Synopsis: The moon from Alien (1979) has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?
I had the chance to attend another movie at the Seattle Cinerama’s 70mm Film Festival a while back and they were showing one the greatest sci-fi action movies and appropriately enough on the year of its 30th anniversary, Aliens! Easily one the most action packed, tense and well done movies of all time, one of James Cameron’s best movies. I’ve always like Aliens way more than Alien just because it plays more like a Sci-fi action thriller rather than the horror style of the Alien. It’s got some of the most famous and memorable scenes and dialogue that have been etched into our minds coupled with great performances and amazing visual effects!
Sigourney Weaver returns as Ellen Ripley set 50+ years after the events of Alien and she comes to find out the Weyland Yutani Company has terraformed the planet LV-426 where they found they Xenomorph aliens in the first film. However they lose communication with the compound and want Ripley to join a group of Marines to investigate what happened. This leads to an exciting, tense and a scary 2 hours. Aliens moves at a blistering pace and never lets you settle in, keeping you on the edge of your seat the whole time. That’s where Aliens is amazing in that you as the audience have a hard time seeing what’s coming and this coupled with the fact that if you’ve seen the first Alien you know how dangerous and scary these aliens are and now our heroes have to deal with an entire army of them. I love this movie because of the survival aspect of this movie and the characters all seem to be real people even somehow Bishop, an android, all have great character arcs. Ripley is just a normal person trying to deal with PTSD from the first movie and the Marines all come in cocky but come to find out they’ve vastly underestimated their enemy and pay for it. I honestly loved the idea of soldiers with guns and artillery go up against these Xenomorph aliens. You felt so helpless in the Alien since it was just Ripley trying to fight with stuff she found on the ship and this movie it was fun to see actual soldiers with guns face the aliens, even though they were still just as helpless. There’s so much more to love about the movie for which I could go on forever but I want to mention how much I love the character of Newt and her relationship with Ripley how they have surrogate mother/daughter relationship to the point by the end of the movie she even calls Ripley mommy, it’s the emotional core of the movie and helps to keep the movie grounded. Also I can’t leave out how much of a bad ass Ripley is at the end of the movie when she decides to go back in to save Newt from the aliens. Forget one of the greatest and strongest “female leads” she’s one of the greatest and strongest leads period.
The look of this movie is huge part of why this movie works and is so good. The set design is incredible and many of the compound corridors were built to be enclosed and connect to each other creating the real feeling of claustrophobia which also seems to enhance the actor’s performances. The fact that they built everything on set and did as much as they could in camera it really added to the realistic feeling which makes it all the more scary. The Xenomorph aliens themselves were great ILM really outdid themselves with them. The visual and special effects amazing most of the aliens were dancers and gymnasts in those crazy costumes climbing and jumping around while the Queen was an actual 14 foot tall suit/puppet operated by 16 people! All of these practical and in camera effects help to keep this movie’s timeless effect and many of the effects hold up even 30 years later. Lastly I want to mention the sound design of this movie mainly because I just love the sound of the Marine’s Pulse Rifle Gun firing along with the sound effects but really the way that gun sounds is one of my favorite movie sounds up there with the Lightsaber ignition from the Star Wars series.
Aliens is a very tense and exciting movie with very likable memorable characters, a classic sci-fi movie that everyone should see. Aliens coupled with its compelling story and great effects is timeless movie that still holds up even to this day. This movie is fun, emotional and exciting adventure that’s very satisfying to watch. Unfortunately the number of sequels, spinoffs, or prequels haven’t been able to come close to the greatness of Aliens and for it’s the best in the series.
Should You See It: YES!
Theater Worthy: Definitely if you can!
Final Grade: A