production progressed. Most of them agree that Fox ruined the film by not trusting the director.


The Making of Alien 3


Development - Concluding the Story (17.01 mins)
Four years after the release of Aliens, Fox approached producers David Giler and Walter Hill about producing a third episode for the franchise. The originally hired director Renny Harlin talks about what he wanted to do with the film and the reasons why he left the project. Giler and screenwriter Vincent Ward discuss getting a story together and the hiring of David Fincher.

Tales of the Wooden Planet - Vincent Ward's vision (13.13 mins)
Screenwriter Vincent Ward talks about his original idea for the story. Based on a wooden planet filled with monks that had forsaken technology, which meant they lived like they were in the middle ages. Ward discusses why he thinks the story was changed and his disappointment the studio not going with his original vision.

The Art of Arceon - Conceptual Art Portfolio
Conceptual art of the EEV, Arceon: The Wooden Planet and the different Alien mutations envisaged for the original script of the movie.

Pre-Production Part III (11.43 mins)
The cast and crew talk about working with David Fincher. The featurette reveals how filming started with finished script and how the studio was undermining Fincher from the start.

Storyboard Archives
Storyboard images from the crash, the burning of the dead, Bishop's revelation, human bait, the lead works plan, Clements and Andrews deaths, an alternative ending and the theatrical finale.

The Art of Fiorina - Conceptual Art Portfolio
Exterior and interior conceptual images of Fiorina Fury 161 and the refinery.

Xeno-Erotic - H.R. Giger's Re-design (10.21 mins)
Giger talks about been asked to redesign the creature and reveals all his ideas about the project. Creature effects designers Tom Woodruff Jr and Alec Gillis reveal how talks with the artist broke down and how they had to change many of his original designs.


Production Part I (18.03 mins)
Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dutton, Paul McGann, Charles Dance and producer Jon Landau talk about the difficulty of the shoot and the lack of script not helping the situation. They also discuss the complete lack of weapons casing the problem of how to increase the action quota and how the use of fire became problematic both on set and for the actors. The featurette also reveals the tunnel chase sequences were filmed.

Production Gallery - Photo Archive
Images from preparing the film, honouring the dead, crash landing, the alien strikes, the death of Clemens and Andrews, capture and escape, the lead works trap and the final confrontation.

Furnace Construction - Time-lapse sequence (4.31 mins)
Your chance to watch the speeded up footage of the furnace set been constructed.

Adaptive Organism - Creature Design (20.35 mins)
Creature design supervisors Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr reveal the secrets behind the design of new Aliens for the movie. The two talk about the creatures that were not used in the production such as the super-facehugger, the Bambi-burster and the Ox birth. The featurette also shows you how they constructed the damaged Bishop and the images used to make the bio-scan sequence look realistic. It also takes you behind the scenes of the design of the new Alien.

A.D.I. Workshop - Photo Archive
Behind the scenes images of the designing of bodies of Newt and Hicks, the destroyed Bishop, the new facehugger and the Alien.

EEV Bio-Scan - Multi-angle vignette (2.01 mins)
Your chance to view the different layers of the body used to create the bio-scan of Ripley.

Production Part II (14.40 mins)
Producers Ezra Swerdlow and Jon Landau, editor Terry Rawlings and cinematographer Alec Thompson talk about how Fox hated the original cut of the movie. They reveal how the three-hour version was considered far too gory and how they asked for six weeks of reshoots. Editor Terry Rawlings reveals how it took over a year to produce a final cut.

Production Part III (8.57 mins)
Lance Henriksen, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown and Sigourney Weaver talk about David Fincher. They reveal how the director was constantly watched and how they feel that the movie was all about making money and not about advancing the story.

Post Production

Optical Fury - Visual Effects (23.22 mins)
Producer Jon Landau, Special Effects Supervisor Richard Edlund, Creature Effects Tom Woodruff Jr and Matte Artists Michelle Moen and Paul Lasaine talk about producing the effects for the third movie. The team take you behind the scenes of miniatures and models used to bring the new world to life. You get to see how the Alien ran and the first use of CGI in the series.

Music, Editing and Sound (14.54 mins)
Composer Elliot Goldenthal and Sound Editor Gregory M. Gerlich talk about the problems that came when adding music and sound to the movie. They reveal how originally Fincher wanted no score and how later problems with sound editing meant that the movie had disappointing sound.

Visual Effects Gallery - Photo Archive
Images of the Alien puppet and Sigourney Weaver been introduced to the Alien for the first time.

Post Mortem - Reaction to the film (5.51 mins)
Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dutton, Paul McGann, producers Jon Landau, David Giler and Ezra Swerdlow, creature effects designers Tom Woodruff Jr and Alec Gillis talk about how hard the movie was to embrace by the critics and the fans. The featurette reveals that even though the film didn't do too well in the US, the worldwide box office gross meant that it grossed just as much money as the previous two films.

Special Shoot - Promotional Photo Archive
Promotional shots of all the actors including Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dutton, Charles Dance, Lance Henriksen, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown and Paul McGann. There are also shots from the premiere of the movie.

Fox have produced an exceptional DVD for what is a very average movie. The complete lack of any input from David Fincher is a real shame. The new "Assembly Cut" of film is better than the original version and the inclusion of them both does add value to the package. The commentary track is very good but it is the quality of the bonus features that really stand out. With over three hours worth of featurettes alone, this makes the package extremely good value for anyone who wants to complete their Alien collection.





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