Trent: Ridley Scott’s “Alien” was a classic. But it was slow. The extra S in James Cameron’s “Aliens” is for SPEED. This ain’t about tip-toeing toward the scary monster in the space closet, this is about going on the warpath and killing everything with fire. This could be a “Terminator” movie, really. “Alien Vs. Terminator.” How is THAT not a spin-off franchise? Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) has survived the Nostromo along with Jonesy the cat. It’s 57 years later. Now she has to deal with the corporate tool played by Paul Reiser. He forces her to go back to the planet where the Alien was last sighted. Ripley leads a militaristic bunch composed of Bill Paxton and Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen who’s a robot and some other people who don’t matter.
What’s brilliant about this series is that you have these basic concepts (alien morphing creature, space, survival), and you could have an auteur (did I pronounce that right, Cousin Franz?) put their imprimatur on it every time. (Did I pronounce THAT right?) This is very different from the first, it is proudly a James Cameron movie, and so it is about the Marines fighting in outer space. It’s like a rough draft draft for “Avatar.”
Hank: Are we sucking up to Cousin Franz now? I’m sure he is familiar with the Alfred Hitchcock quote I’m about to botch: “If the bomb blows up, it is action. If the bomb DOESN’T blow up, it is suspense.” “Alien” is mostly suspense, “Aliens” is mostly action- and what great action it is!
Beatricia: Trent is right. Ridley Scott’s “Alien” was a classic. The sequel? Not so much. James Cameron has no genuine feel for science fiction. It has to be REALISTICALLY UNREAL if I’m gonna buy it! But noooo, he can’t fathom the fact that, in the future, people might dress differently than they did in the ’80s! You tell me, does this look like 2179 to you?
Tracey: The first “Alien” was a democratic movie, giving no particular hint for most of its running time that Ripley would emerge as default heroine. It could have played many other ways. For instance, I doubt 1979 audiences expected Tom Skerrit to die before Yaphet Kotto. But “Aliens” is Ripley’s playground. She’s the ultimate badass feminist icon, and a good adoptive mother too to little Newt, and even though James Cameron would try to replicate her with the Linda Hunt of “Terminator 2,” Sigourney Weaver is still the monstress! (That’s a compliment!)
Cousin Franz: I will always give it a cherry because the last hour is absolutely phenomenal! That’s when things get pared down to basic action and we’re spared James Cameron’s prosaic, if not downright vulgar, dialogue. Quick question: can you imagine James Cameron directing a Chekhov play? You can’t! The man can only think up disastrous spectacles that allow him to recoup insane budgets, sort of like a Monster Truck Show organizer. That’s about all that can be said for one of the luckiest hacks in the history of Hollywood.
Grandpa Felicius: Competent film-making, but devoid of any intellectual center. Enjoyable carnage.
Blurbarella: “People who don’t matter– Fighting in Outer Space– No Genuine Feel– For Most of its Running Time– The last hour is absolutely phenomenal.– Enjoyable.”
4 out of 6 Cherries