Alien 3 (1992); Friday, November 20th, 18h, Zrinyi 14, room 411


“Of course, to attach a number as a superscript to a preceding
symbol typically denotes the result of a mathematical operation –
that of multiplying the symbol by itself a given number of times.
Applying this to Alien3, we get: Alien X Alien X Alien. What might
this indicate about the film thus named? To begin with, it
acknowledges that the film is dealing with the third generation of
the alien species (the alien stalking the convicts on Fiorina 161 is the
offspring of the alien queen ejected from the Sulaco, who was
herself the offspring of the alien queen who laid the eggs on LV
426), and it signals in advance that it will itself directly be concerned
with three aliens (the facehugger on the Sulaco, the alien offspring
of the convict’s dog, and the new alien queen). It further suggests
that the film takes itself to be a certain kind of intensification of
the Alien universe with which we are by now familiar: its nature
has been determined only by those elements present in the first film
in the series; all other (essentially extraneous) material has been
eliminated, and what results is a kind of condensation or sublimation
of the essence of the Alien universe. Beyond this, we
might recall that Alien3 could also be rendered ‘Alien cubed’ – and
think of the coming film’s unremitting emphasis upon various
attempts to confine its alien (in a toxic waste container, in a maze
of corridors, in a lead mould and ultimately in a sheath of supercooled
lead). The setting of these attempts – the oppressively
enclosed, maximum-security prison that is the film’s world, and
that is itself closed down in the film’s epilogue – only intensifies
the implication that Fincher’s primary preoccupation as a director
is with closure. His aim is not to open up the Alien series but to
shut it down; this step in its unfolding will be its last.”

Stephen Mulhall, “On Film”


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