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ZJW's Movie Reviews (28)

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Aliens 
A Perfect Sequel
4/4 stars

Aliens, the 1986 sequel to Alien, is one of the greatest science fiction and action movies of all time. It is thought by many that Aliens is one of those rare films that surpasses it’s brilliant original in quality. While I certainly agree that Aliens is a four-star movie I do tend to prefer the original, if ever so slightly.

The films story is courtesy of James Cameron, who would go on to write the screenplay as well as direct the film. While Fox was not originally interested in a sequel to Alien, Cameron’s story would eventually impressed Fox executives. They gave him the go-ahead provided his film Terminator was a success. Terminator did indeed prove profitable and Cameron began work on the second Alien film.

The plot – 57 years after the events of Alien Ripley is discovered by a deep space salvage team. As it turns out no one quite believes her tale of an Alien life form living on LV-426 (the planetoid object from the first film). Their reason for not believing her: LV-426 is home to a terraforming colony and has never found any evidence of such a species. It isn’t long however until contact is lost with the colonist and Ripley, in addition to a team of colonial marines, are dispatched to figure out why. Once they get there though they find the colony in shambles, its inhabitants gone.

This is where the film really starts to pick up. Now don’t misunderstand me - everything in the film up to this point is great. The ambiance of the film is pitch perfect right from the very opening scene of the film. It is from the moment they land on LV-426 though that your heart rate starts to gradually increase and never slows until the film is over. The thrill of the ride has begun and it isn’t going to be stopping anytime soon.

As with Alien the basics of this film - the acting, set design, and musical score are fantastic. The characters of this film really help it tick though and the entire cast turns in excellent performances. Cameron wanted all the “marines” in the film to train as a unit before film so their bond with each other would come across on screen and it worked wonderfully. The special effects involving the Aliens, especially those regarding the Queen are also exemplary. Other effects shots certainly appear dated, being the film is nearly 25 years old, but they don’t diminish its integrity.

This film really is a great example of quality filmmaking. It is a great Sci-Fi story with wonderful characters being portrayed by a great cast and is a near non-stop thrill ride of a movie. In addition to the theatrical release of the film a Special Edition DVD has since been released and subsequently included in the Alien Quadrilogy. While it’s a great movie either way you watch it the extended length of the Special Edition includes several scenes that help flesh out the story. Aliens is without a doubt, one of the greatest and adrenaline packed science fiction films of all time.


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