Matt's Mind

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Real Alien 3

At some point in my travels around blogland I made a note to have a look at William Gibson's unused screenplay for Alien 3. As I started to skim it I found myself getting sucked in and I'm now halfway through. And you know what? The pictures are better in text. There are sometimes only perfunctory references to special effects scenes "... ANGLE ON THE HULL A towering cliff of metal, Sulaco..", but pieces like

The ship slides past beneath us. A U.P.P. interceptor descends INTO FRAME, matching course and speed with Sulaco. The interceptor settles on Sulaco like a wasp.

gel into a perfect SFX version the head, no CGI required.

The other great thing is the screenplay format itself: it reads much faster than a novel. The characters are certainly more one-dimensional than in a novel, one of the key differences in novels is that you get direct access to the character's thoughts, which is not as feasible in film. So maybe I should be saying the screenplay reads much faster than watching the movie.

Reading this non-existent Alien 3 is like being in an alternate universe, it's kind of a parrallel-quel, to coin a word that will annoy grammar nazis. The actual Alien 3 wasn't totally bad — it had atmosphere and was OK as a stand-alone film — but it didn't feel like one of the series. The fact that it killed off three of the key characters from Aliens after their heroic struggle to survive in the previous movie didn't endear it much either. With its original characters, gloomy claustrophobic space setting, William Gibson's Alien 3 feels like the true sequel to Aliens.


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