aliens Aliens

It’s one of those rare movies that can get under your skin while at the same moment blowing you out of your socks. It is the ultimate science fiction action movie/war epic, and even more rare it has a woman as the hero, toting the biggest guns this side of an Arnie movie. It’s a movie that used mothering instincts to replace the same old testosterone driven male stereotype hero we are sick of. It’s a movie by James Cameron. This is Aliens!!!

The sequel to Ridley Scott’s masterpiece from 1979 picks up right where its predecessor left off. Ripley after surviving the Nostromo Massacre is found adrift in deep space, she is rescued by a salvage team and brought back to earth. That’s the good news, the bad news is she was out there, in stasis for 57 years. Bummer. After rejoining the population of earth Ripley finds that things are not going to get any better for her. The all powerful corporation known simply as “the company” does not buy her story of an acid drooling, xenomorph being responsible for the destruction of the Nostromo and she subsequently has her flight license revoked. Why don’t they believe that there was an alien killing machine picked up on Lb4-26, well that’s simple there has been people living there for years. Uh…oh.

So a few weeks passes and Rip settles back into the life, she gets a job in the loading docs and tried to get back to reality. However she is still haunted by nightmares of the alien creature that slaughtered her crew, so it is with great hesitation that she agrees to accompany a group of marines back to Lb4-26 after they loose contact with the colony. She is assured that she will only be there as an advisor and her safety is totally guaranteed.

Shortly after arriving on the planet it becomes all to real that Ripley’s story is true and that the aliens, this time in huge numbers have taken over the entire colony killing all except an 11 year old girl names Newt. It also becomes alarmingly apparent that no ones safety is guaranteed on this mission.

Ripley very quickly takes Newt under her wing, maybe due to the fact hat her own daughter dies while she was lost in space. This is just another example of the tremendous character development we see in Rip over the course of the 2 movies. In the original Alien she was a frightened woman, here we have already seen that she takes no shit, taking charge of the platoon during the films first battle with the aliens. We see her as a very maternal caring woman during her interactions with Newt. And in the action filled climax of the movie she takes her place in the movie badass hall of fame and rightfully so.

One of the reason I think Aliens stand out from the rest of the movies in the action genre is that Cameron actually takes time to develop real character, you actually give a damn when the grunts begin to be picked off alarmingly quickly by the xenomorph soldiers. The grunts themselves are a very mixes group, from Hicks the Soft spoken corporal, to Vasquez the muscle bound hard ass female grunt, all the way to amazingly cowardly Hudson played by Bill Paxton. They are not just your standard nameless alien fodder that most movie make the mistake of having their character be. But as always at the heart of the movie is Ripley, as I said before Alien portrayed her a simple a survivor. Aliens gives the character depth, she can handle gun like Schwarzenegger but also she has a tender side. I have no doubt that when Weaver is gone she will be best remembered as Ellen Ripley.

The last third of the film consists of the Marines’ last stand against the aliens, and Ripley’s return to battle in an attempt to save Newt. Cameron is a true master of action, and although most of the film is dark, rainy, and filled with a smoky haze, he keeps all the battles coherent and heart-pounding. The aliens are formidable soldiers whose main strength seems to be their sheer numbers and unwillingness to retreat.

In the movies finale Ripley is confronted by the Alien queen, this seems like an almost natural adversary for maternal Ripley. So the final battle actually has some excellent maternal subtext, the queen protecting her alien children, and Rip battling to save Newt.

To sum it all up aliens is one of the true great 80’s movies, it has everything you will ever need from a movie, action, strong character, subtexts, awesome special effects, great sets, a wonderful script and a great cast. Not to mention a genius director. But even with all these things I still find myself leaning towards the original a little more. I think the numbers of the aliens in this movie takes away from the actual suspense that the first boasted. However this aside watching aliens is a pure 2 and a half hours of cinematic joy. A classic in its own right and a fantastic sequel. 9 out of 10

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Posted on May 30, 2008

Category : Reviews

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