Summary: Aliens: the best of sci-fi/action and the Alien series
Review: (Review based on director's cut version) Aliens is the only true masterpiece in the entire Alien series as it not only sustains nerve wracking tension and explosive action, but also takes time to develop the characters and create dramatic depth. No other film in the series has been able to do this even moderately well.
Aliens takes place 57 years after the original. Lt. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the only survivor of the Nostromo, where her entire crew was killed by a hostile alien creature that seems to live only to kill and breed. She is found by a salvage crew and tells her story to company officials. It's met with skepticisim but when contact is lost with a colony on a planet (the same one where Ripley's crew found the egg that hatched a face hugger), a team of marines is immediately sent in along with Ripley. Members of this crew include Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn), Private Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein), Lt. Gorman (William Hope), Private Hudson (Bill Paxton), and Bishop (Lance Henrikson), a friendly android. After exploring the empty colony they find the only survivor, a little girl named Newt (Carrie Henn), and a bond is already created between her and Ripley. Not long after, the marines get into a brief battle with the aliens that proves fatal. Most of the marines are killed and taken back to the alien nest for cocooning. Now, Ripley and six others must survive in a colony infested with over hundreds of aliens and find a way to escape.
The aspect of Aliens that most everybody loves this film for is the action. Most of it doesn't actually begin until the last 45 minutes of the film but it's truly exciting, tense, and non-stop. I can see why this film is considered a roller coaster ride. Particularly, the best sequences are when the aliens chase the remaining humans into small tunnels and when Ripley arms herself to the max and rescues Newt. Director James Cameron established himself as a true action auteur with this film and it's easy to see why he's so revered by legions of fans.
There's a deep dramatic depth in this film along with character development. Despite the fact that the film has a running time of 154 minutes, it never feels long and the character interaction is far from dull and boring. There's three very interesting relationships that develops from Ripley to Newt, Hicks, and Bishop. After the death of her daughter, Ripley finds solace and comfort with Newt, who also likes Ripley's company. They form a tight mother-daughter bond. Another relationship that develops is between Ripley and Hicks. It's all quite subtle but it's actually very fun to watch. The peak of this relationship is not when they kiss as in most films(they actually never do kiss) but when they exchange their first names and one wishes the other luck. The other interesting development is between Ripley and Bishop. After the first film, Ripley distrusted all android since one of them indirectly caused the deaths of her whole crew. She dislikes Bishop at first but it's easy to tell she admires him by the end.
All the performances in this film come off strong. Weaver is the best as she creates a strong and take charge heroine. Her character is a lot more complex than what is portrayed in Alien. Michael Biehn is very good as Corporal Hicks, a brave but far from gung-ho soldier. Also delivering good performances are Carrie Henn, Lance Henrikson, Bill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstein. Henrikson's character is the one the audience seems to think is untrustworthy since he rarely displays any signs of emotion. But he's actually quite caring and is perhaps the most trustworthy of the entire marine crew.
Once again, like the first movie, the special effects are excellent. The creature effects are slightly different in this one as the aliens appear to be a bit more scaly with smaller heads but the end result is still a frightening creature.
Also noteworthy is a fine musical score from James Horner. It's creepy, fast-paced, and fits the tone of the film just fine.
If you have never seen any films in the Alien series, I would recommend you begin with Alien, a pretty good and decent (though not spectacular) horror space opera. Then you should watch Aliens but stop after that. The opening scenes to Alien 3 ruin all the development that occured in Aliens. Alien Resurrection itself is okay, but Weaver's character takes a turn for the worst.
Summary: Something rare---A sequal that's as good as the original
Review: Aliens is a great movie.It is James Cameron's sequal to Ridley Scott's Alien.Lt.Ripley,the only survivor of the spaceship Nostromo,is picked up in deep space after being asleep for 57 years.Of course no one believes her story about the alien,and she loses her flight status.While she was asleep,the alien planet was colonized,and when they lose contact with the colonists,they send Ripley(who is understandably very reluctant)with a band of gung ho space marines(who have no idea what they're getting into)to investigate.The movie is a lot faster paced,and not as suspenseful as the first one,but there's a lot more action,and instead of one alien it has hundreds.Of course Sigourney Weaver is excellent,and the rest of the cast including Michael Biehn(who was also in James Cameron's movies The Terminator and The Abyss)as Cpl Hicks,Bill Paxton as Pvt.Hudson,Paul Reiser as bad guy Burke(he just wants the alien to take back to Earth for the weapons division,he could care less about Ripley and the marines),and Carrie Henn as Newt,a little girl who is the colony's only survivor.She brings out the maternal instincts in Ripley.(we learn in this special edition that Ripley had a daughter of her own,but she had died.)As with the first film,the special effects are excellent,(especially the enormous queen alien)and the music,this time by James Horner is just right.The special edition adds about 17 very interesting extra minutes onto the film. Overall,it's an excellent movie and one of the best sequals ever.
Summary: The effects are both hit and miss
Review: I have never seen a movie before or since where the visual effects work in a movie was so hit and miss. Some effects shots look like they were done well and others look like they were thrown together using chewing gum and cheap photography. A lot of the shots that involved spaceships and landing on the planet look too much like models. I'm sorry they do. Other ship shots look better but they are no where near ILM quality, or a movie like 2001.
Review: 'Aliens' is a good science fiction film and probably just as good as the original. This time, there are multiple beasts that torture and kill the human beings. The best scene is when Sigourney Weaver and the alien go at it in the end. Its classic!
Summary: A Most Worthy Sequel
Review: I saw Aliens in the theaters when it first came out in the summer of 1986, and it hasn't lost any of its bite since then. James Cameron's ambitious sequel is very different in its overall tone compared to Alien. Here we get a thrilling action film that still retains the gothic horror that Ridley Scott so vividly created in Alien.
Sigourney Weaver got an Oscar nomination for her reprisal as Ellen Ripley. She gives the character a wonderful sense of strength, compassion and depth. Her great supporting cast includes Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henrikson, Bill Paxton and young Carrie Henn as Newt. The music score by James Horner is among his best, as he captures the the suspense and action sequences perfectly.
The special effects and production design are first rate. Stan Winston slightly changed the look of the Alien creature, but his Alien Queen is a amazing work of art. The film recaptures the eerie and claustiphobic settings, this time within a ravaged colony complex that is teeming with an Alien hive. James Cameron who also wrote the story, stayed true to the original material yet created a thrilling action film that has heart to it (Ripley and Newt's relationship)
This Special Edition includes scenes that were left out of the original theatrical release. I have no problems what so ever with the added scenes. The pace of the film starts off slowly (it always did) and continues to build up as the film reaches its thrilling climax. All of the restored scenes do add something to the storyline. This DVD edition looks and sound awesome and is filled with extras. Aliens is a classic in its own right.
Summary: This is why Special Edition's are made!
Review: 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!
Summary: At last the theatrical release!
Review: I must be one of the few people that, while finding 'director's cuts' interesting, still prefer to have the original theatrical release of a film. Now I have the theatrical release of Aliens I'm a happy man. I liked the tighter pace and even one less piercing scream from Newt is a bonus in my book.
Of course, with this DVD you can have the pleasure of either version of the movie as you wish!
Summary: Aliens (1986)
Review: 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.
Summary: Action Action Action
Review: 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.
Summary: One of the best movies ever made
Review: I first saw Aliens on TBS and after watching it i went out and bought the DVD. It is an awesome sci-fi action movie. Sigourney Weaver lights up the screen with her stirring performance as Ripley. I really love the final showdown with the Alien Queen. I first bought the Special Edition but when i saw the 2-disc collector's edition i had to get. I am glad i did because it contains several interesting documentaries on the making of the film. This movie has everything you could want. There are good special effects, great action sequences, great acting and some pretty thrilling moments. This is the definition of a five-star movie