25 years ago to this exact day, July 18th, 1986. Was the birth of perhaps one of the greatest sequels ever made. I mean, how could you make a sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien? The suspense alone of Alien scared audiences worldwide and became an instant hit and gave birth to the hero Ripley played by Sigourney Weaver while also unleashing one of the most devastating monsters ever seen on-screen once again, the xenomorph.
Who ever would bring the sequel to the screen had a tall order, if they messed this up who knows what would have happened. But thankfully, James Cameron heard the call and directed the now classic, Aliens. How in the hell could you make a sequel live up to the original? Well, by going in all guns blazing and unleashing not just one monster, a whole freaking planet crawling with the beasts.
Aliens is an all out in your face action oriented sci-fi/horror film which pushed the ante and gave us a truly awesome cinematic experience. While the film was heavy on action it still had moments of suspense.
In Aliens we witness Ellen Ripley once again, the only survivor of the Nostromo. We witness Ripley being rescued and revived after drifting in space for some fifty-seven years while being in stasis.
Soon Ripley is placed under scrutiny regarding the events and destruction of the Nostromo and no evidence of the creature Ripley describes. She soon realizes in horror that the planet LV-246, the planet in which she first encountered the Alien eggs is now colonized.
Some time later it is known that contact between LV-246 and Weyland-Yutani officials have been lost, so the company dispatches Carter Burke and a team of marines to investigate the planet. At first Ripley turns down the offer to go with the marines to the planet due to her trauma with her Alien encounter.
Soon she realizes it is a ooportunity for her to face her fears once and for all. This is where she meets the hardened, take no prisoners marines which include Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn), Hudson (Bill Paxton), Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein), Sergent Apone (Al Matthews) and Bishop (lance Henriksen) an android which Ripley does not know of yet.
They soon drop down on the planet and this is where all hell breaks loose, the action is mind-blowing, the musical score created by James Horner really helps set the tone and we hear some of the most bad-ass quotes known to man and thanks to the late Stan Winston the effects are superb and still stand strong twenty-five years later.
Aliens was made for $18.5 million and made $86 million domestically and $131 million Internationally, the film was a true juggernaut in which was noticed by the Academy where it received seven nominations from Best Actress (Weaver) to Sound and Visual effects. It also won eight Saturn Awards which includes Best Director (Cameron) and Best Science Fiction Film.
The film has been released and re-released numerous times on every single video platform known to man and is still being released to this day in “Special Editions” and everything in between. Now I can’t say Aliens is better than Alien, because I simply can’t. They are both unique in their own right even though they deal with the same subject, that is the Alien.
So if you would, let’s raise a glass to James Cameron’s Aliens reaching its 25th birthday today and bring on its 50th! So with Ridley Scott returning to the Alien franchise with Prometheus I believe he will be unleashing a suspenseful film in the same vein as his film Alien in 1979. But let’s not forget Aliens, as it ushered a whole new horde of fans to the franchise.
So saddle up marines and go re-watch Aliens, as Apone once said “All right, sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed? Another glorious day in the Corps! A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal’s a banquet! Every paycheck a fortune! Every formation a parade! I LOVE the Corps!”