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As all hell breaks looks, and the aliens begin their takeover of the Auriga, the ship's residents decide to hop into lifeboats and abandon ship. Blue Sky's computer

A live-action Amalgamated Dynamics alien checks out the lifeboat bay in this Duboi composite.
generated alien makes its first appearance as one alien decides to climb into a lifeboat, filled with panicking Auriga residents, in a wide shot of the lifeboat bay (which featured matte painting enhancements by Duboi). In this wide shot, the alien climbs up the edge of the pod, and jumps inside. The shot is eerie and a bit disorienting, since this is the first time in the entire ALIEN series where we see the alien from head to toe, full in frame, performing a complicated action in a brightly lit scene. In a way, the jerky, hyperkinetic movements of the alien in this shot work against the subtle head turns and reactions, provided by the film's live action creatures, created by Amalgamated Dynamics. Not to harp on this shot too much, but the movement also looked quite similar to the CG Sil in some shots of SPECIES.

General Perez, realizing that an alien jumped on board the pod, rolls a grenade down the corridor that eventually drops inside the pod. The shot is classic Jeunet--the camera follows the grenade at a fantastic pace, low to the ground and tracking backwards, magically keeping the grenade in frame. This complicated shot featured a computer generated grenade, courtesy of VIFX, whose animation and motion blur was highly realistic and quite believable, throughout the entire over-the-top camera move. The grenade lands inside the pod, and the pod gets launched into space, only for General Perez to detonate the grenade, causing the pod to traditionally explode in a bright fireball. The rest of the shot is the kind of creative inspiration that sets aside RESURRECTION's visual effects from other films--the debris and fire slightly implode and contract in a stunning display. Outer space explosions have been overdone to death in sci-fi films, and it is refreshing to see a new take on an old, standard effect.

Aliens Afoot
The second act of the film contains the greatest amount of CG aliens (there are around 20 CG alien shots in the entire film). One such shot is a dutch angle shot,

Blue Sky's CG alien walks around Michael Wincott's dead body in this shot.
with Michael Wincott's dead body in the foreground and the full motion alien walking around his corpse. The movement and textures of the alien in this shot are really nice. The detail put into the CG model is apparent here, as is the attention to matching the highlights and shiny appearance of Amalgamated's live-action aliens. I was a little confused, however, with the excessively bright pool of light illuminating the alien's left foot, even as it makes contact with the grille.

The highlight of the CG alien sequences is certainly the underwater sequence, where the aliens follow the humans down a flooded corridor. The finest of all the CG alien shots occur here, as the aliens look totally integrated into their background plates. The lighting of the CG aliens must have been unbelievably complex to match the set's lighting, with multiple sources and the inherent physical inconsistencies with underwater lighting. The result is aliens that look like they're actually part of the sequence. CG lights perfectly match the practical lights in the scene, and the aliens cast realistic shadows on the set. Also adding to the illusion are trails of CG bubbles created by Blue Sky to further integrate the aliens into the underwater shots.

One of the dead giveaways of CG creatures in a live-action shot is their sharp edges and sometimes overly sharp detail--in the underwater sequences of ALIEN RESURRECTION, these cues do not exist. The edges are realistically soft and the detail of the aliens' bodies are not overly crisp, which lend to their believability.

A computer generated alien smiles for the camera in one of its underwater shots. The soft edges and realistic lighting helped add to the illusion of the alien swimming underwater.
The animation of the aliens is also naturalistic and consistent with everything we know about the aliens from the three previous movies. The single best shot in the sequence is the long shot of two aliens swimming toward the camera. The lead alien dodges a grenade, which blasts the alien behind him. The quick movement of the alien to dodge the grenade truly looks like an actual being swimming to avoid an oncoming threat. The explosion, actually a practical effect, has been seamlessly blended into Blue Sky's composite. I'm sure plenty of moviegoers will believe that a number of the underwater shots with aliens in them were performed by humans in alien suits, which is an enormous complement to the entire CG crew.

The length of these CG alien shots also add a great deal to their believability. There's a terrific, meandering shot of an alien approaching its victim, where you see the alien in the distant background, getting closer and closer to its prey. Another great underwater shot is of an alien planning his jump out of the water. The alien almost fills the entire frame in this upangle shot--its movements are graceful and the lighting and textures are extremely realistic.

Once the alien jumps out of the water and onto a ladder, the sequence intercuts between Amalgamated's live action aliens, and Blue Sky's CG alien. In this ladder sequence, with water splashing everywhere, sparks flying and lights flashing, the differences between the CG and live action aliens becomes more apparent. Although the animation of the alien in these ladder shots is quite good, the detail of the alien's wet body is perhaps too good. The highlights of the slick alien exterior are too well defined and sharp, which contrast with the softer highlights of the live action alien. The compositing of water and other elements in front of the aliens is top notch.

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