ames Cameron's "Aliens" is, in my humble
opinion, the definitive Humans vs. Aliens movie. As far as I'm concern, every
film that has come after "Aliens" are inferior clones. Even the
Fantasy", for all of its cinematic breakthroughs, was nothing more than
a rich man's "Aliens." It's no surprise then that "Aliens"
is the film by which I measure all Humans vs. Aliens movies.
What makes "Aliens" a classic is how it
brilliantly lulls you into its world with a sense of security before assaulting
your senses with a barrage of American firepower, acid-spewing aliens, and
claustrophobic tension. In fact, the movie doesn't even kick into high gear
until well after the 50-minute mark, but as soon as that happens, the film never
relents. The way the film manages to sustain its high-octane power, while never
compromising on its quiet, personal moments, is just incredible.
"Aliens" is James Cameron's sequel to Ridley
Scott's 1979 "Alien", a cerebral experience that attempted to scare
with atmosphere and paranoia. "Aliens," on the other hand, is content
to thrill with firepower. The film brings back Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver),
the only survivor from the first film, who has been frozen in cryo sleep for the
last half century or so. Awaken into a new world she is ill-prepared for, Ripley
is informed that the alien planet where the alien creature that terrorized her
commercial vessel (from the first film) came from has since been colonized by
humans. Oh, and it just so happens that said colony has gone off the radar, and
the colonists are believed...in trouble.
Ripley is asked to return to the alien planet as a guide to
check up on the colonists. She is hesitant at first, but eventually agrees out
of a need to resolve unfinished business (of the personal and alien-killing
variety, natch). The bulk of the rescue crew consists of Marines, including the
easygoing Hicks (Michael Biehn), the loudmouth Hudson (Bill Paxton), and the
inexperienced commander, Gorman (William Hope). No sooner does the crew land on
the planet that it becomes apparent things have gone terribly wrong. In fact the
colonists are either all dead, fed on, or are being used as breeding apparatus
by the aliens!
"Aliens" is the perfect title for this movie.
Whereas part one was called "Alien", properly denoting the single
alien creature in that movie, "Aliens" is literally crawling with the
alien creatures. They are everywhere -- on the ceiling, along the walls, and in
the shadows. Under Cameron's direction, the aliens are frighteningly real,
physical, and in your face. They move with the speed of snakes and kills with
the ferocity of tigers, but what really makes them a formidable foe is their
cunning. These bastards are smart, has mastered organization, and there are a lot
Once the first mini-gun opens fire, "Aliens"
shifts into action mode. At nearly two hours and 20 minutes, the movie lives up
to the original film and, in my opinion, surpasses it. This is no cerebral
experience, this is full-tilt action at its finest. Best of all, Cameron and his
crew has the cast and the budget to pull off everything they wanted. Even more
impressive is that this is only Cameron's second movie, the first being
"The Terminator". (Cameron actually shot, edited, and released
"The Terminator" and "Aliens" back-to-back. He was also the
writer of 1986's "First
Blood," the first "Rambo" movie.
How's that for a banner year?)
Besides making a star out of Sigourney Weaver as one of the
first woman in cinematic history to kick ass and take names on an epic scale,
the film features perhaps the finest and most memorable character to sci-fi fans
everywhere. Bill Paxton ("Frailty")
is Hudson, the loudmouth who utters some of the most memorable lines in all of
sci-fi, including but not limited to his mantra of, "Game over, man! Game
over!" after the alien army has all but destroyed his unit.
"Aliens" is good stuff. No, let me rephrase that.
"Aliens" is great stuff.