Empire (Australasia) - - RE­VIEW -

James: I think it’s rep­e­ti­tion. Once you be­come de­sen­si­tised to the threat, it loses its po­tency. You have that with Alien, too. What Cameron did with Aliens that was ge­nius was that he did some­thing dif­fer­ent. He made an in­cred­i­ble pla­toon movie. Af­ter that they were just try­ing to find ways to squeeze juice out of this con­cept. Alien 3 could have been many things, but the Alien 3 we ul­ti­mately got was an at­tempt to re­tread what Ridley Scott did with Alien. Alien Res­ur­rec­tion was… hon­estly, I don’t know what the fuck that was.

Chris: Does that speak to my point? That they needed a uni­fy­ing pro­ducer, some­one at the stu­dio, to have a clear fo­cus on a path?

James: That’s the thing. Don’t do an Alien se­quel be­cause you want to do an Alien se­quel.

Do it be­cause you have an in­cred­i­bly com­pelling idea. Dan: Do you think you would have liked the Vin­cent Ward wooden-planet ver­sion of Alien 3?

James: Very much so. There’s el­e­ments of that still in Alien 3. Dan: I think one of the things that has gone wrong with the Alien strand is los­ing sight of the fact that it’s Ri­p­ley who’s the sub­ject of th­ese films, not the crea­tures. Once you take Ri­p­ley away, I don’t think it’s as in­ter­est­ing.

John: Alien and Aliens are clear vi­sions of a hand­ful of peo­ple. The Alien se­quels, from three on­wards, and to a lesser ex­tent, the Preda­tor se­quels, you can feel the stu­dio trou­bles on screen. You can see the clashes they had. Alien 3, David Fincher fa­mously dis­owned it. It feels mud­dled. You get that with The Preda­tor as well, the Shane Black movie. A lot of stuff hap­pened on the jour­ney to the screen that made it the slight mess that it be­came. Chris: Let’s go back to that mo­ment when we saw Preda­tor 2, and saw the Alien skull, and you thought, “Oh my God, one day there’s go­ing to be a film in which there’s an Alien and a Preda­tor and they’re go­ing to fight and it’s go­ing to be the most amaz­ing thing ever,” and then Alien Vs Preda­tor came out in 2004 and it ab­so­lutely wasn’t. Dan: I don’t hate that film. James: It’s just in­cred­i­bly bland and mid­dle of the road. It’s not par­tic­u­larly scary. It’s not par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing.

Dan: The first fight be­tween a Preda­tor and an Alien is ac­tu­ally re­ally good.

James: Is it, though?

Chris: It dis­ap­pointed me, but Aliens Vs Preda­tor: Re­quiem, the one that fol­lows it, is a fetid turd of a movie. It has ab­so­lutely no re­deem­ing fea­tures what­so­ever. It has the Predalien, the fu­sion of an Alien and a Preda­tor, and some­how man­ages to fuck that up.

John: My big­gest is­sue is that those movies look and feel quite cheap. There’s no artistry to them.

Chris: There’s one great thing about Alien Vs Preda­tor, which is the tagline: “Who­ever wins, we lose” is pretty much per­fect. But if you ask me, it needs some­one to come in and rein­vent the mythol­ogy. And that’s what hap­pened when Ridley Scott came back on for Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Dan: I have no shame in say­ing this. I have ranked ‘AVP’ and The Preda­tor higher than those movies.

John: You are to­tally in­sane. What are you talk­ing about? Dan: They look great.

James: Prometheus is not an Alien film. It’s a bold, re­ally in­ter­est­ing hard sci­ence-fic­tion film. It feels al­most crow­barred into the Alien mythol­ogy.

Dan: For me it’s as in­sult­ing as The Phan­tom Men­ace, and Covenant is At­tack Of The Clones. They both ir­ri­tated me from be­gin­ning to end. John: There’s a lot to be said for both of them. Prometheus is a no­ble fail­ure, to some ex­tent. He just chucks ev­ery­thing into this blender, but it’s a glo­ri­ous mess. I love the En­gi­neers and the cold­ness of them. Chris: Let’s wrap this up, then. There’s no de­bate about which is bet­ter be­tween Preda­tor and Preda­tor 2. But there is a huge de­bate about which is bet­ter: Alien or Aliens. I think you can tell a lot about the sort of per­son you are by which one you plump for.

John: This is like the ul­ti­mate ques­tion: Bea­tles or Stones? Chris: Bea­tles. It’s not even a ques­tion.

James: Who prefers the Stones?

John: I’ve flip-flopped on this more than a politi­cian. But I think Alien is bet­ter. It’s more pro­found, more po­etic, it’s more mys­te­ri­ous.

Chris: That’s the Shored­itch choice. “I’m the sort of per­son who prefers Alien, I’m more po­etic, look at my beard.” No. Aliens has ev­ery­thing that

Alien has, and an ex­tra layer of emo­tion that the first

Alien sim­ply doesn’t have. John: Aliens doesn’t have a Space Jockey…

Chris: Right. Enough squab­bling. Let’s vote!

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