It's in an ox. Or a dog, depending on what version
"You've been in my life so long, I can't remember anything else."Alien³
— Ripley, talking to the Alien
(1992) is the third film in the Alien
film series. It was the first film directed by David Fincher
Hypersleep goes on the fritz again and Ripley's ship crash lands on a prison planet
, killing all occupants except her. Another facehugger slips into the colony and infects a dog (or an Ox, depending on which cut you're watching), which quickly gives birth to a quadrupedal alien.
This film introduced the concept of aliens having different shapes depending on their host bodies.
The project went through several producers, writers, and directors before finally settling on David Fincher's rewrite, with predictable results
. Fincher has since disowned the movie
due to the Executive Meddling
he had to endure during production.
This film provides examples of:
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: There are several understated ones, including:
- Clemens' reveal that Ripley was the sole survivor of the crash, and his later verbal history of Fury-161.
- Ripley's first conversation with Dillon where he explains his philosophy.
- The scene in the EEV where Aaron helps Ripley with the mediscanner.
- All for Nothing: The first five minutes render the events of Aliens completely moot. Hicks and Newt, after battling through the last movie, are killed off-screen and Ripley is essentially back to where she was at the end of Alien.
- All There in the Manual: The company man at the end named Michael Bishop, the man who created the Bishop line of robots, is not named in any part of the film's dialogue, even in the Assembly Cut. The credits referred to him as "Bishop II", which only fueled the misconception brought on by shoddy editing that he's some sort of special robot with red blood.
- Anyone Can Die: The survivors of the previous film, after fighting through all of Aliens and surviving, all die right in the beginning, except for Ripley. The prisoners are all killed one by one, with a lot of them completely unexpected. Clemens, the only sympathetic and interesting character in the film is among them. Ripley herself even dies at the end.
- Asshole Victim: Most of the characters in the film are convicted murderers and rapists. Some even try to rape Ripley at one point, and Golic is straight-up Ax-Crazy. It therefore becomes hard to root for a lot of them when the Alien kills them.
- Atomic F-Bomb: After Mr. Andrews is suddenly killed by the Alien, Morse blurts out the appropriate response.
- Attempted Rape: Some of the inmates try to rape Ripley when she wanders off by herself to retrieve Bishop’s damaged body. They are stopped just in time by Dillon.
- Ax-Crazy: Golic. Even though he didn't kill the two inmates that the others suspect him of having murdered, he is still a homicidal nutcase. When he's contained in the infirmary in a straight jacket, he turns to Ripley and suddenly reminisces about a few women he knew back home. Then he looks her in the eye and says that she's gonna die too.
- Badass Preacher: Dillon wasn't a preacher before, but he is now, even spouting scripture while "re-educatin' some of the brothers".
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Ripley tells Dillon to kill her. He agrees, "quick and painless"... but he doesn't go through with it. Then later he has his own Heroic Sacrifice.
- Big Damn Heroes: Dillon when he saves Ripley from getting raped by some of the other inmates.
- Big "NO!": Bishop II's prolonged "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" when Ripley kills herself.
- Birth/Death Juxtaposition: The ceremony where Hicks' and Newt's bodies are cremated occurs at the same time that the "Runner" xenomorph erupts from Murphy's dog.
- Bittersweet Ending and Kill 'em All: Ripley dies to prevent the Company from bringing back an alien specimen, and all but one of the inmates are dead (Morse survived).
- Black Dude Dies First: Inverted. Murphy, the guy diced in the ventilation fans, is the first character the alien kills. The second victim, Rains, is also white - Boggs, the third person killed by the alien and sixth of the film (after Hicks, Newt, Spike (the dog) Murphy and Rains) is the first black character to die in the film.
- Book Ends: The film ends with a recording of Ripley's last spoken sentences in the first movie.
- The Cavalry: Subverted. Weyland-Yutani has sent a rescue expedition to Fury 161 which arrives by the end of the film, but they don't care at all about saving the prisoners or Ripley; they just want to retrieve the Alien.
- Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Ripley and Clemens both do this.
- Clemens asks Ripley several times why she is inspecting Newt's corpse and her reasons for wanting to cremate both her and Hicks's body, and her need to retrieve Bishop to check the flight data. Ripley continually deflects the question (one time by sleeping with Clemens) because he probably won't believe her.
- Ripley asks Clemens several times how he came to Fury 161, but he deflects the question repeatedly. Eventually he does tell her – he was previously an inmate.
- Conspicuous CG: Averted. While many viewers have complained that the running Alien in the last act of the movie was "bad CGI", in reality it was actually a third scale rod-puppet that was filmed in front of a bluescreen and photochemically composited into the movie.
- Cranial Processing Unit: Ripley does this with Bishop to access the EEV's flight recorder.
- Crapsack World: Fury (Fiorina) 161.
- Cryonics Failure: The cryopods fail for real. This indirectly causes Hicks to get impaled by a support beam and Newt to drown in her own pod. Ripley's pod also gets a hole smashed in it (due to the facehugger on the Sulaco), and she's seen moving around in discomfort as the pods get loaded into the EEV.
- Darker and Edgier: This is a much darker film compared to the one that preceded it. Aliens was a fairly standard action film with an overall happy ending (and that isn't a bad thing). Its sequel however has an air of hopelessness that just pervades the entire thing. Two major characters are killed right at the start and another one is damaged beyond repair, the film is set on a grimy prison planet populated by murderers and scum, there is almost nothing to fight the alien off with so more characters, even likeable ones, die left and right (often with no build-up), and even Ripley is killed off at the end because it's the only way she could stop The Company from bringing the Alien gestating inside her back with them.
- Deadly Rotary Fan: One of the prisoners (Murphy) is killed by falling into a ventilation fan.
- Death Seeker: Ripley sums up her attitude towards the Xenomorphs as;
Ripley: You've been in my life so long... I can't remember anything else...
- Dead Star Walking: Dr. Clemens is set up to be the main male character, but gets killed about an hour in, and Dillon takes over the role for the rest of the film.
- Defiant to the End: Dillon during his Heroic Sacrifice simply stares down the alien and tells it "Now, fuck you!" When it charges him, he is still heard screaming for the thing to "come on!" even when the alien is tearing him apart.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: Alien 3 makes the end of Aliens this retroactively when it is revealed that an egg made it on the ship, not only causing it to crash but infecting Ripley with the new Alien Queen, necessitating a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Do You Want to Copulate?: Ripley makes a rather blunt suggestion to deflect one of Clemens's questions.
Ripley: Are you attracted to me?
Clemens: In what way?
Ripley: In that way.
Clemens: You're very direct.
Ripley: I've been out here a long time.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Newt, Hicks and Bishop are all unceremoniously dumped. There's only a brief scene with Bishop in which he asks to be turned off because he'll never be top of the line again.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Aaron is called "85" by the inmates. It refers to his IQ score, which they found out when they took a look at his personnel file.
- Enhance Button: Aaron helps Ripley scan herself in the EEV. He can't make out the picture, so she tells him "Enhance". Result: a confusing, blurry, picture becomes a confusing, clear, picture.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Dillon may be a convicted murderer and rapist, but since he has found religion he won't stand for it anymore. He unleashes a monumental beating on the other inmates when they try to rape Ripley.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave:
- Ripley discovers that she's the only one of the Sulaco crew still alive after their EEV crashed
- Morse is the only survivor of the Fury 161 colony — he takes one last look around the place before being escorted out.
- Evil Brit: Most of the Fiorina inmates are portrayed by British actors.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: A dog belonging to one of the inmates barks incessantly at the alien.
- Extra Y Extra Violent: All the XYY males are automatically put on a penal colony because they're assumed to be violent.
- Foreshadowing: A bucket burnt by an explosion and then doused by cold water from sprinklers cracks open.
- The Glasses Come Off: Dillon slowly removes his horn-rimmed glasses as he and the alien stare each other down.
- Gory Discretion Shot:
- The blood hitting the vent.
- Newt's autopsy.
- Hellhole Prison: This movie gets in on the act with Fiorina-161, a/k/a 'Fury', a maximum-security prison world with no weapons of any kind because without a functioning starship escape is impossible anyway. The wardens as a result are nearly powerless against the apocalyptic cult that has gained control over the population, to say nothing of the Xenomorph that hitchhiked aboard the escape pod from the Sulaco. Interestingly it actually was a better prison in the past when it was properly staffed before Weyland-Yutani abandoned it; a facility built for 5,000 inmates has been reduced to housing 25 inmates with a 3-man staff.
Ripley: This is a maximum security prison, and you have no weapons of any kind???
Andrews: We have some carving knives in the abattoir, a few more in the mess hall. Some fire axes scattered about the place - nothing terribly formidable.
Ripley: That's all?
Andrews: We're on the honor system.
Ripley: Then we're fucked!
- Heroic Suicide: Ellen Ripley, which was enforced by Weaver so she wouldn't have to reprise the character again. Sigourney Weaver does return in the next film, however, but not as Ellen Ripley. Things are a little, well, different.
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Seriously, the planet is called "Fury". What are you expecting?
- Infant Immortality: Averted. Newt dies in the opening, and so does a dog not much later.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Mr. Andrews (the nominal Warden of the prison) is a pretty big Jerkass, but he has legitimate grounds for not wanting Ripley to walk around the prison freely. He has to keep a population of convicted murderers and rapists in check, who are still very dangerous even if they have found religion (his point is proven when a group of inmates attempt to rape her). Also, Ripley's story about a lethal 8 foot tall alien with acid blood (which has never been seen on any other planet than LV-426) would seem implausible to someone who has never encountered it, especially as she has no evidence. From his perspective the more likely scenario is that Murphy's death was just an accident, and that Golic was simply an insane murderer who killed two other inmates.
- The Last Dance:
- Ripley. "You've been in my life so long, I can't remember anything else."
- The convicts qualify as well, as profoundly stated by Dillon.
You're all gonna die. The only question is how you check out. Do you want it on your feet? Or on your fuckin' knees... begging? I ain't much for begging! Nobody ever gave me nothing! So I say fuck
that thing! Let's fight it!
- Last Note Nightmare: Elliot Goldenthal's arrangement of the 20th Century Fox Fanfare freezes on the penultimate note and degenerates into a frightening wail; damn, even the opening logo fanfare is Darker and Edgier!
- Let Me Get This Straight:
- The film features an outrageously straight version of this trope. "All right. Let me get this straight. You want to burn it down and out of the pipes, force it in here, slam the door — and trap its ass? And you want help from us Y-chromo boys?" One can only wonder how Ripley managed to explain the plan in a way convoluted enough that Dillon had to get it straight.
- Also, more humorously: "Let me see if I have this correct, Lieutenant - it's an 8-foot creature of some kind with acid for blood, and it arrived on your spaceship. It kills on sight, and is generally unpleasant."
- Major Injury Underreaction: The human Bishop at the end is remarkably unconcerned about getting hit in the head so hard his ear is almost torn off. This probably helped fuel the speculation he's another android. In the Assembly Cut, however, he's obviously in pain afterwards, and it takes him a moment to regain composure.
- My Greatest Failure: This is how Clemens got to Fury 161. He was previously a doctor, but he got addicted to morphine in medical school. When an industrial accident caused the deaths of a lot of workers, he was called in. Eleven people died not because of their wounds, but because he was so out of the world that he prescribed the wrong dosage of painkillers. He was jailed for seven years on Fiorina, and his medical license was reduced to a Class 3C. When the facility was due to be closed down, he elected to stay on as the medical officer when the inmates didn't want to leave (partly because he'd bonded with them on some level, but mostly because nobody else was about to hire him as a medical officer).
- Never Trust a Trailer: The film's very first trailer, promising, "On Earth, everyone will hear you scream," suggested that the film would take place on earth. The film went through eight or more screenplays during its early development stages (some of them, incidentally, were written by people who seem to have never watched the previous films). The trailer in question was made before the final script was even selected.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Mr. Andrews. When Ripley tells him about the Alien he won't help her and confines her to sickbay, because he finds her story very implausible and he has a much simpler explanation for the recent deaths.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Averted. Christianity is still a thriving religion in the 23rd century, even if it's only prominently seen amongst a band of prison convicts.
- Penal Colony: The setting for the film is a shut-down prison planet, where the remaining convicts adopted a monastery culture and chose to remain, becoming more like indentured janitors. Escape is impossible, because there's nowhere to escape to.
- Plothole: All the Aliens were destroyed in the previous film, and the Queen tore off her ovipositor when she went after Ripley. In this film however there is somehow an Alien egg on board the Sulaco. Actually two of them.
- Poor Communication Kills: Ripley never tells Clemens about the alien menace, even when he clearly notices that something is wrong and tells Ripley to trust him and tell him what she knows or what she thinks is going on. If she had done it maybe he wouldn't have died.
- Post-Climax Confrontation: After killing the Alien, Ripley is confronted by a mysterious man who claims to be the creator of the Bishop android, even looking like him, as well as the Weyland-Yutani soldiers and Aaron. Ripley kills herself in the furnace to avoid letting the Company get their hands on the Alien inside her.
- P.O.V. Cam: The fishbowl view of the running Alien.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ripley gives one to the inmates to convince them that killing the xenomorph is their only option.
Ripley: When they first heard about this thing, it was crew expendable. The next time they sent in marines - they were expendable too. What makes you think they're gonna care about a bunch of lifers who found God at the ass-end of space? You really think they're gonna let you interfere with their plans for this thing? They think we're - we're crud. And they don't give a fuck about one friend of yours that's - that's died. Not one.
- Recycled In Space: Some call Alien³ "the first Alien IN A PRISON!"
- Redemption Equals Death: Junior in the special edition. He leads the gang trying to rape Ripley, but when she tries to distract the Alien from him in the attempt to trap it in the bunker, he instead runs inside, taking it with him. It rips him apart of course, but the mission succeeds because of him.
- Reliable Traitor: Downplayed. Golic, who helped the Alien escape... but he worshiped the Alien and was obviously insane.
- Robotic Reveal: Inverted when someone suspected of being an android is violently attacked, only to start bleeding very human red.
- Rule of Drama: In the first film Alien, Kane dies almost immediately after waking up from the facehugger. Ripley seems to go on for hours on end before finally biting it at the end of the movie.
- The longer gestation might because Ripley is carrying an alien queen.
- Sex for Solace: Ripley and Clemens make love for this reason. Ripley has lost two people who meant a lot to her, and Clemens has spent a large part of his life on a bleak prison planet to atone for his past mistakes. Ripley also does it to deflect a question that Clemens asked her, but why she chose this way to deflect it is this trope ("I've been out here a long time", she says).
- Scannable Man: The prison convicts have bar codes on the back of their necks. Clemens has one too, leading Ripley to think that he is one of the inmates. As he later tells her, he was one previously.
- Screaming Woman: Ripley screams when the gang of inmates attempt to rape her.
- Senseless Sacrifice: "85" attacking Bishop II does nothing but get him machine-gunned down, and he wanted to go home.
- Sheep in Wolf's Clothing: Ripley survives an alien attack thanks to being infected, and later uses this to her advantage when confronting it later.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Alien3, when viewed together with Aliens.
- Shower Scene: Ripley has a shower scene shortly after cutting off her hair.
- Sole Survivor: Morse, one of the Fury 161 prisoners.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: At the beginning of the film, the Sulaco launches an escape pod which lands on a planet. Newt and Hicks are both killed in gruesome ways (the gory aftermath is shown), while Bishop has one scene in which he asks to be turned off. Interestingly, the Comic Canon (quite a lot of which was written before 3) sees Hicks and Newt survive, and quite a few fans consider it superior for that reason.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death:
- Dr. Clemens is built up as a main character, but then he suddenly gets grabbed by the Alien and killed off.
- The prison warden is killed while yelling at Ripley, in a room full of other people no less!
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The inmates plot to kill the alien by pouring several tons of molten lead on it. It survives the lead, but not being doused with water immediately after, which pops it like a balloon.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: Averted. The Alien dies as a result of being doused with a combination of hot molten lead and high-pressure cold water.
- True Love Is Boring: Pretty much stated by Word of God as the reason Hicks, Newt and Bishop were killed off between Aliens and Alien³.
- Wall Crawl: The Runner Alien crawls across the ceiling at various points. We are shown this when we see the POV of the Alien as it's pursuing one of the convicts, and the screen suddenly takes a 180 degree turn as it climbs up a wall and onto the ceiling.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The theatrical version removed the subplot in which Golic escapes and releases the Alien only to be killed by it, and so he seems to just disappear after Dr. Clemens is killed.
- Why Isn't It Attacking?: The creature gets to Ripley, who is helpless, and... hisses, and leaves. Of course, it's because Ripley is hosting a queen alien.
- You Are in Command Now: After the death of Mr. Andrews, somebody has to take charge of the remaining prisoners. Aaron steps up to the task, but most of the inmates balk at this idea. Dillon is offered the job, but he refuses because he doesn't consider himself the "officer type". Ripley then nominally leads the group in taking out the Alien.
[playback of a recording, interrupted by static] Ash, Captain Dallas are dead. Cargo and ship destroyed. I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck, the network will pick me up. This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.
Work Prison Fury 161
Closed And Sealed.
Custodial Presence Terminated.
Remaining Refining Equipment
End Of Transmission.