Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bust a Gut

I draw your attention now to a subject only slightly less depressing than international Islamic terrorism: Alien3. I don't think I'd call it my favorite in the series--I'm not that masochistic--but it is certainly the most underrated and, thanks to a truly hellish production, the most damaged. This makes it interesting in a way that the merely awful Resurrection and Alien vs. Predator cannot compete. It's one of the few cases in which one could justifiably say that the child's parents screwed it up.

Enter film blogger Timothy Brayton, whose reviews are always sharp and funny (especially the negative ones) and whose analysis of every film in the Disney canon is well worth checking out even for those with only a passing interest in the House of Mouse. Last year he set up a fundraiser for the Carry On Campaign by offering to do a write-up on a film of the donor's choice for anyone who donated $15 or more. I gave, and solicited his thoughts on Alien3. But rather than just have him look at the troubled film as it was released, I requested he also look at the Assembly Cut released with the Alien Quadrilogy box set, which restores a lot of material that goes a long way toward making it a better film, and compare the two.

The piece is now up on Antagony & Ecstasy. My only quibble is where he says the film's moody visuals "do all the heavy lifting." I would add that Elliot Goldenthal's nightmarish score work does a lot to elevate the material. Check out how the atonal brass in "Candles in the Wind" is used in tandem with the violence on screen, particularly at the end. Or 1:48 of "Lento," which starts off the funeral for Hicks and Newt and plays over the movie's end credits too. This is a small omission, however; the analysis is great and is well worth checking out.

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