|release date||July 18 1986|
|studio||20th Century Fox|
|starring||Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser, Bill Paxton|
|tagline||This time there's more.|
|trailer 1||Trailer #1|
Sure James Cameron brought us one of the most annoyingly over-rated films of all time (TITANIC), but he’s forgiven as he also delivered probably the single greatest horror film in the history of cinema… ALIENS. A wonderful blend of genres, this classic film from 1986 in beyond words, but if I had to choose one to describe it-it would be EPIC.
In ALIENS Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is rescued from her ship after her last encounter with the alien life forms in ALIEN. She’s been frozen for 57 years and has just learned that her little girl has grown up and died and that there is no one left in her life. No one believes her story about these aliens with acid for blood and they revoke her license to fly ships as she destroyed the last one without cause (or so they think). After a colony disappears on the planet she claims to have seen these aliens, she joins a crew of army goons because she’s the only one who claims to have seen these aliens. On the planet everyone is missing and we found out why… and it aint pretty.
Starting with the screenplay, ALIENS is flawless to the very last detail; we have a wonderfully executed set up, colorful characters (with heavy development time) and an explosive triple finale that has me gasping every single time I watch it. The story stays true to the rules set up in ALIEN and packs such a punch that it’s one of the only franchises were the sequel is far superior than the original. The first plot is Ripley having been frozen for 57 years, and having found out that her daughter recently passed away, she has an empty void in her life causing her to be reckless and suicidal. The story comes full circle as she finds a little girl (Carrie Henn) on the planet that lost her entire family and is seeking a mother figure to protect her. Ripley vows to protect her thus creating such an insanely high level of suspense throughout the entire film. Then we are introduced to the motley crew of army brats, all of who have wonderfully executed personality traits. We get the tough chick Pvt. Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein), our unexpected hero Hicks (Michael Beihn), the sarcastic comedian Pvt. Hudson (Bill Paxton) and countless others. Not only that but Lance Henricksen plays the android Bishop, which is essential to the plot. Ripley was betrayed by an android in ALIEN and therefore doesn’t trust Bishop throughout ALIENS. Once again the film comes full circle as he loses his artificial life for her and saves the day. Lastly we have the moronic money grubbing Carter Bruke (Paul Reiser) who wants to find a way to bring the aliens with him for scientific research.
Rule #1 when making a sequel… kick it up a notch (or ten). With ALIEN we had one creature, with ALIENS we get thousands – and they’re vicious! Throughout the entire second half of the film Ripley and co. are on the run from the scariest monsters ever to grace the big screen. The fact that when they explode acids flies everywhere just adds another level of intensity to the sequences. Throw in the hundreds of pods, and the spider-aliens that come out of them, and you’ve got yourself gold. And dare I forget mention the QUEEN Alien!? Seriously, how can anyone ever top this film?
The creature FX (Stan Winston) was brilliantly done for 1986; some aliens are puppets, some are people in costumes and others are giant marionettes. The way Cameron uses the camera to bring all of them to life is astonishing and at moments, breathtaking. Some of the greatest moments in the film are when the aliens are in plain view of the camera and the viewer is tricked into believing that they are just part of the scenery, only to drop off the wall and attack an unsuspecting victim. The close-ups of the aliens’ heads when they attack are guaranteed to have you jump in your seat and when you see them closing in around our heroes you’ll be digging your nails into the armrest of your seat.
Lastly, the pacing of the film is stewed to perfection. ALIENS is non-stop entertainment as every single moment of the film is filled with meaning – not a single second is wasted. I think what works so well in the film is that the viewers, along with Ripley, know exactly what’s coming and everyone else is naive. There is nothing more frustrating that watching a bunch of show off know-it-alls waltz into their imminent demise. Every step… every BREATH… we cringe for them. We know the terrors that wait them and soon they will too – and by then it’ll be too late. Once the action kicks in it doesn’t stop, it’s chaos every moment; you don’t have a chance to breathe. But what makes ALIENS (probably) my favorite movie of all time is the finale. The last 15-20 minutes is literally the craziest ending to a film I have ever seen. Not only do we see the Queen Alien popping out eggs, but also we get to see Ripley blowing her sh-t up, the Queen Alien chasing after her and a one-on-one battle that has to be seen to be believed. Epic.
Talking about ALIENS is literally a conversation best saved for a night at a bar as one can go on and on and on and on and on about how insanely awesome it is. So I’ll just call it a night right now and hit you with my closing statement. If you were to only see one movie in your entire lifetime it would have to be ALIENS. James Cameron has delivered a masterpiece that will never in a million years be topped.