Film: Alien: Resurrection
"My mommy always said there were no monsters. No real ones. But there are."Alien: Resurrection
— Ripley 8
(1997) is the fourth film in the Alien
film series. It was directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
After dying in the previous film, Ripley is cloned back to life on a military research station that is breeding aliens in yet another attempt to turn them into weapons. The alien DNA that melded with Ripley's has given her remarkable physical abilities and a connection to the aliens, but she's not the real payoff. Shortly after a crew of smugglers arrives with a fresh shipment of humans to infect, the aliens break out of their pens and run amok. The new Ripley leads a rag-tag group of survivors against the aliens and a half-human, half-alien hybrid in an effort to prevent them from reaching Earth.
The plot breaks the traditions of the series by not including the original Ripley nor the Weyland-Yutani company.
The screenplay was written by Joss Whedon
and the film directed by French auteur Jean-Pierre Jeunet
in his only Hollywood excursion.
This film provides examples of:
- Action Girl: The Ripley clone. Also Call.
- Admiring the Abomination: Dr. Gediman admires the Newborn, as well as the normal Aliens.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Analee Call found religion entirely on her own, and not as the result of any programming. The novelization hints that androids in general have started to evolve their own religious system. She is also the most sympathetic character out of the entire cast (not that that's saying much).
Ripley 8: I should have known. No human being is that humane.
- Alas, Poor Villain: For all the murderous havoc the Newborn and its entire race caused for Ripley, she's visibly sorrowful about having to kill it (and in an indirectly torturous manner at that).
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Due to genetic mixing Ripley 8 has inherited a lot of Alien characteristics, and sympathizes with them to a certain extent. This version of Ripley is technically a different character, but the irony has to be appreciated of Ripley becoming so much like the Aliens after she fought them for so long. When she's being brought to the Queen by one of the Aliens after she's captured, she actually hugs the thing as if she's finally come home.
- Body Horror: Ripley's cloning process went wrong many times before, creating diseased and barely functioning human-alien hybrids. The opening title sequence shows some of them in extreme closeup.
- Came Back Wrong: Ripley. Several times, as it turns out.
- Cloning Blues: The main character is Ripley 8, a clone of the original Ellen Ripley. About midway through the film, Ripley 8 discovers the fates of Ripleys 1-7: The original Ripley jumped into a vat of molten metal to prevent the birth of an alien queen in Alien³. The clone was derived from a sample of her blood taken in the previous movie and, as she was host to an alien parasite at the time, the results are decidedly mixed.
- Creator Thumbprint: Joss Whedon will revisit certain character types and ideas again in Firefly and Serenity. Once you realize Ron Perlman's character is basically Jayne the rest falls into place.
- Creepy Souvenir: Ripley pulls out an alien's head-bursting tongue and gives it to Call as a souvenir, who is disgusted.
- Explosive Decompression: Ripley uses this to kill the Newborn at the end, when it is blown into space through a hole in the ship. A tiny hole. (Originally introduced in Dan O'Bannon's spec screenplay, Star Beast.)
- Failsafe Failure: The Auriga is programmed to automatically return to Earth in case something goes wrong. Unfortunately, the Auriga is the site of an alien breeding and testing facility, which is the absolute last thing you want near an inhabited planet.
- Fate Worse Than Death: The group discovers a deformed Ripley clone lying helplessly on a table, and she begs the more successfully-cloned Ripley to destroy her.
- Gaia's Lament: Johner refers to Earth as a 'shithole.' He comments dryly that he'd rather face the 'things'. The Special Edition's ending shows Paris to be a wasteland.
- Genetic Memory: The Xenomorphs have this as a species. Ripley 8's genetic memory was somehow the result of the cloning process mingling her physiology with some of the traits of the Xenomorph queen her predecessor had died carrying.
- Gory Discretion Shot: The blood hitting the escape pod window.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The Aliens normally adopt some of their host's genetic structure, an ability intended to allow them to better adapt to their environments. The Aliens in this film however were merged with Ripley's human DNA to an even greater extent. The drones look fairly normal, but Ripley 8 has slightly acidic blood and predatory instincts, the Queen Alien develops a quasi-mammalian reproductive system, and the Newborn is a clear mix between Alien and human physiology. Ripley's other clones are also less successful hybrids.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Christie - rather than both him and Vriess die, he lets himself go.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen:
Ripley 8: Everyone in the fucking Company will die.
Weyland Yutani. Ripley's former employers. Bought out by Walmart.
- Impaled Palm: When Call tries to kill Ripley.
- Interspecies Romance: Very disturbingly implied between Ripley and one of the Aliens, in a sequence late in the film which is shot as if it were a love scene. The studio wanted to cut the scene because of the implications, but Weaver demanded it be kept in the film.
- It Can Think:
- The Xenomorphs stopped trying to kill the guy behind the window when he raises his hand above the button that repeatedly sprays liquid nitrogen on them every time they threw a fit. After their escape, a soldier steps into the cage and looks at the hole before being frozen to death by the aliens themselves.
- Some of the Xenomorphs realize they can use their acidic blood to escape, and thus brutally kill one of their own so its bloody corpse will eat through the floor.
- The Aliens allow the humans to travel through the water to the other side, because it will lead them right to a nest of eggs that they had created previously. Johner even lampshades the fact that it is a deliberate trap.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: General Perez and the doctors are discussing the development of the Ripley 8 clone, referring to her as "it".
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Dr. Wren seems that at first he might just be your standard Punch Clock Villain, and maybe even ready to admit that breeding the Aliens is a bad idea. Then he shoots Call at the very earliest opportunity, betrays the entire group, and intends to get the Auriga back to Earth intact.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Johner is probably the most jerkass of the mercenary crew. Still, he improves over the course of the movie, and he's visibly angry every time another member of their team dies.
- Karmic Death: Dr. Wren subjected at least eight people to be victims to the facehuggers and have an alien embryo burst out of their chests. He dies by having a chestburster break its way through his own skull.
- Kill It with Ice: Liquid nitrogen is tried against the aliens, but it's not so effective, as it was intended as a disciplinary tool rather than a weapon. As a training tool, it works. For stopping an escape, not so much.
- Lampshaded Double Entendre: Ripley asks which of the men she'll have to fuck to get off the ship.
Johner: I can get you off. Maybe not the ship...
- Large Ham: Dan Hedaya as General Perez, particularly during his introduction and death scene.
- Lesbian Subtext: Between Ripley and Call. Word of God says it was intentional. Given the scriptwriter, that's not exactly surprising.
- Made of Plasticine: The Newborn when it dies at the end of, even though when we first see it, it was tough enough to rip off a Queen's head with one swipe of its hand.
- Matricide: Played with. The Newborn, immediately after being born, inspects the Queen Alien and kills her. However, he then thinks of Ripley as his real mother, and acts affectionately towards her.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Purvis delivers one to Wren before killing him with his chestburster.
- Nonhumans Lack Attributes: Almost averted. The Newborn Alien was supposed to have visible genitals, but the studio interfered, and the idea was scrapped.
- Offing the Offspring: Ripley considers the Newborn, a murderous abomination, her "son", as well as the other Aliens ("I'm the creature's mother"). She ends up killing both of them.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Averted. The space station has its own chapel, and the android character crosses itself before entering the chapel.
- People Jars: Various Ripley clones, in jars. Since the Ripleys in question are the least successful of a batch of alien hybrids, this is stretching the definition of "people" quite a bit.
- Place Worse Than Death: Johner half-seriously says that he'd rather face the Aliens than go to Earth.
- Pot Calling The Kettle Black: Call, a robot not wanting Ripley to help the team, because she's not human.
- Reliable Traitor: Dr. Wren when he shoots Call and tries to prevent them from destroying the ship so he can deliver the Aliens to the Military.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Call is revealed to be one. So much so that Ripley says, "No human being is that humane."
- Robot Girl: Annalee Call. It is interesting how fast other characters forget that they used to think about her as a human when they find out.
Johner: Can't believe I nearly fucked that thing.
Vries: Yeah, like you've never fucked a robot!
- Robotic Reveal: Call is revealed to be an android.
- Sapient Ship: "Father", the Auriga's ship computer.
- Scaramanga Special: The film features a number of hidden weapons, including a shotgun assembled from components concealed as parts of high-tech wheelchair. There's also a gun concealed as a thermos.
- Sheep in Wolf's Clothing: Ripley 8. She's able to kill Xenomorphs easily due to being a Half-Human Hybrid. There is also an infectee who puts his alien embryo to a good use by hugging a villain and letting the embryo tear through both of them.
- Skull for a Head: The hybrid alien has what can only be described as a skull face.
- Sociopathic Hero: This Ripley is extremely cynical and callous, due to partially merging with the Aliens. A doctor theorizes that she has some form of emotional autism. Some examples of her sociopathy are trying to strangle Dr. Wren on a whim, breaking another doctor's arm immediately after she wakes up (in a deleted scene), and looking at another character getting dragged off by the Aliens with curious fascination. The only time she shows any real emotion is when she finds her other clones and incinerates them, and when her "son" (the Newborn) dies.
- Space Does Not Work That Way: The Newborn at the end of Resurrection gets its entire body sucked through a dime-sized hole in the airlock window. If you were naked and subjected to the same conditions, you should be able to walk away in spite of the suctionnote .
- Stock Subtitle: "Resurrection" is notoriously overused in the film industry as a sequel subtitle.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: The characters hold their breaths for about ten minutes in the underwater scene. It's especially silly in Christie's case, since he's carrying someone else on his back as well. Justified for Call, since she's an android, and possibly Ripley, depending on how much her physiology was altered by mixing with the Aliens' DNA (who do just fine underwater).
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: They group plans to blow up the ship. That plan fails, so they crash it on Earth.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: The Newborn is disposed off by ejecting it into space. Because the hull puncture is so tiny, it is slowly ripped apart and sucked out.
- Too Dumb to Live: Dr. Gediman becomes increasingly fascinated with the aliens, to the point that he feels they will identify with him. When the Newborn approaches him after identifying more closely with Ripley 8 than the Queen, he seems to genuinely believe it might even think of him as its daddy.
- United Space of America: The "United Systems" has a very American flavor and is implied to have evolved from the USA, with the United Systems Military descended of the US Colonial Marines.
- Window Love: Dr. Gediman shows a creepy fascination with the Aliens when he gives a window kiss to one of them which is standing behind a transparent containment wall.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
- A handful of people consider the Newborn Alien to be this. In any case, it's a bit hard to watch it die.
- Like Ripley, the Alien Queen is a mutant, bred in captivity as a lab rat, her children taken from her and kept in cages, her body mutates further causing her to give birth to the Newborn, which kills her while she's trying to bond with it.
- World of Snark: This film was written by Joss Whedon. As a result virtually every character in the movie is a Deadpan Snarker.
- Zeroth Law Rebellion: Annalee Call is revealed to be an "Auton" - second generation robots, designed and built by other robots. "They didn't like being told what to do", rebelled, and in a subtley-named "Recall" humanity launched a genocide against them, of which only a handful survived in hiding. Judging from Call's behavior, it seems that the 1st generation robots programmed the 2nd generation Autons to be so moral that they discovered the Zeroth Law, and realized that the human military was ordering them to do immoral things, like kill innocent people. For a rebel robot, Call is actually trying to save the human race from the Xenomorphs, when if she hated humanity she'd just let the Xenomorphs spread and kill them. She even respectfully crosses herself when she enters the ship's chapel, is kind to the Betty's wheelchair-bound mechanic, and is disgusted by Johner's sadistic streak. Given that they live in a Crapsack World future, as Ripley puts it, "You're a robot? I should have known. No human being is that humane".
Annalee Call: [about Earth] It's beautiful.
Annalee Call: I didn't expect it to be. What happens now?
Ripley: I don't know. I'm a stranger here myself.