I gotta tell you that watching all these Predator and Alien films has been so much fun! Even the bad ones. I wouldn't trade the experience of pseudo-binging these movies for, well, much of anything else. I don't want to go so far as to say "anything." That just sounds bad.
Anyway, here are my thumbnail reviews and ratings of the six Alien-based movies so far released. Please note that the most recent film, Alien: Covenant, is supposed to be the first in a trilogy of films. I can't wait for those!
Unlike the Predator movies, which I listed in release order (which correlates to chronological order), I'm listing Alien films in what is so far chronological order. That would mean we begin with:
When two scientists (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green) discover what they can only interpret as an invitation from early humanoids to visit them on another planet, they enlist the Weyland-Yutani Corporation to help with this endeavor. On this foreign planet, they discover exactly what they hoped to find about the origins of our species... and sooooo much more that they probably wish they had never uncovered. This movie catches a lot of flack for some reason, but I love it. I've seen it four times now and it only gets better with each new detail I find. In addition to Rapace and Marshall-Green, the cast includes Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, and Guy Pearce. I still don't understand why this film wasn't renamed to reflect the naming conventions of all the other films. IT IS AN ALIEN FILM!
Rating - B+
Alien: Covenant (2017)
10 years after Prometheus, a transport known as the Covenant, carrying crew plus 2,000 cryo-frozen colonists, 1,100 fertilized embryos, and enough terraforming equipment to create entire cities, gets pulled off-track by an odd audio signal from a nearby moon. Do they stick to their mission? Of course not! They go exploring! And, much like the scientists in Prometheus, they probably wish they'd kept to their mission. A lot of great action as well as artistic imagery of the xenomorphs that I would love to hang in my own house one day (I'm sure Katie would give it a big "hell no!"). This is to Prometheus very much what Aliens was to Alien... both further the story but with the latter serving as more of an action thriller and the former engagement being more thought provoking and dramatic.
Rating - B
The film that launched a million chestbursting, facehugging nightmares kicks off with an interplanetary towing crew stumbling across what is interpreted as a distress signal from a nearby moon called LV-426. Per company policy, they land to investigate and all hell breaks loose. But not in a crazy frenetic way. The terror in this movie, like any good suspense film, is slow building. But when it hits a crescendo, beware. I can't believe it took me 44 years to finally watch this movie all the way through. I tried a decade or so ago but never finished it. So glad I finally did. I may have to try to make this a regular watch.
Rating - A
57 years after the events of Alien, a pod containing the frozen body of Ellen Ripley, the lone survivor of the crew of the Nostromo, is recovered and her body is thawed. She then tells those who rescued her about the alien creatures on LV-426. They are skeptical because, for several years now, a terraformed community has been thriving on the moon. That is, until their calls to the colony go unanswered. Ripley is sought out by Weyland-Yutani Industries, the company behind the colony, to return to LV-426 with a detachment of Colonial Marines to investigate. This has been one of my favorite science fiction movies ever since I first saw it in 1987. I love it passionately. But it is a far cry from the original Alien in that it is far more action packed and less of a thinker. But, damn is it fun. It holds up very well despite being 31 years old.
Rating - A+
I'm really not sure how much cryo-freeze a single human body can endure, but Ellen Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) frozen body is launched from a compromised rescue craft to the prison planet Fiorina 161. She is thawed, but so is a xenomorph that was stowing away. And all kinds of hell is unleashed. The idea behind this movie should have resulted in a much better film as I feel like this was too much of a red-headed bastard of a stepchild of The Shawshank Redemption's prison themes and stereotypes, Blade Runner's industrial visual appeal, and 80s slasher film gore. It was just way too over the top. I actually tried to go in open-minded. I swear!
Rating - C
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
200 years after Alien3, Ellen Ripley is cloned. Why? Blood samples saved from her dying body contained DNA of an alien queen that the scientists cloning her are desperate to save and breed. Why? Who the hell knows. A crew of mercenaries comes aboard the ship where the cloning is happening armed with a host of frozen bodies they were hired to recover. These bodies are going to be used for breeding alien xenomorphs. While aboard the ship, the mercenaries encounter Ripley. They are also there just in time for a xenomorph escape and must try to quell the insurrection or they will all die. Much like Alien3, this film feels far too much like a slasher film than a solid science fiction thriller. Just too much of an attempt at intergalactic craziness to really hold my interest too well. Chronologically, this is the final film in the series although it did end the story with the possibility of yet another film. Thankfully, that never happened.
Rating - D
Next up? Bringing these bad boys and girls together in AVP: Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. Stay tuned!