I always hear nothing but hate for Fincher’s take on the Alien universe, and though the movie is far from perfect, I still don’t think that the hate is justified.
The film’s strongest point is its practical effects. The blood and gore look great, but the alien look the best it ever has…when Fincher uses practical effects. The CGI effects, on the other hand, look horrendous, which is disappointing because Fincher uses the CGI alien a lot more towards the latter stages of the film. The final moment of the Alien 3 is also ruined by terrible CGI, but me complaining about CGI is nothing new.
I also could do without the religious aspects of the film. It’s unnecessary, and unrelated to the rest of the Alien film universe. It feels like the characters are trying to preach about something the filmmaker really believes in, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what that “something” is.
The Special Edition of the film feels much too long, and I have a feeling this is a rare instance where the theatrical cut might be better than the director’s cut. (The theatrical cut runs almost 30 minutes shorter, which is pretty astonishing. The heavy religious themes are obviously an addition in the special edition based on what I’ve seen so far of the theatrical cut.)
The story in Alien 3 works, and even though it’s quite similar to the first two stories, I like that Fincher went back to a secluded area without many weapons. This forces the characters to be more creative, which is fun to watch.
Alien 3 is not Fincher’s best work, nor is it the strongest movie in the Alien universe, but it’s still a good flick. There are some clear Fincher choices made, and those look stunning (he has a wonderful way with composition and color).