I love this movie. But to quote Burke from “ALIENS”, “That could have been… better.” Hell I’ll just list some notes:
1. I have no problem with the EXECUTION of the death of Hicks and Newt. I recognize that it’s lazy to simply kill off characters that have no place in the story they wanted to tell but the way it was handled… Sigourney Weaver KILLED it. This is definitely the most emotional movie of the trilogy (again, I don’t count “Alien Resurrection”. Just my preference). Personally I would have left their fates up in the air and have Newt show up with Bishop II at the end as his bargaining chip.
2. The dog alien (or bull alien if you prefer the assembly cut) is great BUT it’s motivations are inconsistent with what we’ve seen of aliens past. Maybe the xenomorphs were designed with human hosts in mind and that’s why the dog/bull alien is so feral, but on the other hand it spares Ripley because it senses that a queen is growing inside of her. What I’m getting at is this alien is mostly shown to be a killer - it doesn’t seem to care about cocooning the prisoners for the future queen, unless it was counting on The Company to help the queen build a hive but that’s a stretch. Then again we don’t see it eat every prisoner it kills, but it’s heavily implied that it’s killing everyone. Even Ripley says as much.
3. Speaking of Ripley being spared by the dog alien, why didn’t it come to her rescue when the prisoners were attacking her? THAT would have been a hell of a reveal, though the timing would have been disappointing because that scene was just before Ripley questioned Bishop about the flight footage and verified an alien was on board. Maybe have the prisoners attack her AFTER the Bishop scene; this would have also allowed Clemmons (Charles Dance) a chance to survive until the end of the movie BUT ANYWAY
4. I like that this feels more like “Alien” than “ALIENS”. I love “ALIENS” but I can’t deny that it’s basically an action-packed remake of its predecessor. Ripley had a good story arc in “ALIENS” but I feel like the creatures themselves are robbed of their mystique when you see them being blown apart by pulse rifles. They definitely made up for this with the queen however. I feel like a true sequel to “Alien” would have been set inside the Space Jockey’s ship. Imagine “Prometheus” but with the marines.
Anyways I’ve always been fascinated by this movie because it was hell to develop. If you’ve never seen the making-of documentaries on the “Alien Legacy” blu-ray set you owe it to yourself to check them out. If nothing else skip to Michael Biehn’s (Corporal Hicks) humorous take on his “involvement” with the production.