Just watched Alien 3, having recently rewatched Aliens. Observations:
CGI does not age well. Aliens 3 came out in the early ‘90s. The scenes where the alien is CGI just don’t look good. It has no “weight” to it, it doesn’t look like it’s really there. And the scale feels wrong. It’s supposed to be like 8 feet tall, but when it’s scampering around on all fours it looks like a misshapen dog.
When they show the head and upper body near somebody’s face, on the other hand—presumably played by a person wearing a suit—it feels like the alien is present with the actors, and it’s much more effective.
I’ve never loved how the beginning of this movie undoes the ending of Aliens. You can certainly argue that a hopeful ending isn’t the point of the franchise, but that’s a jaundiced and unfortunate position, in my opinion. The first two films end on a note of survival against the odds, and the third is about sacrifice (and, arguably, futility).
I think the series just gets too grim. I’d be happy to just watch Alien and Aliens and ignore all the rest. 🎥