My friend’s dad use to say that government employees would rise to the level of their proficiency, and then get promoted one more time, right smack into incompetence.
The same can be said for this movie series.
Gone too far. Pushed their luck. Cashed in. Jumped the shark.
From the very get go, this movie has a yuckie factor that will have you pulling your chairs up onto your seats.
Ripley is back. Bishop is back. And the alien is back.
Did I say that Aliens are just like Alien, only different?
Shoot, I said that too soon. Alien? is just like Aliens, only different. Here’s now.
Aliens. A sequel. And in so many ways, it’s not.
Alien was science fiction. Well, a combination of science fiction and horror. And when it was released, it not only scared the snot out of bajillions of people like me, it also created or at least helped create a whole new flavor of movie. There hadn’t been anything like it, but there’s been plenty like Alien since then.
Same for Aliens, only it ushered in significant changes to American perception of action films and science fiction, and created the fusion of the two. Rambo in space, when that happens, will be a direct descendant of this (and will likely be horrible, too).
This movie is as awesome as the first, and it s as different as can be. There really are only three things in common between these two movies: Ripley, the moon, and the species of Alien. But that’s OK — the story and the directing make up for that.
James Cameron, coming fresh from his success with Terminator, directed this. Ripley, our intrepid hero, survived. She was unfortunately, adrift in space for 57 years. When reunited with civilization, everything she knew from before has come and gone — to include her daughter, who died of old age.
And about her daughter. I’m watching the “special edition” of the movie, and it has extra scenes that are “must see,” I think. It’s how we come to understand that everything from Ripley’s world is gone, and we better understand why she thinks she has nothing to lose be going back to the planet. It’s also where we see Newt and her family, and their discovery of the alien ship, her father getting face sucked (I think that’s the technical term, and we understand how this whole mess gets started — again.
The planet, LV-426, has seen been colonized by terra-formers, folks who have gone there to establish an atmosphere and to make the planet livable to humans. All of this is being done by Weyland-Yutani Corporation, a private firms that has its hands in just about everything and a private firms that, we’ll see, is not above putting business interests before the interests of others.
But as I mentioned, all does not go well. The company loses contact with the folks on the planet, and with Marines in hand, they come calling for Ripley. Will she go back, with the Marines and the company, to see what’s going on? At first, she’s opposed to the idea. But eventually she realizes that she needs to go. She has to go. She needs to know that the one creature from before, the one she blew out of the hatch, was indeed just the one.
Which seems fair, if you ask me. Face her demon, and feel better about it afterward.
She does, though, insist on one thing from Burke, her company contact (played by Paul Reiser, later to be made famous on TV in Mad About You). The one thing? They’re going out there to kill it if they find it, not to bring it back like Ash wanted to do in the first movie.
The band of Marines are a hoot. The represent the whole gamut of military types, from the entirely inexperienced, to the goofballs (Bill Paxton nails the performance), to the gung-ho killers. Oh, to another android, this time played by a new, more advanced model, Lance Henriksen.
Of them all, though, without a doubt my favorite in Gunnery Sergeant Apone, played by Al Matthews. As the senior NCO, he’s the mother hen that looks after everyone, and he’s the guy who looks to make sure that the mission will succeed, especially in light of their weak leadership. Al Matthews, a decorated Marine who served in Vietnam, carries the role very well, and has some awesome lines that, if I had to bet, would improvised.
One of the awesome things about this film is all of their gear. Their weapons are functional — and I don’t mean their use in the story, I mean they really fire blanks. And their vehicle? Awesome. Just awesome. The drop ship is an excellent interpretation of a combat helicopter, and isn’t anything beyond what you might actually expect to run into in combat in our semi-near future. Watching them drop out of orbit looks as exciting as jumping out of an airplane.
But once they get there, well, it all goes to hell in a hand basket. In Alien, there was one alien and its fight was with a shuttle crew. In this movie, there are gobs and gobs or aliens — gobs! — and the fight is with a squad of Marines. In the first movie, there were maybe a half dozen or so humans that could die, and one alien. Much bigger potential body count in this movie.
And much bigger actual body account in this movie.
I guess I should say something about Newt. She’s a kid, she’s pretty well traumatized, and she’s pretty much going to have issues for the rest of her life. She’s survived by adapting to the world around her, a world that she has from one dominated by humans to one dominated by the aliens. She lives in secret and on her own, and she’s hesitant to interact with another group of humans (the Marines) who arrive, because she’s pretty sure they’re going to be killed, too.
The movie has all of the level of suspense that the first movie had, with an awesome addition of the action from the Marines / aliens fight. One of my favorite scenes is when the Marines realize that they aren’t thinking in 3D, that there’s battlespace above and below them that they, Newt, and the aliens can all use.
The other thing I love is the relationship Ripley builds with Newt. Newt trusts no one, and does not want to connect with any of them because she knows they’re all going to be dead. But for Ripley, it’s a chance for her to get over the loss of her daughter. This really only comes out if you see the special edition of the film, because a lot of that got cut for the theatrical version. Watching them lets us see Ripley’s struggle with her own motherhood, and her own loss of her daughter. She might have lost her own daughter, but she’s not going to lose Newt.
Oh, and I love the visuals. In settling into the place, the aliens went to town redecorating, Giger style. This movie has the same visual styling as the first one, it just doesn’t play as much of a role. It’s so much prettier, the sterile nuclear plant, after the aliens have had a chance to pretty things up some.
There’s one more thing worth mentioning. In this movie, we get to see mother. and we are introduced to what becomes one of the main themes for the other movies — for love of mother. When that first burst of flames is fired, down below the cooling tanks, the aliens come out of the woodwork and go on the offensive. They’re doing what they have to, to protect Momma. She’s their queen bee. Tie that in with Ripley and Newt, and it’s the start of the Mother, Mother, Mother theme.
I can watch this movie every six months or so. When I’m feeling all Army and stuff, I can watch it a lot more often. When you next watch Alien, make time to watch this one soon afterward.
(PS — it’s also two and a half hours long. So, prepare yourself.)
No, I was not smoking a lot of dope back then. I was watching some of those movies I’d just not watch at home with the wife or kids. And really, that list of “Movies I’d Never Watch In the Presence of Another Human Being” has Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem at #6 (Howard the Duck is #1, and Xanadu is #2, if you’re really curious).
As i was making my way through the Star Wars series, I was toying with what to watch next. Some action flicks, like Transformers, the Transporter films, or Jet Li? Or old Samuri flicks, on which some of the characters from Star Wars are based (like C3PO and R2D2)?
What I decided on is the Alien box set. I bought it a few years ago, have seen Alien and Aliens a couple of times since then, and only once did I watch them all – 1 to 4 — back to back.
If my views of Star Wars could change so much seeing it now, would Aliens be any different?
I suspect the answer will be yes. So, here we go: Alien.
What?? You thought porn for be a forbidden topic?
Behind the Green Door is a classic in American pornographic film.? Singlehandedly, it started the boom in the American porn industry.? It is as basic of an American cultural reference as Dirka Dirka jihad Dirka! and cheesy poofs.
By today’s standards, it really not a very good movie.? (more…)
Oh, did you think I was kidding?? Yes, I next watched Alien vs. Predator.? And let me tell you, it was bad.? Really bad.
How bad?? Oh, let me count the ways.
It’s bad when the bad guy, who is not on his home turf and not familiar with the area, stops chasing the victim and goes and hides exactly where the victim is headed to hide.? This, my friends, is the opening scene of Alien vs. Predator.? Man, running through the complex, sneaks into a random building to hide, only to discover that the Predator has already chosen that one building as his place to hide and wait for the victim.
I had an old boss who once said, When elephants dance, the mice get the hell out of their way.? In the spirit of that I say this:
Attention humans.? When Aliens and Predators are fighting, get the hell out of their way!
Another thing.? I can’t get cell reception in some places of Germany, but they get cell reception on ice flows in Nepal?? That early scene in this film was an amazingly strong indicator that I would need to suspend my perception of reality.
The gist of this movie is that some rich guy, who has his own set of satellites (to include at least one that just stares at the Antarctic, which seems like a waste to me), detects a suddenly new heat signature in the middle of nowhere, Antarctic, that seems to be an underground pyramid.
A pyramid that has features of Mayan, Cambodian and Egyptian pyramids.? Oooooo, it’s the mother of all pyramids.? The link and proof that all pyramids are alien.? The link to the new Indiana Jones movie!? Yippee!
So, of course, the rich guy puts together a team and goes there.? And they have great success in finding it, before their rivals arrive (because all rich guys have satellites loitering over the Antarctic).
And the pyramid is, of course, the private playground of the Predators, who come to Earth and the pyramid in order to grow and hunt Aliens.
Suddenly, cell phone reception on an ice flow in Nepal seems so plausible.
When the humans / victims / food / crew gets down into the pyramid, they ended up being food for some of the Alien pods that are pre-positioned there, waiting for the next Predator hunt (which seems to be some sort of rite of passage).? Not all of them, mind you – just some of them.? This happens just as the Predators are landing and coming to the pyramid (which explains the sudden thermal signature that the satellites had picked up — they had turned on the heat remotely, in anticipation of their arrival and in order to wake up the Alien Momma so she could lay those eggs).
What I don’t understand is this:? If the Alien Momma laid the eggs, and the Predators were coming to hunt Aliens, what were the Predators planning on using as hosts for the eggs?? The Alien eggs need something as a host – a human, even a dog.? Something.? But these Predators came to a buried pyramid in Antarctica, a place devoid of life, and they arrived without anything for those precious Alien eggs.? Anyone have any ideas on this?? At one point, the Italian guy explains that the heat signature was to attract them — the humans.? That might work in this century, but in past ones?? Um, yeah — no.? Why build this giant underground pyramid someplace where humans don’t already live?
So, anyway, after that, it all goes to hell in a handbasket.? Some humans running around, targets for both Aliens and Predators alike.? He dies, she dies, everybody dies.? Some do it loudly, some do it grossly, but most all just do it.
Why all the hate?? Can’t we all just get along?
So, are you ready for some nit-noid comments?
Anyway, enough with all that.
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