Great matchup and analysis. It’s especially telling that these films are so hard to judge on their own merits, and instead must be weighed against their invariably superior predecessors. It was kind of you to omit discussion of each film’s worst elements. Salvation has the typecast blowhard Michael Ironside hollering tired “You will obey orders, soldier!” type lines, the hammy and miscast Helena Bonham Carter doing a poor SHODAN impression, along with the mute little girl whose Spidey-sense alerts her to the presence of three-storey tall death machines that everyone else somehow can’t see. Resurrection’s faulty biology aside (cloning a parasite from the host’s DNA?), the design and implementation of its albino hum-alien hybrid was bad enough to make me overlook the film’s few strengths.
In the end, I have to not only ask, “Which of these films is better?” but ask which of them deserves even further sequels. Alien Resurrection is fairly mediocre, but resurrected something that should have been left dead with Alien3- a beautiful film, especially the extended cut. Terminator Salvation is fairly mediocre, but at least tried to do something new to carry the franchise past it’s awful third instalment. In the end, A:R is only slightly better, but it is unnecessary and unwarranted. T:S is slightly worse, but very useful for distracting us from Terminator 3, which even Ahnold couldn’t save.
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