Alien: Isolation; IGN; seven episodes, approx. 10 minutes ea.; 2019; streaming on YouTube.
Anything I write about “Alien: Isolation: The Digital Series” is going to have some bit of explanation for why I would subject myself to such a viewing experience. So I might as well just get it out of the way now.
I’m an Alien sucker. Always have been. The franchise is like 2001 just with action. Sort of. You get grandiose space visuals, you get sci-fi action, you get slimy monsters. And “Isolation” is a curiosity. Ostensibly a low time investment one. It’s not a comic book, it’s not a mobile game, it’s a video game’s cutscenes assembled not into a movie but into a series of ten minute episodes. Seven of them.
The story to “Isolation”—the game and series—is Sigourney Weaver’s daughter who we only ever saw in a photograph as an old lady in Aliens, possibly holding a cat but maybe not, goes on an adventure when she’s a hot young video game lead to find the Nostromo’s flight recorder. Because it can’t mess up continuity. Though, who really cares since they didn’t get Sigourney Weaver to do a voiceover in the game and instead replaced her with some generic person. Weaver did return to do a voice for some of the game’s DLC, so… clearly she was willing to cash the video game check. But whatever.
I watched the whole series. Even if it did take about a week because I lost interest in it after the first two episodes. See, the animation is crap on a bunch of it. Alien: Isolation, the video game, is first person so they added a model of—the daughter’s name is Amanda, who is mediocrely (at best) voiced by Andrea Deck.
It says on IMDb Sigourney Weaver did the voice of Ripley Ripley in the game, so the guys who made the “Digital Series” mustn’t have wanted to pay her again.
Cheap on so many levels.
(Unless it is Sigourney Weaver and her voiceover work is that bad, in which case she should retire immediately).
Anyway, some of the animation is fine. Some of it is crap. See the examples.
The direction—credited to Fabien Dubois—is lousy, ditto the editing from Romain Rioult, and whatever writing Jeff Juhasz does. They added new material, which is probably whenever the cutscene stuff runs out and there’s just lousy animation with bad detail, bad dubbing, and awful walking animation.
When I first read about “The Digital Series,” I was vaguely intrigued. There’s a lot of cutscene content out there. If you rendered it special, could you easily turn video games into streaming shows?
Not if “Isolation” is any example, but it’s so lazy it’s almost like the question is still open.
I’d also heard Isolation is a good game. Wasting the brain cells watching the series, I know not to bother playing it. As time goes on—it’s the fortieth anniversary of Alien so there are various cash-in attempts (including a so far so good comic book adaptation of Gibson’s Alien 3 script)—but as we get further away from Alien (mostly Aliens) the clearer it’s becoming anything after Aliens was a mistake. Every effort since has been, if not half-assed, at least compromised.
Or just plain crappy.
Though I do suppose “Isolation”’s godawful alien movement—the actual movement of the creature—could lead to some funny GIFs.