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Aliens: a history

Looking back on past Phoenix reviews of Alien movies
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  June 7, 2012


The Phoenix has been reviewing Alien movies for longer than any of us can remember. So we shaved an intern's head, armed her with a flamethrower, and sent her into our gooey archives vault; she didn't make it back, but we recovered these scraps from old Phoenix reviews near a slime trail leading away from a femur bone.

ALIEN | "Be forewarned: sleep won't come easily the night you see Alien. There hasn't been a movie this scary since Jaws, and nothing else in the science-fiction genre can touch it; it turns your muscles into cole slaw. It's also kind of dumb." | Stephen Schiff, May 29, 1979 | Read the rest | Three chestbursters

ALIENS | "Warrant Officer Ripley and a team of Marines hitch up their flame throwers and grenade launchers to take on an entire army of oozing, teeth-baring creepy-crawlies. James Cameron understands what the makers of the Friday the 13th potboilers have long forgotten — that true horror buffs want a sense of revelation mixed into the brew. Between the shocks and the thrills, the showdown between human good and supernatural evil, we want to taste a little awe." | Owen Gleiberman, July 22, 1986 | Read the rest | Three and a half chestbursters

>> READ: "A genetic analysis of the Alien franchise" by Peter Keough <<

ALIEN3 | "As suggested by the title, Alien3 has taken the premise of its predecessors and made a formula of it. 'Now what do we do?' is a recurring line of dialogue in the movie, and it probably echoes the filmmakers' own refrain as they tried to come up with ways to make the audience jump. Which isn't too often. . . . After all the dreary fuss and bother, Alien3 confronts the true horror — the purpose and meaning of human life — and finds it alien, all too alien." | Peter Keough, May 22, 1992 | Read the rest | Two chestbursters

ALIEN RESURRECTION | "Through the miracle of cloning — both the pseudo-scientific and the Hollywood high-concept kind — Ripley and the big ugly bugs are back. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, half the directing team behind the saucy, surrealist Delicatessen and City of Lost Children, Alien Resurrection is not so much a rebirth as a reconfiguration." | Peter Keough, November 26, 1997 | Read the rest | | Three chestbursters

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR | "Predators have long used Earth as an arena to stage their rite of passage, which is battling Aliens who've spawned in human hosts. Throughout human history, it seems, Predators have posed as gods and have even provided mankind with the cornerstones of civilization. So it's been a trade-off. None of that matters now, though, as an intergalactic smackdown gets underway in a shape-shifting pyramid some 2000 feet below a polar ice cap. The ghoul-on-ghoul special effects do make their mark, but otherwise, in this contest, everyone's a loser." | Tom Meek, August 20, 2004 | Read the rest | One and a half chestbursters

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM | "Paul W.S. Anderson nearly killed both franchises with his first limp stab at pitting the parasitic 'xenomorphs' of the once-great Alien series against a dreadlocked, vagina-dentata-mouthed refugee from the once-good Predator films. Now along comes this continuation from special-effects veterans Colin and Greg Strause to put them out of their misery." | Brett Michel, December 31, 2007 | Read the rest | One half chestbursters

Related: Review: A Single Man, Review: Shutter Island, Review: A Matter Of Size, More more >
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