Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton
Directed by: James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 17 min [Director’s cut] 2 hr 34 min
I’ll admit when I first watched Aliens at a friend’s house a long time ago in a country far away, I was nervous. The first movie, Alien, was a properly scary film and I figured Aliens would be more of the same. I was wrong, and even though Aliens is technically a sequel to the first film, it really feels like a completely separate production. Sure it had Sigourney Weaver reprising her role as Ripley, but just about everything else in this film is different.
For starters Aliens isn’t science fiction horror , it’s all action. Beyond that you’ll find the actual aliens look a little different too. In this story, the human characters aren’t hopelessly overpowered, they are marines packing state of the art firepower making the odds more even. Aliens also develops Ripley’s character a lot more, expands our understanding of the alien creatures, and we finally get to see what’s laying all those eggs!
Where Alien developed slowly to build atmosphere, Aliens has pace. The action is superbly executed and exciting to watch, and the visual effects are great. I loved the assorted characters, and how they responded under pressure. Especially Hudson (Bill Paxton), who’s bravado turns to cowardice at the first sight of an alien. Sigourney Weaver’s performance however, is the real stand out here, and James Cameron creates a great story arc for Ripley’s character as she faces her demons, and then starts fighting back.
Liking the first Alien movie doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like Aliens, as they are completely different movies. So don’t go into this expecting big scares – this is an action movie.
Best viewing format:
There are two versions of the film to choose from. The original theatrical version, and the special edition that adds an extra 17 minutes of footage. My preference is for the special edition because it develops Ripley’s back story more, and it does a better job of explaining the deep connection she makes to the girl they rescue, Newt (Carrie Henn). In either case if your local theater were screening this film, certainly try to catch that showing. At home a HD viewing of the film on a nice big TV is recommended. Watching this on a laptop, tablet or phone will reduce its impact.
Best moment: << spoilers! >>
The absolute best moment for me is when Ripley emerges to fight the Queen in the power loader. As she steps forward the camera ends up tight on her face and she says “Get away from her you BITCH!” It’s just one of the best movie moments ever filmed! EVER!