When it comes to film franchises, you usually know what you are going to get after watching the first movie. Movie franchises like Die Hard, Fast and Furious, and Star Wars might claim to go in new directions, but there is a sameness about them that spans the years. That’s not a bad thing, of course, and you only have to look at the box office receipts to see that the fans want that. There is a pretty good reason for this claim of ours.
We get to love the characters that usually are either main protagonists or are playing smaller roles that appear in pretty much all the titles in a particular franchise. We can see that creating franchises is a pretty popular concept, due to the possibilities for the storytelling that can be told in a much bigger capacity than having just one movie.
It’s needless to say that the urge for creating future entries heavily depends on how much people will be interested in the story movie has to tell. Furthermore, we can see franchises are the sources of TV shows, which are probably the most popular way of telling a particular story. Just see how streaming services and how popular they’ve become in the last couple of years and you will understand.
Anyway, let’s get back to franchises. It can be said that some of the future installments can be prone to some changes that would not be understandable at first sight. Surely, we can see that there are a lot of these examples. But that doesn’t make them less interesting, right? Moreover, it should be said that the vast majority of these movies are pretty consistent when it comes to the story.
However, if there is one franchise that has challenged itself to be intrinsically different over the years, it’s the Alien series. At this point, after eight movies (we are including Alien vs. Predator films), there isn’t even a typical Alien movie. We believe that this franchise has a lot of quality. There have been some great movies, and we list the best five in order below:
It should come as no surprise that Alien is number one – it’s a masterpiece of sci-fi horror from Ridley Scott. While later films will expand on the themes, plotline, and action sequences, the original Alien is basically, as critic David Thomson put it, “a haunted house film”. Like all good horror films, it relies on atmosphere and tension rather than cheap ‘jump scares’ alone, although there are a few of the latter. It can be said that this is one of the main virtues of this picture.
We believe that the reason behind the popularity of the first installment in the Alien franchise is that it sets the tone for future movies. Some of them came to a lot of years in the future. But that doesn’t change the fact that you will feel the tone from the first one no matter which one of these you are looking for. All the action takes place on the Nostromo, a commercial space tug that seems to get more and more claustrophobic for the protagonist, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver). Made on a budget of $11 million, it doesn’t look dated at all over 40 years later.
James Cameron took the reins from Ridley Scott, and he delivered an excellent film that moved the franchise towards classic action sci-fi and away from the atmospheric dread of the original. The action takes place 57 years later, with Ripley leading the charge to kill a colony of aliens on the exomoon, LV-426. As you might expect, disaster looms. Cameron, who had just had his biggest hit with The Terminator, worked on a relatively tight budget ($18 million), but Aliens raked it in 10 times that amount at the box-office.
However, we can see that despite the changes that happened in this movie the original atmosphere is pretty well done. Thankfully, Cameron took the major things from the first movie and expanded them in his movie. Aliens, critically speaking, was something of a sleeper, growing more acclaimed over the years after a lukewarm critical response in 1986. This approach wasn’t considered as a miss and we can see that this movie got many different awards in the world of cinema. In 2008, Empire Magazine ranked it as no. 30 in its Top 500 Films of All Time.
Alien vs. Predator (2004)
This might be a controversial pick at number three, and some might put AvP at the bottom of the franchise, but we are not apologizing. AvP is fun, and it does not try to take itself too seriously. Just like visiting the platform where you can play games ( you can find more information visiting this site ); you know what you are going to do here; and, movie-goers lapped it up, with AvP taking in almost $180 million at the box-office.
It should be said that anyone who craves any kind of plot is in the wrong place. Similarly to all the movies done by Paul W. S. Anderson, you cannot expect Alien vs. Predator to have some kind of exceptionally written story. The approach is pretty simple. It can be described as “style over substance”. However, we won’t dwell on the plot because there is none – just two iconic movie monsters bashing each other for 101 minutes. Grab the popcorn.
Alien Covenant (2017)
While we hailed AvP as a film knowing exactly what it is, Alien Covenant perhaps falls down on the fact that it is unsure of itself. Like its predecessor, Prometheus, Alien Covenant tries to answer big philosophical questions, sometimes succeeding but often failing. Ridley Scott is back as director and producer, and it shows in the wonderful set design and haunting tone, which is a pretty good approach, similar to previous entries in the franchise.
Some critics loathe Alien Covenant, but others love it. That’s why it makes our list because, while scrambled, there are some elements that make this a masterpiece. We can say that the main quality of this movie is that it polarized the opinion about its quality. We will not provide you with our detailed opinion. The reason is, we believe that this small explanation is more than enough. Similar things could be said about Prometheus, which narrowly failed to make our list.
Alien 3 (1992)
You might see a pattern here, but Alien 3 is loved by some and hated by others. This time around, David Fincher is in the director’s chair, and that leads to some bonkers ideas. Fincher made some brave decisions, killing key cast members and transporting Ripley off to a prison planet to fight more aliens and an all-male religious sect. This is the third movie where viewers will follow this iconic character and is surely among the favourite titles.
Weaver is brilliant, taking the Ripley character to new heights by displaying simultaneous qualities of vulnerability and badassery. Add to that the fact that the movie is brilliantly directed by a master director, Fincher. Fincher disowned the film after claiming the studio had messed too much with it, and so there is a lot of talk about the director’s cut. But the theatrical version is perhaps misunderstood, and, like Aliens, has grown more loved over time. It can be said that it became some sort of a cult classic.