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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Was Ripley sacrificing herself to destroy the Alien and prevent the Company from having it or just because she genuinely wanted to die? Or perhaps both?
    • Did Dillon stay with in the lead mold with the Alien because he needed to keep it at bay, or because he was afraid of having to keep his promise to Ripley and kill her prevent the new Alien Queen from being born? Dillon, used to be a murderer of women, but since becoming a religious man he obviously took a vow to become a better person and never turn to such evil again. Plus at this point in the film Dillon has lost all but one of his friends, and has come to see Ripley as a second, so his is sacrifice selfless or selfish, or a mix of both? As he wanted to die a good man and not be forced to kill again.
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    • How much of the plan to recover the xenomorph was the company's, or just Bishop II. Carefully note his use of words: "You must let me have it." Not Weyland-Yutani. Himself. Was he working with the company, or just using the company for his own interests?
  • Awesome Music: Elliot Goldenthall's dark, gothic score sets the mood of the film very well, and even offers some touching moments, such as "Lento", and the heartbreaking "Adagio". It’s even more impressive when you consider the fact he had little time to compose it with the Troubled Production.
  • Better on DVD: The Assembly Cut runs an hour longer and has far more substance.
  • Contested Sequel: While well-known for being disliked as a disappointing follow-up, the movie (especially the Assembly Cut version) does have a growing number of fans, who appreciate it for its return to suspenseful sci-fi horror a la the first movie and/or its bleaker mood. The situation is basically the cinema equivalent of Chrono Cross; most can agree that it's a decent work on its own merits, but whether or not it's a good follow-up to its predecessor is a huge point of contention.
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  • Critical Backlash: A common reaction to the film after all the criticism of it.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:
    • The film's opening 5 minutes kills off Newt and Hicks. What's left of Bishop later asks to be shut off. And Ripley without anyone left in her life has her worst nightmare come true: she's "pregnant" with an alien queen. Her eventual Heroic Sacrifice is a Foregone Conclusion to the audience and even that is rendered meaningless by the sequel. The fact that Ripley is forced to deal with both an Alien and a bunch of criminals who aren't happy with her presence just makes audiences feel more for her.
    • One of the biggest criticisms of the film is that it is hard to feel any sympathy for most of the alien's victims when they are, by their own admission, a bunch of murderers and rapists. The fact that they're all bald and sometimes hard to tell apart in the darkened lighting does not help matters.
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    • Two of the interesting characters (the Warden, and Clemens, a love interest) were killed off, and dull characters like 85 got a huge chunk of screentime.
  • Ending Fatigue: There are six or seven "endings" in quick succession, as if David Fincher couldn't decide on what closing shot would be coolest.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In America and most of Europe, this film is often considered to be an inferior sequel to Aliens. However, in some European countries it's actually considered the best film of the franchise.
  • Heartwarming Moments: The evolution of Morse's character, and his final moments with Ripley.
    • Emphasized more in the novelization than the movie; despite Bishop's wishes to be deactivated for good due to the damage he suffered in Aliens, Ripley is shown to be determined to find a way to get him repaired, no matter what it takes, claiming that he's too dependable and reliable to be left for scrap. A complete reversal of how she felt about him for most of the previous film.
    • After Clemens reveals My Greatest Failure:
      Clemens: Now, do you still trust me with a needle?
      (Ripley holds out her bare forearm.)
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The term "Dey Kild Hix n' Noot!" is used by the film's fans on forums to poke fun at people who simply dismiss the movie due to the deaths of Hicks and Newt.
    • "This is rumor control, here are the facts!"
    • "The Xenomorphs send their regards."Explanation 
    • On YouTube, "Alien 3 Ending Music Makes Everything Emotional"
  • Money-Making Shot: The canine Alien menacing Ripley with its mouths. You know the one.
  • Narm: Ripley's line about the alien being in her life for so long, she can't remember anything else can become this when you realize that if you take away the 57 years she spent in cryosleep between the first two films, her total time dealing with the aliens amounts to a couple weeks at most.
  • Nausea Fuel: The birth of the canine chestburster is hard to watch. When it emerges, the poor dog's guts spill out all over the floor. The scene is arguably unnecessarily-detailed.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The arcade light gun shooter Alien 3: The Gun was quite good, especially seeing as how it featured Pulse Rifle lightguns. The SNES and Genesis games are also well-regarded, though the NES game based on the later, not so much.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Paul McGann aka The Eighth Doctor as Golic; though, given his shaven head and the blood/scars covering his face, it's more like Retroactive...un-Recognition.
  • Sequelitis: Thanks to the Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy and having the Tough Act to Follow of the previous two Alien films, Alien 3 is not viewed very fondly. If it weren't the sequel to two of the greatest sci-fi films ever made, both of which absolutely dominate their niches and were the Trope Maker of god knows how many things, it would be looked at as, at worst, So Okay, It's Average. See Executive Meddling, Troubled Production, and What Could Have Been in Trivia for more details, and how the film could probably have avoided this trope.
  • Signature Scene: Two to be exact. The opening for infamously killing Hicks and Newt and finally Ripley's death.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • An early green-screen effect is used for scenes featuring the Marionette alien puppet. It's rather unconvincing.
    • Durng the scene where Clemens is killed, the alien that comes up to Ripley before the close-up is a puppet and very clearly smaller than the suit.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Hoo boy. Although abruptly killing off Newt, Hicks, and eventually Bishop is very unpopular to say the least - especially considering how interesting it would potentially be to see Ripley and three of the most morally well-adjusted characters in the franchise survive in a prison alongside some of the franchise's very worst - that part is at least forgivable due to Real Life Writes the Plot. What's not forgivable is killing off Clemens and the Warden, two of its own most potentially interesting characters, before they get much chance at development, but leaving many of the bland, unlikable and scummy prison inmates alive.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Again - how awesome would it be to see Ripley working together with the small Hicks-Bishop-Newt family unit she developed in the previous film inside the hellhole that is Fiorina Prison? Considering that said group of characters is 1) an attractive woman, 2) a military authority figure, 3) an android, and 4) a little girl, watching those four fight for their lives in a prison full of violent rapists and criminals would arguably be scarier, in some ways, than having Ripley on her own hunted down by the Xenomorph. Not to mention that their presence would make Ripley's eventual Heroic Sacrifice that much more moving, meaningful, and a satisfying conclusion to her story.
  • Vindicated by History: In recent years, thanks to the restored Assembly Cut on blu-ray, the film has garnered a larger following of fans who view it as an underrated film that had a lot of things against it, including the Executive Meddling, constant cuts that harmed the overall quality of the film, and many people who loved Aliens were unwilling to give it a chance simply for killing off Hicks and Newt, or were looking for more of a thrill ride like the second film. The new recut version of the film is seen as a vast improvement by the majority of fans, who feel that this version stands on its own as a worthy end to Ripley's story.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: Some interpretations of the film claim it's an allegory for the AIDS crisis, with the Xenomorph as the infectious disease in question and Weyland-Yutani as the medical companies profiting off of a "criminalized" minority.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Ellen dies in either a Crucified Hero Shot or cradling the newborn queen like a baby, depending on the cut.
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