Release year: 1986
Director: James Cameron
Screenwriter: James Cameron, David Giler, Walter Hill
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Hehn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein
Ratings: 2 Oscars: Best Sound Effects, Best Visual Effects. 5 Oscar nominations: Best Actress (Sigourney Weaver), Best Art Direction, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Score.
Back on Earth as the only survivor from Nostromo Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) discovers she has slept in space for 57 years. When she learns that contact has been lost with the colony built on planet LV-426 where she encountered the alien on her last trip, she signs on as a consultant, hoping to rid herself of her nightmares.
After creating his own monster in Terminator (1984) Cameron took up another’s monster, multiplied it and made a kick-ass movie out of it! Where Alien (1979) was a horror sci-fi, Cameron’s take on the acid bleeding bitch from space is a sci-fi action, giving leading lady Ellen Ripley a change to really get out her inner bitch when she once again faces her worst nightmares. The movie is filled with great characters all well casted and many by people who have continued to work with Cameron on further projects. Weaver (Avatar, 2009) returns as the uncompromising action heroine, once again convincingly taking care of business. Her character is more subdued in the beginning of the movie as she struggles with the aftermath of her last alien encounter and as she is surrounded by a new crew who don’t know her and what she is capeable of, she ends a bit in the background. But that all changes when they arrive and troubles starts, giving Weaver a change to prove she still got what made her our favourite action heroine in Alien (1979). She has good chemistry with the rest of the cast especially an excellent Biehn (The Abyss, 1989) and magnificent Henriksen (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977) as Bishop, a character so popular he returned in some of the sequels. The story obviously centers around Ellen and the aliens, but another main object of the movie is Newt (played by a great Carrie Hehn who has only acted in this one movie). a surviving girl that creates a strong bond with Weaver and who plays a big part as the momentum that drives Ripley foreward and beyond. The action is tense, with several aliens this time (no spoiler, considering the s added to the sequel’s titel) there are plenty of baddies to blow up and a risk of danger around every corner. Cameron effectively uses beebing perimeters, scenes covered in red light and a machine voice counting down to almost drive you insane with tension as the ending becomes a race against time. Though everyone does a great job and all characters are more than entertaining, nothing beats the intimate battle in the suspensful ending where Ripley goes solo against her arch enemy. More than 20 years later, Aliens is still one of the best sci-fi action there is!
20th Century Fox hired James Cameron to write the screenplay but after completing only 90 pages he left to make Terminator (1984). They were however so impressed by what he had written that they agreed to wait untill he was available to let him finish the script.
Picture copyright: SF Films