Warning: if you or your boss is offended by naked disfigured Sigourney Weaver models, maybe don’t watch this video.
As much as I like to rag on, say, Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, I try never to actually root for a science fiction project to fail, or to be bad. It’s my favorite genre, and the fun I might have talking shit about it on the internet if it’s awful is not nearly as much enjoyment as I would get out of being genuinely, pleasantly surprised. Part of my reasoning? It’s freaking hard to get a movie made. Even something that doesn’t ultimately come together well still represents the talents and hard work of hundreds of people who gave it their all. So I’m actually really fascinated by the above featurette, a dialogue-free exploration of the Ripley clones models from Alien: Resurrection. The movie? Not great. The design and model work on the clones? Gorgeous.
If you recall, Ripley leaped to a fiery doom in the climax of David Fincher’s Alien 3, taking with her the xenomorph queen embryo that was about to bust out of her abdomen. But Hollywood was never one to let a little thing like a dead protagonist stand in the way of perpetuating the franchise! So, in 1997, along comes Alien: Resurrection, which brings Ripley back into the game 200 years after her death…as a clone. See, some evil bastards have gotten their hands on a blood sample of Ripley’s from that time. So they use the cloning process to get access to the xenomorph DNA and start cooking themselves up some monsters.
Needless to say, things don’t go well.
But at one point we learn that the Ripley we’re following — who is packing some upgrades thanks to the xeno DNA, including acid blood, increased strength, and an empathic connection to the aliens — wasn’t their first attempt. At one point we get to see all the “honorable mention” contenders, and they ain’t pretty.
Except they actually are, at least to someone with a love of creature design and practical effects. It’s almost hypnotic watching the artists sculpting the clones, using such tiny, delicate motions to turn a hunk of clay into an horrific hybrid abomination.
You can watch Ripley’s family reunion with her untenable sisters below.