From a certain point of view, Aliens fulfills one or more of these facts:
- It’s the best sequel of all-time
- It’s the best action movie of all-time
- It has the same plot as Alien
At the same time, Aliens is also a product of the times. Released right around the peak of the 80s’ action movie genre, James Cameron broke down the genre into the archetype that fans love today while also prepping experience for Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
The film expanded the mythos behind the Xenomorph beyond the Engineer shown in the first film (with the Queen exhibiting sentience), in addition to the “The Company” which is an allegory to the United States war industry (scientific advancements made to kill things e.g. DARPA).
Practical effects are used throughout, as CGI was in it’s infancy. They look fantastic, and have aged extremely well. The imposed space flight scenes however did not. Dialogue is improved from the first film as well, with all of the marines seemingly ad-libbing their lines. Everything is natural and grounded in reality.
First 40 minutes we are introduced to the principal cast, brought up to speed with what happened since the last film, and gear up for a roller-coaster ride because from around min 50, the tonal shift of the movie changes from suspense to action. Not many films or directors can pull this off. I’m glad the tone shift isn’t used that often, hard to do right.
I’m just amazed that the same plot written differently still works. Wait, no I’m not, because Star Wars: The Force Awakens is Star Wars: A New Hope written differently.
Re-watched April 11, 2022 via Tubi (was edited for television, aka commercial pauses).