Aliens (1986)

Bigger. Badder. Still the same beast.

There is so much familiar about Aliens, compared to Ridley Scott’s original. This one was written and directed by James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar), and it’s the action sequel to the terrifying original.

Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) has been discovered and woken from her hypersleep. It’s been 57 years, and her daughter has grown, lived, and died. And LV-426, the site of the alien ship, is now a space colony. (Do they never learn?) Suddenly, all contact is lost with the colonists, and a group of marines are sent to investigate. Little do they know that the entire settlement has been infested by xenomorphs…

Aliens ramps up the stakes of the original in every possible way. The location is larger, the enemies are everywhere, and even the big bad is bigger and badder. This time, Ripley isn’t going to win until she takes out the alien queen. It’s pure setup and explosive payoff, the Godfather Part II of sci-fi sequels, and it’s even got a dose of heart to it. Ripley, no longer a mother, become a mother figure to a surviving colonist.

Make no mistake, the bullets fly in this film like rain in a summer storm. There are literally shots where you watch a screen counting down from hundreds of bullets. The colonial marines are all entertaining before they die horribly.

This film is days away from turning 30, and like the original, it hasn’t really aged a day. It might suffer from a bit of oversaturation, packing a little too much into a slightly bigger package, but it’s still thrilling. Jonesy the cat might be a better actor than young Newt, but they’re both effective.

James Cameron understood that a sequel doesn’t just need to be more, it needs to be its own thing. Because of that understanding, this is one of the greatest sequels of all time.

3.5

Aliens is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital.

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