Sunday, October 18, 2015

Movie Review: "Aliens" (1986)

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Director: James Cameron
Year: 1986
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 17 minutes

After killing the Alien and escaping the Nostromo, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) has unknowingly spent the last 57 years in hypersleep. She is discovered by a salvage crew and is brought to a space station orbiting Earth. It is there Ripley tells them of her ordeal aboard the Nostromo and what the crew discovered on LV-246. She is then informed that the company has had terraformers living on LV-246 for the last 30 years with no mention of any alien life, though recently they have lost contact with the colonists and are sending a marine crew in to investigate. They want Ripley to join them as a consultant, and upon arriving on the planet, their worst fears are realized, but even far worse than they could have ever imagined.  

James Cameron takes over the directing job for this sequel to the 1979 classic "Alien." This film works on the simple idea that if one Alien is scary on its own, 100 or more Aliens would be downright terrifying. In many ways, this is true, but it definitely takes a different approach to the situation. Where "Alien" was subdued and suspenseful, "Aliens" is far more action-packed, but still slightly scary like its predecessor. This time around, it is not just a salvage crew versus one stealthy, killer Alien, but rather a military team dealing with a whole swarm of Aliens. Being a military team, they are able to kill plenty of the Aliens, which have been given the name Xenomorphs. Unfortunately for the crew, they are grossly outnumbered, and despite the fact they are well trained for combat, they still find themselves dropping like flies. Just because this film adds more action doesn't mean it totally abandons tension and mood from the first film. Cameron, an expert director by all accounts, manages to offer some great eerie setting as the Aliens started to colonize parts of the planet and make it into a hive of sorts. There is still plenty of tension as the Xenomorphs are still able to remain relatively unseen and often come right out of the background like the slimy, horrifying ninjas they are.

Of course, Sigourney Weaver reprises her iconic role as Ripley, and she is just as fierce as ever. Since she was the soul survivor the first time around, the rest of the crew has been fleshed out with new actors. Some notable cast members who play marines are Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, and Mark Rolston. Lance Henricksen plays the android on board named Bishop, and Paul Reiser plays the average corporate scumbag named Carter Burke. They all contribute in making this a memorable sequel and one that lived up to the extremely high bar set by its predecessor. This film, of course, was made during a time when sequels actually mattered, had good stories to tell when compared to their predecessors, and were not seen as simply "gimme" movies simply prattled off by studios in an effort to gain profits, though the franchise certainly came to this point later in its history. A lot of the credit for its success has to go to James Cameron, who has a knack for making really excellent, exciting, fun movies. In his seven major Hollywood releases, he has not had one bad movie in the bunch. It seems the only way Cameron's name could get attached to a bad film is if the producer went on a power trip, took over shooting a movie and locked James Cameron out of the editing room, giving him no control over the final product...*cough* "Piranha 2" *cough*.

Fortunately, "Aliens" is just as amazing as its predecessor and is also a must-see for horror fans, sci-fi aficionados, film buffs, and Sigourney Weaver lovers.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
Two years ago, we were watching: "Return of the Living Dead"

One year ago, we were watching: "Frailty"

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