Classic Film Review: Aliens

Monday 2 May 2016 by

Aliens, Sigourney Weaver, Film, 1986, Classic films

Classic Film: Aliens

Year of Release: 1986

Review: Whilst the claustrophobic sci-fi/horror flick Alien is arguably the better film (well, not much argument, really – it is the better film) its gung-ho younger sibling, Aliens, will always hold a special place in my heart.

Fifty-seven years after Ripley faced down the original Xenomorph, blowing up the Nostromo and the dangerous life-form on board, is rescued from deep space. While she’s been in stasis, the moon where her team first encountered the Alien has been terraformed – a whole colony of humans living on its surface. Communications with the colony have been lost, and Ripley’s employer wants her to head out there and assist with the rescue efforts, as she’s the only one who’s been up against this threat before.

Only this time, as the title shows, there isn’t just one, but lots of them.

Having more than one of the Xenomorph does somewhat take the scares out of the equation. It’s a much more action-thriller sort of film, rather than horror. Which is not to say it doesn’t have its frightening moments – the scanners which show the proximity of the aliens are an excellent tension-making device, and the horror of what one character is prepared to do to Ripley and young survivor Newt more than makes up for the lack of jump-scare moments.

But overall, it’s much more about the guns and the explosions, space ships falling out of the sky, and marines threatening to nuke entire planets. And yet for all this should have made it a pulpy bit of ridiculousness, Aliens succeeds where its, rather woeful, follow-ups fail – it tells a good story, with compelling characters. So much of the plot for 3 and Resurrection was just recycled from the first two (and let’s just try to forget about Prometheus, shall we?) that the story started to feel stale. Which is why taking the horror of the first film and turning it into an action worked so well – it was fresh and different, while retaining the same thrills and excitement.

And the characters – from the camaraderie of the super-tough marines, to the sliminess of the Weyland-Yutani representative – were people you could love or hate. When Ripley finally goes up against the Alien Queen, armed with her machine guns and flamethrowers, she’s as tough as any male action hero that came before her.

Ultimately, I think that’s why I love Aliens so much. Ripley was a great character in Alien – an annoying jobsworth who grows into the hero of the story – but in Aliens she becomes the sort of female hero that was so rarely represented in film at the time. And because of that, the film feels a lot more contemporary than it is.

Modern Equivalent: The Edge of Tomorrow sees Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt go up against a similar alien horde. And if you love Ripley being a badass, Blunt’s Rita Vrataski is going to be right up your street.

You can follow Loralei on Twitter: @LAHaylock

Related Posts

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *