Movie Review: Aliens
Director: James Cameron
Year of Release: 1986
Genre: Action / Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Run Time: 137min (Theatrical) / 154min (Director’s Cut)
Seven years after the release of the original Alien film director James Cameron, who had just started making a name for himself, directed a sequel to what some consider to be one of the best Sci-Fi movies ever. Hoping to break to mold of sequels being inferior to the original, this 2hr plus movie hoped to take you on one helluva ride.
I re-watched this movie today to see if it still kicked ass and the jury is in and they say it’s still one of the best. When I sat down and watched it I was still at awe with the movie. Yes the special effects are ropey by todays standards but when a movie is over twenty years old you expect that. Even so, there are only a few bits and pieces of the SFX which are dodgy, the rest are still jaw-dropping, the Alien Queen being a case in point. The fist fight between the loader and the Queen at the end, it all still looks fresh to me. The bad points though are the shots of the dropship flying and perhaps the final explosion but they are only on-screen briefly and can hardly tarnish the movie.
So what of the story? Well, we pick up 57 years after the events of the original movie. Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) escape pod she used to escape from the aliens in the original Alien movie is found by a deep salvage team and is rescued. Here she learns how long she’s been out there and that her daughter who was 10 when she left, died two years previously. With this news Ripley is put in front of a disciplinary board who refuse to believe the story of how and why she destroyed the Nostromo. Not only that but colonists are currently terraforming LV-426 (the planet the Nostromo set down on). It’s only a matter of time and not long after these events contact is lost with the colony on LV-426. Carter Burke (Paul Reiser) asks Ripley to join him and a team of Colonial Marines on a mission to find out what has happened to the colonists. After much thought Ripley decides to tag along.
The movie is a tense one. Even though I knew exactly what happens and when, it still made me jump at the right points. This is a testament to the films score and Cameron’s directing. The tension is built up beautifully and when the moment comes a quick crash from the music just makes your heart race. Visually, as mentioned earlier, it still makes you sit up and take notice. In a nutshell the movie is simply timeless. Even by todays standard of special effects it can hold its own against many modern offerings. What it can also do is show how movies of this genre should be made and oh how I wished Aliens versus Predator would have followed this mould.
Overall this movie is still a fantastic watch but if you are going to rent/buy make sure it’s the director’s cut. This version adds some key scenes to the movie which really help tell the story properly. Definitely a top 100 movie of all time.