Was a fourth installment of the Alien franchise really needed? 20th Century Fox's accountants would argue yes, I would argue no. Alien 3, while not a masterpiece, capped the series off well with Ripley's death. So a fourth sequel would either have to be Ripley-free or, through some contrived plot device, bring her back. They went with the latter. At least they hired some interesting names to bring it to the screen. Joss Whedon, the God behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was in charge of the script, while French visualist Jean Pierre Jeunet (The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen) was handed the directorial reins. Unfortunately, the sum of the parts did not equate to the same as the total. The film is a bit of a mess truth be told. It looks great (this will come as no surprise to anyone whose seen Jeunet's previous fiilms), with great cinematography and art design. However, the tone is muddled, never achieving the intensity and terrifying atmosphere of the previous films, while too much emphasis is put on action. It eschews the intelligence, slow build and excruciating tension of Scott's, Cameron's and, to a lesser degree, Fincher's films for a more direct, action-orientated style which, while entertaing, fails to truly grip you and drag you in. Sigourney Weaver returns (with an $11 million paycheck, more than the entire budget of the original Alien) and seems to relish Ripley's colder, more sexual and animalistic direction, while the always watchable Ron Perlman is the other highlight. Jeunet does craft some impressive set-pieces (the underwater sequence leaps to mind) but doesn't seem comfortable amongst the big-budget, action arena. The final third, featuring the birth of an alien/human hybrid based on Ripley's genes, descends slightly into the comical, with a creature that looks like mashed potato. Alien: Resurrection is a decidedly mixed bag. It has the good (Weaver, the underwater scene, Jeunet and team's design work), the bad (the uneven tone, the lack of genuine tension) and the ugly (the odd looking alien creature). An inauspicious, and frankly unnecessary, end to the Alien franchise.