Friday, August 11, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #5: "Aliens" (1986)

Note: If you’ve never seen “Alien,” then you should probably skip the plot summary below, unless you don’t mind spoilers. It’s sort of impossible to summarize this film without referring to the film that came before it.

Movie Stats:
Released 1986 (USA)
American & British, in English
Director - James Cameron
Stars - Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, and many others

Plot Summary:
In the sequel to “Alien,” survivor Ripley (Weaver) is found & awakened from stasis after 57 years, where she discovers, to her horror, that a corporation has colonized the planet where her ship & crew were destroyed by an alien. Henn co-stars as young Newt, one of the planet’s colonials; Biehn as Corporal Hicks; and Reiser as corporate shill Burke.

Warnings:
Extreme violence; extreme gore; heavy blue language.

Bad Stuff:
One of my least favorite sounds in the world is children’s screams. There’s A LOT of that in this film. Soooooo annoying.

This is one of those sequels that’s basically a replica of the original. Similar plot line, and almost the exact same events, such as [SPOILERS] Ripley going back after she gets out to save something (cat in the first movie, girl in the sequel) & Ripley ejecting the alien into space, etc. [SPOILERS] It’s the original “turned up to 11,” so to speak.

The set-up takes way too long, which makes the film drag. All I could think was, “We all watched the first film, which means we’re all here for the same thing. Let’s get to the aliens & horrific death already.”

Good Stuff:
Excellent practical effects! It still looks very, very good.

I really appreciate Ripley as a character. She’s not a bad ass “just because.” She’s the type of person who’s able to rise to the occasion. I like that she starts this movie meek and frightened, traumatized by what she endured. There’s a moment where you actually see the flip switch, when she “turns on” her bad assery. That was nicely done.

I’m not normally a fan of Paul Reiser, but I thought he was excellent in this. [SPOILER] Even though I kept expecting him to turn out to be a stealth asshole, he did such a great job at playing sensitive and caring for long enough that I began to doubt myself. Just as I did, it turns out I was right. [SPOILER]

The Verdict:
This is one of those sequels that’s beloved & I don’t quite understand why because it’s essentially a carbon copy of the first film, minus the suspense & tension that makes the first film great, but with the questionable addition of an annoying child character. I don’t think it’s terrible. In fact, there’s a lot about it that’s very cool. But I wouldn’t say that I was overly impressed.

I give it 3.25 stars.

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