Great Debate: Is Alien 3 that bad?
Years later, I look back on Alien 3 with a lot more respect than I used to. It was panned all over the place when it first got released and nowadays, a LOT of people hate it. There are whole websites devoted to hating Alien 3, and what it did to Newt and Hicks. First of all, Alien 3 has a lot more things going for it than just the deaths of Newt and Hicks, although pretty much everyone I know loves those characters. I couldn’t care less, except in the case of Hicks, although other supporting characters fill the gap. Second of all, this one has allegory up the yin-yang, and I’ve got to give it credit for that, although it seems to want to develop many things all at once.
I think the point of this movie is to isolate Ripley and develop her new alien persona. She becomes obsessed with the aliens, warning the prisoners on more than one occasion about them, and her paranoia is troubling. Further, her new family literally becomes aliens, as she has one inside her, and she seems unable to deal with that. The paranoia and the gestating alien can also be seen as a comment on AIDS and disease in America. I think if Newt and Hicks were hanging around like Ripley’s fanboys, then the movie becomes about them, instead of Ripley’s struggle and horror.
Alien 3 also continues the comment on Big America and the Corporation, who are only interested in their bottom line. The prisoners seem to be at the lowest point in civilization, so it is easy for Weyland Corp to ignore them or not treat them seriously. This could also be comment on small business or the struggle of the everyman against corporations like Blue Cross. Of course, the moment you’re important, they wait on you hand and foot. Must be nice to be a celebrity.
I’m not sure what David Fincher wanted this movie to be, but he was so fed up with interference from the studio that he disowned the film afterwards. He never speaks about it. This is the guy who spent half the runtime on Zodiac panning the environment and greased up Brad Pitt for weird metaphors in Fight Club. Maybe he needs some interference in his movie-making life. I have the opinion that he wanted it to be a gross horror mess, with over-the-top gore, but the studio rightfully took out the on-camera autopsy of Newt.
Lastly, as Ripley tries to drum sense into these oblivious prisoners, she is the metaphor for rights and campaign reform. The Corporate big wigs arrives to put the kaybash on her protest, but she commits suicide before submitting to The Man, like a true child of the 60s. Is this David Fincher’s comment on Big Government crushing the spirit of middle America or is it a simple tale of the destruction of innocence? We’ll never know. The movie is a mess, and David Fincher couldn’t fix it. Luckily, he commercialized himself (and Ben Affleck) and threw out the gore, so he could have the social drama he’s always wanted.