Written by: Dean Valent
Ridley Scott's original Alien film introduced the world to the (arguably) best known evil Space lifeform in current memory. Aliens that are skeletal, bleed acid, kill and partially digest humans with their "mouth within a mouth" and move and climb walls at terrifying speed.
The film was all about atmosphere, the murky and terrifying feeling in that spaceship. Shadows providing the Alien with places to lurk, and for our heroes to fail. It also introduced the world to superb actress Sigourney Weaver, a milestone in itself.
Some complained that Alien had too little action, and a pretty poor effect for the main enemy, but they were usually impatient heh. They did have a fair point, as at some points the movie was a little boring. A few years later Aliens hit the sci-fi/horror genre, this time directed by the masterful James Cameron, of Terminator fame. It reintroduces the original heroin Ripley, but on a larger scale, with a bigger budget and a lot more action.
Set just under sixty years after the original, a group of marines in space investigate the original spaceship (a little late don't you think?) to see what went on. Here they find Ripley, who they believe to be lying about so called "creatures in space". Who are hwo you may ask...well, company executives. Over the 57 years since the original Alien these money grabbing opportunists have made colonies on a planet, and unfortunately for them, it's the Alien homeplanet.
So after a discussion Ripley is off to the planet with another group of Space Marines. Oh yes, after some miscommunication...even then they have another worry, they need to bring a weasley company executive with them. This film has a more human side than the original movie, with the realisation early in the film that Ripley's daughter has died many years, during her long slumber in space...and with the reintroduction of the cat from the first film, and of course, finding Newt, the little girl trapped in a section of the labs.
While the emotions are more pronounced, so is the action, with a whole planet of Aliens, tight and claustrophobic corridoors, and the use of many marines with a lot of plasma rifles.
The Aliens themselves are the best looking out of all the official Alien films (so not Alien Versus Predator). This is mainly due to the quick second shots Cameron used when focusing on the floods of the Xenomorphs rushing towards the team of marines. The facehuggers are also very creepy, with detail on them emerging from the eggs very disgusting. Working on the Queen Alien must have been a tough time as well, for it is huge and expands on the Alien form in many ways.
The quality and look of the film is very much like the original when you get to the main parts of the film, claustrophobic and grim. Acting is superb in this film, with each marine having a personality, unlike a certain "Versus" film that involves the same creature. Of course Sigourney Weaver pumps out a great performance, both emotionally and action wise, learning to use the plasma rifle focuses on both those points.
The direction wasn't excellent in the none action scenes, but due to production and the excellent switches during action influenced scenes, Cameron made the film stylised in a sense. When Ripley and Newt are avoiding the facehugger in the soundtight room is a highlight of the production quick cuts and action moments.
The music and sound wasn't anything to write home about, with exception to the Alien's movemnt and their "footsteps" on the metal, their breathing and of course, their acid blood. A fantastic film, and by far one of the best sequels ever made, unfortunately the Alien franchise never reached this point again, and began to slip into the abyss of over-sequel-itis...