Some bold lighting choices to have so much blackness in frame. Nice.
Very good. The fun, music montage worked well for character, and something new for an Alien film.
Production Design 3/5
Functional. I would have liked to have seen a wide shot of the interior of the greenhouse that establishes a more distinctly sci-fi setting (probably with a matte painting). And I feel like some ground fog would have added a touch of spookiness, as though from condensation from the plants.
Some unfortunate repetitive beats: Being confronted by the spilled barrel twice; sneaking through the foliage in the dark in pursuit of Maggie.
I’ve shown the film to a few people and everyone says that the twist ending is that Maggie is a robot. But what's most interesting to me is what they think of Julie’s character. Most people describe her as fun and caring and that she and Maggie have a bond of friendship. I used to think that too, but I’ve watched the film a few times now and that is not the way the ending is directed. Julie has no such feelings for Maggie, because she knows all along that Maggie is a robot (and, presumably, robots aren’t friendship-worthy). The evidence for this? Look at Julie’s behaviour when she comes across the aftermath of the fight.
Does she rush to Maggie’s assistance? No. Instead she relishes the task of finishing off the face-hugger.
With Maggie in her death throes, does Julie look distraught? No. In fact, Maggie’s condition makes Julie more annoyed than anything else.
Does Julie comfort Maggie as she is dying? No. Julie stands and observes from a distance and says a few words of appreciation (“you did good”), but is there sorrow or sympathy as she says this? Not really.
And look at the low angle camera, designed to make Julie look dominant and aggressive. Is that appropriate for a touching farewell scene? Of course not.
How does Julie euthanise Maggie? She could have reached into her back pocket for a remote control and flipped the power switch off and we could have watched as a little red light dims out - a tranquil end for a faithful companion. But no, she puts Maggie down with a violent, decapitating finishing move! The director made a rather strange choice there, if the scene was supposed to be that of a friend saying goodbye to her bestie, don’t you think?
Then why the scene earlier in the film with Julie bopping out to her iPod and clearly designed to endear her to us? It’s a ruse, plain and simple. And Julie throwing a balled up wad of paper for Maggie to play with? Yet another ruse, a red herring to reinforce the twist ending - that is, the real twist ending. Namely: Julie is a cold hearted bitch! Ha! Well done, Kelsey Taylor.
Enjoyable and mostly satisfying. Mostly.