“We’d better get back, ’cause it’ll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night… mostly.”
The sole survivor (Sigourney Weaver) of an alien attack travels back to the planet where it took place, in hopes of warning its new residents.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Science Fiction
- Sigourney Weaver Films
- Strong Females
James Cameron’s follow-up to Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) is, as many have noted, a rare instance in which a sequel matches its predecessor in both quality and entertainment value. In a cleverly conceived scenario, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) — who has been in a “sleep coma” for over fifty years — is accidentally discovered by a salvage crew (whose first reaction, notably, is one of disappointment for losing its potential commission; this is a future universe in which greed rules all). Against her better judgment, she’s bullied into returning to the planet where aliens annihilated her crew, and where a settlement of humans is now (supposedly) thriving. We’re also given a bit of a back-story, learning that Ripley was the mother of a young girl who has since aged and died — thus nicely setting the stage for Ripley’s fierce protection of a young girl (Carrie Henn as “Newt”) she finds hiding on the planet. Finally, the nameless corporation which put the entire crew of the Nostromo in harm’s way in Alien is given a face (Paul Reiser) this time around, allowing audiences to palpably hiss at a known (human) enemy.
The sets and special effects in Aliens are just as effective as before, though everything feels (appropriately) amped up a notch. While Alien was essentially a slow-moving thriller punctuated by bursts of seat-jumping violence, Aliens possesses many more non-stop action sequences — and yes, there are more aliens this time. Surrounded by a crew of ultra-macho Marines (including a couple of remarkably buff women), Ripley is no longer alone in her battle against the beasts — though she does (infamously) face off alone against “Mother” (the mother alien) at one point. Henn (who left movie-making to become a teacher and a mother) does a fine job as Newt, and is given the film’s most memorably campy line (quoted above, and infamously spoofed on “South Park”). This kid is placed in some seriously dangerous situations, yet remains refreshingly realistic about it all — she’s got both excellent luck and plucky determination on her side.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Sigourney Weaver as Ripley (nominated by the actual Academy as Best Actress of the Year, but not by Peary in his Alternate Oscars)
- Gruesome special effects
- Many genuinely heart-thumping action sequences
Yes. This sequel is a worthy follow-up to Alien, and should be seen by all film fanatics.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)