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Aliens

Aliens

What he said:

He

Ever since Prometheus (review here) came out last year, I have been re-familiarizing myself with movies of the Alien universe. I watched Alien (review here) before Prometheus and Alien 3 (review here) after I saw it, but hadn’t found the time to watch Aliens, which is on the longer side. Well I recently had some time to check out James Cameron’s version of an Alien movie.  
Alien pretty much defined the strong female lead, in the modern era at least. Yes, there were movies that came before it that had female leads, but this one was different. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) came face-to-face with one of the meanest creatures on the big screen and was the only member of her crew to survive. With no weapons no less! She was working on a ship that was pretty much the outer space version of an 18-wheeler, so when they encountered the creature they were in no way prepared. But Ripley – and only Ripley – survived. The modern female bad-ass was born.

Well if the first movie helped define what a strong female lead character is, this movie put it to shame, and that is by no means a cheap shot at the first movie. Alien is an awesome movie, but this movie took everything Alien was and added an ass-kicking factor to it. It is rather ironic too, because in today's movie industry the formula for a typical sequel seems to be making it bigger, louder, and more obnoxious; which as we all know doesn’t necessarily result in a better movie. The Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, and Star Wars prequels (the last two in particular) say hello. But James Cameron was able to make it work.  The storyline, acting, and sets were every bit as good as the first, but Cameron gave it a bunch of guns, marines, and multiplied the number of creatures by about 1000. He turned the concept of the original on its head and made it work wonderfully.

Aliens

Long story short, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) wakes up 57 years after the events of the first movie. “57 years? How is that possible?” you’re asking. Well without giving too much away, there was a problem with her flight back to Earth and she remained in hypersleep much longer than she anticipated. 

Anyway, her employer is not happy. They are angry she blew up their ship and cost them a lot of money. She tries to explain to them that it was because there was a hostile alien life form onboard, but they simply don’t believe her. She challenges them to go back to the planet and investigate, but they say they don’t have to, because they now have a colony there and there has been no report of an alien species.

As if fate heard that little exchange, this incident occurs soon after Ripley’s pleas for help. A little after that, the company loses contact with its colony and begins to take Ripley seriously. They manage to convince her to go back to where they found the creature, this time with "space marines" and a corporate rep (played by Paul Reiser) to see what happened. Carter Burke (Reiser) tells Ripley they are going there to investigate and wipeout the species, but if you know “the company” in the Alien universe, you know they aren’t known for their honesty.

When they finally get there, they see that Ripley wasn't nuts and there really was something going on. This situation is much worse than Ripley’s first encounter with the creature, because this time there’s more than one of them (a lot more). And boy do they clash with the space marines in a most gloriously violent way. 

Aliens

This movie has a fantastic supporting cast. Carrie Henn plays Newt; a young girl they rescue. Ripley forms a bond with her and the youhg actress had great chemistry with Weaver. Every single one of the marines played the part to a T. Michael Biehn and Bill Paxton (who is hilarious in this movie) are the most well-known of this group – and rightfully deserve all the praise they get – but the whole group was great. Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein), to this day, is still one of the toughest women on film!!! Paul Reiser was excellent as the sleazy corporate rep Carter Burke. And Lance Henriksen was excellent as the android Bishop. You never know if you can trust him right up until the end.

Sigourney Weaver was excellent. Due to the fact her character already suffered the traumatic events of the first movie, she was forced to play Ripley from another angle. There was also some depth added to the character. We find out a little bit more about her past and also watch her take more of an aggressive role than the first film. She made it seem like a very natural progression.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This review was updated for your reading pleasure on May 15, 2013.

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