JT Film Review

110 – Aliens (1986)

Aliens REVIEW

4.5/5 stars

Director – James Cameron

Cast – Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Lance Henrikson, William Hope, Paul Reiser

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– follows Alien

– followed by Alien 3

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Ridley Scott’s Alien is regarded (rightly so, in my opinion), as one of the greatest science fiction and horror films. With a mix of suspense and scares, it successfully blended genres in a way not always succesful in other films. James Cameron, fresh off of the success of The Terminator, directed the sequel, Aliens, and he came up with quite a movie indeed.

While Alien went with the suspense angle, Aliens tells a similar story except in a more action/thriller vein. The “space truckers” from the first movie are here replaced with Marines, and where Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) in the first movie was forced to use her wits and whatever tools at hand to defeat a “zenomorph” alien, here she has a squad of men armed with flamethrowers, machine guns, and futuristic vehicles to fight a whole hive of them. Hijinks ensue.

Aliens is well paced, with each scene having a distinct purpose. It ticks along like clockwork, scarcely missing a beat. In fact, if I was to have any complaint, it is that it is, in fact too “clock-worky”. There isn’t as much time given for suspense as I would have liked, but this criticism treads dangerously close to the fallacy of comparing two films who were essentially of two different genres.

The main character of Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, is one tough cookie, and is often credited as pretty much the first female action hero. In fact Weaver herself referred to Ripley in this film as “Rambolina”. But Cameron takes care not to just whitewash her as another McClane or Rambo. She is given a heart and a personality. Note the way she reacts to being told her child is dead, the way she dislikes the gung-ho idiots among the Marines, the way she becomes a sort of surrogate mother to an abandoned child. We are fully convinced of her personality, which makes the “Get your hands off her, you bitch!” moments all the more thrilling to see.

It would be amiss to not mention the way Cameron treats the military in this movie though, and really, in all his movies. They are all either harsh and butch, or cocky and whiny, and either way they’re annoying as hell. It got to the point where I almost wanted to fast-forward through scenes where they were talking etc. From Aliens to The Abyss to Avatar, he may as well have copy and pasted his military characters. It is essentially a pre-teens fantasy of gun-toting he-men. I would have liked a more professional, grounded look at the men, but I guess I mustn’t quibble.

OVERALL

Aliens is an excellent action movie, that combines scares and thrills in a great way. The characters are well fleshed out (saving the army dudes), and Sigourney Weaver as Ripley is iconic. The movie will carry you on a ride which you won’t mind going on again and again. Highly recommended.

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TRAILER

“Aliens” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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September 14, 2010 - Posted by | 4.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Sci-fi, Year - 1980-1989 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. A worthy review of a favorite of mine. How did you feel about the “clean sweep” of characters for Alien 3? I was always disappointed that Newt and Hicks survived, only to die ignobly and alone.

    Comment by Lord Brockington | April 12, 2012 | Reply

    • I must admit I have not yet seen Alien 3 or 4 (whatever the last one was called).

      Comment by jamesturpin | April 13, 2012 | Reply

      • Well then I dramatically apologize for spoilers. 😦

        Comment by Lord Brockington | April 13, 2012

  2. Haha I doubt I’ll see them soon, so I will have probably forgotten by the time I do.

    Comment by jamesturpin | April 13, 2012 | Reply


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