We’re at a point now where bad Alien movies vastly outnumber the good films in the series. Some of the flicks are stupidly terrible yet gorgeously directed, ala the pair of recent films starring smart people making idiotic decisions in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Other films are just guilty pleasures on crossover excess, such as the Aliens Vs Predator duo of movies which I adore despite some awful plot holes creeping through.
Then there’s Alien Resurrection, my favourite film out of the lot. It may not have the tense thrills of the original film or the gung-ho nature of the second, but it more than makes up for it by a rollercoaster of sheer madness. It’s trippy, underrated and has aged like a fine wine of nightmare fuel space monsters looking to molest your face.
Alien Resurrection was slammed on release, earning many a negative review and sending the franchise into cryosleep for years after release. A shame really, because it’s a masterpiece of design and ingenuity. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet created the definitive Alien movie of the 90s, combining aspects of the previous trilogy into a rock-solid experience of action and suspense.
It’s worth a rewatch if you ever find the time to do so. After you’ve dipped into some facts that you may or may not have known about regarding the production of Alien Resurrection:
1. Danny Boyle and David Cronenberg turned down the chance to direct Alien Resurrection, and the job eventually went to Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
2. Chronologically, Resurrection is set 257 years after the original Alien film, which was itself set in 2122.
3. Sigourney Weaver’s salary for Alien: Resurrection? A cool $11 million at the time, which also happened to be the exact same budget of the original Alien.
4. Resurrection’s ticket sales at the global box office pulled in over $161 million by 1998, which when adjusted for inflation works out to $246 million as of September 2017.
5. When Elgyn speaks his landing code to the Auriga, it translates to “EA-TM-E”.
6. The Auriga military spaceship was originally influenced by the shape of a Jackhammer and was intended to be a vertical ship.
7. As the cast find themselves facing more overwhelming odds and losing members, the corridors of the Auriga darken more and more.
8. For the scene where Winona Ryder’s character Call had to swim underwater as the cast escaped Xenomorphs, she had to overcome her anxiety that was born from having almost drowned at the age of 12. A body double was almost used, but Ryder did the scene and bested her phobia. This is just a reminder that Ryder is a bonafide badass as well.
9. The alternate cut of Alien Resurrection fleshes out the story with more intimate moments between the cast. Newt from Aliens is referenced, Call and Ripley-8 share a conversation in the gothic mess hall and Vriess jokes more with Call. Ripley-8 also wakes up during the middle of the operation to remove the Queen Xenomorph embryo from her, while the film ends in the ruins of Paris as Call and Ripley-8 have one final conversation about the future.
10. One of the original ideas to showcase the acidity of Ripley-8’s blood was to have a mosquito bite her and then burst into a puff of smoke. The idea was scrapped when Jeunet received the budget for that scene from the SFX team. It’s safe to say that it was expensive.
11. This extended cut can be found on the 2004 Collector’s Edition DVD, as well as in the Quadrilogy set. It also includes the lengthy documentary One Step Beyond: The Making of Alien Resurrection, that features even more more behind the scenes footage of the film in various stages of production.
12. When the time came to produce a new Alien Queen for Resurrection, the crew found out that the original puppet had vanished and that the casting moulds used to create her were beyond buggered. Fortunately, one of the original life-size Alien Queen puppets was spotted in the collection of a fan. The day was saved.
13. Sigourney Weaver’s infamous behind-the-back basketball scene required two weeks of practice and coaching, resulting in her nailing the shot at a 1:6 ratio. On the day that the scene was shot, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet almost used some trick photography to avoid risking having to shoot the scene multiple times until Weaver sunk the ball.
Weaver insisted that she could nail it, got the green light and succeeded on the first take. Ron Perlman’s reaction in that scene is genuine, as he broke character and said “Oh my God!” to the camera. The scene with Perlman mouthing off was nixed, while the basketball shot was kept intact, despite fears that audiences would think some practical fakery was used to achieve it.
14. Ron Perlman also did his own stunt, where he hung upside down from a ladder and fired two guns at approaching Xenomorphs. A job which resulted in him earning some stunt-stripes in the form of lacerations on the back of his knee joints.
15. Writer Joss Whedon originally had five endings written up, as he explained in an interview:
The first one was in the forest with the flying threshing machine. The second one was in a futuristic junkyard. The third one was in a maternity ward. And the fourth one was in the desert. Now at this point this had become about money, and I said, “You know, the desert looks like Mars. That’s not Earth; that’s not going to give people that juice.” But I still wrote them the best ending I could that took place in the desert.
And then finally they said, “Y’knowww, we just don’t think we need to go to Earth.” So I just gave them dialogue and stuff, but I don’t remember writing, “A withered, granny-lookin’ Pumkinhead-kinda-thing makes out with Ripley.” Pretty sure that stage direction never existed in any of my drafts.
16. For the scene where Ripley-8 encounters the previous seven disastrously aborted attempts to clone the original Ellen Ripley, Ripley-7 involved Sigourney Weaver’s head propped up through a hole on the table as the rest of the deformed body was grafted on and around her.
17. Visually, Alien Resurrection is a film of deep and dark contrasts. This was achieved by cinematographer Darius Khondji adding silver to the printing process of the film reels, to heighten the richness and darkness of colours with a metallic tinge. For the underwater sequence specifically, an electric blue tint was used.
18. The Newborn Xenomorph originally had both female and male genitals visible, as Jeunet was “adamant about the hybrid having a genitalia which resembled a mix of both male and female sexes.” The entire film was shot with that physical madness, but was removed digitally in post-production when Jeunet admitted that “Even for a Frenchman, it’s too much”. Spare a thought for the special effects department that spent many a night digitally scrubbing that out.
19. The Newborn was originally written to be the size of a Xenomorph Queen, was four-legged, eyeless and used pincers on the side of its head to hold its prey and use its inner-jaw to drain its blood. This was eventually changed into a more believable hybrid of human and Xenomorph.
20. If you rewatch the scenes between Riply-8 and the Newborn, you’ll notice that she hardly ever makes direct eye contact. That’s an idea born from Weaver’s time while shooting Gorillas In The Mist, as her portrayal of Dian Fossey taught her to never make eye contact with dangerous creatures.
Last Updated: November 8, 2017