12 February 2020
57 years ago Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) was part of the Nostromo spaceship’s crew that encountered a terrifying alien, as the last remaining member of the crew she has drifted through space in hyper sleep. Awake and alive nobody believes her, so she is asked upon to support a Colonial Marine outfit as they go back to Moon LV-426 – a now colonized moon where the original Alien came from. They have recently gone dark and potentially abandoned the moon, and the authorities want to know why. The Colonial Marines are outfitted with state of the art warfare machinery and an arsenal to potentially deal with any threat.
This is an amazing film – on par, if not better than the first in the series. It takes concepts from the first film, and then changes the approach and dynamic of the plot – expanding the universe in which the story unfolds. Some sequels just re-hash what came before them; this takes the original and does an A-Team transformation on it, attaching guns, lasers, nitro, bells and whistles. The end result is a genre bending action horror sci-fi chase war thriller masterpiece. There are explosions, special effects, gorgeous cinematography and mise-en-scene, great plot, thrilling story, top actors delivering excellent performances, scares, frights, fights, character development – oh believe me, I could go on singing the praises of this film. When James Cameron was given the reigns to this after Ridley Scott’s seminal “Alien” film a lot of film-goes where dubious – but given the proof of the “Terminator” movie, Cameron had the pedigree to be successful and boy did he deliver! Not just a tour-de-force of a visual spectacle, but also a film lecturers dream as the material further promotes lots of themes and discussions – none more than the heroine who is the vehicle for plot. If the first film made people look at Sigourney Weaver differently, this film went a long way to elevating her star power as she totally flipped action hero conventions on their head – to this day her performance is still synonymous with being a major player in the change from masculine dominated cinema. The matriarchal bond shown between Ripley and Newt is great, the character development goes some way to showing an attempt to fix the fragility of the broken bond exemplified at the start of the film when it becomes clear that Ripley’s own biological daughter is resentful of the unjustified absence of a mother. Another well documented discussion this film birthed deals with the parallels to war films, and in particularly Vietnam themed war film – however rather than shoehorning academic thesis’ into this review I’ll just say that the film did more than just entertained, it became an icon in cinema.
I seriously cannot give this film less than 10 out of 10. It scared, thrilled and entertained me as a child when I watched it (admittedly under the legal age), and it still keeps a smile on my face as I watch it as an adult.