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The new cut of Alien 3...Caution: many Spoilers!!!

The new cut of Alien 3...Caution: many Spoilers!!!

 
Old 12-31-03, 02:10 AM
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The new cut of Alien 3...Caution: many Spoilers!!!

I picked up the Quadrilogy even tho I'm not much of a fan of the 3rd and 4th films. I figured the new "extended" versions of #3 and #4 might be interesting. The 9th disc with all the original laserdisc box set supplements for the first 2 films tipped the scale over to the "must have" side.

For viewing the "new" Alien 3, I purposely avoided delving into any of the supplemental material or the commentaries. There is an option that flags all the added scenes with some kind of screen icon so you know when they appear, I kept this option off. I wanted to view the new cut of the film with as fresh an out-look as possible.

MANY SPOILERS AHEAD:

To me, the original Alien 3 just came off as weak, ambiguous, and sloppy. I like the challenge of a film that doesn't explain everything but there has to be some thought and focus behind it I must say that overall I think the new cut is a vast improvement over the original film. It does simplify things as it reveals very early on that Ripley is carrying the alien parasite and it clarifies "the company" as the villans. There are many new violent scenes of the creature attacking the prisoners. In some of these scenes the CGI doesn't blend as well as it should and that may be why the scenes were taken out. OTOH, some of these scenes really do great justice to H. R. Giger's original design of the beast and it's great to see them in the film. Oddly , the final scene where Ripley throws herself into the molten lead has been abridged. In the original you see the alien emerging from Ripley's chest and she clutches it close to her to insure that it will die with her. This powerful image is cut from the new version and you just see Ripley's body fall away into the fires below. I suppose that it's clear enough that the alien will die with her, but I would have kept that original sequence in. (Keep in mind that the complete original theatrical version of the movie, which has this sequence, is accessable on this same DVD by selecting to view it from the main menu! ) I'll be curious to see if this particular change is discussed at all in the commentaries. There are also a few new scenes that never got the finished dialog dubbed in so all you hear is the raw sound from the original shoot. Since the voices are hard to understand, the subtitle function is set to kick in and out just for those scenes. (You can set it so the subtitles never kick in) It's a little disruptive when this happens but to me it's only a minor flaw, still leaving the new version as a much better film.

Bottom line for me is that Alien 3 will never come up to the level of the first 2 films, but with this new version the film can stand on it's own as very entertaining sci-fi.

Last edited by digiboy; 12-31-03 at 02:13 AM.
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Old 12-31-03, 03:36 AM
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The first movie I watched from this great set was Alien 3. For years, I've pined to see the deleted scenes surrounding the capture of the creature.

I really enjoyed this version and found it to be a substantial improvement over the theatrical cut.

Quite honestly, Alien 3 has always been my favorite of the series, (right behind Ridley Scott's original masterpiece of course.) I really prefer Fincher's dark approach over Cameron's shoot 'em up style. I'm not saying that Aliens wasn't great, I only mean that I rank it third in my order of preference within the franchise.

Next to the original, I think Alien 3 is the only film that tried to recapture the grit of Ridley's original vision of space. I loved the nod that Fincher gave Scott when he placed that little pink bobbing bird on Andrews' office desk during the scene with Clemons in which he threatened to reveal the reason Clemons was sentenced to "Fury" to Ripley. That same bird was shown repeatedly on the mess table in Ridley's Alien. - Kind of a cool touch.

Anyway, during the commentary they do go into the reason for the alternate take of Ripley's plunge minus the Alien reveal.

I also thought it was better for the movie that an Ox was used for the Alien's host. Although the decicion to include that created a couple of small inconsitancies like when the first victim falls to the creature, he peers into a duct and calls the dog's name. Well, there is no dog in the restored cut.

Also, the facehugger that the prisoner finds on the cart that they brought the dead Ox into the compound has a spiny shell and webbing between its fingers. The commentary reveals that it's supposed to be a "super facehugger" whose sole purpose is to plant a new Queen's seed into a host.

Apparantly this particular facehugger is capable of impregnating two hosts, because presumably it impregnated Ripley, then hid until it reached the planet. Then it escaped the EEV to force itself on an Ox, which only recieved a "worker" seed.

I dunno, I'm sure I'm overthinking that aspect of the story, but it's one of those little details that nags at me. *sigh* maybe there were just two super facehuggers on the EEV and one slipped away after the crash and died while the other found the Ox.

-- Na, nevermind . . . that wouldn't work either, because the Ox fell victim to the super queen-bearing creature. oh well . . . LOL!!

Anyway, I've always had a great appreciation for what Fincher tried to do with this movie and I think this version made a film that I've always loved even better.

Sorry for the ramble.
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Old 12-31-03, 05:46 AM
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I actually watched the longer version of Alien 3 last night, and I don't think it's that much better than the theatrical version. What jumped out at me the most was remembering how "fake" the alien looked in those CGI shots...and you get a lot more of them in the extended version.

The movie is just "OK". It begins on a downer, is depressing most of the way through, and ends on a downer. Which isn't a bad thing for a movie...just a bad thing for an Alien movie. There has to be some kind of redemption for the audience in these types of films - and there isn't any in Alien 3.

As James Cameron said in his Aliens commentary about Alien 3...(paraphrasing):
It's fine to 'make a movie your own' - just don't make it 'your own' at the expense of what the audience likes and wants to see.
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Old 12-31-03, 08:48 AM
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I have never liked Alien 3. The extended version does not improve the film at all. It is still tedious and depressing throughout. I do not appreciate having raw footage inserted into a film and marketed as an extended cut. If footage is to be added, then do it right with completed footage that has been properly prepared and edited. This version is a gimmick not a genuine alternate version.
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Old 12-31-03, 09:52 AM
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I liked Alien 3 because it had a more similar style to the original than Aliens. TThe restored cut was interesting but still had plot holes in it IMHO.
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Old 12-31-03, 10:20 AM
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I have never seen the original Alien³, but I think that the Special Edition provides a movie that is not a complete copout.

Each film is different. Alien is a horror movie, Aliens is an action/adventure, Alien³ is a drama, and Alien:Resurrection is a over-the-top action movie.

That being said, Alien³ is very skeletal in its production. Where Aliens was a grand spectacle firepower and technology, Alien³ tries to structure simply around characters, and fails. In Aliens, I was able to say I like Hudson, hate Vasquez, and am indifferent towards Hicks. In Alien³, I can say I am indifferent towards Clemmens and like Dillon. But, that is only two people out of the the larger cast. It would seem that they tried to create a cerebral event out of a simple monster movie.

I enjoy all the Alien films (even Resurrection ), but I can easily see the dissapointment in Alien³. To go from something that should have been upbeat to such a downer, is not easy, but it's a lot like life.
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Old 12-31-03, 11:50 AM
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Originally posted by HighSpeedOnIce
Quite honestly, Alien 3 has always been my favorite of the series, (right behind Ridley Scott's original masterpiece of course.) I really prefer Fincher's dark approach over Cameron's shoot 'em up style. I'm not saying that Aliens wasn't great, I only mean that I rank it third in my order of preference within the franchise.
I totally agree. I've never been quite sure why so many people dislike Alien 3 so much, especially now with the Assembly Cut. Alien is a true masterpiece of course, but I really enjoy Alien 3 the most of the films. It's a much deeper film than a lot of people give it credit for. Sure the CGI alien looks like crap, but I think that the rest of the movie is really quite good. I love Fincher's visual style, and it fits the Alien 3 perfectly. Alien is a great movie, Aliens is alright, and Resurrection, well, that's by far the worst, but I like the Assembly Cut of Alien 3 the best of all.
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Old 12-31-03, 12:30 PM
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If you read the notes in the provided booklet, they are pretty clear about what these new extended versions are supposed to be.

In the case of "Alien" the note is from Scott himself and he confesses that the new cut was a concession on his part. He still says the theatrical cut is definitive. I saw the new cut in a theater in digital projection so I haven't bothered to watch the same thing on DVD yet. IMO it balanced out to be no better or worse than the original. Scott prefers the original and I'd say he has the last word there.

Anyone who is an Aliens fan must be familiar with James Cameron's extended cut by now. It's been available on Laserdisc and on the previous DVD. AFAIK the Director's cut in the new set is the same. This version is probably the only one of the 4 that could be properly called a Director's Cut. (Tho technically the new Alien version is too). Felt no immediate desire to watch it but will get to it soon.

Alien3 is the studio's attempt to restore that film into what they call an "assembly" cut...whatever that means. It's not approved by anyone except for the studio itself. IMO they managed to improve on what was a very disappointing 3rd movie. It's no great compliment that the new version is an improvement, it's still not in the class of 1 and 2. I can watch and enjoy crappy sci-fi and so I could even live with the original version...but the new version does play better.

I haven't gotten to the extended version of Alien 4 but that movie is such a mess that I don't hold much hope it could be made any better. The fact that the booklet says this new version includes "every scene actually filmed" is not very promising. I picture someone going thru the trash can in the editing room and then splicing back in every piece they could find and hoping for the best....It's a total of 7 added minutes unless there were also some scenes that were cut from the original to fit even more new scenes in. Again no approval from anyone other than the studio. I haven't watched it yet. I'll be curious to see if they could make any improvement at all. At least it'll be interesting to see what they came up with.
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Old 12-31-03, 12:42 PM
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i dunno... after watching/listening to the extras for Aliens, i appreciate that film more than ever. artistically, i favor Alien's aesthetic, but Aliens is just overall mind-boggling to me. what they accomplished, and how it was all seat-of-their-pants amazes me. Alien 3 is just TOO slapdash for me to rank it, esp the new cut with all the rough footage and whatnot. i know Fincher was mistreated, but that doean't mean the film would have been great without interference. Alien 4 is very pretty, but something about it just annoys the hell out of me... the odd French comedy vibe does not work with the Alien universe IMO.
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Old 12-31-03, 12:46 PM
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What jumped out at me the most was remembering how "fake" the alien looked in those CGI shots...and you get a lot more of them in the extended version.
Now, I haven't watched the Quad yet (only got my hands on it on Sunday), but is it really fair to criticize the extended version's primitive CGI? Didn't they say up front that stuff like that was incomplete and used as what they had? (I could be wrong, and I understand the CGI being a problem in the theatrical cut either way.)

It's a total of 7 added minutes unless there were also some scenes that were cut from the original to fit even more new scenes in. Again no approval from anyone other than the studio.
I thought the booklet said the scenes were prepared by the director himself, but the director considers the original the proper cut and has no problem with it (and that he did these new things because the studio wanted him to more than because he wanted to). I may be entirely wrong on that, but I thought that Fincher was the only person who declined participation, that the other three directors were fully behind all the stuff that was done.

This version is probably the only one of the 4 that could be properly called a Director's Cut. (Tho technically the new Alien version is too).
Yet, oddly, Cameron's extended Cut is just called the "special edition cut", where Scott's extended Cut is called the "director's cut" (as he says, though, it's just a marketing term.

I think Cameron does that himself, though; he doesn't seem to ever like to say that his initial release is not the director's cut [I remember that, when 'Titanic' came out, somebody asked, "Will there be an extended director's cut release on home video?" and he said "This *is* the director's cut," at which point I realized that 'Aliens' and 'T2' are both always referred to as "special" or "extended", never "director's". I notice the DVD of 'The Abyss' is labelled "special edition" also, but that one actually might be a director's cut, 'cause the studio made him change stuff, right?].
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Old 12-31-03, 01:50 PM
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What of the changes done to Alien Resurrection? Good? Bad? Neither? What specifically was changed/added?
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Old 12-31-03, 02:28 PM
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interesting that you all seem to think the alien in Alien 3 was CGI. if you watch the documentaries on the Quadrilogy, you'll see that it was actually a puppet.

there is really only one CGI shot of the alien and that's the scene right after the alien escapes from the hot lead and is doused in water from the sprinklers.
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Old 12-31-03, 02:48 PM
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Originally posted by Grabastic
interesting that you all seem to think the alien in Alien 3 was CGI. if you watch the documentaries on the Quadrilogy, you'll see that it was actually a puppet.

there is really only one CGI shot of the alien and that's the scene right after the alien escapes from the hot lead and is doused in water from the sprinklers.
Yeah, I noticed this today...it's actually a puppet on rods in front of a blue screen. It has to be the WORST blue screen work ever done on film...even Superman IV's blue screen work is better!

I think we just all assumed it was early CGI because it looks so bad. We assumed it was CGI in it's early stages since blue screen work was pretty common and should have been done much better.
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Old 12-31-03, 03:08 PM
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even Superman IV's blue screen work is better!

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Old 12-31-03, 03:44 PM
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As I said, I made it a point not to go in to the extra's before watching the new cut of #3 so maybe I shouldn't have said some added alien scenes were CGI. I thought I read somewhere that CGI renderings of the Alien were used. Well however they were done, there are some new alien scenes that I think look pretty good, and some others that look like crap. If you want to enjoy the new cut of Alien 3, you will have to allow for the unfinished effects and the undubbed dialog in a few of these new scenes. Not all are flawed either; some of the new footage fits in very smoothly. If you can't accept the compromises, then you're better off to stick with the theatrical "finished" version. (And some effects look poor even in the theatrical cut).

The booklet's description of the changes to fourth film says that a new alternate opening segment is offered using storyboards and "rough" CGI. It's simply an "alternate" version to watch if you care to. They make no claim beyond that and if the concept bothers you, the theatrical versions of all 4 films are still there on the discs, untouched. It does say that Jeunet had a hand in creating the new cut of #4 but there's not much detail offered. Perhaps in the supplements.
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Old 12-31-03, 04:11 PM
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Actually, despite what the package says about Resurrection only having an alternate opening and ending, if you turn on the deleted footage marker in the supplements, it comes on screen several times throughout the movie. I'd have to re-watch it to say whereabout exactly, but I do remember seeing some stuff that didn't look familiar from the theatrical version.

Still, the newborn absolutely destroys what was, up to the last 20 minutes or so, a pretty entertaining movie. Once that atrocity shows up, things literally sink to 'Species 2' levels of sci-fi.

The other three are golden, in my opinion. Always liked Alien 3 and this new cut makes it even better.

the final scene where Ripley throws herself into the molten lead has been abridged. In the original you see the alien emerging from Ripley's chest and she clutches it close to her to insure that it will die with her. This powerful image is cut from the new version and you just see Ripley's body fall away into the fires below
Honestly, I was so glad to see that scene changed. I hated it originally.

Last edited by Cosmic Bus; 12-31-03 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 12-31-03, 06:49 PM
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I have to agree that Resurrection also plays a little better in it's extended form. I haven't seen it in a long time and I watched it without the extra footage markers. Some scenes were clearly new additions but I don't know the film well enough to say how much re-editing was done and where. I think the booklet's description undersells it a bit. If they did use every scrap of extra footage they could find, they did a pretty decent job of integrating it in.

I took the booklets description of the extended Alien4 to mean that they had to resort to using storyboards to depict some part of the new opening sequnce. I didn't see any shots of storyboards. I gather that what the booklet is actually saying is that they used storyboards as a guide to reconstruct the opening. I did see one very rough CGI at the beginning which is placed logically enough to not be disruptive.

What ultimately destroys this movie is, just as you say, the newborn alien. Clearly the intent is that this beast would be even more nightmarish and shocking than the original aliens. Instead, it's the opposite of the truly horrifying Giger alien creation. The wiggly nose and the sad expressive eyes make it laughable. Brad Dourif's mad scientist character goes off the deep end and the the movie tanks. Cut that whole section out of the movie and I bet it would play better.
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Old 12-31-03, 07:07 PM
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I love the new Alien 3, its greatly improved save the few continuity errors the new footage creates.
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Old 12-31-03, 08:38 PM
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Some of the new footage in ALIEN 3 is better--for example the ox scene is much better and even plays with the eulogy footage better--but the scene where the crazy guy lets the alien out of the storage room ruined the longer cut for me. I mean c'mon that makes no freakin' sense whatsoever! We're just supposed to swallow that this guy lets out the ultimate evil, because, well...he's kraaaazy! Ugh!

In the extras, the actor who played the crazy guy says that he felt the character did this because he thought he could team up with the alien and together they'd go kill "that bitch Ripley". Okay, interesting idea, I guess, but none of that motivation is shown. Perhaps if the prisoners were still monks and the alien was still thought of as the devil (as in the original script) this might have worked, but as shown it has to be the dumbest moment in all 4 flicks!
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Old 01-01-04, 01:15 AM
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"It's a much deeper film than a lot of people give it credit for."

Really? Well, what exactly is deep about Alien 3? Be very specific. I keep seeing this in various places but I have yet to see anyone actually back up the statement with concrete examples.
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Old 01-01-04, 07:52 AM
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"but the scene where the crazy guy lets the alien out of the storage room ruined the longer cut for me. I mean c'mon that makes no freakin' sense whatsoever! We're just supposed to swallow that this guy lets out the ultimate evil, because, well...he's kraaaazy! Ugh"


I think he let him out because the guy was a mass murderer and thus respected and worshipped the Aliens raw killing power
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Old 01-01-04, 10:51 AM
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I really didn't like Alien 3 either, big surprise. I watched the Special Edition on my Quad, and it was the first time I've seen the complete film. I think David Fincher did a lot of good work, but for some reason or another, it didn't pan out. I am glad the S.E. cut out the alien bursting from Ripley's chest, it looked gay.
To me, the movie is just too boring, no scares. Because the prisoners are so bland, it's like "who gives a shit if they die." That's the way I felt about it.
As for the other deleted stuff, I did like the ox scene, but as someone said earlier, the letting of the alien out was kind of stupid. Overall, the film is just not exciting enough to be anything worthwhile. I was actually surprised to see that it was 2.5 hours as opposed to 1 hr. 45 mins of the regular version. I guess the editors wanted a short movie, but since it had no character development it bombed like hell.
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Old 01-01-04, 12:53 PM
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Originally posted by CrumpsBrother
We're just supposed to swallow that this guy lets out the ultimate evil, because, well...he's kraaaazy! Ugh!
There's cinematic precedent. Day of the Dead.

I don't think his intention was to let it out so much as to see it one more time. I'm not particularly fond of that idea either, but it's at least a little different.
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Old 01-01-04, 02:27 PM
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Originally posted by HighSpeedOnIce


Anyway, during the commentary they do go into the reason for the alternate take of Ripley's plunge minus the Alien reveal.

Has anyone found where this is? I checked the commentary tracks during the scene in both the theatrical and assembly cuts. I didn't hear any explanation of why they decided to go without the chest burster/alien reveal sequence for the assembly cut. Maybe they discuss it during some other part of one of the commentaries, I didn't listen to them all the way thru. If someone could tell me what chapter/section and which version, I'd be curious to hear what they say.


Thanks
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Old 01-01-04, 09:49 PM
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Originally posted by digiboy
Has anyone found where this is? I checked the commentary tracks during the scene in both the theatrical and assembly cuts. I didn't hear any explanation of why they decided to go without the chest burster/alien reveal sequence for the assembly cut. Maybe they discuss it during some other part of one of the commentaries, I didn't listen to them all the way thru. If someone could tell me what chapter/section and which version, I'd be curious to hear what they say.


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They went without it because I'm pretty sure it hadn't been filmed yet...it was added AFTER the movie was screened to 20th Century Fox brass.
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