on May 19, 2000
Aliens is NOT a rehash of Alien. They are completely different films. While Alien used suspence and shock factor to get the audience (I didn't drink milk for weeks after seeing it!), Aliens is an action-packed powerhouse. Heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat cinema at it's finest. My hat is off to James Cameron for directing and re-writing the script.
Quick rundown of the plot of Aliens:
Flight Lt. Ripley (Sigorney Weaver) wakes up after an unusually long hyper-sleep to find out that the horror she left behind in "Alien" has taken on massive proportions.
You'll see a bunch of familar faces in Aliens:
Michael Biehn (Terminator, The Abyss) as Hicks
Paul Reiser (Mad About You, Diner) as Burke
Lance Henrikson (Millennium, The Quick and the Dead) as Bishop
Bill Paxton (Twister, Titanic) as Hudson
...and a few others that will make you do a double-take. -See if you can figure out what other movie "Private Vasquez" was in with Bill Paxton.
The visual effects are astounding. Thanks to DVD, details can be seen that were blurred in the VHS format. (I can finally read what is written on Ferro's helmet!) This film takes clear advantage of the DVD format and its THX re-mastering. I feel sorry for you if you don't have a large screen and full surround-sound at home for this one! Watching it in wide-screen format reveals all of the detail that has been missing for so long in the pan-and-scan format.
The Special Edition goodies include scenes that were cut from the theaters. The "new" footage (previously only available in LaserDisc format) blend seamlessly into the film. They all add value. I kept thinking "I don't remember that" and "HEY! NOW I get it!" If you've never seen the 17 minutes of added footage, you're in for a treat!
You'll also find Behind the Scenes footage and a photo gallery in the Special Edition. All perks that make this purchase worth while. Even the main menu on the DVD is a treat.
Do yourself a favor, buy this action classic and watch it the way it was intended to be seen!
on October 12, 2005
I don't know what the Editorial reviewers above were thinking, but it just makes me want to smack my forehead in disbelief. The original cut of Aliens is MUCH better than the Director's Cut. This was back when Jim Cameron still knew how to make a great movie--long before the bloated and tiresome Titanic. The extra scenes in Aliens: Reloaded add absolutely nothing. We don't need to know EXACTLY how the colony got decimated by the aliens. We just know it has been. The NOT knowing is what is really scary. By adding in that scene at the beginning showing exactly how the alien ship is discovered by the colonists and how the "infection" begins--well, it just completely blows all suspense in the first third of the film. By not showing that, it puts the viewers on the edge of their seats--we KNOW something has gone horribly wrong, but we don't really know anything for certain. That's what tension is all about. That's how Cameron gives you that creeping dread for so long--that's why, when there's the first big (fake) scare on the planet, you practically jump out of your skin--because you've been so tense for so long! Don't shoot your wad by over-explaining. As for establishing how Ripley's daughter grew up and died while Ripley was a frozen popsicle for 60 years? Well, boo-hoo. Total bathos. Frankly, I thought it was much better that she bonded with Newt without any explanation, except the fact that how on earth could ANYONE not bond with and not care for that smart, brave kid? And she goes back for Newt because of their bond, and because it's the Right Thing To Do. Hello? Do we need the melodrama of Ripley's lost daughter for that to be emotionally genuine and satisfying? No, we don't. I was so glad not to have some kind of maudlin back story to explain people's relationships to me. I can fill in the blanks myself, thanks. Audiences are not that stupid. None of the added scenes in the Director's Cut of Aliens are needed. Watch the original. Accept no substitutes. And now that the original is finally available on DVD, which it wasn't for a long time--well, there's just no excuse.
57 years after the events on board the "Nostromo", lone survivor, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) who is in cyro-sleep along with her cat Jonesy, is rescued. Her incredible story of her alien encounter is met with skepticism since the planet on which the alien was discovered, "LV-426" has been colonized for over 2 decades and the colonists have never come across any alien life-forms. When communication from the Colony is lost, Ripley is asked by Carter Burke (Paul Riser) if she can return to the "LV-426" alongside several Colonial Marines. Ripley is assured by Burke that their mission is to annihilate the aliens and she reluctantly agrees to join Burke's team. Once there, they discover a desolate planet in ruins and one survivor; a young girl named Rebecca "Newt" Jorder (Carrie Henn). Their struggle for survival is made even more difficult when Burke's egomaniacal plot is exposed and the hordes of vicious, blood-thirsty aliens come out to play.
Directed by James Cameron, "Aliens" is simply put, a thrill-ride. The first quarter of the film is spent on establishing the characters and Ripley's state of mind but once the action starts, there is no letting go. Unlike Scott's original film, this is not as dark. It is a bit more vibrant with a bunch of colorful supporting characters- the friendly android, the sleazy Burke, and a handful of Colonial marines who deliver the usual wise-cracks and some added humor but where the original had only two mean bad a$$ aliens (I am including the face-hugger here), "Aliens" throws a whole bucket's worth of these creatures at us (hence the title) and we are finally introduced to the Queen (she is a beauty). The suspense is also here and there are several nail-biting moments that rival the tension and fear of the original classic and like its predecessor, this film builds to a rousing, heart-pumping climax. The performances are outstanding. Weaver, again, is a stand-out. Her Ellen Ripley has more to do here and is more fleshed out. She is compelling, authoritative, tough yet vulnerable and when Newt is introduced, a nurturing mother figure. Her relationship with the orphaned girl is nicely done and if you watch the Director's cut, we see more of her vulnerability due to her losses of being in cyro-sleep for close to 6 decades. Another stand-out is the very familiar-in-a-James-Cameron film, Bill Paxton, who plays the very vocal, very charming Private Hudson. He steals most of the scenes from his fellow marines but there is no denying the chemistry among the supporting cast - Michael Biehn, Jenette Goldstein, and Lance Henriksen are all fantastic and are never over-shadowed by the slimy, glistening monsters.
The special effects are great and the several alien puppets we see look phenomenal and very real. I cannot state enough how much I love these practical effects and monsters and gargantuan sets. I do not mind CGI in a sci-fi setting (hate them in horror films) but I do think that currently, Hollywood over-uses it. Yes, some of the effects look dated (1986 was a life-time ago) but in regards to the xenomorphs, there is not one scene where I was questioning the realness of these creatures and when we are finally introduced to the Queen, she is magnificent.
"Aliens" is one of the rare sequels that is just as good as the original. By expanding on the Alien mythology and its characters, this delivers non-stop action, suspense and horror yet never neglecting the humor, the drama and that human element. "Aliens" is a classic and one of my favorite films of all times. Unfortunately the series goes downhill after this.
For Sci-Fi fans, I recommend getting the Alien box sets - Alien Quadrilogy or the Alien Anthology. I have the older "Quadrilogy" set and all films are given impeccable treatment in picture and sound. You also get the Theatrical cut along with the Directors cut and a whole assortment of extra's. Although I like the theatrical cut of "Aliens", the Director's cut is recommended. It has several restored scenes that adds to the story and characters and despite a longer running time, it does not affect the film's impeccable pacing. This Blu-ray release includes all the extras and both versions but for the complete catalogue, the series set is hard to beat and is highly recommended.
It's interesting to compare Ridley Scott's "Alien" to James Cameron's sequel. Both are extremely well made films, from world class directors. But each also reflects the very different sensibilities of the two. "Alien" is colder, more precise, more haunting and disturbing. "Aliens" is a thrill ride from start to end, faster paced, more muscular and energetic, less serious, and sloppier – in ways both good and bad - than it's progenitor.
It sometimes pushes the emotions into the 'sappy' range, one of it's few flaws, along with a few big logic holes, and a couple of obvious twists. But the film-making is so confident, and downright fun that it becomes infectious, even if you try to resist it. It can make the 'gee- whiz' kid in you win out over the critical adult.
The plot in some ways is a re-run of the first, but now instead of humans being helpless victims, they are Marines going to war with a creature they don't understand, and initially don't take seriously enough.
There's also a nice feminist streak to the film, present in the original, but expanded on here. Not only is Sigourney Weaver's Ripley tougher and smarter than just about every male on display, but the most kick-ass of all the kick-ass Marines is also a woman (Jenette Goldstein in a terrific performance).
I enjoyed Cameron's extended cut (his preferred version) on the blu-ray. The newer version didn't feel too long, but did feel more flowing and complete, giving us some important insights into Ripley's character. The blu-ray's image is terrific and very sharp, but that does tend to show up the crude nature of some of the early CGI work. I was also bothered by how much of the film seemed as if the dialogue had to be re-recorded in post production, the 'looped' dialogue somehow sounding a bit un-natural.
If not a 'great' film, a very enjoyable, tense action blockbuster, back when solid acting, clever writing and high end craftsmanship were still important, even in a sequel.
on September 4, 2004
You already know how great this movie is, and I won't bore you by reiterating the plot. The thing that really irks me about this dvd are some of the extended scenes. They were cut out for a reason. I think the scene where the colonists discover the alien ship ruins alot of the suspense. It's too much information. It's so much scarier when you don't know EXACTLY what happened.
Another scene that bugs me is on the drop ship where Hudson goes on this "we got guns, we got knives" tirade. Please. I didn't want to lose all respect for this character, but, thanks to this scene, I have.
Aside from these 'mishaps' the rest of the extra footage is great. The scene where Ripley discovers her daughter is dead is absolutely essential, and I don't understand why it was cut out in the first place.
The scene with the 'sentry units' lends the movie an incredible amount of suspense, and after you see it you won't be able to go without it.
This dvd could have been perfect if you could somehow choose which scenes you would like to be included. Unfortunately, you'll have to sit through some redundant, and, at times, embarassing scenes.
on July 9, 2004
Director James Cameron has achieved the impossible. He not only
succeeds at expertly crafting a sequel that not only lives up to
Ridley Scott's excellent original Alien, but he also goes into
a different direction and creates one of the most brilliant and
throughly exciting sci-fi action film ever made along with Term-
inator 2 Judgement Day. The story picks up where Alien left off,
Lt. Ellen Ripley (Played by the superb Sigourney Weaver) and the
orange cat Jones go into a deep sleep and are woken up fifty-seven years later. Shortly after Ripley wakes up, she starts having bad nightmares about her last experience with the acid
spitting space creature from the last film. After the colony of
LV-426 loses contact with some colonists, the corporation headed
by Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), whose actions are questionable
asks Ripley to come back and fight her fears, by leading a team
of tough marines, she eventually accepts. After getting there, she is introduced to the marines which include Hudson (the hill-
arious Bill Paxton), Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein), the restrained
Hicks (Michael Biehn), and the android Bishop (the awesome
Lance Henriksen), who does this awesome knife trick. At first
Ripley does not accept Bishop's friendship after her last encou-
nter with an android, which was Ian Holm's Ash from the first film. However, after things go awry on the planet LV-426, the
marines along with Ellen Ripley must fight the aliens and accept
Bishop's friendship. Another fascinating element of Aliens is the mother daughter relation between Ripley and Newt, who is
played by one time actress Carrie Henn. The outstanding cast is
excellent: Sigourney Weaver was so superb in her role that she
was garnered an oscar nomination for best actress, Bill Paxton
delivers a comediac performance as Hudson (Game Over Man), Michael Biehn is awesome as Hicks, Lance Henriksen is brilliant
as humane android Bishop, Carrie Henn is sweet as little girl
Newt, and Paul Reiser surprises you with what kind of character
he actually is (you won't symphatsize with him here). If you
want a film with exciting thrills, awesome action-packed enter-
tainment watch Aliens for that happens to be one of my favorite
on June 18, 2004
I've always LOVED this movie! It's definitely one of the best action films I've had the pleasure of seeing. Ripley's back 57-years later to save some colonists in trouble w/ the aliens. There are no survivors on the planet save for a little girl named Newt, who brings out the "motherly" side of Ripley. Marines also accompany Ripley this time to save the day. Packed with action and fear, this movie shows that a sequel CAN be just as good as an original.
The only thing I don't like about 'Aliens' is how little we actually get to see the aliens! It seems they put so much work into making these aliens for the movie and all they managed to show us were tiny tiny split second scenes of them being blown to smithereens! At times Ripley and the others would be running away from them and you wouldn't see crap... It's like, what are they running from? It's really not that convincing. But some scenes and plus the Queen Alien sure make up for the flaws, so it about evens out.
Anyway, just check out this movie! And whatever you do don't watch Resurrection!! It's junk!!
on May 31, 2004
Director: James Cameron
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Bill Paxton.
Running Time: 154 minutes.
Rated R for violence, gore, and language.
As with any James Cameron ("The Terminator" and "Titanic") production, his films are always of epic proportion. Cameron not only wants to tell a story, but uses many long cuts and extended versions of scenes to draw the audience in and does a fine job of keeping them on their toes. Perhaps better than no other director, he takes the time to fully set up a film and progress in an exponential fashion towards a climatic, full-throttle finale. "Aliens", the sequel to the 1979 hit "Alien", might be his best example.
Taking place fifty-seven years after the original alien rampaged on the ill-fated Nostromo spaceship, the frozen-alive Ripley (played exceptionally well once again by Sigourney Weaver) is miraculously located by a search party and rescued. She is brought up to speed with all of the changes that have taken place since she was last coherent over a half century ago--including the colonization of LV-426, which happens to be the planet where the original horrific creature was found. Ripley is worried that something awful is going to happen to the new civilization, so she organizes a hard-nosed team of officers to investigate. To everyone's surprise except Ripley, the colony has been wiped out, with only the flesh-eating, acid-spewing monsters running around the premises. While fighting off the dreadful enemies, Ripley befriends an orphan (Carrie Henn) and is driven to get her to safety.
The film slightly drags in the first half on hour, but only because Cameron uses this time to give the audience enough information from the previous film in order to catch all those up to speed--then he brings on an onslaught of thunderous action sequences, riveting special effects extravaganzas, grisly nightmare scenes, and a kick-ass finale battle between Ripley and the mother of all aliens. "Aliens" succeeds for many reasons: the supporting cast, including Michael Biehn as a quiet, yet resourceful commanding officer, Bill Paxton as a smart-alleck private officer who does not know when to keep his mouth shut, and Lance Henriksen as the generous, intellectual android--as well as being a sequel that is informative and stylish enough that it can be enjoyed by those who either did not see the original film or even did not like it. Sigourney Weaver is given a chance to expand her character--and the sequel takes full advantage in a spellbinding nightmare scene and a few takes with Henn as she is able to show her caring, non-combat side. The Extended Version has around fifteen minutes of extra footage that gives information about Ripley's daughter and outlines the initial alien attack on LV-426's colonization. An absolute juggernaut of a film--intense, rip-roaring, and sensational. A James Cameron classic like no other. Rivals "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" as his best action film.
on May 28, 2004
The first 3 films in the alien series are all amazing in their own way. This one is the least serious of the bunch, basically just a popcorn action flick. But possibly the best popcorn action flick ever. This film is so re-watchable. I highly recommend the original theatrical release. It doesnt give away as much as the directors cut (which would totally ruin the film is you saw this first). The thetrical release gives so much suspense leading up to the action where as the directors cut eliminates this. Although the added scenes are of much interest once you have seen the theatrical release a few thousand times. The special effects in this film TOTALLY hold up today and i'll tell you why. NO CGI is used. Awesome. The commentary is interesting , but mainly for the fact of how bitter James Cameron sounds about Alien 3. Alien 3 being the far more noir version in the francise. Well James they had to do something different didnt they. And unlike you I found it kind of funny and poetically realistic that the characters that had so much effort put into their survival in your action extravaganza were simply killed off in the first scene of Alien 3. Their in lies the beautiful tone of the film. You missed it. It's not always about giving them what they want. But more what they need.
on May 14, 2004
Classic James Cameron Sci-Fi flick from 1986. Beautifully restored by digital transfer. All-star cast featuring Sigourney Weaver (as our hero Ripley), Paul Reiser (as jack-ass money-hungry corporate-man Burke), Michael Biehn (as tough guy Marine Hicks), Lance Henricksen (as Bishop the milk spewing droid), Bill Paxton (as the scared and often funny Marine Hudson), Jenette Goldstein (as foul mouthed Marine Vasquez) and Carrie Henn (as the kid with a monster tolerance "Newt"). This DVD comes with a ton of bonus features including 2 versions of the film (one being the extended version you didn't see in theaters), commentaries, galleries, pre/post production tid bits, trailers, etc. In a nut shell the storyline goes like this... Ripley wakes up from hypersleep only to find out it's been so many years... everyone she knows is dead. She decides to give the beast that almost killed her another shot at her as she accompanies a small squad of Marines back into space. Having found the mother load of all alien beasts, Ripley finds a small child (Newt) and calls the kid her own. One by one the Marines get picked off as Ripley just wants to leave and nuke the land mass (planet/star?) their on. Tho the beginning is a bit slow (and it sure helps if you've seen part one), the action and suspense quickly pick up. While their are four parts to the Alien series, Part II (this one!) in many a viewers mind is the best. I agree. Part I is very good. Part II is excellent. Parts III and IV are weak. "Aliens" is one of the all-time classic Sci-Fi action flicks of the last 2-3 decades.