Aliens is the perfectly titled sequel to Alien. It’s more original than just “Alien 2” and covers the contents of the movie more because this time there are more than one of those acid-bleeding monsters. If just one can wipe out an entire space ship, you should see what a 100 of these generally unpleasant beasties will do. This time, it’s war…
Now I can’t quite recall how I did view this series originally. I do know that I watched Alien 3 first, then watched Alien and Aliens as they were on TV. If I’m not mistaken I watched the 3 movies backwards; Alien 3, Aliens and Alien which is kinda stupid I guess. So after the dissapointing Alien 3 (with almost no Alien in it) I got my faith restored by this one luckily.
This movie rocks, even at 2,5 hours (watch the extended edition, it’s really worth your time) it doesn’t bore you for a second even if the Aliens show up more than an hour in the movie. Instead of a slasherlike film the first one was they upped the ante here by inserting a platoon of Marines, an entire nest of Aliens, an Alien Queen and a little girl. Always handy in case to plot requires to put someone in jeopardy.
In case you might not know the story: after the events in the first film Ripley was in Hypersleep for over 75 years. Not looking a day older when she is rescued she loses her flying permit due to the unprovable events that occured in part 1. In the mean time we humans have colonized the Alien planet and started to make it livable by creating an atmosphere. We’re such an inventive species.
Now you know where this leads: one day the colony doesn’t respond anymore and Marines are send to investigate. The Company (who wanted an Alien in part 1) convinces Ripley to join them as she has encountered this planet and species before. Now they believe her!
What comes next is an 80’s action fest in a sci-fi setting including tons of tough marines getting ripped apart by aliens (this would be a major plotpart for Predator a year later), more creepy shenanigans by the Company and a climactic battle between Ripley in a forklift suite and a gigantic Alien Queen. As in Alien the special effects really hold up well after all these years. You might expect with almost everything being done by either animatronics or men in suits that you would get a Power Ranger feeling, but that’s not the case. Stan Winston and his crew really went to great lengths to create convincable giant monsters. Of course it isn’t perfect but better than the CG-Aliens we’ve gotten over the last few years.
Now there’s one glitch in this movie: Bill Paxton. I know he’s a James Cameron regular and did some fine acting in movies like Frailty and was generally funny in True Lies but here he is just so damn annoying. This guy convinces no one that he actually is a Marine. He is a whiny little bitch all the time and as annoying as Bill Paxton can be. If he’s not pretending to be tough by making either sexist remarks or talking about firepower he‘ s crying about the big scary monsters that are coming to eat him. Man was I glad when he got ripped to shreds. There’s another character that you hate from the moment you see him appear onscreen: Paul Reiser. He plays Companyman Carter Burke so it’s his job to be hated by us, the audience. So he does a good job actually, but I did hate his character. You can probably guess what happened to him…
So there you have it: one of those cases in which a sequel is as good or maybe even better than the original. A rare case but oh so satisfying. Unfortunately this was the last really good Alien-movie.