The stuff of nightmares.
Things creeping in the shadows.
The terrors just behind the corner.
While Star Wars is, without a doubt, the most influential franchise of my generation, Alien cut me deeply and still has its tail wrapped around me. I often wonder how the film landscape would have eroded differently if Alien had flooded the culture the way George Lucas' space opera had. Of course, Alien was a huge hit and its influence is still felt far and wide, but Star Wars -released two years earlier- still dominates the conversation. And while both often get categorized as such, neither movie is science fiction. Alien is a horror film set on a space ship and Star Wars is a fantasy epic spanning Galaxies.
Both are great.
Alien is better.
But my love for the cute little chest burster did not start with the original film. The first of the series I ever saw was James Cameron's 1986 sequel Aliens. I'm pretty sure this was the norm for people my age and, in fact, I'm not sure that I knew there was another movie for years but when I finally did sit down to watch Ridley Scott's masterpiece, I was in awe. Sure, the second film was amazing, but the first is down right perfect. Beat for beat. Every shot is perfection, the script is wonderful and the performances are lived.
I have a very specific memory of watching an episode of Entertainment Tonight for the sole purpose of catching the premier of the trailer for Alien 3. I recorded it and watched those two minutes almost every day until the film finally came out. I had such a strong idea of what that movie was going to be. It wasn't any of those things. I'm in the minority, I love Alien 3. I can see its flaws. I can feel it almost buckling under it's own pressure, but it never breaks. Not for me. The film dares you to hate it, it is a nasty, dirty piece of work. But David Fincher is mad genius and his output since this, his first feature, only supports that.
For me, Alien Resurrection is the mess that most people think Alien 3 is. I just can't make it through that slog. It's all over the place. I get that they were kind of going for a dark comedy tone, but if that's the case then it really has to be funny. Resurrection is NOT funny. It is a chore to watch. The design of the "newborn" is horrendous. Nothing can compare to the brilliance of Giger's original design, but it looks like they didn't even try with this creature. Maybe it's all in the execution. I'm not sure. But, whenever I try to revisit Alien Resurrection I find myself turning it off after the first 30 or 40 minutes. It's just not worth it.
Which brings us to Prometheus. Of all that I could say about Prometheus I will just say this: They took the Space Jockey: a mysterious, unknowable, ancient and flawed being; and turned them into giant white dudes. Yeah. That happened. Let's move on.
For years I purchased every Aliens comic book I could get my hands on. Some of them a great. Some of them are horrible. When I was around 12, in a large pink notebook, I wrote a script for a movie I was to make with my neighborhood friends: Alien 4: The Child Wars. It took place on an orphanage in space. There, the company drop off an Alien as a sort of test. No one would care if a couple orphaned children died. But, of course, the kids work together and fight back, defeating the Alien and giving the company their comeuppance. A friend of mine even began making an Alien costume out of leotards and papermache. This is all embarrassingly bad. We never shot a single portion. I think I realized it was a stupid, stupid idea. But, it goes to show the level of my love for the franchise.
Cut to: Now.
It was announced a couple of days ago that Neill Blomkamp will helm a new entry to the Alien saga. And based on some of the concept art Blomkamp released, it would appear Sigourney Weaver will return as Ripley. Oddly enough, it also looks like he would want to resurrect Micheal Biehn as Hicks. Uh…okay. I'm not really excited about this. I just don't know if its worth going back into this world anymore.
Maybe one of the reasons I'm bummed is because it looks like Blomkamp may be playing with some of the ideas I had for the Alien Movie I'll Never Ever Get To Make. I came up with this idea before Prometheus came out. So, my idea ignores the horrible use of the Space Jockeys in that film. Anyway, here's my pitch:
Decades after the events of Alien Resurrection earth is in a seemingly never ending state of inter Galactic war. Whom are we fighting? The Space Jockeys. The war has been going on for years and humanity is running out of options. They will lose the war if something drastic is not done soon. One general has an insane idea. Cloning an army of Aliens and sending them to the Space Jockey home world to fight the war for us. At first this is dismissed, as there is no way to control the hive of Aliens and Queens have been impossible to train. But this general has another idea. Ellen Ripley, locked away for years now, now has a genetic and psychic link to the Aliens. She will be their Queen. They go to Ripley pitch the idea to her and she, of course, refuses. But, after some thought she accepts. This would all be the first act.
The second act would follow Ripley and her Alien Army to the Space Jockey home world. Several great battles are raged and eventually Ripley is victorious. Her human lieutenants are thrilled and ready to head back to earth but Ripley has other plans. During her time on the Space Jockey world she has discovered the location of the Aliens home world. She calls her Alien Army back to the ships and readies them for another war. The final war.
The final act would take place on the Alien Home World, where Ripley would lead her army against the natives. Alien against Alien. In the end, she would defeat the Queen of the planet, in the process discovering yet another part of the Alien life cycle (to be determined) and also kill off her own army. Maybe she kills herself again (probably not). Maybe she just takes the Planet Queens place and rules over the Alien Home World. I don't know. Why do you keep asking me? Are you still reading this crap? Jeez. Get a life. This isn't worth your time. Go take a walk, it's nice outside.
So yeah. That's my pitch. It's the picture above that has me convinced Blomback is going in some sort of similar direction. Who knows. I'm probably wrong. And maybe his film will push my love of the franchise to an even higher level.
I'll try to remain optimistic. Even if it's horrible, we'll always have the original.