I have talked a lot about sequels on my blog in the past. Some people love them, some people hate them. One can’t deny that in the current movie climate sequels are coming out of the woodwork. Not a year goes by that we don’t get some kind of sequel to a movie that has been successful in the theatres. Usually for the sole reason to obviously make more money. But there are certain films that were so good, so incredible, that you don’t even want a second part. Huh? What’s that? Why would you not want a sequel to a movie that you loved? Well how on Earth could it ever surpass a film that left you in total amazement after you have seen it for the first time? So why tarnish that film with a follow up that can never be as good? I’m sure that is what the moviegoing audience must have thought when Aliens was released, seven years after Ridley Scott’s original Alien. That classic movie is a masterpiece. So how did, at the time relatively unknown director James Cameron, even dare to touch such a sacred work of art. Total blashphemy right? Wrong… People, stop your grinnin and drop your linen: LET’S ROOOOOCCCCKKKKKK!!!
At the start of Alien a small shuttlecraft is found by a salvageteam. Aboard is the sole survivor of the spacecraft Nostromo, Ellen Ripley. After her rescue she is shocked to learn that she has been in cryosleep for 57 years. When she tells the story of what happened to her and her crew, to a bunch of executives of The Company, no one really believes her. Especially since the planet where the Nostromo first encountered the terrifying alien species is now terraformed and has been occupied by a human colony for several years. In all that time no one ever reported anything out of the ordinary. Ripley is being dismissed and left to deal with her demons alone. Waking up in a cold sweat every night, Ellen feels like she is slowly losing it. But then she is contacted by Company man Burke, who tells her that all contact has been lost with the colony on LV 426, and that they need her help in finding out what is going on. At first Ripley is very reluctant to do so, but eventually she relents and together with Burke and a group of Colonial Marines she heads back towards the planet of her nightmares. But the nightmare is even worse than she imagined and not even a group of the toughest hombres of the galaxy might be enough to save the galaxy. This time it’s war….
Let me make one thing really clear to you before I am beginning this review. I almost know this film by heart. I can pretty much recount every single line of dialogue from this film. I could have written this review without even rewatching the movie itself. But the only reason I did watch it again anyway is because I am in complete and utter love with this film. You might even call it a small obsession. This is my alltime number 2 favorite movie, and the best science fiction film that I have ever seen in my entire life. (So Karandi I guess your question has been answered now). To compare Alien and Aliens is almost impossible as they are two completely different films. Where the first Alien is true horror, this second movie is an action film. While of course there are still horror elements in it (it would almost be impossible not to include those, I mean just look at the creatures themselves), it is not as claustrophobic as that first masterpiece. But that doesn’t matter as this film has an intensity and thrill level that more than compensates for that. This film is an express elevator to hell, and it doesn’t let up until the final credits.
A big part of what makes this film so memorable is the incredible cast of characters. Let’s start with the heroic Corporal Hicks, played by the in my opinion highly underrated actor Michael Biehn. He is just one of those men that has this natural charisma that you instantly like. In a very tense situation, Hicks is the one that stays frosty and inspires the troops with his calm and motivating presence. His on screen chemistry with Ripley works incredibly well, and there is an underlying romance that is never acted upon, but definitely there. The opposite of Hicks is Hudson played by the late Bill Paxton. Also serving as a bit of much needed comic relief, he has some of the best lines in the film, especially when he keeps losing his cool. In the end though he is every bit the hero that Hicks is. On the sleezeball side is the character of Burke, portrayed by actor Paul Reiser. It’s funny to see him play a role that is quite unusual for him as he normally portrays gentle characters that have a real sense of innate goodness in them. Burke though, is a slimy and utterly loathsome man that only has substantial dollar values in his mind, and has his own secret agenda for coming on this mission.
But, ultimately it is once again Sigourney Weaver who returns as Ripley, that is the driving force of this film. She got an Oscar nomination for her role and deservedly so. Even more than in the first movie, Ripley is a lean, mean fighting machine. But her love for the young child Newt, the sole survivor of the doomed colony is what makes you like her even more. The bond that forms between the two of them, is a mother and daughter kind of relationship and ultimately gives this film a true heart. And that is an incredible thing to pull off amidst all the action and incredible special effects. Because really let’s talk about that for a second. There is a fight sequence between Ripley driving a power loader and the Alien Queen that to date I am still in awe of. The way they filmed that sequence is just absolutely astounding, and in spite of it being a film that is now 32 years old, it doesn’t look fake at all. In fact you just have to wonder if the government somehow kept these aliens a secret from us. That’s how incredible this looks. And that scene contains one of the greatest lines ever in a movie. Don’t know what I am talking about? Just look at the clip down below.
I haven’t even talked about some of the other characters like Vasquez, or the android Bishop, but if you let me I could write a review that could possibly go on forever. And as that might become bit too boring I’m going to call it a day here. As this review contains not a single negative word from me about it, I can hear you wonder if I am being objective here. Quite possibly I am not. But for the life of me I really can’t think of anything that was bad in this film. This for me has been and always shall be the greatest single piece of science fiction moviemaking that I have ever had the pleasure of watching. A gripping, powerful and utterly moving film, that is accompanied by the terrific score of composer James Horner, you just have to see this movie at least once in your life. It is in my opinion the best sequel to a film that has ever been made, and I don’t think that there will ever be a greater sequel in movie history. Then again, I have been wrong before. So in the words of Hudson: Game over man! Game over!
I give Aliens a 10 out of 10 score.