Okay, so I promised you guys retribution for your sins … but then you went and gave a very moderate, even forgiving commentary.
Here's my thing, though. Pretty much everything you guys said you disliked about the movie, I love about the movie. I even loved the fact that Newt and Hicks were killed. I even loved the way they were killed!
I get where you guys are coming from; you think it was maybe an okay movie, maybe even a good one, but that you didn't like it as an Alien movie. I can see that. But I don't agree with it. I think it was an exemplary Alien movie.
See, in my opinion, the Alien movies all use the alien as a blank canvas and project some primal truth about life onto it. (I'm not counting Resurrection here; if anything, I'd say that one is the one that doesn't belong in the set.)
The first Alien was very much about rape, thematically. Rape, penetration, violation, subjugation, whatever you want to call it; it's the theme of the movie. The fact that Ripley ended up being a woman and the alien ended up being sheathed in phallic imagery — while I doubt either of those was on the page — didn't hurt this interpretation any.
The second movie was about motherhood. Ripley's daughter, Newt's mom, Newt herself, the queen; every aspect of the movie revolves in some way around motherhood.
The third film is about death. Everything revolves around death, and what it means, and how we react to it. Newt and Hicks die off-screen, while Ripley's asleep and can't do anything about it; that's the capriciousness of death. Bishop asks Ripley to deactivate him; Ripley asks Dylan to kill her. That's seeking to control death. The prisoners are all rapists, yes, but also murderers. And they turn to God, the ultimate symbol of power over death. Hell, even Ripley's love interest is a murderer. And just in case you weren't catching on, the first and third acts of the film both end with funerals.
Alien 3 is a powerfully thematic movie. Maybe even more so than the first two, frankly; everything in the movie, practically every shot in the movie, serves the theme. Cause of that, I think it fits in perfectly with the rest of the series. If anything, in that respect … I think it's the best of the series. Not most entertaining, not best-made, not favorite. But on the scale of what's-a-theme to everything-is-symbolic, I think Alien 3 scores highest of all of the movies in the series.
Lemme just say this, then I'll stop being pretentious as hell. I think Alien 3 is a mature monster movie. In an immature monster movie, the audience is expected to care very deeply about who is and who is not going to die. But in a mature monster movie, the audience is expected to know that everyone's going to die, and to care deeply about how they die. Alien 3 is a mature monster movie because Ripley's death was inevitable from the first frame, but the story emerges from how she chooses to go out.
Anyway. That's how I see it, for what that's worth.