This was a better attempt than the last film. The CGI looked good and the practical effects were even better. Gone was the awful stop motion from part three, and thank goodness. The crew of the Betty are interesting and well acted, we just don’t get to know them very well. We get brief glimpses into their personalities, but it makes them more archetypes than characters. The marines in part two were more fleshed out but I give these kudos for trying.
I had two big problems with this film:
First, all of the characters feel like archetypes and not characters, and no one is fleshed out or very deep. Being archetypes, the actors play them well and believable, but I don’t really care about them. I care more about the aliens than the people. The aliens have characterization and a story, so I begin to identify with them more.
Second, I think even with the shallow characters this film could have been better served without Ripley. Does she need to be the star just because it’s an Alien film? If the cloning had worked to get the alien out of her and then she was gone from the film and we had to follow the crew of The Betty the rest of this film, I could have still enjoyed it.
Instead, Ripley seemed forced into the film and not the character we loved. Overall, a better film than part three and I definitely recommend it over that one. If nothing else, you get to see Ron Perlman chewing up the scenery, and that’s never a bad thing.