October 8th, 2014: Aliens (1986)

Aliens

Cast and Crew: Walter Hill (Co-Writer, Producer); Gale Ann Hurd (Producer); James Horner (Score); Stan Winston (Effects); Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jeanette Goldstein

What It’s About: Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) survival capsule is picked up in deep space 50 years after the events of Alien.  The planet where her crew encountered a new, deadly alien life-form was colonized.  When all contact with the colony is lost, Ripley is recruited to join a group of Colonial Marines in their mission to discover the fate of the colonists.  Will the firepower the Marines bring with them be enough to fight an entire army of aliens-and can Ripley get them to listen to her long enough to survive?

Why Watch it Today?:  Alien was Weaver’s, born on this date in 1949, breakout role, but it was in Aliens that she made Ripley into the bad ass that most people think of when they think of the films.  Whereas the first film is a deft blend of science fiction and horror, today’s follow-up from writer/director James Cameron stirs in some amazing high-octane action, giving a movie that still packs some icky chills but was more friendly in the action movie loving environment that was the mid-1980s.

Other Choices:  Want something seasonal but funny and not scary?  Check out Weaver in another 80s classic, Ghostbusters.

 

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4 comments on “October 8th, 2014: Aliens (1986)

  1. geelw says:

    Heh. And hear I am playing Alien Isolation and getting scared out of my mind, so this pick is a good one. There’s been a bit of a backlash against this film over the years by some who feel it’s TOO much action and not enough horror, but it did make female stars more viable as action heroines, Weaver got an Oscar nomination and it still holds up if you watch the extended cut and see all of what Cameron wanted to do with his take on the franchise.

    • T.A. Gerolami says:

      I prefer the first film but that is not in any way to say that this isn’t a great action/horror/sci-fi hybrid, and I think it’s great that this is a sequel that advances the story and takes the franchise in a new direction. This is the definition of a great sequel, actually.

      I disagree that the extended stuff helps…I don’t think it’s bad but I also think the film functions fine without it and is leaner in a good way without the extra stuff they put back in. Still, both versions are good IMHO.

      • geelw says:

        Oh, the extended version is definitely going into mini-series territory, heh. But I liked the stuff with the automated weapons because you only hear about them in the theatrical cut. Ripley having a daughter and seeing her photo sets up the new Alien Isolation game (you play as Amanda in the game, so you know she survives to die at a much later date). And I’d say Newt’s daddy-o getting egged shows how the aliens got into the camp. Yeah, the film doesn’t need that stuff at all, but I liked that Cameron shot it and held onto the footage. Some moves never answer some silly to important questions, so for once I appreciate Cameron’s excesses.

      • T.A. Gerolami says:

        I think it all plays better after you’ve seen the original cut…I can’t imagine seeing it all as my first ever viewing of the film. That being said, of all the scenes I think the stuff with Ripley is the best addition. The guns, eh, it’s a cool extra but you don’t actually need to see them. The worst addition, to me, is the scenes with the colonists. We don’t need those at all for the film to work, and in some ways they take away the sense of mystery you get in the theatrical cut where we, like Ripley and the Marines, don’t see the colony until we get there.

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