Jun 6 2012 12:00pm

Alien 3: A Haunting Failure

You don’t hate Alien 3 as much as you think you do.

A terrible sequel, the third installment of the ’Alien’ saga created by Ridley Scott, isn’t actually a terrible movie on its own. In fact, if you haven’t seen director David Fincher’s 2003 “Assembly Cut” for the DVD/Blu-Ray box set, you haven’t even really seen Alien 3. It’s a dark and nihilistic arthouse SF film with a complex, challenging female lead. No wonder it flopped as a summer blockbuster in 1992.

Not to say that summer blockbusters can’t have complex, challenging female leads. The previous year introduced moviegoers to a stronger, crazier Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Where have the Sarah Connors and Ellen Ripleys of my youth gone? My guess is that they’re all on television these days. ScarJo pouting through The Avengers in a catsuit just isn’t cutting it for me. Noomi Rapace has enormous footsteps to follow in as the lead of Ridley Scott’s upcoming Prometheus.

Lets hope she succeeds in her endeavor where Alien 3 failed so spectacularly.

I could not think of a stranger movie for a major studio to make than Alien 3.  It’s no surprise to learn that Alien 3 almost didn’t get made at all. The road to bringing it to theaters was a gauntlet of contract negotiations, the worst kind of studio meddling, and a revolving door of screenwriters and directors. It shows in the traces of each discarded script like the ghosts of better movies.

Sigourney Weaver plays Ellen Ripley, woken from cryo-sleep when her escape pod crashes on Fiorina “Fury” 161, a desolate foundry planet and abandoned penal colony, population 25. Ripley’s makeshift family from Aliens, Corporal Hicks, young orphan Newt, and android Bishop, died in the crash and Ripley is left to stand alone amongst Fury’s hardened sociopaths. The former prisoners  have adopted religion and do not appreciate the temptation of a woman in their midst. They like her stowaway even less, some seeing the alien as the ultimate test of their faith.

Serious stuff for what was supposed to be a popcorn flick.

William Gibson wrote one of the earliest screenplays in 1987. Because it was uncertain if Sigourney Weaver would return to reprise her role, Ellen Ripley remained in a coma for most of the movie. It was largely about Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn) and Newt involved in a Cold War-era tale of corporate misbehavior on a galactic scale. Only the bar code tattoos on the backs of prisoners’ heads survived Gibson’s draft. You can read his screenplay yourself online.

David Twohy’s screenplay involved a Weyland-Yutani prison planet, where inmates were being experimented on for biological warfare research. His script is also available online, but the most interesting thing about it is how Twohy, eventually fired, took his prison planet idea and turned it into the world of Pitch Black. There would be no Riddick without Alien 3.

One of the cooler ideas for Alien 3 was Aussie Kiwi director Vince Ward’s beautifully outré wooden cathedral on a satellite, inhabited by monks. But, like the directors before him, Ward got too fed up dealing with the studio’s demands and left. This version of Alien 3 has a small cult following and a good chunk of the Alien Quadrology box set dedicated to it.

Enter a young untested director, David Fincher.

Fincher got his start in commercial work, just like original Alien director Ridley Scott. But Fincher had to begin filming with an incomplete script, several million dollars over-budget and several weeks behind schedule. Cast members said there were more producers on set than actors on any given day. And the script was made up as filming went along, by a director who had actors repeat scenes twenty times or more before being satisfied with a take.

Things became so contentious between Fincher and Fox that the director left the production before final editing began and has since disowned the film. The 2003 Assembly Cut isn’t actually the true vision Fincher had in mind (we suppose, as he even refused to return to record DVD commentary or appear in any bonus features) but it’s closer to his original cut of the film. It’s got a new beginning, a modified ending, and a few new sequences that flesh out some of the prisoners and fill in plot inconsistencies made by the studio’s editing.

The opening shot in particular is beautiful in its bleakness.

Former inmate and chief medical officer Jonathan Clemens (Charles Dance, a.k.a. Tywin Lannister) walks along a beach, past mining equipment, his coat billowing behind him in the harsh winds. He finds Ripley’s body washed up on shore, covered in the bugs we only heard about in the theatrical cut. Yes, you’d definitely want to shave your head on this world. A team of oxen drag the Sulaco’s pod out of the ocean. One of the beasts is impregnated by the facehugger hiding on board. (In the theatrical cut, it was a dog.)

The fact that there is a facehugger at all is the biggest headscratcher in all of Alien 3. How did the Queen lay an egg on the shuttle, in record time, when her egg sack was ripped off at the end Aliens? The Assembly Cut at least shows us that it’s no normal facehugger that parasitizes two hosts before dying. Still, the whole foundation of Alien 3 is flawed from the start.

However, more people would say the largest flaw of Alien 3 was killing off Newt and Hicks.

I’m in the minority. I actually didn’t mind it. I kind of admired the balls of it. Sure it was a downer to see these two great characters — and a great character actor in Michael Biehn — get cut down in their sleep. They were heroes in the last movie. They were supposed to be Ripley’s new family. But the alien has stripped all of that away as easily as Ripley shaves her head. The alien strips everything away.

What’s left is a world-weary, caustic woman who doesn’t really give a shit about herself, but still manages to care about the fate of the universe. It’s in Alien 3 that you really see the toll the alien encounters have taken on Ripley. Her life is one long chase sequence, punctuated by gruesome deaths.

Down as she is, with her freshly shorn head, Ripley still has it in her to boldly proposition Dr. Clemens. It’s an unusual pairing, but a tender and oddly fetishistic one. Clemens certainly isn’t the classic hero Hicks was. He wasn’t a rapist at least, he was “just” a smack-addled doctor who accidentally killed 11 people when he prescribed the wrong medication. This makes him a good guy in Alien 3. The fact that he stuck around the lice-infested planet to take care of the criminally insane after his sentence was served makes him a goddamned saint.

Unfortunately, their mutual solace in one another is brief. When the alien attacks, the film really does turn into one long chase sequence.

The inmates’ religion permeates life on Fury 161. With their shaved heads and long coats and the overall sepia tones of the movie, Dillon’s “brothers” look like Catholic monks, but Ripley is constantly reminded that they are rapists. Even the most devout among the men, Dillon (Charles S. Dutton,) thinks that women are “intolerable” and he’s the closest thing to a friend Ripley has for the remainder of the film. When Ripley learns that she’s carrying a queen embryo, that makes her a double feminine threat to the inmates’ tenuous faith and their only chance at survival. This irony seems lost on everyone but Ripley.

As bad as the alien is, it’s Weyland-Yutani Corp. that is the looming threat to the galaxy. As is always the case in these horror movies, man is the most dangerous predator around. Trite but true. Ripley convinces the reluctant inmates to join her cause in killing the alien before a company team can use the creature (and Ripley) for research.

Perhaps it’s this rampant despair and extreme anti-corporate stance that made Alien 3 very popular among the goth-industrial dance crowd of the mid-90s. Shaved heads, goggles, and drab clothes were the fashion in this subculture and Fincher’s film shared that aesthetic. In a strange coda, it’s one of the most frequently sampled movies in industrial music, used by Frontline Assembly, Haujobb, and probably Velvet Acid Christ. (They’ve sampled every movie made before 2002.) German band Wumpscut went a step further and made the Weyland-Yutani logo their band logo, too. One of their biggest dance hits sampled Dillon’s eulogy for Newt and Hicks.

Yes, the plot is messy, the alien FX are cartoonish now, but the action itself is stylish and fun, especially considering that the prisoners have no access to weapons and must use themselves as bait. The cinematography and the repurposed Vincent Ward cathedral sets provide a visually arresting Middle Ages-meets-the future landscape. Dutton and the rest of the supporting cast, including Pete Postlethwaite, are colorful — when you can tell them apart. There’s a biting sense of humor permeating many of the scenes. And over all of this is Elliot Goldenthall’s menacing score, a mix of choral and orchestral work.

The final act slips further into downbeat territory. Series fans get two brief appearance by Aliens vet Lance Henrikson in two roles, one brief scene playing the desiccated android Bishop and finally as Michael Bishop, a human (we think) representative of Weyland-Yutani offering Ripley a chance to remove the alien embryo and live to have real children of her own one day. As if that’s the only purpose a woman could possibly have in life. (And ignoring the fact that Ripley did have a daughter on Earth before she signed up for duty with the Nostromo.)

When Ripley takes that final plunge into the furnace in the Assembly Cut, arms outstretched like Jesus on a crucifix, the alien doesn’t burst from her chest like it did in theaters. That, to me, made her story more tragic. She was terrified of giving birth to an alien in the first two movies. The Assembly Cut ending makes her decision to kill herself and her “baby” more of a conscious choice to be the savior of mankind.

The worst hasn’t happened yet; she’s preventing it.

At least until Weyland-Yutani brings her and her queen back for the even more disappointing Alien Resurrection. But for a few years, Ellen Ripley’s story had a wildly dark and heroic end to a journey that seems almost unimaginable in today’s film landscape.


Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to She covers True Blood, Game of Thrones, and is also an avid gamer. She has also covered tech and TV for and Action Flick Chick. Follower her on Twitter @tdelucci

1. INCyr
I'll actually come out in support of this movie - it's probably my favorite among the alien movies. The way I typically look at them is Alien:Horror, Aliens:Action, Alien 3:Drama. It might also be that it was the first of the movies I saw.

It's not perfect, but I think it's a lot better, as you state, than people give it credit for. And certainly way better than the following film.
2. TB
Yeah. I think this is my second fav of the alien movies. The second one just didn't feel very memorable until the final "boss fight". The first movie set up the alien as this invincible terrifying creature and then in the second one they're just killed off by the dozen. I'm not sure which version it is that I've seen of the third movie though. If it's the directors cut or the original one...
3. Edgewalker
I am amazed at how people didn't understand that Black Widow in the Avengers was one of the strongest characters in the whole movie, subverting the female tropes, tricking the villain and coming to terms with being a human on a team of super humans.

Other than that, nice article.
Chris Gifford
4. chrisgiff
Just watched this again recently. Not bad, not great.

This movie facinates me though. I don't know how many times I have read about the "almost" versions that could have been. William Gibson's ideas were awesome, as were Ward's. Studio execs really have no clue...
Theresa DeLucci
5. theresa_delucci
@1 This was actually one of the first R-rated movies I saw in the theater. I was about 12? Ha. No one seemed to care about age restrictions back then. And it was the first Alien movie I saw the whole way through. (I loved Spaceballs and even without seeing Alien, I knew that that chestburster parody was a reference to a thing that happened in it.) Maybe that's why I'm partial to it, too. I used to have stacks of Fangoria/Cinefex magazines dedicated to this movie. I immediately went home and watched both movies and was totally obssessed with them all summer.

@2 One way to tell is if the alien came out of an ox or a dog. The theatrical cut is the one usually shown on cable, I believe. Maybe it's time to rent the Assembly Cut, just to be sure.

@3 The Hulk was the strongest character in Avengers to me. I get what the appeal of Black Widow (and Hawkeye) were supposed to be. But when I think of a female action hero, I don't think of young ingenues like Scarlet and Anne Hathaway. I think of Linda Hamilton, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett in Strange Days, Lori Petty in Point Break. Gina Carano in Haywire. Women who aren't that studio exec-approved hot and who rarely resort to seducing an enemy because they just know that they can kick anyone's ass.

I can't think of many recent female leads in action movies who aren't traditionally, conventionally attractive for the straight male gaze. Is Sigourney Weaver, at her age in Alien 3, with her shaved head and scars and PTSD a sex symbol? A seductress? No. But she's matter-of-fact sexual. It's interesting and we don't see a lot of women (in their 30s! Old!) who get to act that way.
6. N.Mamatas
I loved this movie; saw it twice in the theater. Having loathed Aliens helped. Nothing's more tedious than a war movie ending with a paean to the family unit, which is what Ripley, Hicks, and Newt flying off to safety clearly represent.
7. tigeraid
Count me as one of the weird ones who liked this movie. Love the atmosphere, love the performances, especially Weaver's.

The nihilist themes really spoke to me, at that time in my life, and it still holds up. It's kind of depressing, and morbid, but like you said, Besson took a risk and made something unique. It simply doesn't hold up to Alien and Aliens. That's really it's only problem.

I really felt it was suitable as trilogy "finale." The ending definitely felt like an ENDING, unlike the first two movies. Unfortunately, they couldn't leave well enough alone....
8. sofrina
it's no aliens, but this film is a gothic masterpiece. your points about the nonsensical underpinnings are completely true. but i'm always more concerned with ripley being trapped in this xenomorph nightmare yet again. she's still ripley, but this is the point where hope dies. there will be no rebuilding a life. no fellow survivors to cling to when they make their way back to earth. when she returned from the nostromo, ripley was a stranger in a strange land, friendless save for the cat. she never even went back to earth. rather she took up residence on a space station doing lowly dockwork. with the loss of hicks and newt, there is truly no need to go back to earth. all the work she did just to put the first nightmare behind her was for nothing. and all that is clear before she realizes she's been facehugged.

clearly clemens has the same reasons for staying on at fury 161. he had nothing to return to and didn't want to try to rebuild his life in the shadow of his past crimes. the only people on fury who aren't hiding from the past are the wardens.

but i adore the dreadful atmosphere of that cavernous, shadowy facility and the absurdity of ripley having to convince these people that there really is a monster creeping in the dark even as their own keep turning up butchered.

i'm pretty sure the lice do appear in the theatrical cut. a pipe or something breaks open and the fall out in a clump. somewhere near the poor dog. also, the big conference scene - after the explosion - includes a sort of doorway design that i see over and over again on sf book covers:

(and weaver was in the 30s in aliens and her 40s in this one)
9. tigeraid
er, oops, I meant David Fincher.
10. Edgewalker

But you are focused on her appearance. I am talking about her actions and characterization during the movie. Pretty face or not, she was a strong character.

Also, Aliens 3 is the worst, b/c it made Aliens pointless by killing Hicks and Newt.

It takes a bad movie to make the one before it worse too.
11. sofrina
sometimes i wonder what would have happened if they'd all agreed to hole up in the warden's office until the rescue ship arrived. it's one of the few well-lit spaces and the only one the alien does't appear in. small and defensible...
Theresa DeLucci
12. theresa_delucci
@8 I really like your read on Ripley in this movie. Her life is so completely changed and so ultimately empty after LV-426. One line that really got to me in this movie was when Ripley "talks" to the alien, saying "You've been in my life so long, I can't remember anything else." It gives a rewatch of Alien an added layer of sadness because, eventually, the aliens back her into a corner and don't give her, as an altruistic person, much of a choice.

And you're right! She was in her 40s. One thing Roger Ebert pointed out about Alien was that it was unique in having an older cast than what we'd typically see in a horror movie. But Weaver and Veronica Cartwright were still nearly ten years younger than the youngest male cast member (John Hurt.)

If they all combined efforts and really tried to defend themselves in the warden's office... the prisoner with the low I.Q. probably would've screwed it up somehow.
13. Eugene R.
How did the eggs get on the Sulaco? Burke (cough) ... it was Burke.

I admired the compression of the storytelling in the opening of Alien 3 - just a very few quick-cut scenes without dialogue, and we knew what (horrible) things had occurred. And the movie itself replicated the horror of the original (confined space, few options, unstoppable monster) that had dissipated in the action sequences of the second film. And, once more, Ellen Ripley shows us the true meaning of heroism, this time by sacrifice. (In Alien Resurrection, she turns into sf's most badassed action hero, albeit ironically - "Hey, you met these things before?" "Yes." "What did you do?" "I died." - but that's another story.)
15. sofrina
oh, no, td. mr. aaron hid out in his office while everyone else tried to fight back. he was just fine on his own. that's why i think they should have all just crammed in with him.
Joseph Kingsmill
16. JFKingsmill16
My favorite part of Alien 3 is watching the poor guy who has to mop up the blood in the cafeteria while looking up into the vent hoping he's not next.

And I agree with Edgewalker that the worst thing about this movie i that it made Aliens pointless.
William Fettes
17. Wolfmage
wrong thread..
Bill Stusser
18. billiam
I have seen this movie only one time, in the theater when it was first released, and that was one too many times. I hated it within the first five minutes. This movie takes a big shit on the movie it followed by killing Newt and Hicks, offscreen even, and as Edgewalker said @10, made the second movie worse because of it.

Also, this is the first I have heard of another cut of this movie and while I love watching director's cuts of movies I have absolutely no desire to see this one.
Theresa DeLucci
19. theresa_delucci
I must say, I'm surprised by the amount of Alien 3 non-hate. I thought I was being controversial. This is now the place for all the nihilists and pessimists to hang out.

Knowing that Hicks and Newt die in the next movie hasn't diminished my love for Aliens at all. Maybe it makes it more poignant. That's life. No one knows how long they have. There were better ideas for Alien 3, but this is the weird turn the story took. I think any movie short of a perfect one would have seemed weak or like treading water after Aliens, even if Hicks was alive and the aliens came to Earth. It probably would've been sappy at the end, too. "Yay, humans!"
Bill Stusser
20. billiam
Funny thing is, I think David Fincher is an awesome director. I love both Fight Club and Seven. I haven't seen Girl with the Dragon Tattoo yet, but intend to (having a nine year old daughter means I don't get to see all the adult movies I want to see anymore). Still, knowing how much I like his directing, I still see no reason to watch Alien 3 again.
Theresa DeLucci
21. theresa_delucci
Fair enough. I'm not even certain you can call this a David Fincher movie, after all the changes Fox made to it. Even the Assembly cut was put together by production people based on Fincher's first rough cut. He totally washed his hands of this project. (And it shows on the DVD commentary; some of the most boring I ever tried to sit through.)
Joseph Kingsmill
22. JFKingsmill16
I think I remember reading somewhere that one of the reasons they had to kill Newt off was because she grew up and looked completely different from the end of Aliens. The suspension of disbelief may have been too much.
23. Kdougless
Theresa, you commented: The fact that there is a facehugger at all is the biggest headscratcher in all ofAlien 3. How did the Queen lay an egg on the shuttle, in record time, when her egg sack was ripped off at the end Aliens?
I always viewed the egg sac as more of a maturation and hold chamber for the qeen's eggs, and the queen could still lay eggs with out it. Also the egg in the Solaco was set up the very end of Aliens. After the credits are done you hear one hatching... so I don't view it as an anomoly in Alien 3.
Soon Lee
24. SoonLee
Vincent Ward is a New Zealander, not an Australian. We get that a lot.
25. a1ay
This film was ruined for me when I read a review that didn't spoil the plot but did describe it as "Porridge In Space" and that's all I could think of from then on...
They should have made Prometheus back then instead. Alien set up two mysteries: the aliens themselves, and the Space Jockey - the giant pilot in the original ship. Aliens answered one by showing the entire life cycle. Alien 3 should have done the same for the Space Jockeys.
26. Migraine
Watch the 'assembly' cut. It's not just a better movie - one that certainly makes more sense than the cinema release - it's a good movie.
Iain Cupples
27. NumberNone
This might not be a perfect movie but it's a worthy entry in the Alien canon. Atmospheric, with some brilliant performances, it does some interesting and brave things with the character of Ripley and returns some of the terror factor to the xenomorphs. For all the studio interference, the one thing you can't accuse this film of is pandering to the audience.

I get that some people hate the decision to kill of Hicks and Newt, but I just feel that a movie with Newt, Hicks and Ripley fighting together against the xenomorph threat would inevitably have been a disappointment: too cosy, too safe.
john mullen
28. johntheirishmongol
I won't deny I hated it. It made the other movies a joke and I don't accept any explanations for an egg being there. Let's face it, if you had an alien queen on your ship and you got rid of it, what's the first thing you do after? You search from stem to stern and make sure there were no gifts left behind. And it isn't as if a pod has a lot of hiding places.
Theresa DeLucci
29. theresa_delucci
@22 That's the same reason they recast the girl "Jack" from Pitch Black for Chronicles of Riddick. She grew up and looked very different. I hate that they recast her. At least it was Gwen Raiden from Angel, but still.

@23 I didn't know that! All the times I've seen Aliens, I never watched the end credits all the way through. This was before the age of shawarma scenes.

@24 Shameful mistake. Sorry. It's corrected now. Thanks.

@25 They should've made Prometheus back then, perhaps, but I'm glad they're doing it with the technology of today. I'm trying to avoid reviews so I can go in clean, but everything I have heard said it looks gorgeous. And I don't think Scott will fall into the Lucas trap of throwing as much shit as possible on the screen just because he can.

@28 Yes! That will be my new excuse for finding an alien on board being completely implausible. So my point still stands. Stupid Hollywood logic. Ripley wouldn't not check. She saw the Queen laying all those eggs. She wouldn't wonder if the bitch dropped one on the ship?
30. HumbleBe
Whatever. I got Alien 3, and I loved it.

Made Aliens pointless? Keep thinking.
31. General Vagueness
Newt was killed off, at least nominally, because the actress didn't want to reprise the role-- it's the only case I know of where a child star made it big and then completely dropped out of what they made it big in without the whole crash and burn. Another critique of the movie I read raises the question of the body that's shown-- why not her play the character?-- but that's probably another case of Hollywood executives being Hollywood executives, she was probably an extra hired to fill that particular spot for a few minutes.

As far as the eggs, the escape pods would be one the places you'd want to be sure to hide something if you wanted to make sure you'd be able to retrieve it. I admit it would take a major event on the ship for that to be the fallback plan, like, oh, I don't know, someone setting it to self-destruct... now why does that sound familiar?

I didn't like this movie, and partly still don't, because it's depressing, but not only that, it's needlessly depressing. Other than surviving, fending off the attack by the inmates outside, and coming up with and executing a plan to kill the grown xenomorph and the larval one, everything that could go wrong for Ripley does. (It also tends to happen just when things seem like they might be kind of OK again, although really the whole series is like that.) I had seen the previous movies and my fair share of sci-fi and fantasy death and gore but this was the darkest thing I'd ever seen in every way when I first saw it as a kid. As I've gotten older I've come to appreciate that, and some of the subtleties (I didn't get what the doctor was talking about half the time when I first saw it, for example), and the ending.
32. Colonial Marine
Nice try, but this movie reeked.
33. Modern Zorker
Over the years I've read and listened to a considerable amount of venom spewed by people who hate Alien 3, and the conclusion I've come to in the interim as a fan of the film is that most people dislike it because Fincher made "Alien 3" as opposed to "Aliens 2". The comments above concerning the deaths of Newt and Hicks 'ruining' the story seem to back up this conclusion.

I've always enjoyed Alien 3, but that's because I've allowed it to stand on its own instead of comparing it to Cameron's gung-ho action-fest (still a great film, don't get me wrong, but it's really the odd man out of the bunch), and I had the luxury of reading Alan Dean Foster's novelization prior to seeing the film. Foster's book improves the movie the way that Fincher's Assembly Cut does: it offers plausible explanations for things left on the cutting room floor or excised from the script in re-writes. It provides the missing puzzle pieces and shows us how they fit. Having that information before I saw the film for the first time allowed me to appreciate the film because I could mentally fill in the blanks.

Even if you hate Alien, especially if you hate Alien 3, the Assembly Cut should be a priority viewing. You'll loathe the theatrical version that much more after seeing what could have been, might have been, should have been. Reading the novel won't hurt either. Once you see what's been missing for all these years, you'll view Alien 3 in a new light. It may not jump to the top of your list, but you'll discover Theresa's thesis is correct: you really don't hate Alien 3 as much as you think you do.

If you've always wanted "Aliens 2" in lieu of what Fincher provided, read the early comics from Dark Horse instead. "Aliens: Outbreak" and "Aliens: Nightmare Asylum" obviously break continuity in light of Fincher's film, but they show a well thought out "what-might-have-been" had Ripley, Hicks and Newt all made it back to Earth in the wake of LV-426.
Theresa DeLucci
34. theresa_delucci
@32 Mad they killed off your Corporal, Colonial Marine? You sure don't sound biased at all.
35. a1ay
I'm trying to avoid reviews so I can go in clean, but everything I have heard said it looks gorgeous. And I don't think Scott will fall into the Lucas trap of throwing as much shit as possible on the screen just because he can.

Saw it last night. It does, but he did. It's still a great film but there's too many notes, Herr Scott, too many notes. Ever read a description of the original plot for Alien? Where there's a pyramid with cryptic sculptures, and a mysterious culture that worships the xenomorphs, and a love affair subplot between Ripley and Dallas? All that stuff got cut before shooting started, mainly for budget reasons, and the result was a tight thriller with a pretty much linear plot and a single (albeit evolving) antagonist - the only time you get a subplot or a twist is the "Ash is a goddamn robot!" moment and that's brief. You could describe the plot to Alien in thirty seconds.

Should have done the same cutting job to Prometheus.
37. SeeingI
The fact that there is a facehugger at all is the biggest headscratcher in all ofAlien 3. How did the Queen lay an egg on the shuttle, in record time, when her egg sack was ripped off at the end Aliens?

I always figured that as the Queen was making her way out of the egg chamber in pursuit of Ripley, a couple of facehuggers (possibly cued by hormones with the signal "time to go found a new hive"), hitched a lift on her back and scurried away to hide somwhere.

Still no excuse for not checking every last millimeter of that escape pod, though. But yeah, Cameron set up Alien 3 by including the sounds of little scuttling claws at the very, very end of the credits. Those of us who always read the credits knew what was coming.
38. Roderick T. Long
Here's my defense of Alien 3:
39. Kay El
Rationalize and justify it all you want...too many defenders of Alien 3 underestimate the negative impact the film saddled itself from the very start with the killing off of Newt and Hicks.

The beginning of Alien 3 basically nullified what happened in Aliens...which was a very, VERY popular film. So at the very beginning, you have already pissed off your audience and then you expect them to go along with the rest of it?
40. Nah
Yeah, it's a terrible film - misconceived, flawed from the start, badly written and riddled with plot holes. It's got a brainless start: an egg has mysteriously appeared on the Sulaco, showing the writers just don't give a damn; the set design has changed since the end of the previous film, showing a casual disregard for continuity; and the Sulaco just happens to be passing an inhabited planet when it ejects the EEV, showing that Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale. It only goes downhill from there, with the ensemble casts of the previous films replaced by rejects from a kitchen sink drama.

Anyone who claims "it's their favourite of the Alien films" is just being pretentious.

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