Ripley, Believe It Or Not…
According to recent news Fox’s Alien franchise is poised to gear up again. This fifth installment will feature first Alien protagonist Ellen Louise Ripley as the lead character and apparently ignore the plot lines of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. It’s a maneuver by director/writer Neill Blomkamp (Chappie, District 9) that will surely cause controversy in the fan communities for its wholesale revisionism. I personally hope it will finally give the Ripley character a definitive and satisfying third act. Most importantly, actress Sigourney Weaver has just verified taking the lead again. It’s a role that has proven to define the female action hero for several decades and it’s good to know it will be in the hands of its original creator.
In tandem with this exciting news comes NECA’s announced Alien Series 4 action figures. This wave includes Nostromo Captain Dallas (Tom Skerrit) and none other than Ripley herself, based on Weaver’s likeness for the first time. It’s something collectors have been clamoring for and worth the wait as the figure debuts in two different versions. One Ripley dons the distinctive Nostromo spacesuit – what I call the “samurai goalie” look – the other is garbed in her jumpsuit, armed with flame thrower. Spacesuit helmets can be removed, but beware those of ornery face huggers. There are even two versions of Jonesy the Cat, one calm and the other with his hackles up.
NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) never fails to amaze with their New York Toy Fair sales booth displays. This year the highlight was a huge diorama with Ripley in the P-5000 Power Loader that NECA prevued last year. She’s prepared to battle the monstrous xenomorph Queen Mother. Half of the android Bishop (Lance Henriksen) watches helplessly in the midst of a hatchling swarm of scurrying face huggers.
The queen is quite a showpiece. NECA has captured the sleek, angular, and wiry essence of the creature with its regal crest and slavering jaws. The deluxe figure has 30 points of articulation, stands over 15 inches tall and 30 inches long to the tip of its highly posable tail. A stand and two sets of inner jaws are included.
Tall Cool One…
NECA also displayed a prototype of their 1979 Alien. It’s a quarter scale replica of the suit worn by 6′ 10″ Balaji Badejo for his sinuous and balletic performance. Born out of the late H. R. Giger’s nightmarish artwork, this lone creature was plenty enough of a scare on his own in the original film. Even in its unpainted state it’s clear NECA has a fine representation in the works. It’s scheduled for a June release.
I was fortunate to have viewed the original Alien in its first theater run, probably its first week. In 1979 there was no chance of internet spoilers, no speculation from decades old fan bases, just a pure experience that was quite a fright ride. Second and third viewings were equal fun, especially watching the popcorn fly in the midst of unsuspecting first timers. I only knocked the edges off the experience once I could run it on VHS at will. It is that kind of audience familiarity and the since proffered Prometheus backstory and Predator interpolations that Neill Blomkamp will have to overcome in his quest to make his new installment of a piece with the first two and offer that kind of impact.
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