Movie Review – Aliens

1986 Twentieth Century Fox

Four Stars

AliensReturning to the universe created in Alien this movie begins where Alien left off as we rejoin the last two survivors of the Nostromo, Warrant Officer Ripley and Jones the cat who are still frozen and drifting through space in the shuttle Narcissus. Soon a salvage ship rescues them and Ripley is back in Earth’s orbit trying to explain why she blew up her former ride. She also finds out she has been in hyper-sleep for fifty seven years and the planet where the Nostromo crew picked up the alien has been colonized. After contact is lost with the settlers Ripley grudgingly goes back to the hostile world once again, this time with a group of Colonial Marines who are packing some serious firepower.

Forsaking the gothic horror atmosphere of the original movie Aliens is a terrific sequel that adds more action and more pyrotechnics. A great cast rounds out an all around good production that features awesome special effects and some seriously cool weapons. This is just a kick ass movie and a great sequel.

The only thing that keeps me from giving Aliens five stars is the copycat story. As soon as the movie shifts to the marine’s ship the Sulaco the story is pretty much a scene for scene remake of Alien and that just bothers me a little bit. Each scene is duplicated but with more characters, more aliens, and more action. Aliens is simply Alien on steroids. For a more in depth breakdown of this look here: Alien and Aliens Comparison.

Nothing wrong with that I suppose but I am not a fan of sequels that are too close to the original. However this is such a well-done movie I can overlook it.

The good:

The story. It worked great when it was called Alien as well.

The cast. Besides the leads there are a lot of unknown actors that pretty much vanished afterwords but they were good in this movie.

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Sigourney Weaver is excellent once again as Ripley.

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Bill Paxton would go on to play many more annoying characters.

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Dwayne? Dwayne?

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Lance Henriksen is great as Bishop.

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Gorman went on to die in Hellraiser II.

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This chick vanished.

The special effects and production design.

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There’s some great model work in Aliens.

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Awesome ship.

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 The music. James Horner comes through with his all purpose score once again!

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The drop ship crash sequence is awesome.

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This is fucking great. Game over, game over…

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Nice character moment when Vasquez hands Bishop a gun…

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…he looks at it and hands it to Ripley.

The pulse rifle is damn cool.

The pulse rifle is damn cool.

The not so good:

I would have liked just a little more originality in the story.

As much as I admire Stan Winston’s work I thought the alien warriors looked like crap at times.

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Although the aliens are cool I prefer the alien design from the first movie.

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Pay no attention to the wires moving the tail…

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…this tail too…

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…and this dudes arm.

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Nice dots I his chin. A double cleft? Nice gloves.

The alien warriors look to “floaty” while they are crawling in the rafters and coming after Vasquez in the air shafts. They moved exactly how a stuntman with wires attached should move with no sense of real world weight.

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Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. He coulda been a contenda!

Not a big fan of the rod puppets used for the alien queen or the power loader. They don’t quite match the full size versions.

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Excuse me but your wires are showing! You’re also crushing my ribs! You’re such a doll!

I really wish Hudson would’ve shut the hell up.

As much as I like the characters they are somewhat typical Hollywood stereotypes, the scared funny guy, the tough lady, the leader in over his head, the usual troop leader, etc. It’s rare in real life to find people defined by one trait and I don’t find it to be a very realistic approach in movies.

Random thoughts and observations:

I couldn’t really buy into Jenette Goldstein using the big smart gun. If she had swung that thing around fast she would have fallen on her ass no matter how much she worked out.

I can buy the power loader as a futuristic forklift but I could not buy it being used to fight the queen. There is no way that top heavy piece of equipment would have stayed upright with Ripley swinging the arms around like Muhammad Ali.

I love the head and torso of the alien queen but the spindly legs made it look goofy and as top heavy as the power loader.

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Love the head. Don’t love the body.

Burke managed to carry two stasis canisters full of liquid with facehuggers in them by himself and then tip them over without Ripley or Newt hearing anything? The door is approximately nine paces away from the cot they were under. He’s good.

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Nice detail. The gun is still laying near the door of the shuttle.

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Too bad the diagram didn’t show access through the drop ceiling.

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Nice to know corporate executives are just as dull and unimaginative in the future.

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The bio readings of the Marines are all identical.

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I wouldn’t care if I was grinding metal, as long as the APC kept going so would I.

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Very classy Hicks. Nice time to feel up Vasquez.

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This aliens fingers are nailed to the door.

Theatrical Cut versus the Director’s Cut:

I actually prefer the Director’s Cut with two exceptions.

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Hudson is even more annoying in the longer cut.

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The sentry guns are cool but I wouldn’t think there would be enough aliens to kill.

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