alien runner 2

The Alien franchise has become a cinematic institution, a series of films now spanning classic highs with directors at the top of their game to XXSYN guff with journeymen cranking out fanboy fodder and every combination in between. With new boy Prometheus on the horizon, what stable mates is it up against? In the spirit of an Olympic year, we’ve pit the all the films in the Alien franchise against one another in a pentathlon of events to test their cinematic credentials – which will soar to gold, and which will fall flat on their faces?

The competitors:

Alien
Aliens
Alien3
Alien: Resurrection – A:R
Alien vs Predator – AvP
Alien vs Predator: Requiem – AvP:R

10,000m

A long distance race, testing longevity and ability to stay the course of time. Who will still be going strong after dozens of laps round cinemas and home theatres and who will get lapped and forgotten about?

1st: Alien 

Ridley Scott’s genre recalibration easily lasts the course, with its staying power and timelessness meaning it could cruise another 25 laps if it needed to.

2nd: Aliens

There’s no denying it’s wheezing a bit in comparison to its older cousin, but the sheer dynamism and energy of James Cameron’s action follow-up means it will be right there until the finish line.

3rd: Alien3

The one everyone forgets about. A rank outsider, David Fincher’s trilogy concluder had a disrupted preparation and has every reason to be disappointed with its overall performance. But slow and steady is the game here.

The others:

Alien: Resurrection – It’s a valiant effort, and in trying to keep pace it quickly fades and gets lapped. By the time it crosses the line we’ve all forgotten it started.
AvP/AvP:R – DNF. Race out of the blocks like enthusiastic kids, but quickly trip over their own shoelaces and faceplant on the track, but AvP manages a bit further.

Pole Vault

Every film has its own set of goals, but which of our competitors clear the height they’ve set for themselves, and which smack into the bar and land with a thud?

1st: Aliens

Set what seems like an impossible task, bettering or equaling the 1979 original, Aliens meets and exceeds its expectations.

2nd: Alien

Redefined a genre, expectations maybe weren’t as high as for the sequel, but Alien sails clear over the bar it set itself.

3rd: Alien vs Predator

A surprise on the podium. Lacking much ambition, but it can’t be denied it clears the low bar it set itself with ease.

The others:
Alien3 – An ambitious entry with a ballsy disregard for its predecessors but falls well short of expectations, even if it was maybe a bit hamstrung by the tools and preparation it was allowed.
A:R – Did anything but resurrect the franchise, despite some promise in the approach, doesn’t even reach the bar.
AvP:R – You can’t really judge a film that has no goals other than being box-office fan fiction fodder…

Triple Jump

This one is all about timing. In order to go the furthest all three phases must be judged perfectly for maximum effect. Which of our competitors constructs this finely judged procedure the best?

1st: Alien

Perfectly judged, fantastic run up and executes its three acts with perfect timing. The victory here is all in the technique.

2nd: Aliens

Thunders down the runway with enormous power. Momentum carries it through all three acts, but it just can’t eek out that extra bit of distance to beat its nearest rival.

3rd: Alien3

So much promise squandered. Learning from its more experienced rivals, nerves simply get the better of Alien3. A little stumble on each phase means it never has a hope of taking the top positions, but by taking risks it also outclasses the also-rans.

The others:

A:R – Clearly hasn’t thought about it and stumbles through after an unsure opening.
AvP – Thinks it’s actually the long jump. Thunders down the runway without really paying attention and leaps at the very end. It’s an impressive jump, but it’s been disqualified long before then.
AvP:R – Mind bogglingly stupid. Takes an enormous leap on the first phase, but lands with a thud on hard ground. This ain’t going anywhere.

200m

A measure of our competitors’ ability for short bursts of action, and keeping a focus and intensity throughout them.

1st: Aliens

With James Cameron at the helm, the action is particularly explosive and intense – an easy victory.

2nd: Alien

Not as explosive and bombastic as the sequel, but the intensity and focus of Alien drives it home ahead of the pack.

3rd: Alien3

It wanders, and the way it goes about things seems a little disjointed but it keeps focus just well enough to finish comfortably ahead of the jokers behind it with an excellent ending.

The others:

AvP – Somehow scrapes to the head of the chasing pack through sheer enthusiasm, even if it has no focus at all.
A:R – It’s all over the place and has paid no attention to the techniques of its more illustrious forebears.
AvP:R – Running around very enthusiastically on the javelin field.

4x100m

Requires not only great performances from all the individuals, but working together to mean the whole race is completed without any mishaps.

1st : Alien

The rag tag bunch in Scott’s original are an undeniably engaging bunch, and a reliance on the depth and breadth of talent here brings the decisive victory.

2nd: Aliens

A cast spanning a range of ages and characters combine very well in James Cameron’s action sequel. Unfortunately, some rather predictable turns from the supporting runners let Sir Ridder’s bunch squeeze home.

3rd: Alien: Resurrection

A greater variety of acting talents, including Winona Ryder, allow the cast to be more than the sum of their parts. It’s narrow, but a surprising and crucial bronze for the 1997 disappointment.

The others:

Alien3 – let down by a cast of cardboard cut-out convicts. They all work very harmoniously, but there’s nobody compelling enough to help Ellen Ripley bring the baton home.
AvP – given the majority of the team die pretty early on, they don’t even manage to finish the first leg.
AvP:R – a bunch of no-hopers, there’s not even enough talent to get a team on the starting blocks before they start getting picked off.

Final medal table

Dramatic finales mean Alien crowns itself as the best of the franchise ahead of Aliens. Alien3 is all alone in 3rd, and Resurrection manages a dramatic late podium to avoid the embarrassment of being beaten by Alien vs Predator.

 

Golds

Silvers

Bronzes

4th

5th

6th

Alien

3

2

0

0

0

0

Aliens

2

3

0

0

0

0

Alien3

0

0

3

2

0

0

Alien: R

0

0

1

2

2

0

A v P

0

0

1

1

3

0

A v P: R

0

0

0

0

0

5

 

 

There's 0 Comments. Add yours