A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that even with the built-in kid/video game appeal, Alien Resurrection has very harsh elements of bloody killing and cynical inhumanity, as well as explicit swearing and sex talk. Even Ellen Ripley, moral anchor of this series, has here turned into a violent bad-girl parahuman mutant. Human beings in general are vile and treacherous, and when one refers to the Earth of tomorrow as a "s--thole" you don't disbelieve that people like this have made it that way. When one especially monstrous alien mutation dies in a slow, ghastly way, Ripley (and you) feel sorry for it -- rather more so than for the people.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the nightmarish Alien3, the story seemed over, but ALIEN RESURRECTION opens with the test-tube-rebirth of career alien-fighter Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver). Military scientists still hoping to exploit the aliens as weapons surgically remove an infant alien and -- rather half-heartedly -- let the clone Ripley live on. She's a different Ripley now, with super strength and a psychic bond with the vicious aliens. When aliens escape and overwhelm the soldiers, Ripley and a ragtag bunch of smugglers try to escape the alien bloodbath. But one of the civilians, a girl called Call (Winona Ryder), belongs to an anti-alien underground, and questions which side Ripley is really on.
Is it any good?
This is a dark spectacle that seems to conclude that no matter how downright demonic the aliens seem, humans are inherently worse. Critics and viewers who mostly disliked this movie upon its release probably would have changed their tunes if it had come along a few years later, when the script-writing credit of Joss Whedon would have stood out more. Whedon, a hotshot scriptwriter for comics, movies, and TV, became a brand name by making Buffy the Vampire Slayer a small-screen classic. His works lean toward strong, super-powered female characters fighting the forces of overwhelming darkness. Buffy fans might find this juicy territory indeed, if they can stomach Alien Resurrection's grotesque visuals, carnage, toilet talk, and pessimistic themes. That's a big "if."
Weaver has fun exploring the newfound dark side of her character, and overall the Alien series wouldn't have been half as good without her (check out Alien Vs. Predator, for example). But even the outsized stunt gun-battles, borrowed Buffy vibe, and comic-book heroics can't quite save this movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different tones of the various Alien movies, and which ones work for kid viewers, and why.
Do you think this clone Ripley makes an effective and complex heroine, on the level of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Do you think Alien Resurrection makes people seem even worse than the hideous aliens?
- In theaters: November 26, 1997
- On DVD or streaming: January 2, 2007
- Cast: Ron Perlman, Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder
- Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sci-fi violence and gore, some grotesque images, and for language.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.