Not only one of the best sequels ever made, but one of the best movies ever made! Ripley is back, and she’s pissed. This time it’s take no prisoners!
From the first frame…
I consider [[Aliens]], the sequel to the 1979 science fiction/horror movie, to be one of the best movies ever made. I don’t make this claim lightly. James Cameron has woven together a magnificent script with wonderfully fleshed out characters in a beautifully directed sci-fi/action/horror movie that has a lot more going for it than it’s genres seem to offer. It was good enough to earn Sigourny Weaver an Oscar nomination and the film 6 other nominations.
[[ripley]] As the movie begins we reestablish a connection with the character of Ripley, the heroine of the first film. She’s been adrift in space for the last 57 years. She’s a troubled woman having nightmares about a creature that nobody’s ever heard of that she claims is on a planet that is now settled by colonists. A board of inquiry from the “Weyland-Yutani” company doesn’t believe her story and essentially accuses her of some sort of coverup in the destruction of her ship from the first film.
A short while later we find Ripley living in a small apartment still waking each night with nightmares of the alien creature bursting from her chest as she helplessly watches. We find out from the company man Carter Burke that the company has lost contact with the colony on LV-426 and that the colonial marines have been called in to investigate. He wants Ripley to go with them in an advisory role just in case there really is an alien as described by Ripley there. It’s during this exchange that we find out that Ripley’s been working the cargo docks running loaders and forklifts. This sounds like just some filler material used to explain what the character’s been up to. But it’s much more important than that.
Siezing on the opportunity to confont her nightmare, she reluctantly agrees.
From the halls of Montezuma…
[[marines]] We meet the marines as they’re waking up from the long hyper-sleep on the way to LV-426. During the short scenes leading up to the landing on the planet, we are introduced to each of the marines. It is a testament to the brilliance of the script that by the end of these scenes with each marine having perhaps a line or two we know who they are and care what happens to them. There’s the joker Hudson, the strong, silent Hicks, and the cool Vasquez among others. I’ve never hear a script that so quickly established the personality of the main players.
During the briefing just before the drop onto the planet we find out that the marines are experienced in dealing with exterminating hostile organisms, so this appears to be just another routine mission for them.
Just another bug hunt…
[[alien-profile]] They drop down to the planet and find that the colony is a shambles. There’s no colonists to be found except for a little girl named Rebecca,AKA Newt. They find the remains of some alien facehuggers,in the medlab of the colony. There are two which are still alive (again, a small detail, but an important one for later in the story).
The marines find that the colonists are all inside the main atmosphere processor by finding their personal data transmitters which were surgically implanted in each colonist on a kind of radar display. Not able to tell if the colonists are alive or dead, the marines head off to rescue them.
After a battle with the aliens that wipes out many of the marines it’s clear that for the first time in their careers they are outmatched. Their only option seems to be to head back to their ship and “nuke the site from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.”
I don’t want to give away much more because here’s where the story switches gears and becomes a high-octane action thriller with a climax that has to be seen to be believed.
Some more thoughts
The script for this movie is so tight that every line of dialogue seems to have some sort of significance. The characters are all living breathing people that you care about and want to see survive and be successful. The plot twists keep you on your toes.
Part of the beauty of this movie is in the details. There’s far more than I can cover effectively in this review. If your interested, check out the [[Alien FAQ]]. There’s more information there than you can possibly imagine about this great film.