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THE sci-fi movie. It's nearly perfect in every way: storyline, characters, menacing threat, suspense, action, direction, music, emotion, etc... It's always been a favorite of mine and still is. To me this is not just a film, it is an experience. The adrenaline pumps like in no other film and rarely have we had the chance to see a heroine as compelling as Sigourney Weaver. She can kick anyone's ass and still keep a heart and soul. (Why she didn't win the Oscar back in 1986 is beyond me.) When the action starts, you're in for the ride of your life. Truly a milestone in movie making. Now if they could only release it on DVD...
I rate Aliens a perfect 10. This second installment in the Alien series evolves the original movie's horror/sci-fi genre into action-adventure/sci-fi, setting a standard which has not yet been matched. I like this movie because it paints a picture of the future which is realistic enough to suck you in during the beginning of the film and then quickly introduces you to interesting characters who you become concerned with; some you love and others you hate.....but none of them bore you. By the time the action starts it's possible to forget you're watching a movie (at least the first couple of times). The plot is filled with tension that is occasionally broken by some of the most memorable one-liners in history (especially by Private Hudson). The special effects are remarkable, considering the fact that they were accomplished the "old fashioned way" prior to digital manipulation. I can report that I now own the Director's Cut and rate this version a 10 also. The extra footage will be extremely interesting to fans of the 1986 release. Either version gives you great characters, suspense, action, firepower, sarcasm, and wit. Aliens is an outstanding show!
I am just going to add my voice to the chorus of praise for this movie.
It is as near to being perfect as any I have ever seen. I will not say
that it is much better than Alien - which is just about near to being
perfect also. But I do love all the characters in this movie. I have
rarely seen a movie where all the characters were so well developed.
Even most serious dramas seldom develops each character so completely.
None of these characters are stereotypes even Paul Reiser as Burke,
although the slimy company/government man villain is a prerequisite in
disaster type movies. I would almost say that my favorite is Michael
Beihn as Hicks, just because I like his work & consider him to be
underrated. But I also like Lance Henriksen as Bishop, William Hope as
Lt. Gorman, Bill Paxton as Hudson, and of course, Jenette Goldstein as
Vasquez. I liked all of these characters. I cared about their lives &
deaths. The final scene for Gorman & Vasquez still chokes me up after
seeing it many times.
I am not ignoring Sigourney Weaver or Carrie Henn. Ripley is the template for the modern action heroine. In the 24 years since Alien, few have been able to measure up to Sigourney Weaver's Ripley. Even in Alien 3 & 4, Ripley was still powerful, despite the 3ed rate quality of the movies. As for Carrie Henn as Newt, she was the emotional heart of Aliens. Cameron's ability to develop well rounded characters does not detract from his ability to create great action scenes or to scare the audience out of a several years of growth.
Series note: It is strongly advised that you watch this film only after
seeing Alien (1979). This is a direct continuation of that story.
57 years after the events of the first film, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is found and awakened from hyper sleep to discover that a terraforming colony has been set up on LV-426, the planet wherein she and her fellow crew of the mining cargo spaceship Nostromo first encountered the titular aliens. When Earth-based communications loses contact with LV-426, a band of marines are sent to investigate, taking Ripley and a representative from the company that financed the colony, Carter Burke (Paul Reiser) along for the ride.
For the difficult job of following up Ridley Scott's excellent Alien, director James Cameron decided to go a completely different route--to make a fast moving, slightly tongue-in-cheek, boisterous action extravaganza. Remarkably, he was able to do that while still maintaining a stylistic and literary continuity that melds Aliens seamlessly with the first film.
Ripley is much more fully developed in this film, although unfortunately, some of the most significant scenes were deleted from the theatrical release (if at all possible, watch the 2-hour and 37-minute director's cut instead). Cameron fashioned Aliens into a grand arc where Ripley's actions at the end of the film have much more meaning as she's not only fighting monsters, but also fighting to retain a semblance of something she lost due to her 57-year hyper sleep. As in the first film, she is still the most intelligent, courageous and resourceful member of the crew, but she has much more colorful company.
The marines accompanying Ripley back to LV-426 may be too cartoonish for some tastes (as for viewers of that opinion, most of the action and the film overall is likely to be too cartoonish), but for anyone more agreeable to that kind of caricatured exaggeration, it's a joy to watch. I'm a big fan of both Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen, and both turn in wonderfully over-the-top performances, at their diametrically opposed ends of the emotional spectrum--Paxton as the spastic surfer/redneck and Henriksen as the intense, moody sage, with a surprising reality and an even more surprising conscience to go along with it. We also get a cigar-chomping Sergeant, a crazy, butch Private, and a complex, pensive Corporal as main characters, and a mysterious, bright young girl (played in a terrific performance by Carrie Henn). Much of the center section of the film hinges on the interrelationships of these characters, despite the action trappings going on around them.
Cameron carries over the crypt/labyrinth motif of the first film, and adds a metaphorical descent into the bowels of hell in the climax. The action throughout is suspenseful. Aliens contains one of my favorite "cat fights" in any film. It's also worth noting the influence this film may have had on Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers (1997)--although admittedly, we could say that Cameron was influenced a bit by the Robert A. Heinlein book, as well. Throughout all of the varied action sequences, as well as the important early scenes of colonists on LV-426, Cameron is able to clearly convey the logistics of very complex sets, so that viewers remain on the edges of their seats.
Part of what makes the monsters so effective is that we're not told too much about them. We only get glimpses into their physiology's, their behavioral patterns and their intelligence. Cameron gives us just enough to become wrapped up in the film, but not so much that we become overly familiar with the aliens, or start to question the logic behind the film. He also smartly carries over some devices from the first film that were abandoned to an extent, such as the acidic blood of the aliens, and he supplies answers to the few questions that the first film raised, such as why the blood doesn't corrode instruments and objects when a dead alien is examined.
Aliens is yet another example of a sequel that is just as good as an original film in a series. Just make sure you watch both in order, and try to watch the director's cuts.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Aliens" is the best trapped-with-a-monster-right-behind-you movie of all
time. The weird part is that it's not the first of its kind. Usually, the
first of a genre is always the best but these kinds of movies were made
decades-and-decades before 1986's "Aliens." Still, through its strong
story and characters, it elbows its way to the head of the
Ripley is a heroine like no other. She thrills you. Her powerful presence and unstoppable soul will always live on in the minds of movie-goers. She and Newt form a surrogate mother-daughter relationship that is more touching than anything I've seen before in this kind of a movie. In this movie more than any other in the "Alien" series, Ripley's a woman who does what she can (and then some) to protect herself and the ones around her. She's the perfect action hero.
On top of that, the pulsing music that plays while Bishop is speeding them away from the exploding compound and while Ripley is booting the Queen Alien out into space is beyond comparison.
Note: If you LOVED this movie, it's probably best you don't see Alien 3. It, for some reason, turns the triumph of this film's conclusion into a depression deeper than the vastness of a hundred black holes.
ALIENS really does have it all. Perfect direction. Beautiful
cinematography. Intense characters. Big guns. Action. Heroism.
Courage. Battles. Friendship. Bravery. It is certainly the BEST
sequel ever made in movie history, and one of the GREATEST
MOVIES EVER MADE.
At its core is Lt. Ellen Ripley (played by the badass Sigourney Weaver), a warrant officer, and tough as nails. Her character is one of the greatest heroines of all time. Sigourney really does pull it off. No one else could have done it like her. Ripley's maternal connection with the young girl Newt is amazing to watch...but the ultimate scene is her final battle with the galaxy's most deadly creature - set to a pulsing military score (James Horner delivers in a big way!). Quite possibly my favorite fight scene of all time.
There's not really much else to say - just go watch the movie on DVD, and you will not be let down. You're in for a wild ride!!!
ALIENS: THIS TIME, IT'S WAR
There are really good movies and then there's that select few that change
your life. For me movies like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, JFK, Titanic
and Star Wars did that. By viewing a movie you see life in a different
light. Aliens also did that to me. I didn't think a movie could scare me
as much as Halloween did but this one certainly did that and more. The
atmosphere in this movie, and the lighting and cinematography and of
the direction are top notch, and some of the scenes are some of the
I've seen in my life time. But what puts this movie over the top as one
the all time greatest films ever made is the casting.
Sigourney Weaver is terrific but it is her supporting cast that shines and makes you feel like you know the crew that is heading to that desolate planet.
Paul Reiser is perfect as Burke,the slimy corporate kiss ass that cares about profit before human lives. Lance Henriksen shines as Bishop, the cyborg with a heart. Jeanette Goldstein is the rough around the edges female marine that more than holds her own with all the testosterone floating around and Michael Biehn ( another Cameron favourite )is the perfect quiet leader that leads by example and not so much a loud demonstrative voice. But the show stopper in this flick ( just as he always is in any movie that he is in ) is Bill Paxton.
Paxton and Cameron have worked on Terminator 1, True Lies, Titanic and Aliens and Bill is one of those actors that steals scenes from every actor and was always a recognizable face even before Titanic. Here, his Hudson character is the comic relief but he is also perhaps one of the true characters that we can all identify with. His tough exterior is nothing more than camouflage for his frightened fragile interior. He realizes the dire situation that they are all in and he can't hide his fear. When he finds out that they won't be rescued for at least seventeen days, his response is " Hey man, we're not going to survive 17 hours man! Those things are going to come in here and they're going to get us and..... " ( Ripley ) This little girl survived longer than that with no weapons and no military training. " ( Hudson ) " Why don't ya put her in charge!!! "
Paxton is a gift to any and every movie that he is in and this is his finest work. He should have won a best supporting actor that year. And if you haven't seen this movie, rush to see it if only for Bill Paxton. He steals the show. But if a tightly wound, brilliantly technical and unbelievably scary movie is your thing, then you can't go wrong here. This is easily a ten out of ten, and one of the best ever made. If Spielberg is the king is Hollywood, then Cameron is his heir apparent. Oh, and one more thing, Paxton will win an Oscar one day.
James Cameron is an extremely talented action director because not only
does he know great action, but he always backs the action up with a
great story and interesting characters. Aliens is his finest
achievement, as far as I'm concerned. Of course, I should specify:
Aliens Special Edition is his finest achievement.
In 1986 several scenes were cut to keep the movie's run-time reasonable but there was one scene that was incredibly foolish to leave out. The scene I refer to is near the beginning where Ripley learns that her daughter has died while she was away in 'hypersleep' for 57 years. "I promised her I'd be home for her 11th birthday," cries Ripley. This is a very moving scene that adds a great deal the character's depth and makes more sense to why she cares for a little girl named Newt later in the film. She's seeking penance through Newt with her love and determination to keep her alive at all costs. The theatrical edition obviously doesn't elude to any of this, and even cheapens the relationship between Ripley and Newt- just a little bit. James Cameron has said that all of his movies are love stories, and Aliens is a story of parental love. He has also said that the special edition is his intended (if not definitive) version of the film. For about five years or so the Special Edition was the only version of Aliens you could get on DVD. It should have stayed that way.
Aliens is a unique film experience: it's genuinely thrilling and exciting, unlike a lot of movies where people shoot the evil monsters and there's disgusting blood and rapid gunfire, and it's really meaningless. In Aliens' case, the aliens are very threatening and more than just target practice. We don't see any aliens for over an hour, but once we do, it's a huge payoff. By that time, we get to know some interesting characters: Hicks (Michael Beihn), a take-charge marine who also turns out to be sweet and sincere, Hudson (Bill Paxton), a braggart who turns out to be a coward and complains most of the time, Vasquez (Jeanette Goldstein), the iron-willed woman soldier who proves to be one of the bravest characters in the film, Bishop (Lance Henrikson), a robot that is very helpful for everyone's survival, Burke (Paul Rieser), the slimy company man who the audience loves to hate, and of course, the adorable little Newt (Carrie Henn), a girl who has survived unspeakable horror. Holding the whole film together is Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver in her surprise-Oscar-nominated performance. I think the only reason why the audience cared for her in the first film is because she was the only person left and we wanted her to live. But for this film, James Cameron added so much to her. With all this investment in characters, we're really concerned for their well-being. We don't want those aliens to get them. Some die, and I'm always truly bummed out when it happens.
Filled with amazing performances and an abundance of thrills, Aliens is one of the greatest of any genre it attempts: whether it's action, sci-fi, horror, or even drama. I personally liked it better than the first film, but it's really like comparing apples and oranges. I prefer the special edition and don't see why anyone should view the other version instead.
My rating: 10/10
I have watched this movie when I was a pre-teen at the cinema, and MY! It completely blew me away. It has got my adrenalin pumping so hard that I almost wanted to slip back to my seat and take a breather! Although during that time I didn't quite understand most parts of it (too young to understand), I was deeply immersed into such rich story-telling and the fantastic alien creatures. The tensely build-up atmosphere and the space-ships, grips you so tightly it seems never to let go.
This movie rocks, scares you right on to your face, very mysterious, have tons of special effects (not quite CGI though, but the mechanical aliens looks just so threatening and scary). James Cameron is such a fabulous story-teller in this Sci-Fi stellar! The movie ran at more than 2 hours but I didn't feel that at all. Actually James has cut out a lot of scenes for this theatrical release back then, but you can still get those scenes back on the DVD (extra 17 minutes footage).
The acting is good especially from Sigourney Weaver, Paul Reiser and Lance Henriksen (as the robot). Sigourney's Ripley is such a strong-willed woman, that even put shame to men (somehow I feel this is quite unbelievable, because she has got so much energy, especially the scene where she gets back to the Queen's hatch to save Newt). I have watched other alien series (Alien legacy - All four parts), but I can say this part 2 of the series is my favourite, followed by Alien, then Alien:Resurrection, and lastly Alien3)
I am quite happy to see this film stays high at one of the top Sci-Fi movies in IMDB)
Till now as an adult, I still go back to watch this DVD occasionally and every time I watch it again, it brings in a completely new scare, and new thoughts, also the new meaning of what is a horror movie all about!
Highly recommended if you haven't watched this yet. I give it an 8 out of 10! (Truly deserves the high IMDB rating at 8.2 to-date)
Seven years after barely surviving events on board the Nostromo in Ridley
Scott's classic sci-fi horror ALIEN, Sigourney Weaver reprised her role as
Warrant Officer Ripley for one of the most compelling and
critically-acclaimed sequels of all time. Canadian director James Cameron
had already struck gold with the Arnold Schwarzenegger starring vehicle
TERMINATOR (1984), after his somewhat inauspicious feature film
debut with the long-forgotten, Dutch-backed PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING 3
earlier. ALIENS would further cement Cameron's growing reputation as a
first-rate director of high-tech, fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping action
thrillers, from which there would normally be no let-up once they got
When Ripley is rescued from drifting aimlessly through deep space, she is horrified to learn that not only has she been asleep for 57 years, but the planet on which she had encountered the original alien all that time ago has since been colonized. At first no-one will heed her warnings or completely believe the story she gives at an official enquiry as to what happened to her and her fellow Nostromo crew members. But then contact is lost with LV-426, and despite initially throwing Ripley "to the wolves" (as she herself puts in), The Company, through representative Carter J. Burke (Paul Reiser), suddenly finds itself in a position of having to ask Ripley for help, finally persuading her to return to the planet that still consumes her every nightmare, as an advisor to a motley group of very tough colonial marines expecting this to be just another run-of-the-mill "bug-hunt". But how wrong that assumption turns out to be!
I would argue that ALIENS far surpasses its celebrated predecessor in almost every aspect. Obviously the sheer spectacle of what is basically a Vietnam war movie in space is particularly awe-inspiring - the impressive sets, the many excitingly-staged combat sequences, the aliens themselves (interestingly enough, although through fast cutting and appropriate camera placement it seems as though there are hundreds of aliens being blasted to kingdom come - or else picking off the gung-ho marines one by one - in reality no more than 6 aliens are ever seen in any one shot). But the human drama element of this sequel is also greatly heightened, primarily by the introduction of "Newt" (wonderful little Carrie Henn, in her only film role), who turns out to be the sole survivor of recent events on LV-426, becoming a kind-of surrogate daughter to Ripley, which leads to several touching moments and gives the story a surprisingly effective emotional core in the midst of all the otherwise pre-eminent carnage.
Amongst the talented supporting players are Cameron regulars Michael Biehn (THE TERMINATOR, THE ABYSS) and Bill Paxton (bit part in THE TERMINATOR, TRUE LIES, TITANIC), and Cameron's punchy dialogue includes such suitably macho wisecracks as - Hudson (Paxton): "Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?" Vasquez (a pumped-up Jenette Goldstein): "No, have you?" Nominated for 7 Oscars, including Weaver as Best Actress (again this confirms the general class on display, as it is fairly rare for the Academy to recognize the acting qualities inherent in this type of predominantly action-driven movie), the film went on to win for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Effects Editing. Further, almost inevitable sequels followed in 1992 and 1997, but I prefer to think of the terrifying perils of Ellen Ripley as ending on this high note.
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