So by now you have all probably seen this big news: http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/alien-5/34187/alien-5-neill-blomkamp-sequel-officially-greenlit and a good number of you are probably drooling over the idea of a new Alien film 18 years after the last one.
- Yeah let's put that in perspective, if they released Alien5 this year and made it an 18 rating, someone born on the release of Alien: Resurrection would be able to see it. That's a pretty big gap there!
The thing is, I am not one of those drooling masses. Quite the opposite. This gives me a knot in my tummy the size of Mt Everest.
Before I continue I must remind you that I am a huge fan of the Alien Saga, and by fan I mean it's true meaning of fanatic.
In my time as a collector I have owned countless toys, tshirts, comics, novels, posters etc and all four films on VHS and twice on DVD (yet to pick up on BluRay yet, but that's because I don't have a BluRay player in my GeekCave.
The first film; Alien. This is an amazing film, one of the best horror movies ever made and pretty much coined sci-fi horror as we know it today.
The second film; Aliens. My personal favourite of them all. It took what Alien did and added an action flare to it that made it just different enough. It too became the staple "marine squad" film that countless others have attempted to emulate in the years that followed.
The third film; Alien3. It was alright. It tried to mix the two, the horror of a single alien but set in a terrestrial setting. Replace the architecture of the Derelict with (originally intended) weird religious stuff and that's Alien3. It suffered because it was different (after all it did introduce the DNA Reflex) but it wasn't different enough to really set itself apart. Was it Action? Was it Horror? It wasn't really sure.
The fourth film; Alien: Resurrection. For me this is the worst of them all. Like Alien3, AR tried to mix it up a little only in reverse - lots of aliens only this time in space! Take away the weird religious stuff from Alien3 and replace it with a merged DNA/terribad newborn gumph and you have AR. But that's not the worst part for me, and it's not the chicken legs, or the finned tails or even the shit that seems to be smeared on the Alien's skin. It's the crew of the Betty, or as I call them, the crew of the Proto-Serenity.
- Yup, this film was written by Whedon which explains why the crew of the Betty have so much (in feel) to Firefly. Of course I really dislike Firefly, so that's not a good thing.
-- Of course I saw AR before Firefly, so maybe it was my dislike of AR which put me off Firefly - or maybe I just don't like Whedon's style.
Since these four films we have seen the Alien appear on the big screen in two AvP films.
I was able to accept these films because they existed as their own spin-offs. They were a separate franchise, and more importantly were not a part of the much better AvP comics/books/games franchise.
- This might sound like I'm clutching at straws, but it's true if you look into detail. The comics/novels/games etc were called Aliens vs Predator, this new franchise was Alien vs Predator. Notice the lack of plural on Alien. This sets them apart in a franchise where they forget about established incubation periods or Predator ritual and throw in a complete lack of understanding of the female reproductive system.
So where are we now?
In today's world we stand with two fantastic films, an ok one, a terribad one, a silly one and a cinematic abortion. Those are the films featuring the Alien in order of creation.
But now out of almost nowhere a new film is being made! OMG stop the presses! This could turn the tables! The Alien could be scary again! After all we also had the games Colonial Marines which was universally panned and Isolation which this blog gave it's Game of the Year award to.
This is the world we're in now and there's no going back.
I loved Colonial Marines! I played it through in it's entirety twice! But no one else did. What this means is we're not going back to the Aliens Universe. We're not going to see the events of Billy & Wilks on the big screen (Aliens: Earth Hive, Aliens: Nightmare Asylum & Aliens: The Female War. All terrific books that I recommend to everyone to read!) because the world feels burned by Marines.
They don't want to follow the story of Ripley because we've seen it. We know what happened there.
They don't want to go before Alien because we've seen that in Prometheus.
Do we want an Action film? Unlikely. The franchise has been publicly panned on a large scale for being turned into a shooting gallery where the Alien is nothing but a target for both humans and Predators.
Are we going to see it try to emulate the original? Maybe. Like I said; Alien: Isolation was a critical success! But is that what we want to see?
If we are not going to see the expanded Colonial Marine universe covered, but they want to avoid the nonsense of the 4th debacle they are going to have to set it sometime between Alien and at most 20-30 years after Alien3, and they are going to instead focus on something else. Maybe a research station, or a listening outpost in space.
Looking at who is directing this film, the same dude responsible for District 9 (pants film) and Elysium (surprisingly good once you got past the awful beginning) this is something I can see him doing with ease, and the end result will be a special effects filled experience with lots of jumps and surprises and maybe even some gunfire and improvised weapons. But will it be the film that should be made?
In my opinion; which of course is all this is. No.
It will be entertaining, but it won't push and real boundaries. In decades to come filmmakers won't look back on it and wish they could recreate it's mood or the characterisation.
So what should they do?
What film should be made to finish off the Alien Saga?
Honestly? I'd rather they didn't. They left the franchise alone when it came to the big screen.
If they wanted to really go out on a bang they would have to do something new, something different. Something that we haven't seen before in the Alien Saga on the big screen.
I'll just leave this here:
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley