Aliens Rewind Review
Director: James Cameron
So, call it bad parenting if you like, but for me, i could not be more thankful enough to my parents for allowing me to watch this. I mean, I don't think they actively sat me in front of the TV and pressed play. I think it was just on terrestrial television and I happened to get glue to the screen. What happened to me after, and gladly to many of my school friends was a new breed of fandom. I had been impregnated. I possibly watched this without realising it was a sequel.
The film was already six years old by the time I saw it but rate of change back then is nothing like it is today. It was still perfect for it's time, in fact, even by today's standards, it is definitely considered an all-time classic picture. I had it on VHS (well, I claimed it from my parent's collection, one of many) and I cried my eyes out when I wasn't allowed the special edition with the extra 17mins of unseen footage. I collected the dark horse comics, comics I hold dear still to this day, especially the artwork of Den Beauvais. I had posters, postcards, books and watched Alien. I did of course, eventually own the director's cut and I'm also in possession of an unopened 30th anniversary Bluray. So you could say I am a big fan.
But what was it that got me so hooked? It was the team of diverse and elite space marines going up against not one, but a hive full of xenomorphs. The bond and camaraderie between the team really appealed to me, somehow relating to them. Their arrogant confidence put up against the most terrifying odds. It was like a disaster movie but with the characters given a slight chance with impressive firepower and credible technology.
The production was immense. The creatively beside the aliens themselves was incredible. The APC, the drop ship, the pulse rifles and the remote sentries. The power loader, the motion trackers with those haunting iconic sweeps which increased along with your heartbeat. The costumes they all wore, the graffitied body armour and the legendary Stan Winston reworking Giger's Alien. Even James Horner's score is brilliant with that haunting "Main Theme" as the title shows itself superbly melded with a hint military band grade drums that get a full grand performance in "Ripley's Rescue". This score is definitely Horner's version of Holst's Planets.
It has a perfect cast! With Cameron's favourite Biehn playing Corporal Hicks, a good or lucky replacement for James Remar. Weaver obviously returning as sci-fi's greatest and most iconic heroine and Henriksen as the synthetic, strangely affectionate android Bishop who isn't bad at all for a robot. The diversity of characters in this film is good also, actually portraying a fairly but not perfect reflection of what space marines might actually be like. Could I be wrong to say, coming from the eighties, this film actually addressed certain aspects of equality. Apone being their Sgt. and having strong female characters in addition to Ripley, mostly Goldstein's Vasquez, who quickly became another cult figure. She really was one mean, kick-ass soldier. Oh, and let's not forget Reiser's Burke who comes in high on my "Best Movie Arsehole" list. (post coming soon to a blog near you)
Was this a good step up from Alien? It's certainly one of those rare examples where the sequel is considered to be better than the first, if not equal. Personally, Aliens is better to me purely because of bias, having watched this first. But, if I'm honest, they're both very different style of films which actually makes them equal partners to the franchise. My actually opinion is already tainted by seeing Aliens first and find it incredibly difficult to imagine how I would have seen the films if seen in order.
Cameron successfully brought in superior action infused with tension and certainly transported the audience to somewhere otherworldly yet believable. It's like the producers and Cameron must have been sitting there discussing ideas for film, thinking, what about the armed forces making an encounter? Against one alien? No, hundreds of them. A war zone.
A terraforming colony goes silent and Ripley is reluctantly sent back as a civilian guide to a bunch of gung-ho bug-hunting US marines which quickly escalates into a fight for survival as they quickly become prey and are picked off one by one in rapid concession. The film has several classic and memorable scenes, like the queen bitch versus Riply, the getaway APC, the knife trick in the mess hall and "that's in the room!" Other lines like "Get away from her, you bitch!", Game over man, game over" and "you look like how I feel" are just a few of the many quotes that have repeated over the last thirty years.
It's an absolute masterpiece that still stands up even to today's standards of movies, it's a perfectly balanced science-fiction action horror that paved a path for many films to follow. A film I will always hold in high regard. An essential must-see.
Running Time: 10
The Cast: 10
Job Description: 10
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for being a cult classic and possibly a sequel regarded better than the first.
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: 30th Anniversary Special Edition. With those extra 17minutes of footage!