This is another thriller film directed by David Fincher, which was released in 1992 after following the events taken place in Aliens (1986). See below for the trailer…
Which “Alien 3” follows the storyline of character Ellen Ripley who crash lands on a remote island after escaping from alien moon, everyone is killed except her and an unexpected visitor- an alien that took over the ship and crashed it.
As a sci-fi thriller film, I was interested in doing a textual analysis for the opening credits, but before doing so, I looked at the film poster.
But because the credits haven’t been uploaded onto YouTube, (what I usually show to do a textual analysis), instead I have pasted the link below, which if you click on, the opening credits for “Alien 3” will be displayed on there:
So to begin with, as the camera tilts down slowly, the audience are introduced to the first credit that appears in bold white with a shadowy effect between the letters against the galaxy background. This highlights the contrast between black and white, which straight away states the genre of the film as a sci-fi because of how the audience are made to feel like they are in another galaxy.
Moreover, the eerie music that begins to play as it fades in, gives the impression that there’s some sort of extra-terrestrial invasion that’s taking place, so the audience can expect to see creepy looking aliens in the film.
But there’s a sudden outburst of instruments that create a tense and powerful sound for when the title of the film fades in from the galaxy background. In which the use of bold white (capitalised letters) typography, represents the audience’s fear at what’s yet to come in the film; as the large size text fills the screen, as if to prepare the audience for the future events…
As this typography text fades out, the audience are introduced to the next shot fading in, which is of a woman in some sort of oxygen tank, implying that the film is centred around this character who is an astronaut. However, as the camera zooms in rapidly from a medium shot to a close up shot, the audience can connote that this particular character is in some sort of danger because the zoom makes it seem like they are being stalked by someone. Therefore, indicating that “Alien 3” can be categorised as a thriller film due to the convention of having a battle between the protagonist and antagonist is common.
But the brief duration of the clip is cut short by a cut, which then displays the same galaxy background with another title credit fading in; this means that the audience are left clueless to who is making the person in danger and thus eager to learn more.
The genre of “Alien 3” is reinforced further by the next cut that reveals a spaceship, demonstrating that the film is a sci-fi because of the use of mise-en-scene where the audience associate spaceships belonging to the genre. As a result, the audience gain the impression that the spaceship will land at one point on an unknown planet during the film where the characters will encounter something they aren’t used to.
Furthermore, as the pace of the editing begins to increase, the audience find there’s a shorter duration of the shots, which are now crucial in informing the audience of some of the characters in the film. For instance the screenshots below display how aliens are quickly being introduced through a short second, before a cut directs the audience’s attention to the typography text. This means that the audience have little time to piece together details about this character because all that can be seen is the fast camera movement tracking towards an alien in a tank, only shown for a shot time. Furthermore, the audience are intrigued in watching the opening titles as they want to see what’s coming next.
It’s also important to note that at 1:27 during the opening credits, the soundtrack contains high pitch sounds, that makes the audience interpret these sounds are like angels singing and is therefore, supported by the glowing white typography text. This results in the audience believing that the film explores the themes of purity, peace and light; metaphorically representing the force of good.
But the jump cut that follows after the credit fading out into the galaxy background, reveals a young child lying asleep or alternatively viewed as dead, due to the crack which jumps onscreen indicating the child has been attacked by something extraordinary. The sound effect that plays synchronous to the crack appearing, creates the audience’s fear towards the sequence because at this point anything can happen to anyone. Therefore, meaning that the audience are left feeling tense and excited as the opening credits have now been intensified.
Next, the sound bridge of the smoke sizzling against the metal is played at first not within the audience’s field of vision, as the credit appears to then continuously playing through to the shot where the audience can see where the sound was coming from. This gives the impression that the sound perspective (as it sounded like it was coming from the distance) is foreshadowing bad events to come; whilst it also creates quite an ominous and suspenseful tone.
Then at 2:01, the sound perspective of rain drops and thunder is interrupted by the commentary voice-over that’s used to link the images shown together. For the reason that the announcement on the spaceship is a warning message to say that there’s a “fire” and the several shots exhibit this through the use of red imagery such as the siren flashing red lights on a machine; in which the audience can connote the colour red signifying danger. Furthermore, the audience feel tense and uneasy at what the film will uncover…
As well as, the sound effect of an object scraping against something is effective in making the audience agitated because the screeching sound is loud, making the audience feel uncomfortable. Adding to this, whilst the horrifying sound plays, there’s a close up shot of what appears to be blood absorbing into a piece of white material; the audience then feel like the film will have gruesome scenes.
After, the pace of the editing begins to increase, especially during the part when the audience see a character being locked in the tank (all controlled by the spaceship) and ejected out; it’s not clear whether they are free to escape because the shot cuts to a credit shown onscreen. Then as the credit fades out, the second cut reveals the character being locked in the spaceship. All of which, leaves the audience anticipated to see if this person is alive due to the sudden close up shot displays their faceless expression; suggesting that they are in a vulnerable position, a place in which they have no power in comparison to the force of evil they are in a battle against.
So when the door is getting shut trapping the character in the spaceship, the jump cut occurs, grabbing the audience’s attention by diverting it to the next credit that appears onscreen. The sequence then has a mysteriously quiet aspect to it as the camera tilts vertically downwards, whilst the white typography text appears against the dark galaxy background. This makes the audience find it unusual and different; hinting at the fact that something bad is going to happen. But also, the audience are on the edge of their seats in anticipation due to the eerie music building up suspense.
Then finally, the close up shot of the woman’s face, still appearing to be unconscious, fades in from the galaxy background; in which the audience don’t get to see much of her face before the sound effect of a siren goes off, signalling the superimposition editing technique, that uncovers the Sulaco pod being ejected. Overall, ending the film in a good way that has left the audience feeling agitated and eager to see what’s going to happen next because the opening credits have revealed quite a lot about a vulnerable person trapped on a spaceship whilst aliens have invaded it…