Greetings from the Odinson,
The Odinson would like to take a moment to recognize that we lost a true rock legend this past week. At the age of only 52, Soundgarden and Audioslave front man Chris Cornell lost his battle with inner demons that haunt so many, and his life ended prematurely. I know when it comes to losing pop culture heroes and icons, 2016 was extremely rough. Well, 2017 is shaping up to be just as tough. This one hit the Odinson especially hard. Cornell possessed one of the greatest voices in music history. May the rainbow bridge, Bifrost, carry thee to the Halls of Odin, my friend.
R.I.P. Chris Cornell.
NOTE: If you feel lost or ever need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
Alien: Covenant hit theatres this week. Though the franchise has struggled over the years, the Odinson has been a lifelong fan since director Ridley Scott told us in space, no one can hear you scream.
So for fun…
The Odinson Ranks the Movies in the Alien Franchise from Worst to First
7 – Alien 3 (1992) – This film was directed by David Fincher. Let me say that again. This film was directed by DAVID FINCHER! David Fincher, the amazing director responsible for such modern day cinema classics as Seven, Fight Club, and Gone Girl. And yet, Alien 3 is, without question, the worst film in the franchise. Right from the start, this movie completely makes the heroic third act of the previous film, one of the best action/sci-fi films of All-Time, useless by killing three of the four survivors off screen. Off screen! And, by the end of the film, Alien 3 completely disrespects both films that came before it with a very nihilistic ending that undermines all the trials and tribulations our hero Ripley has endured since the very beginning. After those two unforgivable sins, it does not matter what happens in-between. It could be the best movie ever, the Citizen Kane of Alien movies, and it would not matter, because of the utter disrespect it paid to the two classics that came before. Fincher himself has shared disappointment in the film and attributes it to too much interference from the suits. You know, the money bags that run Hollywood and think they know better than the artists and talent that create the movies. Odinson Rating: 20th Century Fox should refund movie goers their money and erase this film from the archives.
6 – Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) – The Odinson can barely remember anything about this utterly forgettable movie other than then I remember not liking it. It plays out like a bad slasher film with two monsters colliding and caught in the middle are a bunch of sex-crazed, partying teenagers. I apologize to slasher films everywhere. At least most slasher films have a plot. Seriously, the only redeeming quality for this film and the only reason it nudges pass Alien 3 for the number six spot is the super cool spectacle of a Predator throwing down with a Xenomorph. Odinson Rating: 1 out of 5 Hammer
5 – Alien: Resurrection (1997) – The great Joss Whedon worked on the script and even he could not save this movie. He even asked that his name be taken off the project. It has some cool concepts like the space pirates and the mad scientists, but those are far overshadowed by implausible beats like the return of Ellen Ripley and the third act that looked like it belonged in a Full Moon Features film rather than a big budget 20th Century Fox venture. As a fanboy of both Aliens and Joss Whedon, this film almost allows me to imagine what it would be like if the motley crew of Serenity were to ever cross paths with the deadly Xenomorph. This film has many flaws, but at least it is watchable. Odinson Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 Hammers
4 – Prometheus (2012) – This film is a huge point of contention for the Odinson and has spawned many debates with friends and co-workers. The great Ridley Scott (Bladerunner, Legend, Gladiator) returned after over thirty years to the franchise he launched back in 1979. This film should have been a masterpiece, but instead…meh. Right off the bat, let me say, this film is absolutely visually stunning. It is utterly beautiful to look at. My biggest problem with the movie is in the story they decided to tell and how they told it. Movies are a visual medium and over fifty percent of this film is exposition – characters telling the audience what they are going to do and, yawn, what they are doing. I know exposition is important, but too much exposition is just plain boring. The Odinson’s biggest complaint for this movie is that it just did not deliver on what I was hoping to get. Let me explain. If you are world-building, like in the first two films of the franchise, then it is absolutely okay to present many questions and not resolve them all. However, when we are seven films into a franchise, a franchise that has not delivered a great installment in thirty years mind you, don’t give me a film that raises more questions than answers. We already have three Blair Witch films without a single sighting of a witch for that kind of stringing along of a fan base. It’s absolute rubbish to wait thirty plus years for answers only to be told there are none. That’s very frustrating coming from an entertainment medium. My angst against Prometheus is personal. The film probably isn’t as bad as I think. I just had really high expectations and they just were not met. Odinson Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 Hammers
3 – Aliens vs. Predator (2004) – On paper this should be a no brainer Hall of Famer. But then again, we’ve seen Hollywood mess up a movie that had both Batman and Superman in it. I have watched this movie many times over the years and it really wants to be good. It’s just missing something. For the longest time I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was missing. I think I have figured it out – Colonial Marines! Every filmmaker has been trying to emulate Ridley Scott’s first film instead of taking notes from James Cameron’s second installment. In Aliens, it’s awesome to see an elite squad of highly trained space marines take on a hive of Xenomorphs. In Predator, it is super cool to see Dutch and his Special Forces unit go head-to-head with the galaxy’s deadliest hunter. What would have pushed this over the top and made it a contender is if they had Predators, Xenomorphs, and a squad of Colonial Marines throwing down in the catacombs of an ancient pyramid full of booby-traps. There is nothing cool about seeing Predators and Aliens running down and hunting scientists, archeologists, and an old rich man. Odinson Rating: 3 out of 5 Hammers
2 – Aliens (1986) – James Cameron took bits from Ridley Scott’s Alien, bits from Robert A. Heinlein’s novel Starship Troopers, threw in some 80s action movie spice and produced one of the, if not the, best sequels in movie history. This is just one of those films that when it is on, whenever it is on, no matter what part of the film it is, whether the beginning, middle, or end, the Odinson is stopping down to watch it. Inspired by Heinlein’s 1959 novel and before Warhammer 40K and StarCraft, there was Aliens and the Colonial Marines. In fact, no Colonial Marines in any of the films after could be the reason for the downturn for the entire franchise. The closest thing we have gotten to the marines since Aliens were the space pirates in Resurrection and a security detail at the end of Alien 3. Aliens is a darn near perfect film and could easily top most lists, including this one. However, the Odinson is going to have to give top ranking to the original. Odinson Rating: 5 out of 5 Hammers and a Thunderclap
1 – Alien (1979) – This is the one that started it all. With an A-list cast, a wonderfully paced screenplay by Dan O’Bannon (The Return of the Living Dead, Total Recall), and mind-blowing creature and set designs by legendary artist H.R. Giger, along with John Carpenter’s The Thing, Alien is the perfect mesh of the science fiction, horror, and thriller genres. And, it holds up to this day! Ridley Scott’s film is a true masterpiece. It is virtually flawless cinematic storytelling. Odinson Rating: 5 out of 5 Hammers and 2 Thunderclaps
It can be argued until the cows come home which film is better – Alien or Aliens? I say if there is even a tiny bit of doubt, go with the original, but one cannot go wrong choosing either of these fantastic films. As for the rest of the franchise? I’ve said my piece.
Hey, Hollywood, you want to save your flailing franchise and make good Alien movies again? Take the Odinson’s advice and bring back the Colonial Marines!
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: The Odinson has written a book. It is my love letter to the slasher genre of the 1980s. For those interested, there are still a few FREE copies available to read online. Just follow this link – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale.