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Film / Alien: Resurrection

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"My mommy always said there were no monsters. No real ones. But there are."
Ripley 8.

Alien: Resurrection (1997) is the fourth film in the Alien film series. The screenplay was written by Joss Whedon, and was directed by French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children) and is his only Hollywood studio-based film to date.

After dying in the previous film, Ripley is cloned back to life some 200 years later on a military research station for the purpose of breeding Xenomorphs in unscrupulous experiments, in yet another attempt to turn them into weapons (although the scientists go on about the other uses). The result is a little less than perfect though, as clones tend to be, and though she looks human, the clone has remarkable strength and reflexes, acidic blood, feral instincts, and lingering memories of her past life - including the knowledge that it is only a matter of time before the aliens break out.

Shortly after a crew of smugglers arrives on the station with a fresh shipment of unwitting colonists for the military to use as the initial alien parasite hosts, the captive adult aliens break out of their pens and begin to run amok. The new Ripley bands with the survivors, helping them get out of the station, but they discover that she's not the pay-off to the experiments - the Queen bred from Ripley no longer requires host bodies to reproduce, and her offspring are horrific half-human, half-Xeno hybrids that cannot be allowed to reach Earth.

The plot breaks the traditions of the series by not including the original Ripley nor the Weyland-Yutani company, explaining that they were bought out by Walmart.

This is chronologically the last film of the 'classic' Alien series to date, as the installments that were produced after this, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, take place before them.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: The Ripley clone. Also Call.
  • Actionized Sequel/Sequel Escalation: Played at the very least half-way straight due to the presence of a fully fledged hive of Xenomorph Drones along with their Cloned Queen and also the Newborn Xenomorph specimen and also the presence of manmade weapons with which to fight back against them throughout the film. However, the on-screen action plays out more similarly to that of a comic book rather than the obviously really dark and also nitty-gritty militaristic action seen throughout the events of Aliens.
  • Actor Allusion: Sigourney Weaver made a point of not looking the Newborn in the eye whenever she had a scene with it. This was something she had learned from Gorillas in the Mist - to never look a potentially dangerous animal in the eye.
  • Adaptational Explanation: The novelization explains that the reason why it took so long for Purvis' Chest Burster to emerge was because he suffered from thyroid deficiency, which slowed down the ChestBurster's development.
    • Kawlang is mentioned as a Noodle Incident in the film. The novel actually gives a flashback to what happened: The Betty's crew had all been mercenaries during a conflict there and it was where Johner got his scar and how Vriess ended up in a wheelchair.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Dr. Gediman is fascinated by the Newborn, as well as the normal cloned Xenomorphs, and seems to consider himself their father.
    • Ripley 8 has an odd fascination with the Xenomorphs as well due to being a hybrid clone.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Inverted since 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.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Call also brings this up after Ripley 8, who is also a hybrid (since she was the host that the new Xenomorphs were cloned from), shoots a Xenomorph, asking her why she would basically kill one of "her own kind". Ripley just shrugs it off with a dismissive "It was in my way".
    • Whether it's more human or alien, the Newborn at the end viciously averts this. It's first act after being born is matricide. Its second act is to crush a human soldier's head. The only person it doesn't try to hurt is Ripley.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Dr. Gediman bizarrely declares that the human reproductive system conferred on the Alien Queen thanks to the experiments has — somehow — made the creature better, when in fact, it appears to drastically reduce the effectiveness of the Xenomorphs; Instead of producing batches of eggs and developing larger numbers of drones, she instead produces one child at a time in a prolonged and clearly painful parallel to human pregnancy; The only discernible advantage is that it now skips the infestation stage that requires other lifeforms. Then again, this may be justified since Gediman is pretty obviously insane.
    • Also, cloning someone allowing scientists to also clone a sizeable parasitoid larva implanted in their chest is... scientifically questionable, at best.
  • Artistic License – Space: The Newborn Xenomorph specimen gets his whole 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 .
  • Author Appeal: There's some serious Homoerotic Subtext between Ripley and Call, and Hillard gets a scene where Elgyn gives her a foot massage. Now, who was it who wrote this movie again?
  • Ban on A.I.: Androids were outlawed after an uprising, although some are reported to have survived. Call is actually one of them.
  • Barbell Beating: Christie attempts this on Ripley 8, striking her square in the face with a barbell. Due to her half-Xenomorph biology, Ripley 8 only suffers a slight nosebleed from the attack.
  • Big Bad: The Newborn Xenomorph specimen who appears near the end, views Ripley 8 as his mother, eats Gediman's head right off, and also even swipes the Cloned Queen's head right off of her body, killing her off for good easily counts as this.
  • Big "NO!": Vriess when Wren shoots Call.
  • Body Horror: Ripley 1-7, the prototype Ripleys, are horrific abominations as hybrids, most of which died in their tubes. 7 is alive, but in a constant agony, and begs 8 to kill her.
  • Born as an Adult: The genetic scientists intend to age the Ripley clones up to adulthood in order to extract the Queen Xenomorph buried inside of her, which is part of what causes the Body Horror. This also excuses how fast she learns, having inherited some of Ripley's Genetic Memory. She can remember some things about her past, but not everything.
  • Came Back Wrong: Ripley 8 retains the memories of her original self, but traces of the Xenomorph DNA have changed her personality and parts of her body considerably.
  • Cloning Blues: Following her death by dive into molten metal in the previous film, the military recovered a sample of her blood and attempted to clone her. The main character is Ripley 8, the first successful clone. The first seven, on the other hand, had some mishaps. As she was host to an alien parasite at the time, the conflicting genetic material resulted in numerous failed amalgams until they finally managed to iron out the process and recreate both mostly intact. Even so, Ripley 8 and the Queen still have a bit of shared genetics, resulting in weakened acid blood and acute predatory instincts for the former and increased intelligence for the latter and her spawn, not to mention a womb for non-parasitic birthing.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Both the humans' initial numbers and the Xenomorphs' initial numbers are noticeably superior when compared to those found within a number of other Alien franchise entries, resulting in multiple gun-fights and brutal deaths on both sides of the aisle this time around.
  • 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.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Holy shit, the Newborn Xenomorph specimen. Ripley 8 throws some of her acid blood over onto a window, dissolving a hole and causing Explosive Decompression that sucks the hybrid creature towards it. Unfortunately, he is much to big to fit through and gets sucked through it piece by piece: first his guts get sucked out, then his torso and limbs sort of implode and get pulled through, then finally his skull shatters and is also sucked out, with the creature screaming in agony the whole entire time it happens to him.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Ripley pulls out a Xenomorph's head-bursting tongue and hands it over to Call as a souvenir, who is completely disgusted by it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Virtually everyone in the film has their moments, though Ripley and Johner are definitely the standouts.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Captain Elgyn is played by a recognizable name and seems to have his head on his shoulders, leading you to believe he'll go far. Nope. He gets Captain Dallased less than halfway through.
  • Degraded Boss: Much like in Aliens, the new cloned Xenomorph Drones all get this treatment again due to them facing off against properly armed humans once more, and also, their Cloned Queen even somewhat gets this treatment due to the Newborn Xenomorph specimen easily killing her off by swiping her upper jaw right off of her Eyeless Face when the First Acheron Queen some 200 years before her easily proved herself to be far harder to kill off than that.
  • Distant Sequel: This film is set 200 years after Alien³.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Based on Perez' attitude towards the Ripley clone, and the fact that he's ready to kill it as soon as it looks at him funny, Perez seems set to be the leading human antagonist faced in the film, but then he gets killed off less than an hour in and it turns out the real human villain is Dr. Wren.
  • The Dragon: The "lead" Cloned Xenomorph Drone suit-acted by Tom Woodruff Junior can easily be seen as this since he's the one that leads everybody else in deliberately "sacrificing" one of his very own "brothers" so that he and the others can then escape containment and go on a ship-wide rampage along with the fact that he's the one that also takes Ripley 8 down into the Cloned Queen's new waste-tank lair of sorts, and if anything, he's also the only one to successfully sense his coming ultimate doom right before the USM Auriga finally crash-lands down into Earth.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Purvis has an absolutely crazy death. Fresh from getting shot in the chest by Wren, he charges across the room, taking a ton of bullets. He grabs Wren, beats the overloving crud out of him and then positions himself behind Wren so his Chestburster emerges straight through the villain's head.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: She's not the original Ripley, her daughter, Jonesy the cat, and anyone the real Ripley was familiar with or knew is dead, but at the end of the film, after more than 200 years of being in space, "Ripley" finally gets the chance to return to Earth. It's also hinted that she'll have a new "family" with the remaining crew of The Betty.
  • Earth That Was: Any mention of Earth brings looks of disgust, the same way people would react to a cockroach-infested bathroom.
  • Explosive Decompression: Ripley uses this to kill the Newborn Xenomorph specimen off 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.)
  • Expressive Health Bar: In the video game version, the health bar blinks red when its at Critical status.
  • Expy: The Newborn's face bears a suspicious resemblance to Eddie, Iron Maiden's mascot.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Wouldn't be an Alien movie without this trope showing up. Although averted in Ripley 8's case; a facehugger latches on, but thanks to her heightened abilities, she is able to pry it off before it can have any effect.
  • Failsafe Failure: The USM Auriga is programmed to automatically return to Earth in case something goes wrong. Unfortunately, the USM Auriga is the site of a Xenomorph 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.
  • Fold-Spindle Mutilation: The fate of the Newborn Xenomorph specimen who's sucked through a hole in the bulkhead.
  • 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.
  • Gay Bravado: Johner is The Big Guy of the group of space pirates, and earlier in the film tries to flirt with Ripley 8. However, at the very end, when he is lucky enough to be one of a handful of the Dwindling Party to survive, he spontaneously plants a Smooch of Victory on his teammate Vriess.
  • 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.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The guard with the metal detector glove is clearly intimidated by the Space Pirates and does a half-assed job of searching them, enabling them to smuggle in some rather bulky weaponry.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Xenomorphs normally adopt some of their host's genetic structure, an ability intended to allow them to better adapt to their environments. The Xenomorphs in this film however were merged with Ripley's human DNA to an even greater extent. While the Drones look fairly normal, but Ripley 8 has slightly acidic blood and predatory instincts, the Queen Xenomorph develops a quasi-mammalian reproductive system, and the Newborn Xenomorph specimen is a clear hybrid between human and Xenomorph physiology. Additionally, Ripley's other clones are also less successful hybrids.
  • Has Two Thumbs and...: The smitten, wheelchair-bound mechanic tells this joke to the new girl mechanic, Call.
    Vriess: What's got two thumbs, one eye, and screws like a god?
    Call: [gives him a humored look] What?
    Vriess: [closes one eye and points to himself]
    Call: [chuckles before pressing the button sending him back under the machine]
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Christie - rather than both him and Vriess die, he lets himself go.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight:
    • Vriess has the parts to a shotgun attached to his bulky electric wheelchair. He doesn't need to worry about metal detectors because it blends in with the chair.
    • Johner keeps a gun hidden in a thermos and jokes during the weapons search that his homemade moonshine is probably more lethal than any gun.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Weyland-Yutani, once a powerful corporation developing cutting edge technology, declined so much in the past two hundred years that they're now a subsidiary of Walmart.
  • Hypocrite: Call, a robot not wanting Ripley to help the team, because she's not human.
  • Impaled Palm: When Call offers to kill Ripley 8 to spare her pain, Ripley calmly pushes her hand onto Call's knife. She later uses the acidic blood to Cut the Juice and escape her cell.
  • 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: Perhaps thanks to Ripley's DNA, these Aliens are far smarter than they were in previous films, although it's been established that they always take on some characteristics of their host bodies.
    • 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.
      • The novelization reveals that the Xenomorph that got sprayed with liquid nitrogen can read the English warning signs next to the button.
    • 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. They also wait till they hear that communications have been cut with Security before making their move.
    • In the novelization, Elgyn spots an abandoned weapon in a side corridor and picks it up. Then he sees another one and fetches that one too. Then he sees a third one next to an acid-burned hole in the floor, goes to fetch it - and remembers that as a kid, he used to trap squirrels by making a similar trail out of nuts to lead the animal into the trap. About a second before a Xenomorph reaches out of the hole and yanks him in.
    • 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. Ripley suspects it's a trap from the start, but they have little choice, and Johner even lampshades the fact that it is a deliberate trap.
    • The facehuggers can recognise a grenade and start to retreat when Christie fires a few at them.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: General Perez and the doctors are discussing the development of the Ripley 8 clone, referring to her as "it" while she's right there.
  • 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.
  • 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 was a bad idea. Then he shoots Call, betrays the entire group, and intends to get the Auriga back to Earth intact.
  • 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 Fire: Ripley gets a flamethrower again, which she turns on her failed clones.
  • 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 boat...
  • 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 Xenomorph specimen when it is sucked out of the airlock through a dime-sized hole, even though when we first see it, it was tough enough to rip off the Cloned Queen's upper jaw with one swipe of his hand.
  • Mama Bear: Ripley becomes this to Call, especially at the end, when the newborn is about to attack her. Ripley seemingly has a choice to protect the newborn, or protect call. She chooses Call.
  • Matricide: Played with as the Newborn Xenomorph specimen, immediately after being born, inspects the Cloned Queen and kills her off; however, he then thinks of Ripley as his real mother and likewise acts affectionately towards her.
  • Mercy Kill: Call offers this to Ripley while Ripley's still a prisoner, but Ripley is at best apathetic about having been cloned and refuses.
    • Ripley 7, the only living but horribly deformed failed clone, requests this from Ripley 8, and she soon subsequently delivers.
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: When the motley crew of Space Pirates first set foot on the Auriga, they are all checked for weapons, albeit by a soldier with a metal detector glove instead of a gateway. However, three of them manage to smuggle in various firearms anyway because the guards aren't willing to press the issue.
  • Monster Delay: Downplayed again in this film where both the Royal Chest Burster form and the adult form of the Cloned Queen appear on-screen during just the first several minutes of the film's runtime with the cloned Xenomorph Drones also appearing on-screen for the first time not too much later than that, but this trope is then exaggerated with the Newborn Xenomorph specimen who does not ever show up on-screen at all until during the last quarter-hour of the film's runtime.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Hillard, who spends most of her screentime in a skintight jumpsuit that accentuates her form. There's even an entire scene devoted solely to her moaning in pleasure while wearing a thong as Elgyn massages her feet and looks on in satisfaction.
  • Nice Guy: Vriess, to Call. After the revelation that Call is a synthetic human, Vreiss is the only one who seems completely unperturbed, and even stands up for her when Johner insults her.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The movie ends with the good guys destroying the aliens on the research ship by crashing it into Earth's surface. We get a view from space as it crashes into what appears to be the east coast of either Africa or India, producing an enormous explosion that realistically would undoubtedly have killed millions... maybe more than a Xenomorph infestation. In this case it is implied that Earth was already a devastated wasteland ("Earth. What a shithole."). The Special Edition contains an alternate ending with the protagonists in the ruins of Paris, which appears to be a wasteland. There's also a scene where Call says she re-calibrated ground level — ensuring the ship would crash in an uninhabited quadrant.
    • The novelization says that Earth is mostly abandoned at this point with people either living on space stations or colony planets.
    • The Sea Of Sorrows novel said that Weyland Yutani came back into power by using Terraforming technology to fix the damage done by the USM Auriga.
    • The Original Sin novel plays the trope straight by being an Immediate Sequel that starts with The Betty landing on an overcrowded Earth with no mention of the Auriga landing.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Purvis delivers one to Wren before killing him with his Chest Burster.
  • Nonhumans Lack Attributes: Almost averted. The Newborn Xenomorph specimen was supposed to have visible genitals, but the studio interfered, and the idea was therefore subsequently scrapped.
  • Novelization: The film was novelised by A. C. Crispin and Kathleen O'Malley. Alan Dean Foster, who adapted the first three films, was initially asked to write the book, but the author turned it down after his negative experience with the novelization of Alien³, which (much like the film it was based on) suffered from studio interference. More details here.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Ripley 8, for reasons not specified. When she's doing the flash card test, the woman off=camera conducting the test clearly mouths 'glove' to Ripley when she's holding the glove card, and Ripley instead says 'hand.' Based on her actions here, she also may be intentionally doing so in the cafeteria scene with Gediman when she mispronounces fork as 'fuck.' She might be playing as dumb as she is to prevent Gen. Perez from thinking she's too smart for her own good and having her destroyed, but again, it's not explained in the film proper.
  • Offing the Offspring: Ripley considers the Newborn, a murderous abomination, her "son", as well as the other Xenomorphs ("I'm the monster's mother"). She ends up killing both of them.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Gediman and his assistant have a serious one of these when they realize that two extremely dangerous cloned Xenomorph Drones are now loose aboard the USM Auriga.
    • Johner has himself one about halfway through the film. While swimming through a flooded section of the ship, he casually checks behind him, only to spin around when he realizes there are Aliens behind him. As expected, he shits himself.
  • 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 Ripley's 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 Xenomorphs than go to Earth.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: The Newborn Xenomorph specimen sneaks aboard the Betty just as Ripley 8 and the other survivors attempt to escape the already doomed USM Auriga, only for Ripley 8 herself to throw some of her acid-for-blood over onto a nearby glass window, causing the Newborn Xenomorph specimen to get sucked right out into space piece-meal and also causing the Xenomorph menace to die off once again afterwards.
  • Pregnant Reptile: It's unclear exactly what taxonomy the Xenomorphs would belong to, but they're clearly not mammals since they reproduce through eggs and do not rear their young. However, because of retaining some of Ripley's DNA after gestating inside her, the new Queen ends up birthing a life Newborn Xenomorph specimen.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: The crew of the Betty are portrayed as a crass but generally endearing Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, glossing over the fact that they are remorseless human traffickers responsible for handing twelve innocent space travelers over to the mad scientists who use them as Xenomorph hosts.
  • Puzzle Boss: Actually averted with the Cloned Queen since the Newborn Xenomorph specimen instantaneously kills her off via swiping off her upper jaw but then played straight with the Newborn Xenomorph specimen himself since his death involves Ripley 8 throwing some of her acid for blood over onto a small viewport window that then sucks the Newborn Xenomorph specimen out of the ''Betty'' piecemeal.
  • Raised by Robots: Call is a second-generation android, in that she was created by other androids. They're considered an anathema to humans.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: 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.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: In the extended ending, the final shot after the survivors arrive on Earth is a view of the grim, desolate apocalyptic ruins of Paris, with the half-fallen Eiffel Tower identifiable.
  • 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 a bulky electric 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 Newborn Xenomorph specimen 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 Xenomorphs. 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 Xenomorphs 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.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the video game, the space station burns up in the atmosphere instead of actually slamming into the planet with a blast radius large enough to certainly be a K-T Extinction-level event.
  • Spiritual Successor: Firefly, as pointed out by Michael Marano in the essay River Tam and the Weaponized Women of the Whedonverse. That work and Resurrection share many character archetypes and plot elements (notably the "Weaponized Woman", in the form of Clone Ripley and River Tam.) It's evident that Joss Whedon had his work on this film in the back of his mind while he was working on Firefly.
  • Stealth Pun: Ripley rips the inner jaw out of a dead Xenomorph Drone and proceeds to hand it over to Call, saying that it's a souvenir, so she's quite literally slipping her some tongue.
  • 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 cloned Xenomorphs' DNA (who do just fine underwater). One does actually drown, but only because a cloned Xenomorph grabbed her and dragged her back until she died.
  • Tear Jerker: In a scene available on the Special Edition Ripley 8 smiles beatifically when she is shown a picture of a little girl, remembering Newt and her own daughter. The Newborn's anguished pleading to Ripley as it dies is also oddly affecting.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Johner gets startled when his face almost touches a spider web. He angrily holds his sidearm up to the spider and fires.
    • The group plans to blow up the ship. That plan fails, so they crash it on Earth.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: The Newborn Xenomorph specimen is disposed off by ejecting it into space, but because the hull puncture is so tiny, it is slowly ripped apart and sucked out piecemeal.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Call and Ripley form this dynamic after they become friends. Call, while not especially dolled up, is far more feminine and docile than Ripley 8, who is an an aggressive survivalist who out-butches most of the men around her. Interestingly, neither of them turn out to be really human, given that Call is an android and Ripley part-alien.
  • 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. It doesn't.
  • 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.
  • Up Close with the Monster: The Newborn Xenomorph specimen, immediately after he is born and also brutally kills off the Cloned Xenomorph Queen that birthed him in the first place, gets up in Ripley's face and clearly considers ripping her apart as well before stopping and imprinting on her.
  • Who Are You?: Ripley gets asked this a lot. The answer?
    Ripley: (Slasher Smile) I'm the monster's mother.
  • 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 subtly 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.
Ripley: Yeah.
Annalee Call: I didn't expect it to be. What happens now?
Ripley: I don't know. I'm a stranger here myself.