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Rank the Alien franchise movies, best to worst

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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Since zinfamous dropped a bomb in the Ridley Scott vs. Peter Jackson thread in suggesting for a moment that Prometheus isn't a giant bucket of monkey spunk, then went on to suggest that Covenant was perhaps worth a watch, I haven't seen Covenant and I'm kinda curious anyway about how people would rank the films in the franchise.

I haven't seen: AVP2, Covenant.

How I'd rank what I've seen:

1: Alien
2: Aliens
3: Alien3

I'm conflicted about Alien and Aliens because I enjoy them equally but I feel I have to acknowledge Alien's contribution to sci-fi movies: One in a while a film comes along to say "here's the bar that everything in this genre should try to live up to", and Alien is definitely one of those films.

IMO Alien3 is watchable, a far cry from 1&2, very much like The Godfather Part 3.

Too shit to rank / I don't intend to watch these films again / nothing of redeeming value:
Alien Resurrection
AVP1
Prometheus

I'd be curious to know where Covenant fits in to peoples' opinions here because I looked away in disgust after Prometheus, but I wonder whether I should give it a chance even just as a 'watchable' movie.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
36,025
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Alien, Aliens, and Alien3 are such vastly different from each other and the general action dreck that came later. In their totality I'd say that Alien and Aliens are superior to Alien3 chiefly because of the tortured development and production the latter endured.

Alien3 could have been an incredible masterpiece from Fincher (the Assembly Cut argues this case very strongly) but one American moviegoers probably aren't or never will be ready for. The studio knew that and arguably ruined the film trying to make it something more appealing and less dark, which they failed at anyway.
 
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zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
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never seen any of them

the cover art creeps me out
what, you don't like the idea of being face-raped and implanted by a little larval sperm, which emerges from your cavity as a parasite penis, then runs around with all the other legions of exploded penises terrorizing and mutilating all of the humans?

(yes, that was Gieger and Scott's concept of what the design should be)
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
11,573
1,077
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so wait, Aliens has an absolutely perfect story, with zero plot holes. All the character act reasonably based on who they are. And, you want to put that, on the same level as Prometheus?
THAT Prometheus?
The one with the petting the alien snake, and the taking off of helmets, and the old-man-obvious-mask? That one?
Are you sure? Are you sure you want to put the "i speak alien language" film, the "i gave myself a cesarean" film, yes, the "i can only run straight" film at the same level of Aliens?


1. Alien
because it has scenes that *do not* include the titular alien which are fantastic. The breakfast where they discuss the money, the android trying to kill Ripley, mother, the sets, it makes the whole "we're actually truckers in space" believable.
2. Aliens
it probably has more instant gratification than Alien, with the slapstick marines, the big shooty guns, and tons of tall guys in rubber suits. More "superhero" stuff, less horror. But i love the introduction - the rescue is possibly one of the greatest film openings ever, the boardroom meeting is creepy AF, and the corpo guy is a great character.





14. Alien Vs Predator
it's an action / slasher film for young teenagers, with tons of kool kills and monster porn. It's a pretty darn solid "stupid movie" and i liked it which means it's great. It's a Paul WS Anderson film.
The story is idiotic.
15. Alien 3
just because the other films are absolute shit. But A3 is .. boring. It's super cookie-cutter, it telegraphs everything in a super-obvious way, the characters are ridiculously monodimensional and suuuper exaggerated, the phtography sucks, the story sucks, even the alien sucks.
16. Prometheus
the suit designs are cool .. and .. uh .. maybe, the story isn't as stupid as "take me home country roads" Covenant.
17. Alien Covenant
while the story is even more stupid than Prometheus and nearly as stupid as AvP2, at least it has some frikken pimpin' CGI.
18. Alien vs Predator 2
no really. Alien Resurrection is really so shit that even this badly-done-everything film is better.
19. Alien Resurrection
basically a made-for-tv quality film, IIRC the purpose of AR was to change Ripley from a normal woman into a superhero for MONY reasons. Aside from the horribad casting of character actor Ron Perlman, the only decent thing in this film is Wynona Ryder's haircut. Everything else is trash.

 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
11,573
1,077
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for those interested, A3 was supposed to be a great film.

initially, the script was to be set on earth. The corporation returns to LV-426 and grabs some eggs from the derelict ship, and they launch their biological weapon program. Which obviously goes tits-up immediately. This was to be a straight scifi.

Then the script got scrapped because the sets would have been too expensive. Scrapping this script cost the production a whole bunch of money.

Then a new script was written; A3 was to take place on a artificial satellite, and it was to be a gothic horror, strongly focused on Giger's style.
3 versions of this script were written, all 3 paid for, all 3 scrapped due to various reasons, primarily infighting. This cost a ton of money, with various directors taking their Pay Or Play money.

Then the first draft of A3 was written, without Ripley. This was to be a straight scifi. Set in a orbital prison, the background story is that the corp got hold of an egg, and is testing it on the inmates.
The this got scrapped and the last script is the one set in a prison, with Ripley, where all the inmates are these weird, insane half-monks (possibly echoing the initial idea of the gothic-horror Giger-styled artificial planet).
 

GodisanAtheist

Platinum Member
Nov 16, 2006
2,815
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Alien is the classic definition of a franchise that has gotten progressively worse with each subsequent entry.

Alien is a horror movie staple. It's just a masterwork of film making and does a surreal job at building tension and suspense.

Aliens is an action movie staple. It introduced so many sci-fi action genre tropes and is so absurdly quotable that it has earned it's place. Cameron's engineering film style really shows in this movie: it doesn't have the hand crafted artistic touch of the first, but is built like a 100 year brick house.

Alien 3 was a production nightmare and the tug of war between scriptwriters, directors, and producers shows. It's a serviceable movie in the end, but a sharp decline in quality from the prior two movies in both style and substance.

Alien Resurrection: like Alien 3 tried to harken back to the first movie and failed, Alien Resurrection tried to meld the horror and the action elements of the series and failed spectacularly. It's a watchable movie, but is schizophrenic in tone and lacks a clear vision unlike the first two movies.

Outside of the main films... Just... Holy crap.

Prometheus - Ridley Scott's dementia is kicking in.

Never even bothered to see Covenant.

AVP - garbage film that barely even holds up as a popcorn flick.

AVP2 - straight to DVD levels of garbage.
 
Last edited:

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
29,224
3,152
126
for those interested, A3 was supposed to be a great film.

initially, the script was to be set on earth. The corporation returns to LV-426 and grabs some eggs from the derelict ship, and they launch their biological weapon program. Which obviously goes tits-up immediately. This was to be a straight scifi.

Then the script got scrapped because the sets would have been too expensive. Scrapping this script cost the production a whole bunch of money.

Then a new script was written; A3 was to take place on a artificial satellite, and it was to be a gothic horror, strongly focused on Giger's style.
3 versions of this script were written, all 3 paid for, all 3 scrapped due to various reasons, primarily infighting. This cost a ton of money, with various directors taking their Pay Or Play money.

Then the first draft of A3 was written, without Ripley. This was to be a straight scifi. Set in a orbital prison, the background story is that the corp got hold of an egg, and is testing it on the inmates.
The this got scrapped and the last script is the one set in a prison, with Ripley, where all the inmates are these weird, insane half-monks (possibly echoing the initial idea of the gothic-horror Giger-styled artificial planet).
Goes to show... "too many cooks spoil the broth." They snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory.
 

AdamK47

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
13,504
911
126
Aliens
Alien
Prometheus
Alien 3
Alien Covenant
Alien vs. Predator
Alien Resurrection
 

Iron Woode

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 10, 1999
27,982
7,152
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best review of Aliens ever:

Aliens movie review & film summary (1986) | Roger Ebert

The marines explore the base on foot, which seems a little silly in view of the great speed with which the aliens attack. Nobody seems very interested in listening to Weaver's warnings. After all, she's only the one person who has seen an alien, so what does she know? And then the movie escalates into a nonstop war between human and alien.

It's here that my nerves started to fail. "Aliens" is absolutely, painfully and unremittingly intense for at least its last hour. Weaver goes into battle to save her colleagues, herself and the little girl, and the aliens drop from the ceiling, pop up out of the floor and crawl out of the ventilation shafts. (In one of the movie's less plausible moments, one alien even seems to know how to work the elevator buttons.) I have never seen a movie that maintains such a pitch of intensity for so long; it's like being on some kind of hair-raising carnival ride that never stops.

I don't know how else to describe this: The movie made me feel bad. It filled me with feelings of unease and disquiet and anxiety. I walked outside and I didn't want to talk to anyone. I was drained. I'm not sure "Aliens" is what we mean by entertainment. Yet I have to be accurate about this movie: It is a superb example of filmmaking craft.

The director, James Cameron, has been assigned to make an intense and horrifying thriller, and he has delivered. Weaver, who is onscreen almost all the time, comes through with a very strong, sympathetic performance: She's the thread that holds everything together.

The supporting players are sharply drawn. The special effects are professional. I'm giving the movie a high rating for its skill and professionalism and because it does the job it says it will do. I am also advising you not to eat before you go to see it.
:D
 
Jun 18, 2000
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I'm watching Covenant right now matter of fact. Fassbender's American(?) accent is annoying me. The characters are making many of the stupid mistakes as Prometheus.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,294
4,339
136
I've liked the alien movie series, gotta buy em
I'd strongly advise making sure it's a remastered BR of Aliens. The difference in quality between the DVD and remastered BR is probably an order of magnitude better than any remaster you'll ever see. The quick version of the story behind that is that shitty quality film was used originally, resulting in a lot of 'grain' to put it very lightly: some scenes on the DVD look so blotchy like they were saved from low-res YouTube clips.

This is what I bought: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003AQBYUG/
I'm very happy with it; both theatrical and director cuts / special editions of the first 4 films.
 
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mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,294
4,339
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Blimey, eight quid for the lot? That's not bad.
I paid £25 back in 2014 apparently. My guess about the current price is that there's been many more compilations since then, so this is probably considered inferior by... someone.
 

Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
8,139
5,184
136
I enjoyed Alien Resurrection, although I was admittedly a teen at the time.

Part of it is that there are some truly priceless moments, like Ripley's no-look basketball shot... or, my favourite, Johner (Ron Perlman) shooting a spider point-blank. Jean-Pierre Jeunet brought some of the right French eccentricities to the movie!
 

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