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Why There Will Never Be Another Aliens

Illustration for article titled Why There Will Never Be Another Aliens

Click to viewThe problem with movies that want to be the next Alien or Predator is that they're movies that want to be the next Alien or Predator. That's the verdict of Cecelia from, and she should know; she's the person who gets to read all the scripts before they get made into movies.


Writing on her awesome The Script Reader blog, Cecelia explains,

Listen, fellows, I am not religious. I never went to church as a girl or repeated prayers or hymns over and over again. My sacred texts are Alien, Aliens, Predator, The Terminator, and Total Recall... But even if I'd only seen them once I'd recognize a "new version" of Alien(s) and/or Predator without having to be told what it was in a cover letter. Why? Because every sci-fi action script since those movies has been attempting to be the "new version" of those movies. And each time I hope they will be, because that would be awesome. But usually within ten or twenty pages my hopes are dashed, because all they've done is take the concept, plot, characters and major action sequences of Alien(s) and/or Predator and dropped in some new nouns, adjectives and character names, reducing my Nicene Creed to little more than a Madlib.


She even helpfully provides an example of what she's talking about:

Deep in the [name an uninhabited jungle or galaxy] in an abandoned [name an additionally isolated location such as an oil rig or a logging station], a crack team of [name a division of the U.S. army] special ops is sent to rescue a missing detachment of [name a group of innocent civilians (ie nuns, orphans, the blind, blind orphan nuns, etc)], only to come up against a force that is [sub/super] human. After brutally murdering [Brick Wall/Slate/2×4], the tough [black/latino] member of the team, and maiming [Hard Drive/Motherboard/microChip], the group's geeky operations strategist, the entity shows itself to be a terrifying [alien/science experiment] shaped like a huge, grotesque version of a [name a species of reptile, crustacean or mollusk] with a [name a sharp and/or slimy noun]-like mouth. The team's fearless leader, [Wolf/Bear/Panther], quickly realizes that if he doesn't stop the creature, no one will, and that perhaps this battle, in addition to saving the human race, will help him [atone for/work through some of lingering emotional issues from] his recent [divorce/wife's death/brother's drug overdose].

The sad thing? I would still potentially watch that movie, if the special effects were good enough.

I can't help but wonder this, however; do people try to make these ripoff movies because they think that they're actually good, or because they think that they'll actually get made? Audiences don't really flock to see more cerebral SF movies like Sunshine, after all, but something like Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem can easily make $41 million domestically (Sunshine, by comparison, made just over $3.6 million in the US). Is bad SF the fault of the filmmakers or the people who go to see the movies?


Aliens, Predators, Snails? oh my! Or: How I got a bad feelin' about this drop. [The Script Reader]

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The thing is, I so wanted to love Sunshine, because it had everything I am a sucker for: NASA-ish production design mixed with beautifully organic lensing and light vfx, great music, great actors, sense of wonder, space derelicts (go Event Horizon and USS Cygnus go!), etc.

But the science and technology was utter pants (no matter the Q ball justifications posted in their website), the same goes for the contrived mistakes, accidents and sabotage. The director and editor clearly lost the plot with the whole solar insanity thing. It's such a shame.

As for new Alien movies, it's just a diminishing returns thing. Frankly, they hardly were any scary in Aliens already (I don't think they work that well when attacking en masse and doing whiny insectile cries. They do better when it's a one-on-one thing, or when they grab or waste a character in a heartstopping blink of an eye). The thing is, I liked Alien 3's tone a lot, such a study in sadness. And I digged AvP just because I like team movies and Anderson makes me care for the poor guys: certainly at that stage the monsters are more for fun than anything.

Sometime in the future there ought to be a movie dedicated to explore the origin of the alien race, be it a planet with a monster of an ecosystem, or, say, the abandoned biofactories of that dead spaceship pilot's race (could it be an ammo carrier? Were they at war?).