A recent discussion on a forum I hang out on finally made me write up a comparison of what I see as major similarities in the movies Alien and Aliens.
Before I begin let me say I am not putting down Aliens in any way. I love both Alien and Aliens but there is no doubt in my mind James Cameron was following the story from the first movie very closely. He just added more characters, more aliens, more action, cool hardware, and turned Jones the cat into Newt the girl. Please note I am not making any distinction between genres. I know that Alien is gothic horror while Aliens is more military/action/horror. I have heard many people say how different Aliens is from Alien and in tone and pacing yes it is but the story is pretty much the same. Cameron merely remade Alien as a more mainstream action movie and made the characters more the usual Hollywood types and a bit more likable than the crew of the Nostromo.
The beginning of the movie is very different from Alien but as soon as Ripley heads off with the Colonial Marines to investigate the colony the movie can be broken down into a repeat of the first movie with the compound on LV-426 playing the part of the Nostromo.
Here is my pictorial breakdown:
Click on pictures to see larger size.
The slow pan around the corridors.
The computers awaken.
The crews awaken.
The meals…with cornbread.
Down to the planet.
Walk to the derelict. Walk to the compound.
What the hell are those?
Studying the facehuggers.
Into the air shaft. Into the processor.
Watching and listening.
Monitoring the progress.
The alien pounces. The aliens pounce.
But Ripley the company wants the alien and you’re not important to them!
Ash goes berserk. Burke goes greedy.
Let’s destroy the ship and leave. Let’s nuke the site and leave.
The alien(s) attacks, only Ripley and Jones Remain. Only Ripley, Newt, Hicks, and Bishop remain.
Crap I have to get Jones. We have to get Newt.
Hello kitty. Hello kiddy.
The alien is in the way I can’t leave. We have to save Newt we can’t leave.
Get away quick!
Nostromo goes boom. Processor goes boom.
It’s gone we’re safe. They’re gone we’re safe.
But the alien has hidden away in the machinery/landing gear.
Ripley runs into the storage closet. Ripley runs into cargo storage.
Ripley gets into the space suit. Ripley gets into the powerloader.
Out the airlock the alien goes but it grabs the door frame/powerloader.
Finally it’s gone.
Time to sleep.
Acid near the shoes.
Hand in goop.
There are even similar cut scenes with Ripley discovering the cocooned Dallas and Brent in Alien and Ripley running into a cocooned Burke in Aliens. Both scenes take place near the end of the movies as the lights and strobes blink, sirens blast, and feminine sounding computers countdown the seconds to destruction