I’ve been a fan of the Alien film series since my first encounter of catching glimpses of Jim Cameron‘s sequel. Between finger-shielded eyes, transfixed from across the room, I was likely much too young to be watching these scary, vicious creatures on VHS. In the years to come, I’d find their genesis in Ridley Scott‘s original, Alien, and then eagerly anticipating the opening nights of Alien³ and Alien Resurrection. Even the Alien vs. Predator comic-fan mash-up detours have claimed their running times from my life. To this day, I’m a dedicated fan. I’m writing this review wearing a Weyland-Yutani t-shirt. I’ve poured through hours of commentaries and behind the scenes features; from the Special Edition Laserdisc, to the DVD Quadrilogy, and the latest Blu-ray Anthology.
The common thread through it all has been the horrific H.R. Giger creature design and its environments – from my impressionable young age to adulthood – striking me as beautiful and intricate as they are the origins of nightmares. As dedicated as ever, Scott’s love of visual storytelling in cinema bring these ghastly, yet gorgeous visions to our sight once again in Prometheus - but probably not in the way you’d expect.
In recent years, there’s been a number of once-dormant franchises – particularly franchises that began in the 1980s – being resurrected with a third sequel. Not every franchise warrants a fourth movie, but we’ve recently seen Rambo, Live Free or Die Hard, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull…to varying degrees of success. (Surely, it will not be too much longer before some genius decides to make Back to the Future Part IV.)
There are two science fiction franchises, however, that share a very similar pattern of quality in their four movies. The first two films in both series are widely considered classics (and, in fact, all four films rank in the Top 100 of Flickchart’s list of the Best Films of All Time). Both had their reputations tarnished by a lackluster third film (yet even those movies have their defenders). And both had pretty definitive trilogy conclusions blown open by the arrival of a fourth film.
These “fourquels” might be considered unwarranted, even unwanted. One promises “resurrection”, the other “salvation”, but the results may be somewhat less than heavenly. Yet, some people may find them better than the disappointing third movies. And when you are presented with them on Flickchart – and you admit that you’ve seen them – the question is, “Which is better?” Care to find out? Step in to the Reel Rumbles ring as we pit Terminator Salvation vs. Alien Resurrection. Read the rest of this entry »
In 1997, space was a quirky place. Paul Verhoeven went bug-squishing in Starship Troopers. A pre-Resident Evil Paul W.S. Anderson and a pre-Hellboy Guillermo Del Toro gave us very different sci-fi/horror flicks in Event Horizon and Mimic. And Alien Resurrection made the venerable franchise a little weirder under the pen of Joss Whedon and the direction of French indie favorite Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Arguably, the two most successful offerings, however, gave us very unique takes on science fiction (at least from a visual standpoint). One was the surreal and visually unique pet project of a French writer/director who nowadays is better known for writing and producing more generic action fare such as Taken and the Transporter franchise. The other was based on a comic book (back when such things were a little less common), was a bona fide box office smash (coming only behind the then-highest-grossing-movie-of-all-time in the year’s earnings) and cemented Will Smith‘s reputation as a box-office king (fresh as he was off the previous year’s Independence Day). Both films packed plenty of chuckles–intentional and, perhaps, otherwise.
To twist a tagline from that Alien franchise: In space, no one can hear you laugh. But back in ’97, the laughter was heard in multiplexes everywhere. Come enter the Reel Rumbles ring as we take a stroll thirteen years down memory lane and bust heads with some freaky aliens in The Fifth Element vs. Men in Black.
This week’s new releases suck for the most part so let’s begin with the…
|How would you rank it amongst the best science fiction movies of all time?
Flickchart Rankings: #10, 64, 176
One of the most consistent trilogies of all-time. There really isn’t a weak link out of the three. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of the Blu-ray set and long story short, it’s amazing.
|How would you rank it amongst the best science fiction horror movies of all time?
Flickchart Rankings: #35, 47, 566, 543
I’m an Alien virgin. I can’t explain how but I’ve managed to watch pretty much every sci-fi flick from the era, but haven’t watched an Alien movie. I’ve even willingly watched the Jack Palance crapfest The Shape of Things to Come twice instead of watching Alien. I will be remedying this very soon, as this set is absolutely loaded. Can’t wait for my pre-order to come in.