The legendary Alien series has always been a jumping-off platform of sorts for up-and-coming directors, with each proving to be a pivotal moment in the career of its helmer. Before 1979, Ridley Scott had primarily directed TV shows and wasn’t exactly looked at as a “visionary.” But after the release of his haunted house in outer space blockbuster, he not only solidified himself as a premiere director (going on to the helm my favorite film of all time, Blade Runner, as well as Thelma And Louise, and Legend), but he also – with the help of H.R. Giger and Moebius – changed the way science fiction films would look for years to come, along with a little film called Star Wars.
James Cameron, getting his start through the Roger Corman school of film as so many of his peers had, had worked with big concept ideas before – make no mistake about it, Piranha II is terrible, but considering the low-budget nature, the idea and scope of the picture is extremely impressive – but had never had a big budget. Getting noticed for his low-budget, but now classic, Terminator, Fox handed him the reigns to Aliens, and the rest is history. Finally having a large budget, but not a tremendous amount of time, Cameron created what is probably the most testosterone soaked entry in the series, opting to instead go for balls-to-the-wall action instead of straight sci-fi horror, and managing to create a film that felt like it existed in Scott’s universe despite the tonal shift. And that is perhaps Aliens greatest accomplishment. Cameron went on to form quite a relationship with Fox, who would go on to fund the humongous budgets of True Lies, The Abyss, Titanic (a co-venture with Paramount), and Avatar, the highest grossing movie of all time.
The first two entries are considered classics in the science fiction realm, and while I agree that they are the better films, I always found Alien
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