Alien Legacy Reviews
Returning to the movies: I will make the four reviews separately, so here I will just point out what I think of the entire saga, its evolution and overall goods and bads points.
The overall rating is of course positive, because on four movies, only the third was not sufficient. Of course I'm not the first, nor I will be the last, to say that the first two chapters are very good, the first probably perfect in its kind, because it's been fundamental for the rise of a new genre of sci-fi. It's tension is palpable every moment, and also when nothing is happening you feel it and keep your breath. The second is nearly at the same level. My quotation of the saga (not the official one that is: no one can hear you scream in space) is from this chapter, and is pronounced by Newt: "Ripley, she doesn't have bad dreams because she's just a piece of plastic." (Trollface :D). Anyway, the ending is epic, both the part in the Nuclear Plant and the one in the Spaceship. It's clear to everyone that has a bit of wits that the Saga should have ended here, because Very few could be added to what was already been showed. But, as we perfectly know, money never sleeps, so they made a third and also a fourth (not so bad as the third, mercifully) movie out of it.
The lowest point is surely in the third instalment, when the point of no return is marked by a poor story, poor characters (a constant in the saga after the initial chapter) and a less accountable ending, but that again should stop the series here. The fourth movie (Alien Resurrection) is slightly better. For what it counts, tries to create something more original, not fully succeding in it, but some refreshments appeared, and that's enough for getting a 3 and a half stars from me. Considering after 15 years they have still not made a proper sequel (I do not consider the two Alien vs Predator as official sequels) and they made a presumable prequel (Prometheus), I hope the saga has ended here, but who knows what future will be?
In my opinion one of the main problems of this long transition from Alien to Alien Resurrection, is the change of genre that the instalment has done. It starts as a Sci-Fi Thriller, settled in the open Space most of the time, with very few splatter but a lot of tension, but in the last two parts, there is nearly only action and blood and splatter, but nearly no tension and very few of the fear that permeated the beginning of the series. The director try not to change the atmosphere of the setting, but in every passage the spacial component is always less present, reaching a point of nearly no importance at all, in parallel with what already said for the genre.
The evolution of Ripley (the only character that is really outlined and considered important, because you will forget of all the others 5 minutes after they are dead) follow the one of the films. From a scared but charismatic and powerfull girl, Sigourney Weaver 'Ripley' becomes a terminator, with nothing human (and this could be explained in Resurrection) and no charisma at all. Her acting performance in fact is highly influenced by the story flow. If Sigourney has to show the charisma and must keep all the lights of the show on herself by acting, there is no problem, she is great, and has all the ability of doing it. But when it comes to shoot after some big scary alien, then anyone is able to do it, so why would/how could she stand out of the crowd? Probably this is unfair both to the actress and to the character herself.
If the movie genre and the main character evolve, what doesn't is the story. The scheme of the plot is kept similar in every of the four films, creating a thread from the beginning to the very end as well as a trademark, and I say that is positive until a certain point. After four movies in which the Alien always jumps out when Ripley expected they have definitely defeated, maybe it's time to find a better solution to the movie.
A small point I would like to make as a last comment is that, while the special effects during the various films grows better everytime, the technologies remain unchanged and don't evolve. That is fair enough between the two central movies, because they are one after the other, but when you have time jumps of more than 50 (or even 200) years, it's a bit umprobable that at least weapons don't change at all. Again, ok keeping a trademark, but maybe in the end of the 90s we could expect a bit evolution in this sense, considering the first movie was nearly 20 years earlier.