Yesterday, this column reviewed “Alien,” which was the first film in the popular franchise. The “space travelers versus ferocious unsightly creature” scenario developed a cult following, making it ripe for producers to find a plausible way to continue the story line. The first sequel, “Aliens,” was released in 1986.
“Aliens” is set 57 years after the events of the first movie. All that time, Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), has been in a deep sleep, floating through space. She is eventually found by a salvage ship. The planet where the alien from the first film is found has now been colonized. When contact with the people of the planet is lost, Ripley is asked to go to the planet with a group of Marines. She agrees to go on the condition that the creatures are destroyed, not studied for potential use as weapons. Among the Marines are Hicks (played by Michael Biehn), and Hudson (played by Bill Paxton). While on the planet, they meet Newt (played by Carrie Henn), a scared little girl who is the only survivor.
While the first “Alien” movie was more of a horror film, this is more of a fast-paced action film. It is directed by James Cameron, who does a great job making the aliens scary and realistic. The scenes where the marines battle the aliens are intense and well-filmed.
Sigourney Weaver is, as always, excellent as Ripley. She is fierce, yet she works very hard to protect Newt. Weaver’s performance earned her an Academy Award nomination, rare recognition in this genre. Another memorable performance is by Paul Reiser, who plays Carter Burke, who goes with Ripley and the Marines to the planet. His character has dubious motives. Also strong is Lance Henriksen, who plays an android who is involved in the mission.
“Aliens” is one of the best sequels of all-time. It is a must-see for fans of action and science fiction.