The Horror Honeys: Aliens: This Time It's a Snore

Aliens: This Time It's a Snore

A Sci-Fi Honey Series Retrospective - Part 2

Aliens - Special Edition (1992)

This week, I continue my Alien Series Retrospective with the second in the series, Aliens. Check out my Alien review from December if you missed it.

In December I reviewed Alien, the first film in the Alien series. I have to say, I really liked that movie. Scary, great effects, amazing female lead (oh Sigourney, I heart you). I saw the sequel Aliens several years after it came out, and until I watched it today hadnt seen it since, and remembered little of it. Having watched it again, I can see why that was.

The synopsis is that Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is recovered in her escape ship 50-odd years after the events of the last movie, having been asleep the whole time. (And hasnt aged a second, suck it Oil of Olay!) She is promptly fired for blowing up the 40 MILLION DOLLAR ship. I had forgotten how much money 40 million dollars seemed in 1986. Today, hearing that dollar amount for an entire gigantic spaceship, I had an Austin Powers flashback and laughed aloud in my living room.

Anyway. The planet she escaped from has since been colonized, and populated. However, the colony hasnt been heard from in a while, and Ripley is asked to head back over there with some Colonial Marines to check it out, and in return she gets to stop working Cargo and gets her pilot license back. Despite some serious PTSD going on she agrees. They land, find one little girl names Newt is the sole survivor, and attempt to get off the planet. I suspect you can imagine how well that went; face-hugging and treachery and body parts flying and ample gunfire ensue. Also: MERICA!

This was quite a Rah-Rah American Military film, but hey, isn't that what James Cameron does best? The Marines in Aliens are the most annoying bunch of tools and tool-ettes Ive seen in quite some time. Its a testament to how far society has come that we rarely hear lines nowadays containing the word poontang and sentences involving the words collect the virginity of the settlers daughters. Bill Paxton plays the most annoying douchebag yet candy-ass marine Ive ever seen.  The six year old girl held it together better than him (intentional I imagine, to show how tough the kid is). I know he was only playing the role he was dealt, but seriously, he plays a terrible character. And he got a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for it! Was no one else nominated?? There was also the Butch Female Who Acts Like the Guys But Likes Dick (the actress won a Best Supporting Actress Saturn Award for it, go figure), The Incompetent Higher Ranking Military Guy Who Fucks Everything Up for the Enlisted Guys, and I got to dislike Paul Reiser for more than the crap I usually dislike him for.

Apparently the filming of the movie was a clusterfuck. Cameron fired the Principal Photographer,   the whole crew walked out at one point after insulting the Producer Gale Ann Hurd (Camerons wife), and the composer ended up having six days to do the score instead of six weeks, and said hed never work with Cameron again.

The effects varied in quality, understandable for the time. I actually thought the effects and cinematography in the first movie were better. In Aliens, they clearly spent all their effort on the Mother Alien at the end. The regular aliens were only shown in very brief flashes and as exploding body parts, to save money I imagine. James Cameron also had the designers slightly change Gigers original Alien head design, and I dont think it was for the better. Some of the ship effects were very good, would even stand up today, but some were pretty crap by todays standards.  The Armoured Personnel Carrier looks like a Batmobile made out of Lego. The Mother looked great though, and moved beautifully. Ripleys fight scene vs Mother in the Exosuit Cargo Loader is always super fun, and who doesn't enjoy seeing Lance Henriksen getting ripped in half.  Sigourney Weaver (as always) delivered the goods, and was nominated for an Academy Award.  My BF commented that she makes an awesome action hero. Yes. Yes she does.

Sci-Fi Honey Lowdown:  I have mixed feelings about Aliens. As always, I appreciate the sentiment that corporations are out to screw everyone, and the parallels to the Vietnam War that James Cameron utilized (cocky high tech military being defeated by low-tech foe, wait didn't he do that in Avatar too?). Sigourney was great, lots of stuff blew up, it was pretty scary a couple of times, especially the scene in the medical bay with the face-hugger, although personally I found the original Alien more frightening overall.  The Marines didnt impress me though. I found the first half of the movie a bit lame, to be honest, the writing was mediocre at best, and I almost shut the movie off at one point out of boredom. Fortunately, it picked up in the latter part of the film, the annoying people got knocked off, and it kept me engaged. I thought it was a good standard action movie, a bit Rambo/Predator styles. I hear that a lot of people think this movie was the best in the series, but it was just ok for me.

Sci-Fi Honey Rating: 3.5 Annoying Future Yuppie Corporate Assholes out of 5.