Aliens Review

Aliens

Aliens is always a tough one when it comes to “what are the best sequels”, because it’s hard to say if it’s better than the first because it’s pretty much in a whole new category. Alien is sci-fi horror, Aliens is sci-fi action (with some horror still) and therefore it’s really down to which kind of film you prefer. Either way, Aliens is a great film, and more than deserves its reputation as a great sequel, whether you prefer it over the original or not. Let’s take a closer look!

Synopsis:

Ellen Ripley has been in stasis in a shuttle for 57 years. She is rescued and debriefed by her employers at the Weyland-Yutani Corporation; they are sceptical of her claims that an Alien creature killed her entire crew and forced her to destroy her ship the Nostromo, and they subsequently revoke her flight officer license.

The exomoon LV-426, where the Nostromo initially encountered the derelict ship containing alien eggs, is now home to the terraforming colony Hadleys Hope. When contact is lost with the colony, Weyland-Yutani representative Carter Burke and Colonial Marine Lieutenant Gorman ask Ripley to accompany Burke and a colonial marine unit to investigate the disturbance…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

Aliens 1

Yep, looks unoriginal now, due to being copied and parodied so much…

Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) – Ripley is understandably hesitant to return to where the alien life form that killed her entire crew was stationed, but recurring nightmares be damned, she goes to help them out…

Corporal Dwayne Hicks (Michael Biehn) – A member of the marine unit sent to LV-426 to exterminate the threat. He soon forms a bond with Ripley, which is handy given what happens to everyone else…

Newt (Carrie Henn) – A little girl who managed to survive the onslaught of Xenomorphs due to hiding in the vents… that being said, seeing her parents (among others) get killed or captured has traumatised her to the point of not being able to speak…

Bishop (Lance Henriksen) – An android member of the mission to LV-426. Ripley is, once again (and understandably) untrusting of him, but this time Bishop may well be on her side…

Carter Burke (Paul Reiser) – An executive member of Weyland and in charge of the mission, in non-military terms anyway. He, of course, wants to capture and later use the aliens for Weyland’s future purposes, so… he’s a bit of an arse.

Private Hudson (Bill Paxton) – The stupid one, who makes everyone else laugh due to his daft antics. Still, his heart is in the right place, or something…?

Lieutenant Gorman (William Hope) – The leader of the marines sent to LV-426.

Private Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein) – A female member of the marines, who is often more “bad ass” than most of the men.

Plus more!

The Good:

Aliens 2

Genuinely creeped me out, this scene… As a 12-year-old! Not now… though it’s still a great moment!

Ripley is once again such a great character. Strong and brave, but still shows weakness in the right times in order to actually be believable (something a lot of brave characters of both genders could do with more of) Her relationship with both mute traumatised Newt and generic soldier Hicks are also good, as is her eventual respect for the android Bishop. Standout scene, and you know it’s coming, is the powerloader scene. Newt is about to be killed by the Xenomorph Queen until Ripley in the large mechanical Power Loader arrives, calls her a bitch (the Queen, not Newt!) and proceeds to dump the alien out of an airlock. Great stuff.

In fact there has been a bit of a running gag, on at least my classic Sci-Fi TV reviews, that I’m driven mad by bad child actors, so I feel I have to point out that Newt wasn’t annoying or got in the way, and the scenes with her and Ripley trapped in a small room with a face hugger and the classic scene of a Xenomorph slowly rising from the water behind Newt are both great.

Although not as good as Alien, the first part of the marines arrival on LV-426 does have some good tense atmosphere in it, but don’t be fooled as it soon transfers to a more action orientated focus… which is done brilliantly! I may roll my eyes as some of the generic “Space Marines” stuff you get all the time nowadays, but Aliens pretty much originated the concept and actually makes you care about most of them, just before they start getting taken out. Vasquez is a good character, although is maybe too generically macho, especially in the face of a more well rounded character like Ripley. Doesn’t matter much in the end though…

Burke and his cowardly and selfish ways are great too. What a complete bastard, so much so that he inevitable death is worth waiting for! As for the creatures themselves, the Xenomorphs and face huggers are once again brilliantly terrifying, and boy… the Alien Queen is a thing of practical design beauty… and equally terrifying!

In general once again the whole set design, direction and soundtrack are brilliant. It may be another genre, but it’s a perfect example of the other genre! Alien is perfectly tense and well crafted sci-fi set horror, and this is a perfectly staged and well crafted sci-fi set action horror.

The Bad:

Aliens 3

That’s some properly scary shit right there…

Not much. Some of the marines are generic as hell, but then that may be because they’ve been parodied and copied so many times since this film’s release that it feels that way. Plus, in the end the lead cast are well rounded and interesting, the marines for the most part are just there to be killed…

Overall Thoughts:

Aliens 4

…. I don’t even have to put the quote here, do I?

Two films in a row and they knock it out of the park, to use an American phrase. It’s so rare to see a sequel live up and maybe surpass (depending on if you like your horror with plenty of action or not) the original, but Aliens does. Now if only that streak continued…

5 Star Watch

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