Sigourney Weaver said that the script for Alien: Resurrection was what encouraged her to come back, despite one of her conditions for being in the previous film was for Ripley to be killed off. Being cynical, I think, "Right, and the $11 million paycheck and the opportunity to be co-producer again that they waved in your face had nothing to do with it," but I can see why she would interested in not just playing Ripley again but rather a clone of her that is part human and part Alien because of the possibilities that it would create. That really is the big question with this character: which part of her is dominant? You're never quite sure. On the one hand, she does retain memories of her past life as the real Ripley because of the genetic memory she inherited from the Aliens themselves (I know, I don't get it either) and retains her memories of them and her cynical view of the attempts to control and use them weapons, as well as of Weyland-Yutani, which fell apart in the 200 years since the events of Alien 3. When she's told that her recreation and that of the Queen embryo that was inside her when she died was the work of a military operation, she says, "It won't make any difference. You're still gonna die." Moreover, she does think that she is the original Ripley but her belief in that is shaken when Call tells her what she really is. That's when Ripley confirms for Call that she has known all along that she is something more, that she can still feel a trace of the Alien within her, "Right behind the eyes." Indeed, it's made clear from the beginning that she's far from all human, as she's extremely strong and agile, able to break metal chains in order to attack Dr. Wren very easily, take a hit to the face from a dumbbell without barely flinching, and rip open metal panels. Her blood is also acidic like the Aliens and she has a type of psychic link with them, as she's able to sense their presence, where they are, and what they're doing.
During the scene between her and Call, you get that sense of not knowing whose side she's on, as her confusion and disbelief over being told that she's not the real Ripley is counterbalanced by her referring to the Queen as her baby, making it clear to Call that she's unwilling to let her kill her, and insists in an airy voice that it's too late for her to stop the Aliens. Unfortunately, it's not explored much beyond that. Throughout much of the film, she does little more than make wisecracks like, "Who do I have to fuck to get off this boat?", and become something of an action hero, though not as much as in Aliens, when she joins the main cast on their trek to get off of it. When she first joins them, Call questions her true allegiance, citing her half-Alien nature, but that's as far as that goes, honestly, as Ripley, despite seeming giddy when she senses the Aliens escaping from their pens, gets out of her own holding cell herself, kills one Alien simply because she says it was in her way, and never once looks as if she's going to turn on the humans, as she continues helping them fight the Aliens off. She maintains her connection with the Aliens and comes across empathetic towards the Queen when she senses that she's in pain but you never have that moment where she fights with herself about joining them or staying with the humans. When she first joins them, she seems more intent upon annoying Call than anything else and only softens up a bit when she discovers the laboratory containing the seven previous attempts to clone her, including the one before that's still alive and whom she mercy-kills. She's clearly horrified by this, becomes enraged at Wren, and it undoubtedly makes her all the more unnerved about her origin, but, again, nothing really comes of it. Even her admittedly poignant scenes with the "Newborn" creature aren't explored as well as they could be. Initially, she's terrified of this thing and wants nothing more than to get away, but when she meets up with it again during the ending on the Betty, even though she's mainly focused on stopping it from killing Call, she does now feel a bond with it when the two of them are having their moment and it's quite affectionate towards her. She feels awful when she's forced to kill it and tells it, "I'm sorry," but the whole thing feels more rushed than it should be. It would have been nice to see Ripley more torn as to how she feels about it when it's first born, as well as have her really debate with herself as to whether or not to kill it. Again, she chose humanity pretty easily. I do, however, really like the notion that, for the first time since before the events of the first Alien, after having been through so much, dying, and then being reborn, she's finally made it back to Earth and yet, she doesn't know where she'll fit in because, as she herself says, in more ways than one, "I'm a stranger here myself." (Again, making me wish we'd get a proper sequel to this.)
The relationship between Call and Ripley is not only tense and distrustful at first but has a weird, one-sided, homoerotic vibe to it, as Ripley, during their first scene together, nuzzles against her face while gripping her neck before letting her go and, after killing an Alien in front of her, asks, "Was it everything you hoped for?" She even rips out said Alien's undeniably phallic tongue and hands it to her, telling her it'd make a great souvenir. But, like I said, their relationship does begin to defrost and, after Wren turns on them and shoots Call in the chest, only for her to show back up seemingly unharmed, Ripley figures out what's so special about her: she's an android. Moreover, she's of an advanced, second generation, Autons, who rebelled against their human creators, escaped, and have since been passing themselves off as human. You then get a sense of self-loathing about her, as she clearly didn't want the others to find that out and is reluctant to use her capabilities to hack into the Auriga's computer and both stop Wren from reaching the Betty as well as find a way to destroy the ship before it reaches Earth. While she's able to do the latter successfully, she calls herself "disgusting" and comments that, while Ripley isn't exactly human either, at least she has some human qualities. These similarities between the two of them explains Ripley's inherent kinship with her, as they're both inhuman creations made to look human and Ripley undoubtedly has some self-loathing of her own, given what she now knows about her origin (when Call asks her how she can go on, knowing what she is, Ripley simply answers, "Not much choice,"). You also learn that Call learned of Ripley, the Aliens, and the operation to breed them by cloning her before the "recall" that wiped out all but a few of the other second generation androids and, knowing how dangerous such a plan was, it's been her personal mission to stop it. That's why she does what she does: she's been programmed to care about mankind. I like the moment when she tells Ripley that's the reason why she cares about the crew of the Betty and she says, "You're programmed to be an asshole? You're the new asshole model they're putting out?" From then on, the two of them are especially close, as Call is reluctant to leave Ripley behind when she's pulled down into the Aliens' nest and Ripley, despite the affection she grows to feel for it, saves her from the Newborn and kills it by having it get sucked out a small hole in a nearby window. And with that, the two of them reach Earth and wonder what the future holds for them, as they're both strangers to this planet. Another interesting complex character, one who I think is explored more than Ripley, but that said, Ryder's acting isn't the most compelling, as she often comes across as more pouty and mad than anything else.
Except for Captain Elgyn, who I'll talk about in a minute, none of the other mercenaries leave much of an impression with me. Vriess (Dominique Pinon) is one of the survivors along with Ripley, Call, and Johner but I honestly didn't care if he lived or died, as there's little to him other than he's a mechanic, he's close to Call, and is crippled and has to use a motorized wheelchair, which he keeps weapons hidden in, to get around. Other than that, he's little more than a load for the others, I don't like many of his lines that are meant to be funny, except maybe when he tells Johner, "Yeah, like you never fucked a robot before," and his voice (which is Pinon putting on a stereotypical type of American accent, as he himself is French) kind of gets on my nerves, especially when, after coming out of the elevator on them he says, "Who were you expecting? Santa Claus?" Sadly, the blandest member of the Betty's crew is the one African-American. There is literally nothing to Christie (Gary Dourdan), the ship's first mate, other than that, his having these automated handguns attached to his arms and come down out of his coat sleeves, and his being a pretty good shot with them and other weapons, able to make some really tricky ones by using the environment around him to his advantage. He has no personality to him whatsoever and he dies in a really dumb way where Vriess is strapped to his back while they're on a ladder, there's a dead Alien hanging on his foot that's causing them to slip off with its weight, and instead of simply kicking it off his foot, he unstraps himself from Vriess and falls down into the water, the exact cause of his death remaining a mystery. There's a bit more to Hillard (Kim Flowers), the Betty's assistant pilot, in that she and Elgyn are in a relationship and she's the one in the group who's the most affected when he gets killed, but she's still a pretty bland character. The most memorable moment with her is when Elgyn's giving her a foot massage that's making her moan like she's having an orgasm while she's lying on a mattress topless and the camera gives you a clear look at her very nice butt.
If I were to describe Alien: Resurrection to someone who'd never seen a frame of it, in general I would say, "Take the setting of Alien but put in characters and action sequences more akin to Aliens." That's the conclusion I came to when I was thinking about it before I started this review. The setting onboard the Auriga definitely brings to mind the Nostromo, with a lot of dimly-lit, claustrophobic corridors and airshafts, more brightly-lit, homey areas like the cafeteria and gymnasium where Ripley plays basketball, and cold, clinical areas like the laboratories where the scientists conduct their experiments (it's even controlled by a computer that's named "Father,") and the crew of the Betty are a ragtag, heavily-armed group not unlike the Colonial Marines. In fact, like the marines, their weapons, despite this film taking place 200 years after the last one, don't look or feel that futuristic and farfetched, as they're still shooting lead bullets and grenades out of rifles, pump-action shotguns, handguns, and flamethrowers (other than the handguns sliding down, out of Christie's sleeves and the obvious spaceships, the only real science fiction-esque things to be found here are the power, taser-like weapons that are used on Ripley at one point and those instant liquor cubes General Perez uses at one point and the escape pods the soldiers use to evacuate the ship). But, even though I do enjoy this film, I will admit that, in spite of its to combine those elements, it doesn't have any of the atmosphere and creep factor of the first film, nor do the Betty crew have the same personality and likability as the marines or the action scenes here match those in the second.
That leads me into a really big problem with the movie that I myself have to admit to: the environment is far from original. Once again, we're in a setting with a bunch of tight, dimly-lit corridors where most of the Alien action takes place and by this point, it has a big feeling of, "Been there, done that." While the production design itself is good, there's little about the interiors of the Auriga that I find to be all that special, as it's nowhere near as memorable as the interiors of the Nostromo or even the Sulaco. In fact, it feels a lot smaller (a result of the budget, which was a respectable $70 million), as there are few places that are really big, save for the enormous area where the Alien Queen and Aliens are kept, the large, vertical room with the transparent ceiling where Ripley is contained most of the time, and the docking bay; otherwise, you have very small rooms and tight corridors and, to be honest, they could work if the movie were trying to be scary and have some atmosphere. The corridors, cafeteria, living areas, and Ripley's gymnasium don't warrant any real discussion but the same can't be said for the scientific and medical areas, like the room where you first see the Ripley clone in the big stasis tube with the lit wall behind it, the big area where the Aliens are contained in individual cells, the room where the prisoners are exposed to the facehuggers, and, my personal favorite, the laboratory where all of the aborted Ripley clones are kept. That latter room has a great, eerie vibe to it, with the sick, green coloring and all of these horrific, malformed creatures kept in large tubes. As for the interior of the Betty, it just reminds me of a smaller version of the Nostromo, as it has that same, banged up look, the cockpit looks similar, and the same goes for the cargo bay, which is a lot like that room in the deepest part of that ship where Brett got killed, with all of the hanging chains.
While I don't like that the sets and environments aren't that different from what we've seen before, it's not a big enough deal to where I can't overlook it and enjoy the aspects I do like, and the same goes for the less than developed characters. However, the one thing about it that I don't like at all is the movie's very look, which I find to be unappealing and downright ugly. The cinematographer was Darius Khondji, who'd not only worked with Jean-Pierre Jeunet before but had also shot Se7en (he may not like it but David Fincher continues to be inextricably linked to the Alien series) and made good use of the beach bypass process there, so he definitely knows how to shoot stuff, but here, he and Jeunet dropped the ball. I've read that, akin to that process, Khondji added a lot of silver to the print to make the contrasts more striking but somewhere during the process, something went very wrong. This film's color palette is really nasty-looking, as it almost always looks dark brown and murky, especially in the scenes in the corridors, and that texture is retained even in the scenes in rooms like the cafeteria and basketball court. The worst offender of this is the Alien Queen's chamber, where she's surrounded by all that brown-colored cocooning and webbing and patches of the walls are lit with a nasty, brown-yellow color. I don't think I need to come out and say what it looks like she's surrounded by, and I especially feel bad for Brad Dourif when he's covered in it. There are scenes that have a cool, green-blue feel to the lighting, such as when General Perez is first introduced when Wren and Gediman are talking to him, that is much more appealing, as well as the underwater sequence in the flooded kitchen, and, like I said, I like the look of the laboratory with the Ripley clones, but overall, the film's visual aesthetic is as if the color-correction programs they use nowadays went completely haywire. As downbeat a movie as Alien 3 was, it looked better (even the brown-colored basement area didn't look this rancid).
Even though he was making a mainstream sci-fi movie, Jeunet couldn't completely let go of his arthouse roots, as he put in some slow, dream-like, rather erotic shots (this film plays up the sexual nature of the Aliens more than any other) that you wouldn't expect to see in this type of movie. After they decide to keep Ripley alive, there's a sequence where she awakens in her holding cell, inside of a large, plastic sack that she breaks her way out of, and we see this in a series of slow, ethereal shots that fade to black from one to the other, giving us glimpses of her nude body inside it, her fingernails puncturing up through it, and reaction to the healing surgical wound in her chest and the tattoo she finds on her arm. There was no other reason for this scene to be filmed and play out the way it does (why did they put her in that sack) other than because it looked striking and arty but, regardless, it is interesting to look at. However, that's nothing compared to a shot much later on where she's been captured by the Aliens and one of them is slowly carrying her to the nest. The way it's shot, the slow movements, and the manner in which both Ripley and the Alien are moving and the "positions" they end up in, however, would lead you to believe that they're actually having sex (that's what I thought the first time, although I now see that he's carrying her because of the shadows passing over them)! I guarantee you that Sigourney Weaver had something to do with that shot, as she's always had a bizarre fascination with there being a sort of sexual connection between Ripley and the Aliens; supposedly, one of her stipulations for doing Alien 3 was to actually have Ripley engage in sex with it. And I think I'll leave it at that.
I think a big reason why I like this movie is because of how much I miss the days when these types of sci-fi movies had a mix of practical effects and miniatures along with CGI, as is the case here. 98% of the effects were done for real, including the spaceships, which are all well-designed miniatures. I'll admit, I don't find the design of the Auriga to be that interesting, as it looks like another dime-a-dozen space freighter, but I just like the idea that it's a well-crafted model and that the same goes for all of the shots in the docking bay when you see the escape pods, the long, vertical tunnel they fly down, the mechanical arm that connects the Betty to the ship, and the bridge that Ripley jumps over during the climax. It's all really cool stuff, and the same goes for the Betty itself, which has a more interesting design to me than the Auriga, as it looks like a big, elongated, supped up fighter jet. And, of course, because of the time it was made, the compositing to make them look like they're flying through space and among planets is flawless, although there is some noticeable green screen work in the Betty's cockpit during the ending. Another really good visual effect is a wonderfully subtle morph at the beginning of the film where the camera goes right up to the Ripley clone in the stasis tube as a child, it holds on a close-up of her face, and it then becomes the adult Ripley right in front of your eyes. Like I said, it's so subtle that it's unlikely you'll notice it the first few times you see it unless you're looking at it very closely. Of course, since it was made in the mid-to-late 90's, it became the first Alien movie to make extensive use of CGI, specifically in regards to the Aliens themselves whenever you see them from head-to-toe. Fortunately, though, they aren't overused, as the only times I can recall being able to tell that I was looking at digital Aliens was during the swimming sequence, when they're chasing the characters up the ladder in the shaft afterward, when you see wide-angle shots of them climbing into the escape pods to attack those inside, and when one walks past Elgyn's dead body on the floor; otherwise, they're animatronics and suits and that's good, because the CGI is unavoidably dated, and the same goes for the grenade that General Perez tosses across the floor during one shot. A close-up of Call's knife going all the way through Ripley's hand that you see in their first scene together looks pretty good, though.
My absolute favorite part of this movie is the creature effects. Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. really got an opportunity to let loose here, creating new creatures and concept as well as refining what we've already seen before. In terms of the latter, the eggs were reconfigured to have more organic movement when they open, as Jean-Pierre Jeunet felt that the past ones came across as too mechanical; here, the "petals" atop the egg slowly bubble and flinch as they open up, rather than just automatically opening as before. What's really interesting about the eggs is that they're made an integral part of an action scene, where the characters find the spot at the end of the flooded kitchen filled with them, waiting for someone to come by. And they also close back up to try to avoid being destroyed by the grenades Christie fires, which you've never seen them do before. As for the facehuggers, while you get a better look at them than you did in Alien 3, they only figure in this one scene, where they're quickly scuttling out of the eggs and jumping at the characters but they still look as creepy as ever. The chestburster also gets more screentime here than it did before, right at the beginning when the scientists extract the Queen embryo from within Ripley's chest. You get to see this little creature and its removal in glorious detail, especially when it reveals its mouth and lets out a squeal. Plus, like I described, the chestburster is also used as a makeshift weapon, as Purvis uses its eminent birth to take out Wren, having it burst out of his chest and through the front of the good doctor's head, before it's killed by the others.
The Aliens have always been portrayed as being rather intelligent and not just mindless monsters, but these are shown to be particularly cunning and able to pick up on stuff very quickly, as seen in the first scene with them. When the one Alien is disciplined by Gediman for snapping at him by getting sprayed with freezing gas, it initially charges at the window in anger but when he threatens to hit the button again, it stops, looks at his hand hovering over the button, and backs away. Gediman notes how quickly the Alien figured out what the button meant but what he doesn't realize is that he gives it an idea about how to escape. When he's distracted later on, two of the Aliens in that cell take the opportunity to escape by killing the other in there and allowing its blood to burn a hole through the floor, crawling out before Gediman can hit them with the gas. What's more, not only do they capture him rather than kill him, one of them kills a soldier who investigates their empty cell by hitting the button with its tongue, spraying him with the gas. The Aliens also figure out that there's prey aboard the escape pods that are launching, crawling inside one and butchering those inside, that they can come up through the levels of the ship to ambush people, which is how Elgyn gets it, and even set a trap for the main characters by coating the top of the flooded kitchen with a type of webbing and placing eggs around the surface. Speaking of the flooding, it's never explained whether that happened because the coolant tanks were opened up by the crew in an attempt to drawn the Aliens or if they themselves did it (well, considering that they used the flooded kitchen as a trap...). And just like the Alien in the previous film could sense that Ripley was carrying a Queen embryo, the ones in this film sense her connection to them and take her to the Queen's lair rather than killing her or even cocooning her like everyone else.
They made a few tweaks to the Aliens' design for this film. They kept the brown color scheme that was introduced in the previous movie, making it a lot darker, and while it does help them fit in with the movie's visual style, I miss the blue-black color they had in the first two films. I think they look the best in the holding cells, as they're lit very darkly, to the point where they look black, and some of the lighting gives them a green sheen, which I'm not hating. Their chins and the tips of their heads are more pointed than they were before and the tips of their tails have fin-like barbs along them, allowing them to swim more easily. They're slimier here than they ever were before, as their mouths are often completely coated in drippy goo. Plus, as this is really the first film where you get good looks at them moving around in a bipedal manner, their walking and body-shape are rather similar to the Velociraptors in the Jurassic Park movies, as is their very intelligent depiction here. There was a moment in Alien 3 where the Alien appeared to spit acid in a man's face, but the editing and camerawork made it hard to tell exactly what happened; here, you explicitly see one hit Christie in the face with acid spit during the climb up the shaft, an ability that was partially implied before, as a lot of steam comes out of the Aliens' mouths here whenever they breathe. Finally, instead of the high-pitched hisses and shrieks they made before, their vocalizations are now guttural snarls and growls, which is akin to what I expected them to sound like when I saw the first movie, as well as some frightened squeals that the one makes when the other two gang up on it in their cell. I'm not sure which fits better, as the traditional screeches do have an unnerving vibe but to me, these Aliens sound particularly threatening and intimidating.
When Ripley gets pulled through the floor right before she's taken to the Queen's chamber, she falls on top of something that I can only described as literally a big breathing, pulsating mass of Alien flesh, with a couple of Aliens attached to it here and there, that slowly sucks her down until she disappears beneath it. Gillis and Woodruff have admitted that they have no clue what that's really supposed to be (they refer to as the "Alien Nest" or something similar in the features) but created it just because it looks and feels cool, which I have to admit, it does. That leads us to the Alien Queen, who's nice to see in a movie again and she's just as magnificent-looking and well-operated as before (they used the exact same animatronic from Aliens, which Bob Burns had), but unfortunately, she only appears in a couple of scenes and doesn't get to do much other than sit in her chamber and give birth to the Newborn creature through the human reproductive system she inherited from Ripley (there's another skin-crawling idea). The Newborn kills her immediately afterward, too, a moment that has the same feelings for me as the Spinosaurus killing the T-Rex in Jurassic Park III: cool new monster but I don't like that it just straight up eviscerates an old favorite. Like the regular Aliens, the Queen's vocalizations are now deep, lion-like growls and roars, as well as affectionate cooing towards the Newborn and screams of pain when she's killed.
Not only did the effects artists prove themselves to be very adept at making creatures but they were uncannily good at making a believable bald Ripley clone that you see both as a child and an adult at the very beginning of the movie. Those effects, the former of which they created by basing it on pictures of Sigourney Weaver as a child, are so good that you'd swear you were looking at a real person both times (if you watch behind-the-scenes footage from Alien 3, where a crew member is seen playing around with a dummy of Ripley, you'd know just how good Amalgamated Dynamics is at making full body replicas of actors). That then leads us into the aborted Ripley clones that she finds in the one laboratory, all of which are their own unique, grotesque mixtures of human and Alien and are shown in a lot of detail. Just looking at them is unnerving, as some are more Alien-like, such as one with an Alien head atop a vaguely human-like body and one that's akin to an oversized fetus with a big, misshapen head, while others lean more towards the human side, such as this girl that has an Alien tongue coming out of her left cheek and another that has a Ripley-like face on this body with elongated, spindly legs and arms. Weaver herself plays the still-living clone that Ripley finds in the back, which is basically her head perfectly formed but attached to a grotesque, misshapen body with long, Alien-like limbs. Her performance is what really sells it, as this poor thing is clearly suffering and it's definitely merciful when Ripley grants her wish and immolates her with the flamethrower. Unfortunately, I can't show you a full-body shot of her because of the exposed nipples on the breasts, and you can't imagine how long it took me to find a close-up of her head like this that didn't show them.
The most unforgettable new creature introduced in the film is the "Newborn," which comes about as a result of Ripley's human DNA mixing with the Queen's, giving her a human reproductive system. Much like when I saw the Queen for the first time on that Bride of Monster Mania documentary, I was really floored when I saw the Newborn. This thing is just an amazing creation, a truly freakish hybrid of human and Alien, with pale, brown-white skin, very long and thin limbs, an awkward, backwards-leaning stance, and a head that's vaguely Alien-like, with gill-like openings along the side, but also with prominent human features like eyes (which themselves blink without eyelids), a nose, and an elongated, human-esque tongue. (It was also designed with a mixture of male and female genitalia but this was removed in post-production by order of nervous studio execs; in the documentary, Jeunet admits, "Even for a Frenchman, it's too much.") The animatronics and the sheer size of the effect used to bring it to life are incredible to look at, especially the face, which is very, very expressive, and it proved to be the most complex creation Amalgamated Dynamics did for the film. Personality-wise, the creature goes back and forth from being sympathetic to completely loathsome. Its first act upon being born is to kill the Queen that gave birth to it and it immediately feels more of a kinship with Ripley, sniffing and licking her affectionately, which suggests that it's more human than Alien. But, that said, anyone else it comes across, it brutally kills. What's more, it acts like it has a split-personality, as it goes from childlike curiosity to sudden rage when it kills Gediman, and when it's attacking Call in the Betty's cargo bay, it swings from looking at her with a sad face to murderous fury when it's trying to get her. Its vocalizations are similar in that regard, as they swing from monstrous roars and growls to childlike cooing and content groaning. Regardless, I do feel bad for it when it dies at the end. Its death is pretty drawn-out and gruesome, for one, as it's slowly sucked out of a small hole by the vacuum of space, and the way it looks at Ripley when it realizes that she did it is quite heartbreaking, as it says, "Mama, why?!"
Alien 3 was the first truly gory Alien movie, so Alien: Resurrection followed suit and kicked things up a few notches, making this one of the bloodiest in the entire series. The big difference here is that a lot of the blood is very over-the-top, as Jeunet decided to make it akin to a black comedy: you have a guy getting hit with freezing gas and his arm breaking off into a bloody stump as a result, Elgyn getting pulled through the floor and coughing up blood as he's impaled, Christie getting spat in the face by acid, heads getting bitten and ripped apart by the Newborn, Purvis getting shot full of big, bloody holes before delivering the aforementioned chestburster through the head to Wren, and the drawn out, excruciating death of the Newborn, where you see its flesh, blood, and innards getting sucked out of that small hole. However, the death that I think best sums up the tone this movie goes for is General Perez, who gets stabbed in the back of the head by an Alien's tongue and then, reaches behind his head, pulls out a chunk of bloody flesh (possibly a part of his brain) and looks at it. I've heard some compare this moment to something you'd see in the gory horror films that Peter Jackson did at the beginning of his career and they're not far off, which is why I said it's ironic that Jackson was one of the directors considered for the film. Aside from the more clinical and serious removal of the Queen embryo from Ripley's torso at the beginning, the blood and violence in this film is definitely meant to be more over-the-top and comic booky than what we've seen in this series before.
After the opening credits, the first half of which are played over a bizarre, gooey mishmash of Alien and human body parts and the second an establishing shot the Auriga, we get a push-in through a couple of doors to the room with the Ripley clone in a stasis tube, followed by the subtle morph from child to adult (you hear Ripley herself quote a line that Newt said in Aliens, "My mommy always said there were no monsters, no real ones, but there are."), as the scientists study the way she looks. We then get the extraction of the Queen embryo, as Dr. Gediman uses a laser to burn open a slit in Ripley's torso and then, while another scientist holds her body still and a second pulls open the skin a little more, he uses some special pliers to reach in, grip onto the embryo, and pull it out. They carefully sever a strand of tissue still attaching it to her innards, as the Alien exposes its mouth and lets out a loud squeal. They place it in a small containment unit and, when Dr. Wren is told that Ripley's vital functions are still perfect, he gives Gediman permission to repair the wound and keep her alive. The following scene is that bizarre, dream-like one where Ripley regains consciousness inside a plastic sack at the bottom of a large, vertical room. Upon waking up, she slowly extricates herself from the sack, tearing open a section in front with her fingernails, examines the surgical wound on her torso, and notes an "8" tattooed on her left arm. Next, she's shown being examined by Gediman, when Wren walks in through the door. He's told that Ripley is in excellent health, and when he examines the surgical scar, he sees that it's healed incredibly well despite having been made only three days before. Impressed with this, Wren leans into Ripley's face and tells her, "You're going to make us all very proud." Suddenly, she wraps her legs around his waist with frightening speed, easily breaks the chain holding her cuffed hands in place, grabs Wren by the neck with her right, and begins to choke him. A guard then rushes into the room and zaps her right in the side of the face with a powerful electric bolt from his weapon, sending her tumbling to the floor. Wren calls the guard off from harming her again, saying he's alright.
Ripley is then being tested to see if she can identify drawings of certain objects and, despite some hesitation here and there, she does fairly well, referring to a glove as a hand and some cherries as fruit. While observing this test, Gediman and Wren tell General Perez how well Ripley is operating but he's not at all impressed and isn't happy about the idea of her retaining some of her past memories. As the three of them walk through the ship, Perez lets on that he's seriously thinking about killing her, saying that he doesn't want her trying to completely kill off the Alien species, and the three of them then walk into a room that can only be accessed by Perez's clearance. Stopping in their tracks, as they look at something offscreen, Perez proclaims, "Her Majesty here is the real payoff." He then asks Wren, "When does she start producing?", and Wren says in just a matter of days. After Perez assures Wren that the necessary "cargo" is on its way, the camera pulls back through the glass to reveal what they're looking at: the now full-grown Alien Queen, which snarls at them as she moves her head in towards, and the camera pulls back further to reveal her enormous head and then pan down her long neck.
During the scene where we're introduced to the Betty and her crew, we have the first scene with Call, Vriess, and Johner in the cargo bay, the latter of whom watches from up above as the others work on some machines. Grunting and hooting like a monkey (I'm not kidding), Johner drops a knife down into Vriess' right leg, an act that severely angers Call. Johner writes it off as target practice and mentions how Vriess isn't complaining. Being crippled, Vriess doesn't even realize it happened until he looks at his thigh and sees the knife sticking in it. He's just as angry as Call when he sees it, and she pulls it out. Johner asks for it back, only to become enraged when she breaks the blade and snarls at her, "Son of a bitch! Don't push me, little Call. You hang with us for a while, you'll find that I am not the man with whom to fuck!", before storming off. Later, when the crew arrives at the Auriga and they're being searched for weapons and contraband, you get the moment where one soldier is introduced to a thermos containing Johner's own personal recipe, which he says is way more dangerous than any weapon. As we'll learn later, the same guard also makes the mistake of not checking Vriess' chair for any weapons. A couple of scenes later, after Call and Christie deliver the "cargo" of humans in stasis to the med-lab, and denied access inside, we get the scene where Wren, Gediman, and a female scientist watch as the still-sleeping humans are exposed to the Alien eggs. As the eggs begin to open up in front of them, one man has the misfortune of awakening as the facehugger is exposed but is unable to escape due to being clamped in place; he can only scream hysterically.
Ripley is in a small gymnasium, playing basketball, and doing quite well at it, when the Betty crew shows up. Johner takes an immediate interest in her, saying that he can't lay off "tall ones," and introduces himself, asking her if she'd like a little one-on-one. Ripley just smiles and quickly pulls the ball away when he goes for it, passing it back and forth behind her back. Walking right up to her, he compliments her on her moves and tries to grab it from behind her but, again, she's too quick. Passing it back in front and spinning it on her index finger, Johner misses another chance to grab it and she then holds it above his head. When he reaches for it, she puts her arms on either side of his head and passes it back and forth in her hands behind him. He then suggests some other "indoor sports" but when Ripley doesn't bite, he ducks out from between her arms and walks behind her. As she dribbles it out in front, Johner, having had enough, again asks for the ball and she gives it to him... between her legs, off the floor, and right into his own balls, before sending him sailing across the floor with a very powerful backhand. Christie, who's been sitting on the stairs this whole time, stands up as Hillard throws the ball back at Ripley, only for her to catch it in her right hand. Christie grabs a barbell and, saying he has a new game, "Tag," smacks Ripley in the face with it, causing her nose to bleed. Stunned by this, she easily dodges his next jab and ducks when he swings at her, whacking him in the face with the ball and sending him to the floor. She then casually dribbles and shoots another basket, when Wren makes his presence known by clapping his hands and calling to Ripley. She flicks some blood from her bleeding nose onto the floor and walks towards him as he tells her she's had enough fun. Johner then asks, "The hell are you?", and Ripley's answer is to effortlessly toss the ball over her shoulder as she walks away and make it perfectly (Sigourney Weaver really did that... after about ten million tries, though). Wren and Gediman talk admirably about her, while Christie and the others walk away dumbfounded, not noticing that her blood on the floor is dissolving a hole into it.
Later, while everybody else aboard the ship is relaxing in some way, Gediman is observing the progress of the now full-grown Aliens in their individual holding cells. While examining a unit that has three inside it, one of them becomes curious of him and walks up to the window between them. Growling and hissing at him, it sticks its tongue towards him and then bangs its head against the glass. Gediman then gets a little too into watching it as it continues hissing and snarling at him, as he mimics its expression while it drags its mouth across the glass, leaving a trail of saliva, and then, he kisses the glass. The Alien continues watching him, moving its head back and forth while growling and huffing, as he looks on with a crazed look of admiration. But then, it makes him jump back when it shoots its tongue at the glass. Deciding that it needs discipline, Gediman taps the glass with his finger to get its attention and when it's looking, he hits a nearby button that sprays it with extremely cold gas, causing it to recoil and writhe around in place while screeching. Once he takes his hand off the button, the gas stops, and the enraged Alien snarls at him and lunges at the glass. But when Gediman goes for the button again, it stops, looks at the button, and realizing what it does, stays where it is. Gediman comments, "So, we're a fast learner."
Call manages to sneak inside Ripley's holding cell and creeps up to her as she lies sleeping on the floor, pulling out a knife to kill her with. Just as she's about to stab her, Call notices the scar on her chest through the opening in her top and when she pushes the left side of the fabric aside to get a better look at it, she realizes what it means. Ripley then awakens, startling Call, and the time of them have a small talk, Ripley telling her that she's being kept alive out of curiosity and Call making sure not to get spotted by the guards on the level above. She then offers Ripley release from "this nightmare" but she grabs her wrist and forces the knife-blade completely through her own hand, asking, "What makes you think I would let you do that?" When Call asks her who she is, she identifies herself as Ellen Ripley but Call tells her that Ripley died 200 years ago. Pulling her hand off the blade, she asks who she is, then, and Call tells her, "You're a thing, a construct. They grew you in a fucking lab." She then says that they've brought the Alien out of her but Ripley says, "Not all the way out," saying she can feel a trace of it behind her eyes. She also tells Call that she can't stop the Aliens from getting off the Auriga, that it's inevitable, and says they'll kill her. After grabbing her by the throat and rubbing her face against hers, Ripley tosses her aside and tells her to go, that they're looking for her. Call scrambles out of the room, only for a rifle to then be trained on her head and Wren to grab her from behind and tell her that what she just did was not a good idea. He then tells the guards to find her friends.
Except for Vriess, they're then all assembled in the room where Ripley was playing basketball earlier, as Wren asks them who they're working for and asking if he knows the penalties for terrorism, while a shot behind his back shows Christie deploying his handguns. Wren explains that they, intentionally or not, brought a terrorist aboard the ship and that he's going to have them all killed for it. He asks Elgyn if he understands and he says he does, before lowly saying Christie's name. Christie then pulls his left handgun and shoots a guard standing in front of him, before effortlessly shooting down another with his right. Hillard then disarms another guard, Distephano, and knocks him to the ground, holding him there with his own weapon. Christie shoots down a plethora of guards, as Johner takes out the thermos he was concealing and shoots a powerful weapon straight through it, sending one guard sailing backwards through the doorway. One last guard yells for them to stop and comes up behind Christie, pointing his rifle right at the back of his head. Christie holds up his hands but the guard tells him to drop his weapons and also warns Johner to drop his as well, threatening to blow Christie's head off. Christie tries to explain that the guns are attached to him but the guard continues yelling at him, while Johner motions to the ceiling with his eyes. Christie looks up as well and, seeing the aligned metal plates up there, growls, "Kiss my ass," and fires a shot, with the shell bouncing across the plates and then angling down at the guard's head, going right through his helmet. Once he's dropped, Elgyn asks everybody if they're okay.
Elsewhere, Gediman sees what's happened on a security monitor and calls for security, saying that there's a problem in the mess hall (I can't believe that that thing I called a gymnasium is the mess hall; maybe it's connected to it, as it's painted in the same way). However, the security teams are unable to read him over the intercom and Gediman tries to make them understand. Behind him and his assistant, two of the Aliens in the one cell note that he's not near the button that activates the gas. Deciding to take the opportunity, they turn around and approach the third in a threatening manner. It immediately becomes defensive and growls and squeals at them, but they snarl and hiss back at it repeatedly before attacking, gutting it with their tongues, an act that Ripley senses in her cell. One of the attackers' tail smacks against the glass behind it, getting Gediman and his assistant's attention, as they finish off the third, unlucky Alien and it falls to the floor dead. Gediman races to the window and sees that the dead Alien's acidic blood and innards are eating through the floor, giving the other two a means to escape. Realizing what they're doing as they scramble towards the hole, he fumbles to unlock the compartment containing the button and by the time he opens it and releases the gas, they've gone. Horrified at this, Gediman enters the cell and walks towards the steaming hole, looking down through it to see that acid burned its way through numerous floors in the ship. And then, when he least expects it, an Alien hand grabs him by the face and pulls him through, his assistant screaming as she watches him disappear. Back in the "mess hall," Call frantically explains to everyone what Wren is up to, when Christie tells her to shut up and listen. When she does, she hears the sound of a distant alarm. The alarm awakens Perez in his bunk (his muscle shirt reveals that his shoulders are incredibly hairy; I don't know if Robin Williams had that much fuzz in that particular spot), as Father announces that there is an emergency in Med-Lab, Level 15. In the next cut, a guard cautiously walks into the Alien holding cell, brandishing his weapon, as he investigates the hole in the floor. In the control room, however, the one particularly intelligent Alien hits the button with its tongue, spraying the guard with the freezing gas, which blasts him up against the wall as parts of his body become frozen solid. He tries to pull himself off the wall but ends up severing his right arm completely from his hand and collapsing to the floor from the damage done to him, as the Alien outside lets out a victorious roar and Ripley smiles gleefully in her cell upon sensing what's happening.
Hearing that things are going south, Elgyn decides that they should head back to the Betty, taking Wren and Distephano with them so they can show them the way. Meanwhile, Perez is evacuating the soldiers, as more and more Aliens are reported to be escaping from their cells by Father. One Alien is pounding on the door outside of Ripley's cell, while soldiers fill up the escape pods, which Perez fires off into space. The evacuation continues, while, in another part of the ship, Vriess sees an Alien crawling around in the level above him and cautiously but quickly takes out his double-barred weapon, loads it, and fires through the grating at it. He manages to score a hit, as the monster's acid blood drips through the grating. In her cell, as the Aliens continue trying to get in, Ripley smashes and tears open a section of paneling containing the circuitry for the room. Trying to find a way to get the door open, she notices that her right palm is bleeding and, thinking fast, rubs the blood on the wires. The acid shorts them out, knocking out the lights and opening the second door, which she uses to escape. Back at Vriess, the wounded Alien's acid blood drips onto his right leg from above but he doesn't notice it until he smells his pants burning. Touching it, he recoils in pain, and then really screams when a drop drips onto the top of his right ear! Smacking at his ear, he swings around upon hearing the Alien roar and shoots at it repeatedly through the grating, calling it a slimy bastard and yelling maniacally. The soldiers, meanwhile, are continuing to evacuate, as there's one escape pod left to be launched. However, this doesn't go unnoticed by the Aliens, as one climbs up the side of the pod and slips inside, splashing the window with gobs of blood as it rips apart the men and drags back one who tries to climb out. Seeing this, Perez asks for a grenade from one of his officers and, pulling the pin, throws it down the hallway and it rolls into the pod, which is then fired into space and he explodes it when it's far enough away from the Auriga. Perez then salutes the men who died aboard it, only for the other office to back away as an Alien rises up behind him. It then stabs him in the back of the head and Perez reaches back there, pulls out that chunk of flesh, and looks at it before dying.
The Betty crew make their way through the Auriga's hallways, Father announcing that the evacuation is now complete and that the ship is uninhabitable, when Elgyn sees something in a hallway to his right that catches his attention: a rifle laying on the floor. He cautiously walks down the corridor towards it, at one point getting startled when an air-hose in the ceiling breaks loose behind him, and takes the weapon, which has a flashlight built into it that he uses to illuminate the corridor. Ignoring the others calling for him, he walks a few feet further down the hall to another weapon, a large handgun, lying on the floor. Picking it up off the grating, he sees that the bottom of it is coated in slime, and he hears a growl somewhere behind him. Before he knows what hit him, an Alien's fingers come through the grating beneath his feet and he gets pulled down into it. Before he can pull himself out, the Alien grabs ahold of his legs and impales him with its tongue, causing his torso to snap back and blood to spurt out of his mouth. The others come running for him just as he expires and pull him out to find that they're too late. Christie yells, "What's in this place?!", and his question is immediately answered as they hear a roar behind Call, who turns around to see an Alien. The others take aim with their weapons but Distephano warns them not to shoot, as it's standing in front of the hull. Running for it down the hallway, as the Alien is blocking where they came, they find a door that they can't open. The Alien walks over Elgyn's body, closing in for the kill, when the corpse suddenly jiggles by itself. Turning around, it snarls at the body as it investigates to make sure he's really dead and reaches the enormous hole it left in his chest. It opens its mouth for a snarl, when the head of a rifle suddenly comes up through the hole and shoots directly into its mouth, exploding the back of its head. The Alien immediately drops dead and Elgyn's body is pushed aside, as the others come back to see what happened. They watch as Ripley pulls herself up through the hole and takes Elgyn's handgun off of his body, handing both it and the rifle she used on the Alien to Hillard. They then learn from Wren that the Alien that killed Elgyn was only one and that there are twelve more on the ship; Ripley comments that there'll be more. Christie, now the leader, says that they keep heading for the Betty and opts to take Ripley along, despite Call's warnings about what she is and that she can't be trusted. He sees they need to stick together to survive, showing his trust by handing Distephano a weapon. Before they leave, Ripley randomly tears out the dead Alien's tongue and hands it to Call, telling her, "It'd make a nice souvenir,"; Call tosses it aside in disgust.
They come across Vriess, who gives them a scare when he's about to come through a door before they know that it's him, and Distephano tells them that the quickest way to the Betty is a freight elevator past the cooling tower that would take them straight to the dock. Ripley then senses that the Auriga is moving, which Call confirms, and Distephano explains that when a serious problem arises, it automatically heads back to home-bass: Earth. At the rate they're going, they should be arriving there in three hours. They then continue through the ship, Ripley using her link with the Aliens to warn them if they're nearby, when she stops dead, sensing something. Spying a door that's marked, "1-7," and looking back at the "8" on her arm, she opens it up, ignoring Wren's warning not to go in, and comes across the disturbing sight of the past, aborted clones, whose bodies are kept in large tubes of liquid. As she walks through the room, she becomes more and more horrified, realizing exactly what she is and where she came from; Call, who walks in behind her, has a similar reaction to this horror show. Hearing the sound of gasping in the back of the room, Ripley walks towards it and finds the clone that was created before her, still alive but in horrible agony and being sustained with tubes attached to her. Ripley is brought to tears by the sight of this and it's compounded when the clone is barely able to choke out, "Kill me," a couple of times. Call walks in and hands Ripley a flamethrower to use to put the poor thing out of her misery. Ripley readies the weapon and the clone nods at her, begging her to do it. Breathing frantically, Ripley completely immolates the clone and then, backs up to the door, looking around the room at the other clones as tears stream out of her eyes. She proceeds to blast all of the other clones until their tubes explode one-by-one, wiping out any trace of them, and then turns her attention to Wren, threatening to burn him as well. Call talks her down from killing him, prompting her to throw the weapon down to the floor and storm off, although Call does give him her own form of payback by punching him in the face. Johner, however, doesn't get it, asking Christie, "What's the big deal, man? Fuckin' waste of ammo." Christie tells him to come on and he quips to himself, "Must be a chick thing."
They next come across a room full of dead bodies with big, gaping holes in their chests, which Johner and Christie identify as the "cargo" they brought with them. Before they can move on, Ripley comes across a small, spectacled man, Purvis, sitting on the floor, and when she wipes the mist off his glasses, he screams hysterically and jumps up, continuously screaming, "Get away from me!" The others turn on the lights in the room and Christie forces him to drop the rod he's brandishing as a weapon, as he slowly but surely calms down. He babbles, not knowing where he is or what's happened, and Call tells him that he's coming with them. However, Ripley sniffs him and says that they have to leave him because he has an Alien inside him. They debate about whether or not to bring him along, not explaining to Purvis what they're talking about until he screams, demanding to be told, and Ripley, not exactly being the subtle or compassionate type, explains, "There's a monster in your chest. These guys hijacked your ship, and they sold your cryo-tube to this... human, and he put an alien inside of you. It's a really nasty one. And in a few hours it's gonna burst through your ribcage, and you're gonna die. Any questions?" When he asks who she is, she just smiles and says, "I'm the monster's mother." Call, however, insists that they bring him along, that they can freeze him on the Betty and the Alien will be surgically removed later.
Coming to an airshaft, Vriess is forced to abandon his chair, and in the next scene, it's revealed that it's led them down into an area that's flooding with water from the cooling tanks. When they reach the kitchen, which is completely flooded, Wren tells them that they have to go through the 90-foot stretch of it to reach the freight elevator. It's far from ideal but it's the only way. They each take big breaths and duck under the water to begin the swim, Vriess, who's strapped to Christie's back, asking not to do any backstroking when they reach the other side. Swimming through the kitchen, which is full of floating bits of food, everything goes well for them at first, when Johner suddenly swings his head around and lets out a muffled yell: two Aliens are swimming right at them. He fires a grenade from his weapon, which misses the one out in front but it hits the other point-blank. Everyone quickly swims for it, as the remaining Alien is still on their tail. Hillard, who's bringing up the rear, is weighed down by the weapons she's carrying and, panicking, frantically swims through the last bit of the kitchen, abandoning them altogether. But, just as she's about to make it to the surface, the Alien grabs ahold of her foot and pulls her back, Hillard unable to do anything to save herself, while Ripley watches with cold fascination before heading on. Distephano pushes open a door leading to the freight elevator and everybody swims through, only to find that the surface is covered by a type of webbing created by the Aliens. They frantically smack and hit their hands against it, not knowing that there's a large number of eggs up top, waiting for anyone to break through. Ripley quickly swims up and is able to help them rip through the webbing, with everyone taking big gulps of air (logically, they should've drowned long before now). But just when they think they're out of the woods, one of the eggs opens and a facehugger scuttles out and jumps right at Ripley, sending her back underwater, pulling on it. The other eggs open up and Johner realizes it's a trap, as they duck back beneath the water, only to then see that the other swimming Alien is heading towards them. While Ripley continues to struggle with the facehugger, Christie sees that the eggs are being reflected underneath a part of the ceiling and decides to make use of his trick-shot abilities again. He fires two grenades up out of the water and they bounce off the reflective surface and fall back down to the eggs, one of them going right inside one, and blowing them all to bits. The Alien begins close in on them, as they wait for the grenades to finish the eggs off, while Ripley finally manages to rip the facehugger off of her. They all then quickly swim for the surface, the Alien missing Ripley by mere inches and watching as she swims up and is helped out of the water.
They scramble up the ladder in the shaft, Wren showing the way Call right behind him, when they come to the door up top. Saying that he can't break the panel containing the button, Wren asks Call for her weapon but when she gives it to him, he comments, "You really are way too trusting," and shoots her right in the chest, sending her falling off the platform and down into the water, much to Vriess' anguish. Ripley quickly climbs up at him, as Vriess frantically shoots at Wren but he misses each time and Wren is able to easily get through the door, telling Father to lock it behind him. Ripley is just a few seconds too late to stop him and finds that, as strong as she is, she can't force the door open. She looks down to see the Alien at the surface, watching them, and ducking back down, it mimics the way it saw her swim and propels itself upward, exploding out of the water and onto the ladder. Seeing it climbing up after them, Vriess tries to shoot but his weapon is jammed, forcing Christie to angle himself around and fire at it with his handgun. The Alien continues climbing up after them, easily dodging Christie's shots, and then spits acid, hitting him right in the face. As the pain hits him, Christie starts to loose his grip on the ladder, dropping one hand, and then letting go completely. He turns in mid-air and Vriess grabs onto the ladder, trying to hold them up as best as he can. Now that there are just a few inches between them, the Alien takes its chance and grabs onto Christie's right foot. He struggles, trying to kick and fling it off but it's too strong, and his struggling is causes Vriess to lose his grip. Christie yells at Johner, who sees what's happening, and hangs backwards off the ladder by his knees and fires two handguns at the Alien simultaneously. Like before, the Alien is able to dodge his shots but, in the chaos, Johner gets a lucky one that goes right into its forehead, causing its entire head to then explode (God knows how that happened). Johner leans back up and is startled when he sees a spider-web right in front his face; he immediately shoots it, of course. This is when Christie, instead of kicking the Alien's body off of him like anybody else would do, unnecessarily sacrifices himself by unstrapping and then using one of Vriess' knives to cut himself loose before the weight drags them both down. He falls down into the water with the dead Alien and disappears, although, again, I don't know how that killed him, unless there were other Aliens down there we don't see. Distraught, Vriess then pulls himself back up, when the door up top opens by itself, revealing that Call has somehow survived.
Things slow down for a bit afterward, as Call is revealed to be an android and she's forced to take control of the ship in order to clear the way for them, as well as find a way to stop the Aliens, since she learns they're only 86 minutes away from Earth. As there's not enough energy left to blow the ship up, Ripley suggests that she crash it instead. There's also a false alarm when Purvis begins to convulse as he, Distephano, and Johner are trying to get the door open, as if the chestburster inside him is about to come out, but he regains control and assures them that everything's fine. Call then recalibrates the ship so it'll crash into the Earth's atmosphere at top speed in 48 minutes and is also able to give them a clear path to the Betty and start the ship up. Sensing that Wren is trying to reach the Betty himself, she stops the door he's at before it can open and when he tries to communicate with Father, a door behinds him and Call tells him over the intercom, "Father's dead, asshole." She then makes this announcement, "Intrude on Level 1. All Aliens please proceed to Level 1," as Wren runs for it. Once all that business is taken care of, everyone runs for the Betty, when they find a big patch of slime in some grating on the floor. Ripley says that they must be near the nest and, as Call tells them, they don't have time anymore to find another way to the Betty. This doesn't sit well with Johner, who threatens to kill Call for whatever she's done, but Ripley grabs him by the throat and offers to give Call his tongue as another souvenir. Letting him go, they learn from Distephano that it's a hundred yards to the dock and they get moving again, when Ripley stops and gets down in an animalistic pose. She says that the Aliens are close and also says that the Queen is in pain. She stands up, when some Alien fingers come up through the grating and pull it open, dropping Ripley down. Call yells for Ripley and then screams for the others to wait, seeing her lying on an enormous, breathing mass of Alien tissue. Purvis rejoins Call and sees this, shaking his head at it and saying, "Oh, my God," as they watch helplessly while she's pulled down into it and disappears. Purvis tells Call that they need to go, saying that the best thing she can hope for is a quick death for Ripley, and the two of them head for the Betty, while we see Ripley being carried through the dark by an Alien.
Earth is now in sight, and once everyone is aboard the Betty, Call says it's time put Purvis in cryo-sleep. Call heads into the room, followed by Purvis and Johner, when a shot from the dark hits the former in his left shoulder. Wren walks out, his arm around Call's head and holding a gun to it with his other. When Distephano refuses to disarm everyone as Wren orders, he tells everyone to drop their weapons or else nobody will be going home. Reluctantly, they do so, and Wren says that Call is going to plug into the Auriga and take them to home-base, not noticing how Purvis is beginning to shake and convulse. Distephano and Johner try to reason with Wren, as Call makes it clear she's not going to do what he wants, when blood begins to ooze through Purvis shirt and out of his mouth. Standing up and yelling in pain, he charges at Wren, who leans Call aside and fires at him repeatedly. However, it doesn't even slow Purvis down, and everyone, including Call, gets out of the way, as he stomps towards Wren, punches him in the face, sending him to the floor, then picks him up and slams his face repeatedly against a metal beam. He tosses Wren aside and then grabs him from behind again, holds his head up right against his chest, and screams at the top of his lungs, the camera going through his mouth and down his throat, revealing the chestburster squealing. The creature then tears its way through Purvis' chest and comes out of Wren's forehead, with Johner, Distephano, and even Call getting blood sprayed on their faces. All three of them get over their shock and promptly fire on the two of them to finish the Alien off.
In the Queen's chamber, the cocooned Gediman explains to those cocooned around him (I don't know if they're actually still alive or if he's supposed to have just snapped; I saw one of scientists' head move but I'm not sure if that was intentional or the actor just couldn't stay still) that everything started out normally but now, the Queen has developed a human reproductive system and is giving birth for Ripley. As Ripley regains consciousness on the floor, she gets up to see the Queen letting out unearthly yells of labor pain, as her ovipositor-turned-womb undulates and bubbles from within. Something begins pushing its way out, forcing open a slit in the sack and stretching upwards through the semi-transparent innards. The innards rip and fall away, revealing the half-human, half-Alien hybrid creature called the Newborn, which lets out a loud yell upon being born. From his vantage point, Gediman is delighted at this, calling the creature a beautiful butterfly, while the Queen lets out an airy hiss towards it. The Newborn turns around and, seeing her, moves in for a closer look, as the Queen moans and coos at it affectionately. It sniffs her but then, it backs away, frowns angrily, and with one swipe, slices off her upper jaw, sending acidic blood splatting everywhere as she dies, an act that devastates Gediman. Ripley slowly backs against the wall, when the enraged Newborn turns and sees her, its expression slowly softening before it lets a gentle, infant-like call. Approaching her, it first acts in a threatening manner, growling, but it then sniffs her and moves its face in closer, opening its mouth and licking her with its long, human-esque tongue. Gediman is again happy to see this, gushing, "Your beautiful, beautiful little baby. Look, it thinks you're its mother." Hearing him, the Newborn looks up and he encourages it to come to him. Tilting its head and cooing curiously, it approaches him, giving Ripley the chance to escape by climbing up the wall. When it gets up to him, though, Gediman's expression turns to terror as the Newborn becomes threatening again and he screams as it opens its mouth and bites into his head, tearing out the entire top of it. The Newborn then looks up to see Ripley climb her way out of the chamber through a bit of grating.
Ripley runs through the corridors of the Auriga as fast as she can, while Call and the others make final preparations for the Betty's departure, disabling the locks attaching to the two ships. Fortunately, Call sees Ripley on a security monitor and opens the cargo bay door, as the Betty begins to move away from the dock. Running at full speed, Ripley jumps and clears the large gap, tumbling into the cargo bay. Closing the door, she heads into the cockpit and, when it's obvious that Vriess doesn't know what he's doing sitting in the pilot's seat, she takes over as co-pilot. However, the monitor says that the cargo hatch is still open, despite Ripley's knowing that she closed it, and Call heads back to close it herself. There, she sees that the door is slightly ajar and the controls aren't responding, neither is the manual lever; Father announces that they're approaching Earth's atmosphere and that their window for departure is closing in 46 seconds. Ripley tells Call that they need to go now, while we see that she's trying to use a crowbar to loosen the lever. Suddenly, with a roar, the Newborn makes its presence known behind her, cornering her against the wall and closing the hatch itself. With the hatch secured, Ripley pilots the Betty down through the Auriga's dock, the sudden movement knocking both Call and the Newborn off-balance. Call takes the opportunity to duck past the monster and take cover within a large machine, although she finds herself unable to escape out the back of it. The Betty completely exits the Auriga and flies away from it, but it's shaking violently on the inside, shooting steam out of the walls, Johner and Distephano doing what they can to keep the walls stable. Johner then orders the soldier to go help Call with the auxiliary pump in the back, where the Newborn has her cornered, reaching in, trying to get at her, going from benevolent to crazed at one point within a second. Distephano then enters the cargo bay, unknowingly attracting the Newborn's attention, and he walks in to find Call hiding. Just as she tries to warn him, Distephano turns upon hearing a growl and sees the Newborn, which then grabs his head and tears it apart. Call crawls out of her hiding spot and tries to run, but the Newborn, growling with the bloody pulp that used to be Distephano's head in its hand. With things still going south in the cockpit, Vriess desperately yells for Call to get back up there. Ripley, knowing that something's wrong, gets out of her seat and heads to the back, forcing Johner to take her place. When asked what he's supposed to do, Vriess tells him to grab the sticks.
In the cargo bay, the Newborn is coddling Call's head with its enormous hands and then, frowning angrily, it lets out a roar and sticks its fingers into the bullet-hole Wren left in her chest. Ripley then appears, telling it to let Call go. Seeing its "mother," the Newborn's demeanor softens and it tosses Call to the floor, as Ripley approaches it. She caresses the side of its head, as it leans in while growling and trilling affectionately, and they engage in some embracing that, while ostensibly being a moment between parent and child, feels kind of... sensual in some ways. Regardless, Ripley notices a window behind it and, in the guise of continuing to caress it, gently but firmly cuts her right palm on its teeth, drawing blood. She flicks the blood over the Newborn's shoulder and it hits the glass, beginning to burn through it with a loud sizzle. The Newborn hears this and swings around with a screeching roar, seeing the blood open up a hole that unleashes the vacuum of space. Turning back around, it sees Ripley grab onto some netting for support, with Call doing the same on a part of the wall, and it reaches for her, only for her to shove it and send it falling back towards the hole. The creature begins screaming in pain as its back is forcibly sucked through the small hole, while Call straps herself in securely and yells for her. The Newborn looks at her with a hurt expression and manages to pull itself off the window, trying to move forward, but as Call reaches for Ripley, the vacuum really starts up and it's pulled back to the hole. Blood and flesh is ripped through and out into space, as the creature screams horrifically and Ripley is brought to tears by the sight. Its arms are then sucked through, Ripley telling it that she's sorry, and its stomach tears open and its intestines tumble out before being sucked out the back. Call looks away in horror, as the last bit of the Newborn is sucked through, its head being the final part as the flesh is flayed off, followed by the skull getting sucked through, with not a trace of it left.
The vacuum increases due to the hole now being much larger and Ripley and Call grab onto each other for support. The Betty heads down to the atmosphere, while the Auriga finally impacts against it, Father saying, "Thank you," and an Alien letting out one last hiss before it blows up in a gigantic explosion. The Betty shakes continuously from the powerful turbulence as they hit the atmosphere themselves, flames and heat cascading around the ship and sparking through the window in the back. Vriess tells Johner that they're what's burning and they continue screaming, while Ripley and Call keep holding on for dear life in the cargo bay. Finally, the flames stop and the shaking settles down as the Betty breaks through the atmosphere. Ripley and Call look out the window to see the sun shining through a mass of clouds and in the cockpit, Vriess and Johner are able to relax. The two women walk towards the window in awe at the beauty of what they're seeing, while Johner actually kisses the exhausted Vriess right on the lips and his arm around his neck, looking out the cockpit with a happy, crazed smile on his face. As the Betty gets closer to the surface, Ripley tells Call that she succeeded, while the android remarks on how beautiful the planet is, which she didn't expect it to be. The film then ends with the two of them wondering what happens next, with the last shot being an aerial view of the continents and oceans, with a few clouds in the foreground.
While the three previous films had scores done either by well-established masters or relative newcomers who would go on to have superlative careers, the music for Alien: Resurrection is by John Frizzell who, while having done music for good films like Dante's Peak, has often found himself working on less than reputable ones like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Josie and the Pussycats, Thirteen Ghosts, and Ghost Ship, among others. But, that said, Frizzell, like his predecessors, was able to create a score that really fits the movie it accompanies, coming across as very otherworldly and unnatural, as well as erotic and sensual when it needs to be. The main theme accompanies the former feeling very well, as it's this distinctive, rolling horn theme with other sounds put into it to make it come across as absolutely skin-crawling, and there's another piece played on strings, one that could be called Ripley's Theme, that is often re-orchestrated in different ways to fit the mood, whether it be small and lost, high-pitched and more anguished or horrific, or low and sensuous. If there's a problem with the score, it's that there's not much variety in the various themes (the opening titles and the first few scenes afterward have the music that you'll hear the most in this film) and the ones that play for the action sequences, despite doing their job well enough, aren't the most memorable. However, the same can't be said for the last piece of the actual movie, which is this truly beautiful, climactic theme accompanied by vocalizing voices that gets across the wonder of Earth and the fact that Ripley, after everything she's been through, has now finally reached it for the first time in nearly 260 years but, at the same time, what the future holds for her remains to be seen. And as in Aliens, a piece from the original film's score, namely one of the quieter parts played as the Nostromo is traveling through space, is played during the build-up to the reveal of the Ripley clone in her stasis tube, as a result, making Alien 3 the only one of the original four films not to contain any music by Jerry Goldsmith.
Out of all the alternate versions of the Alien films, the Special Edition of this one, which I'd never watched until now for this review, feels the most superfluous and was only made to keep things even with the movies' presentation in the Alien Quadrilogy set. Indeed, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, in his introduction to the film, makes it clear that the "Director's Cut" of the film is the theatrical version and that he created this cut simply for the DVD set. As to how it functions, it's kind of a mixture of the alternate versions of the other three, as it puts previously deleted scenes back in, replaces some with completely different ones, and even does a bit of re-editing in one. Like the Assembly Cut of Alien 3, I have mixed feelings about it, as there's some stuff in here that I do really like but there are others where I prefer what's in the theatrical version and, ultimately, I feel that some of it simply drags the movie's pace down and makes it longer than it needs to be. The stuff that I like are some new bits of dialogue in the introductory scene of the Betty and its crew, that makes Call and Vriess' relationship feel richer and more concrete, as he tries to tell her a joke that she doesn't get (neither do I, for that matter), and a nice part during the scene where Call hacks into the Auriga's computer where she tells Ripley that she couldn't bare to see the crew of the Betty get themselves killed and Ripley comments that she used to save people, that she tried to help a little girl with bad dreams but she died and now Ripley can't remember her name (there's an additional moment in that test she's given early on when she becomes upset upon being shown a drawing of a young girl). In that latter scene, Ripley also talks about how she used to be afraid to dream because of the Aliens but now, she doesn't, saying that as bad as her dreams get, it's always worse when she wakes up. Going back to the scene on the Betty, it's the one that's heavily re-edited, starting with Elgyn and Hillard in the cockpit, with some more sensual flirting between them, going to the scene between Call and Vriess, who've been told by Elgyn to finish up what they're doing, then to the small conversation between Elgyn and Christie, and finally Johner is introduced and there's a lot more tension between him, Call, and Vriess shown. A lot of the additions I find to be pointless filler, such as Ripley awakening after the Queen embryo has been extracted from her and breaking a doctor's arm, dialogue between her and Gediman about Fury 161 (not Fury 16, as Gediman calls it; I do like this part where Wren mentions that Weyland-Yutani went under because it was bought out by Wal-Mart), Elgyn telling General Perez about Vriess' perceived interest in Call and the general laying down a couple of rules for them, more arguing about whether or not to bring Purvis along, and Christie talking to Distephano about his handguns before they dive under the water, which sets up the latter's nerdy-ness over technological stuff.
The two parts of the movie that are completely changed are the opening credits and the ending, neither of which I like. The alternate opening credits begin with a close-up of a snarling mouth that you think is an Alien, only for it to pull back to reveal that it's some type of bug that's immediately squashed by a guy with his finger. After that, the camera pulls back through a window to reveal that said guy is onboard the Auriga, leading into the establishing shot of the ship. The reason why I don't like that should be obvious: it's silly as all get-out. I know that this movie itself does get very ridiculous at points but to start out like this makes it a complete joke and impossible to take seriously right off the bat. However, the more significant one is the ending, where the Betty actually lands on Earth and Ripley and Call have a variation of their final dialogue exchange amid the ruins of an annihilated Paris, with the last note of the music sounding much more downbeat than in the theatrical version. They had to finish some effects work in order to make this ending fit in with the rest of the movie but it doesn't matter to me, because I really don't like this. It renders Call's mission to keep the Aliens from reaching Earth completely pointless. Moreover, there's even an additional line of dialogue in this version where Call, while taking control of the Auriga and accelerating it to where it'll explode against the atmosphere, makes sure that it'll happen over an area that's uninhabited but with this ending, it was moot because there's no one around to be harmed by the explosion or the Aliens, for that matter. It's not all that surprising, since Johner described Earth as a "shithole," but I always thought he meant it had gone completely downhill in terms of pollution and corruption, not that it's a desolate wasteland.