Aliens (film)

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For other films in this series, see Alien (franchise).
This time it's war.

Aliens is a 1986 sequel to 1979's Alien. It is an science fiction action film about a team of Marines sent to restore contact with a lost colony that has been overrun by dangerous alien organisms. Accompanying them is Ellen Ripley, still traumatized by her previous encounter with one of the creatures.

Directed and written by James Cameron. Story by James Cameron, David Giler & Walter Hill.
This time it's war. (taglines)

Ellen Ripley[edit]

  • You better just start dealing with it, Hudson! Listen to me! Hudson, just deal with it, because we need you and I'm sick of your bullshit.
  • You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.
  • [to the Alien Queen who is about to kill Newt] Get away from her, you BITCH!
  • Close your eyes, baby!

Sergeant Apone[edit]

  • All right, sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed? It's another glorious day in the Corps. A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm: Every meal's a banquet. Every paycheck's a fortune! Every formation's a parade! I love the Corps!

Private Hudson[edit]

  • I'm ready, man. Check it out! I am the ultimate badass! State of the badass art! You do not want to fuck with me. Check it out! Hey, Ripley, don't worry. Me and my squad of ultimate badasses will protect you! Check it out. Independently targeting particle-beam phalanx. WHAP! Fry half a city with this puppy. We got tactical smart missiles, phase plasma pulse rifles, RPGs. We got sonic, electronic ball-breakers! We got nukes, we got knives, sharp sticks...
  • Yo! Stop your grinnin', and drop your linen! Found 'em!
  • We're on the express elevator to hell, going down!
  • They're coming outta the walls! They're coming outta the goddamn walls! Let's book!
  • What do you mean "they cut the power"? How could they cut the power, man?! They're animals!
  • That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?

Others[edit]

Vasquez: You always were an asshole, Gorman.
Hudson: Have you ever been mistaken for a man?
Vasquez: No, have you?

Dialogue[edit]

Ripley: I don't understand this. We have been here for three and a half hours. How many different ways you want me to tell you the same story?
Van Leuwen: Look at it from our perspective, please. [points at an empty chair] Please. [Ripley sits down] Now, you freely admit detonating the engines of, and thereby destroying an M-class star freighter, a rather expensive piece of hardware.
Insurance attorney: Forty-two million in adjusted dollars. That's minus payload, of course.
Van Leuwen: The lifeboat's flight recorder corroborates some parts of your account. In that for reasons unknown, the Nostromo set down on LV-426, an unsurveyed planet at that time. That it resumed its course and was subsequently set for self-destruct, by you, for reasons unknown.
Ripley: Not for reasons unknown. I told you. We set down there on company's orders, to get this thing, which destroyed my crew. And your expensive ship.
Van Leuwen: The analysis team, which went over the lifeboat centimeter by centimeter, found no physical evidence of the creature you describe.
Ripley: [stands up] Good! That's because I blew it out of the goddamn airlock! Like I said.
Insurance attorney: Are there any species like this hostile organism on LV-426?
ECA representative: No, it's a rock. No indigenous life.
Ripley: [sarcastically] Did IQs just drop sharply when I was away? Ma'am, I already said it was not indigenous, it was a derelict spacecraft, it was an alien ship, it was not from there. You get it? We homed in on its beacon.
ECA representative: And found something never recorded once in any of the three hundred surveyed worlds [reads the report] "A creature that gestates inside living human host", these are your words, "and has concentrated acid for blood".
Ripley: That's right [beat] Look... I can see where this is going, but I'm telling you those things exist.
Van Leuwen: Thank you, officer, that will be all.
Ripley: Please! You're not listening to me. Kane, the crew member... Kane, who went into that ship, said he saw thousands of eggs there. Thousands.
Van Leuwen: Thank you, that will be all.
Ripley: Goddammit, that's not all! Because if one of those things gets down here, then that will be all, and all this [picks up documents] this bullshit that you think is so important [throws the documents on tabletop] you can just kiss all that goodbye!
[long moment of silence; members of the hearing watch Ripley with disapproval]
Van Leuwen: It is the finding of this court of inquiry that Warrant Officer E. Ripley, NOC 14472, has acted with questionable judgement, and is unfit to hold an ICC license as a commercial flight officer. Said license is hereby suspended indefinitely. Now, no criminal charges will be filed against you at this time, and you are released on your own recognizance for a six-month period of psychometric probation, to include monthly review by an ICC psychiatric technician. These proceedings are closed.

Ripley: Van Leuwen? Why don't you just check out LV-426?
Van Leuwen: Because I don't have to. There have been people there for over twenty years and they never complained about any hostile organisms.
Ripley: [alarmed] What do you mean? What people?
Van Leuwen: Terraformers. Planetary engineers. They go down there and set up these big atmosphere processors to make the air breathable. It takes decades. That's what we call 'shake'n'bake colony' [he tries to leave, but Ripley blocks his way with her arm]
Ripley: How many are there? How many colonists?
Van Leuwen: I don't know. Sixty, maybe seventy families [looks pointedly at Ripley's arm] Do you mind?
Ripley: [lets him go and speaks to herself] Families. Jesus.

[a conversation in Hadley's Hope main operations center, shortly before the xenomorph outbreak]
Al Simpson: [to a co-worker, on his way leaving] I'll be down in maintenance, okay?
Brad Lydecker: Al?
Al Simpson: [absent-mindedly] What?
Brad Lydecker: Hey, Al!
Al Simpson: What?
Brad Lydecker: Remember you sent some wildcatters out to the middle of nowhere last week, out past the Ilium Range?
Al Simpson: Yeah, what?
Brad Lydecker: One of them's on the horn, a mom-and-pop survey team. He says he's on to something. He wants to know if his claim will be honored.
Al Simpson: Why wouldn't his claim be honored?
Brad Lydecker: Well, because you sent them to that particular middle-of-nowhere on company orders, maybe? I don't know.
Al Simpson: Christ! Some honch in a cushy office on Earth says "go look at a grid reference". We look. They don't say why, and I don't ask. I don't ask because it takes two weeks to get an answer out here, and the answer is always-
Both: "-don't ask".
Brad Lydecker: So what do I tell this guy?
Al Simpson: [sighs] Tell him as far as I'm concerned, if he finds something, it is his. Lydecker? [points towards the corridor]
Brad Lydecker: What? [looks the way Al Simpson pointed and notices children playing there] You kids are not supposed to be on this level! Go on, get outta here!

Ripley: I don't believe this. You guys throw me to the wolves, and now you want me to go back out there? Forget it. It's not my problem.
Burke: Can I finish?
Ripley: No. There's no way.
Gorman: Ripley, you wouldn't be going in with the troops. I can guarantee your safety.
Burke: These Colonial Marines are very tough hombres. They're packing state-of-the-art firepower. There's nothing they can't handle. Lieutenant, am I right?
Gorman: That's true. We've been trained to deal with situations like this.
Ripley: [scoffs] You don't need me. I'm not a soldier.
Burke: Yeah, but we don't know exactly what's going on out there. It may just a downed transmitter, okay? But if it's not... I'd like you to go there as an adviser. And that's all.
Ripley: What's your interest in all this? Why are you going?
Burke: Corporation co-financed that colony along with Colonial Administration. We're going into a lot of terraforming, building better worlds-
Ripley: Yeah, yeah, I saw the commercial. Look, I don't have time for this. I've gotta get to work.
Burke: Oh, yeah. I heard you're working at the cargo docks.
Ripley: That's right.
Burke: Running loaders and forklifts.
Ripley: Yeah. So?
Burke: Nothing. I think it's great that you're keeping busy. And I know it's the only thing you could get. There’s nothing wrong with it. [pause] What would you say if I told you I could get you reinstated as a flight officer? The company has already agreed to pick up your contract.
Ripley: If I go.
Burke: Yeah, if you go. Come on, that's a second chance, kiddo. I personally think for you the best thing in the world would be to get out there and face this thing, get back on the horse-
Ripley: Spare me, Burke. I've already had my psych evaluation this month.
Burke: Yeah, I know, I've read it. You wake up every night, your sheets are soaking with sweat-
Ripley: [angrily] I said no, and I mean it! [in normal voice again] Now, please leave. I'm not going back. And I... I wouldn't be any good to you if I did.
Burke: Okay, shhh. Just do one thing for me, okay? Think this over [leaves calling card]
Gorman: [leaving along with Burke] Thanks for the coffee.

[Ripley and Burke are talking via video-link early in the morning]
Burke: Hello? Ripley? You're okay?
Ripley: Just tell me one thing, Burke. You're going out there to destroy them, right? Not to study, not to bring back, but to wipe them out.
Burke: That's the plan. You have my word on it.
Ripley: [pause] All right, I'm in [disconnects, then turns to Jones, her cat] And you, you little shithead, you're staying here.

[when the Marines are waking up from cryo-sleep]
Drake: They ain't paying us enough for this, man.
Dietrich: Not enough to wake up every day to your face, Drake.
Drake: What? Is that a joke?
Dietrich: Oh, I wish it were.
Drake: Hey, Hicks. Man, you look just like I feel.
Apone: [walking along the line of cryo pods] All right, sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed? Another glorious day in the Corps! Day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal's a banquet. Every paycheck a fortune. Every formation a parade. I love the Corps!
Hudson: Man, this floor is freezing!
Apone: What do you want me to do, fetch the slippers for ya?
Hudson: Gee, would you, sir? I'd like that.
Apone: [peels back his eyelid] Look into my eye!

Vasquez: Hey, mira, who's Snow White? [indicates Ripley]
Ferro: She's supposed to be some kind of consultant. Apparently, she saw an alien once.
Hudson: Whoopee-fucking-doo. Hey, I'm impressed.
Vasquez: ¡Que bonita!
Hudson: Hey, Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?
Vasquez: No. Have you?

[when Bishop "bleeds" the white fluid, revealing he is an android]
Ripley: [to Burke, agitated] You never said anything about android being aboard, why not?
Burke: It never... never occurred to me. It's just a common practice, we always have a synthetic on board.
Bishop: I prefer the term "artificial person" myself. Is there a problem?
Burke: I'm sorry. I don't know why I didn't... [to Bishop] On Ripley's last trip the synth- the artificial person malfunctioned.
Ripley: "Malfunctioned"?!
Burke: We had some problems and, uh... few deaths were involved.
Bishop: I'm shocked. Was it an older model?
Burke: Yeah. Hyperdyne Systems 120-A/2.
Bishop: Well, that explains it. I mean, the A/2s always were a bit twitchy. That could never happen now with our behaviour inhibitors. It is impossible for me to harm, or by omission of action, allowed to be harmed, a human being. [hands the tray with corn bread to Ripley] Are you sure you don't want some?
Ripley: [angrily knocks the tray out of Bishop's hand] Just stay away from me, Bishop. You got that straight?

Gorman: Morning, Marines. Sorry we didn't have time to brief you, people, before we left gateway-
Hudson: [raises his hand] Sir!
Gorman: What is it, Hicks?
Hudson: Hudson, sir. He's Hicks.
Gorman: [beat] What is the question?
Hudson: Is this gonna be stand-up fight, sir, or another bug-hunt?
Gorman: All that we know is that there's still no contact with the colony and that... a Xenomorph may be involved.
Frost: Excuse me, sir, a... a what?
Gorman: A Xenomorph.
Hicks: It's a bug-hunt. What exactly are we dealing with here?
Gorman: Ripley?
Ripley: [steps forward] I'll tell you what I know. We set down on LV-426. One of our crew members was brought back with something attached to his face, some kind of... parasite. We tried to get it off, it wouldn't come off, later it seemed to come off by itself and died. Kane seemed fine. We were all having dinner and... it... must have laid something in his throat, some sort of embryo, he started... uh... he-
Vasquez: Look, man. I only need to know one thing: where they are. [mimes pointing a gun]
Drake: Go, Vasquez. Kick ass, man.
Vasquez: Anytime, anywhere.
Hudson: Right, right. Someone said "alien", she thought they said illegal alien and signed up!
Vasquez: Fuck you, man.
Hudson: Anytime, anywhere.
Ripley: [angrily] Are you finished? [comes closer and speaks to Vasquez] I hope you're right. I really do.
Gorman: Yeah, OK, thank you, Ripley. We also have Ripley's report on disk. I suggest you study it -
Ripley: Because just one of those things managed to wipe out my entire crew in less than 24 hours, and if the colonists have found that ship, there's no telling how many have been exposed. Do you understand?
[there's a long moment of silence; marines just stare at Ripley, unimpressed]
Gorman: Anyway, we have it on disk, so you better look at it. Any questions? [Hudson raises his hand again] What is it, Private?
Hudson: [grinning] How do I get out of this chickenshit outfit?
Apone: You secure that shit, Hudson!

Ripley: How many drops for you is this, lieutenant?
Gorman: Thirty-eight. Simulated.
Vasquez: How many combat drops?
Gorman: Uh, two. Including this one.
Drake: Shit.
Hudson: Oh-ho, man...

Ripley: I don't know how you managed to stay alive. But you're one brave kid, Rebecca.
Newt: N-Newt.
Ripley: What'd you say?
Newt: Newt. My name is Newt. Nobody calls me Rebecca except my brother.
Ripley: Newt? I like that. I'm Ripley. It's nice to meet you. And who is this?
Newt: Casey.
Ripley: Hello, Casey. What about your brother? What's his name?
Newt: Timmy.
Ripley: Is Timmy around here too? Maybe hiding like you were? [Newt doesn't answer] Any sisters? [Newt shakes her head] Mom and Dad? [Newt nods] Newt. Look at me. Where are they?
Newt: They're dead, all right? Can I go now?
Ripley: I'm sorry, Newt. Don't you think you'd be safer here with us? [Newt shakes her head] These people are here to protect you. They're soldiers.
Newt: It won't make any difference.

Ripley: Lieutenant, what do those pulse rifles fire?
Gorman: 10 millimeter explosive-tip caseless. Standard light armor piercing round. Why?
Ripley: Well, look where your team is. They're right under the primary heat exchangers.
Gorman: So?
Ripley: So... if they fire their weapons in there, won't they rupture the cooling system?
Burke: Whoa ho-ho... yeah, she's absolutely right.
Gorman: So? So what?
Burke: Look, this whole station is basically a big fusion reactor, right? So she's talking about a thermonuclear explosion and... adios, muchachos.
Gorman: Oh, great. Wonderful. Shit! [talking via radio] Look... Uh... Apone. Look, we can't have any firing in there. I, uh... I want you to collect magazines from everybody.
Hudson: Is he fucking crazy?
Frost: What the hell are we supposed to use, man? Harsh language?
Gorman: Flame units only. I want rifles slung.
Apone: Sir, I-
Gorman: Just do it, Sergeant. And no grenades.

Hicks: [pulls out a shotgun] I like to keep this handy. For close encounters.
Frost: Yeah, I heard that.

Vasquez: All right, we got seven canisters of CN-20. I say we roll them in there and nerve gas the whole fucking nest.
Hicks: That's worth a try, but we don't know if it's gonna affect them.
Hudson: Let's just bug out and call it even, OK? What are we even talking about this for?
Ripley: I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Hudson: Fuckin' A!
Burke: Ho- ho- Hold on a second. This installation has a substantial dollar value attached to it.
Ripley: [scoffs] They can bill me.
Burke: Okay, look. This is an emotional moment for all of us, all right? I know that. But let's not make snap judgments, please. This is clearly an important species we're dealing with here, and I don't think you or I or anybody has the right to arbitrarily exterminate them.
Ripley: Wrong!
Vasquez: Yeah, watch us.
Hudson: Maybe you're not keeping up on current events. We just got our asses kicked, pal!
Burke: Look, I'm not blind to what's going on, but I cannot authorize that kind of action. I'm sorry.
Ripley: Well, I believe Corporal Hicks has authority here.
Burke: Corporal Hicks is...?
Ripley: This operation is under military jurisdiction, and Hicks is next in chain of command. Am I right, Corporal?
Hicks: Yeah... yeah, that's right.
Burke: Yeah... look, Ripley, this is a multi-million dollar installation, OK? He can't make that kind of decision. He's just a grunt! Uh, no offense.
Hicks: None taken. Ferro, do you copy?
Ferro: [via radio] Standing by.
Hicks: Prep for dust-off. We're going to need immediate evac.
Ferro: Roger. We're on our way.
Hicks: All right. We take off. Nuke the site from orbit. [glances at Ripley in agreement] It's the only way to be sure.

[The dropship crashes and explodes]
Hudson: That's great. That's just fucking great, man. Now what the fuck are we supposed to do? We're in some real pretty shit now, man!
Hicks: [grabs Hudson and draws him closer] You finished?
Newt: I guess we're not going to be leaving right now, then?
Ripley: I'm sorry, Newt.
Newt: You don't have to be sorry. It wasn't your fault.
Hudson: That's it! Game over, man! Game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?
Burke: Maybe we could build a fire and sing couple of songs, huh? Why don't we try that?!
Newt: We'd better get back because it'll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night. Mostly.

[the surviving Marines take refuge in the colony after the dropship's crash, gathering all equipment they got left]
Hicks: That's absolutely everything we can salvage from the APC wreckage. We've got four pulse rifles, with about fifty rounds each. That ain't so good. We got, uh, fifteen of these M-40 grenades. [Newt reaches for a grenade] Don't touch that. Dangerous, honey.
Ripley: Is that the only flamethrower?
Hicks: Yeah. It's only half-full, but it's functional. Got another one, it's damaged, so I don't know about that one. But the good news... We've got four of these robot sentries, with display and scanners intact. They really kick ass. They'll come in handy.
Ripley: How long after we're declared overdue we can expect a rescue?
[long moment of silence]
Hicks: [deadpan] Seventeen days.
Hudson: Seventeen days? Hey man, I don't wanna rain on your parade, but we're not gonna last seventeen hours! These things are going to come here like they did before and they're gonna... [starts rambling unintelligibly]
Ripley: Hudson! HUDSON! [Hudson stops talking] This little girl survived longer than that with no weapons and no training [to Newt] Right?
[Newt looks at them and salutes playfully]
Hudson: [scoffs] Why don't you put her in charge?!
Ripley: You better start dealing with it, OK!? Listen to me! Hudson, just deal with it, because we need you, and I'm sick of your bullshit. I want you to get into the terminal and get me some kind of floor plan of this building. Construction blueprints, I don't care, anything that shows us a layout of this place. You listening?
Hudson: [distraught] Yeah.
Ripley: I need to see air ducts, I need to see electrical access tunnels, sub-basements, every possible way into this complex [beat] We don't have much time.
Hudson (pulling himself together with a visible effort): Yeah. Yeah, I'm on it.
Ripley: Hudson! Just relax.
[Hudson exhales loudly and leaves]
Bishop: I'm gonna be in the med-lab. Check on Gorman, continue my analysis.
Ripley: All right. You do that.

[Ripley is putting Newt to bed in the med bay]
Ripley: Last stop. Get in. [Newt lies down on the bed] Scoot down. That's good. Now, you lie here and have a nap. You're very tired.
Newt: I don't want to. I have scary dreams.
Ripley: Well, I bet Casey doesn't have scary dreams. Let's take a look. [holds up Casey] Nope. Nothing bad in there. See? Maybe you could try to be just like her, hmm?
Newt: Ripley, she doesn't have bad dreams because she's just a piece of plastic.
Ripley: [smiles] Right. I'm sorry, Newt. [turns on heater] There.
Newt: My mommy always said there were no monsters, no real ones, but there are.
Ripley: Yes, there are, aren't there?
Newt: Why do they tell little kids that?
Ripley: Most of the time it's true.
Newt: Did one of those things grow inside her?
Ripley: I don't know, Newt. That's the truth.
Newt: Isn't that how babies come? I mean, people babies? They grow inside you.
Ripley: [smiles] Oh, that's very different.
Newt: Did you ever have a baby?
Ripley: Yes, I did. I had a little girl.
Newt: Where is she?
Ripley: She's gone.
Newt: You mean dead.
Ripley: Here. Take this. [gives Newt her wristwatch] For luck. There's that. [switches off the light]
Newt: [grabs Ripley's arm] Don't go, please.
Ripley: Newt, I'm gonna be right in the next room. And you see that camera right up there? [points to security camera] I can see you right through that camera, all the time to see if you're safe. I'm not gonna leave you, Newt. I mean that. That's a promise.
Newt: You promise?
Ripley: I cross my heart.
Newt: And hope to die?
Ripley: And hope to die. [Newt hugs her, Ripley kisses her on the cheek] Now, go to sleep, and don't dream.

Burke: Look, those two specimens are worth millions to the bio-weapons division. Now, if you're smart, we can both come out of it as heroes, and we will be set up for life.
Ripley: [beat] You're crazy, Burke, you know that? You really think you can get a dangerous organism like that past ICC quarantine?
Burke: How can they impound it if they don't know about it?
Ripley: Oh, but they will know about it, Burke. From me. Just like they'll know that you were responsible for the deaths of 157 colonists!
Burke: Wait a second —
Ripley: You sent them to that ship!
Burke: You're wrong!
Ripley: I just checked the colony log. Directive dated 6/12/79, signed Burke, Carter J. You sent them out there and you didn't even warn them! Why didn't you warn them, Burke?
Burke: Okay, look. What if that ship didn't even exist? Did you ever think about that? I didn't know! So now, if I went and made a major security situation out of it, everybody steps in. Administration steps in, and there are no exclusive rights for anybody; nobody wins. So I made a decision, and it was wrong. It was a bad call, Ripley. It was a bad call.
Ripley: "Bad call"? [grabs Burke by the collar and presses him to the window] These people are dead, Burke! Don't you have any idea what you've done here?! Well, I'm gonna make sure that they nail you right to the wall for this! You're not gonna sleaze your way out of this one! Right to the wall! [lets him go and starts to walk away]
Burke: Ripley... [Ripley stops and turns around] You know, I... I expected more from you. I thought you'd be smarter than this.
Ripley: [takes a breath] I'm happy to disappoint you.

Ripley: [looking out the window at the atmosphere processing plant] It's very pretty, Bishop, but what are we looking for?
Bishop: [points at gas flaring from the reactor] That's it. Emergency venting.
Hudson: Oh, that's beautiful, man. Oh, man, that - that just beats it all.
Hicks: How long till it blows?
Bishop: Four hours. [Hicks groans] With a blast radius of 30 kilometers, equal to about... 40 megatons.
Hicks: We got problems.
Hudson: I don't believe this, I don't fucking believe this!
Bishop: Vasquez, close the shutters.
[Vasquez closes the shutters]
Ripley: Why can't we shut it down from here?
Bishop: I'm sorry, the crash caused too much damage. An overload is inevitable at this point.
Hudson: Oh, man, and I was getting short. Four more weeks and out. Now I'm gonna buy it on this rock. It ain't half fair, man!
Vasquez: Hudson, give us a break!
Hudson: Four more weeks. Oh, man...
Ripley: Well, we've got to get the other dropship from the Sulaco. I mean, there must be some way of bringing it down on remote.
Hudson: How? The transmitter was on the APC, it's wasted!
Ripley: Well, I don't care how, but we'd better think of something. We'd better think of a way.
Hudson: Think of what?! We're fucked!
Hicks: Shut up!
Hudson: We're doomed-!
Hicks: [louder] Shut up! [to Bishop] What about the colony transmitters? The uplink tower down at the other end. Why can't we use that-?
Bishop: No, I checked. The hardware in between here and there was damaged. We can't align the dish.
Ripley: Well, somebody's gonna have to go out there. Take a portable terminal, go out there and patch in manually.
Hudson: Oh, yeah, sure! With those things runnin' around? You can count me out.
Bishop: [speaking under Hudson] I'll go.
Hicks: Yeah, I guess we can just count you out of everything, Hudson.
Hudson: That's right, man! Hey, why don't you go, man!
Bishop: [more loudly] I'll go.
Ripley: What?
Bishop: I'll go. I mean, I'm the only one qualified to remote pilot the ship anyway.
Hudson: Yeah, right, man. Bishop should go. Good idea!
Bishop: Believe me, I'd prefer not to. I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid.

[after Burke is revealed as the one who set the facehuggers loose on Ripley and Newt]
Hudson: [aiming his rifle at Burke] I say we grease this rat fuck-son-of-a-bitch right now!
Hicks: It just doesn't make any goddamn sense.
Ripley: He figured he could get the alien past the quarantine if one of us was... impregnated - whatever you call it - and frozen for the way home. Nobody would know about the embryos we're carrying. Me and Newt.
Hicks: Wait a minute, now, we'd all know.
Ripley: Yes, the only way he could do it is if he sabotaged certain freezers on the way home. Namely, yours. Then he could jettison the bodies and make up any story he liked.
Hudson: Fuck! He's dead! [aims his rifle at Burke again] You're dogmeat, pal!
Burke: This is so nuts. I mean listen... listen to what you're saying. It's all paranoid delusion. It's really sad. It's pathetic.
Ripley: You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over a goddamn percentage.

Taglines[edit]

There are some places in the universe you don't go alone.
  • This time it's war.

About Aliens (film)[edit]

File:ExpoSYFY - Alien (10803891925).jpg
The supporting actors here are inventions like the PulseGun or the SmartGun, which red-bandannaed Private Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein) stalks about with regally, like a flamenco dancer. (“Aliens” is going to be big on the survivalist circuit. It’s about this point that you remember Cameron also co-wrote “Rambo: First Blood Part II.”)]. ~ Shelia Benson
[O]f all the film’s choices, the best was Weaver. She’s its white-hot core, given fine, irascible dialogue to come blazing out of that patrician mouth, and the chance to look, for a moment, like a space-dusted Sleeping Beauty in her hyper-sleep casket.
Families can talk about the military metaphor in Aliens; it's said James Cameron had Vietnam on his mind when he depicted a group of gung-ho Marines charging into tunnels only to get shredded to pieces by hordes of an enemy that keeps on coming. What could the characters have done differently? ~ Charles Cassady Jr.
The ads for "Aliens" claim that this movie will frighten you as few movies have, and, for once, the ads don't lie. The movie is so intense that it creates a problem for me as a reviewer: Do I praise its craftsmanship, or do I tell you it left me feeling wrung out and unhappy? It has been a week since I saw it, so the emotions have faded a little, leaving with me an appreciation of the movie's technical qualities. But when I walked out of the theater, there were knots in my stomach from the film's roller-coaster ride of violence. This is not the kind of movie where it means anything to say you "enjoyed" it. ~ Roger Ebert
"Aliens" is absolutely, painfully and unremittingly intense for at least its last hour. Weaver goes into battle to save her colleagues, herself and the little girl, and the aliens drop from the ceiling, pop up out of the floor and crawl out of the ventilation shafts. (In one of the movie's less plausible moments, one alien even seems to know how to work the elevator buttons.) I have never seen a movie that maintains such a pitch of intensity for so long; it's like being on some kind of hair-raising carnival ride that never stops.
I don't know how else to describe this: The movie made me feel bad. It filled me with feelings of unease and disquiet and anxiety. I walked outside and I didn't want to talk to anyone. I was drained. I'm not sure "Aliens" is what we mean by entertainment. Yet I have to be accurate about this movie: It is a superb example of filmmaking craft. ~ Roger Ebert
Skip ... if you’re not a fan of war movies. Even though “Aliens” belongs to a number of genres, it is basically just a scarier, louder, gorier version of a classic combat flick. Add in the profanity, the high body count and the endless waves of monsters coming out of the darkness, and you’ve got something that’s a far cry from the typical sci-fi or horror film. ~ Bilge Ebiri
You’re entering a tight corridor filled with menacing shadows. Is that breathing you hear? Well, don’t run. Clanging metal walkways and staircases always give your position away.
You might be playing a first- or third-person shooter - or watching the film “Aliens.”
Every science fiction/horror game of the last 20 years - from the granddaddy of them all, Id’s “Doom,” to recent titles such as Electronic Arts’ “Dead Space” series - owes a debt to the first two films in the “Alien” franchise, Ridley Scott’s moody 1979 original and James Cameron’s action-packed 1986 sequel, “Aliens.” ~ John Kosik
It starts with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) emerging like Sleeping Beauty from more than half a century of interplanetary slumber, which she doubtless needed after her prior ordeal. The planet where it all happened, she learns, has since been colonized by humans, who have broken off contact with Earth—but note the time line: they did so only after she awoke. Is that a mere plot contrivance, or could it be that the monsters have been waiting for Ripley, to summon her to the fray? She certainly seems more determined and queenly this time around, with a foe to match, plus an android, played by Lance Henriksen, and the result is a formidable acceleration of all the fears that lurked in the first film: the frigidity of Scott’s detached and spooky manner is replaced by the relentlessness of a racing heart. ~ Anthony Lane
It’s a fun film that also demanded you to take it seriously. I think some people missed all that and just wanted to indulge in the ‘bug hunt’ war porn of it all. But beneath its rollercoaster surface, Aliens is a pretty sophisticated genre classic.” ~ Charles de Lauzirika
Count me out of the fan club for this one. To me, Aliens is one extremely violent, protracted attack on the senses, as surviving space explorer Sigourney Weaver again confronts the spiny, slithering creatures who killed her buddies in the original film, Alien. Some people have praised the technical excellence of Aliens. Well, the Eiffel Tower is technically impressive, but I wouldn`t want to watch it fall apart on people for two hours. R. ~ Gene Siskel
Fifty-seven years on, Ripley is discovered - Sleeping Beauty in space. Plagued by nightmares and surrounded by sceptics, she's forced to return to the resting place of the original alien's mother ship with a bunch of seen-it-all-before Marines. Confidently directed by James Cameron (heretofore known only for 'The Terminator' and 'Piranha II'), this sequel dares to build slowly, allowing Weaver to develop a multi-dimensional character even as it ups the ante by fetishising the Marines' hi-tech hardware and spawning legions of aliens (the suspense involves guessing which group will be cannon fodder). There is always an interesting tension in Cameron's work between masculine and feminine qualities. When it finally hits the fan here, we're in for the mother of all battles. ~ TCh
  • [W]here "Alien" focused on the creature itself, "Aliens" centers on Ripley, whom a "deep-salvage" team finds floating in space after a 56-year "hypersleep." The anonymous Company, as represented by Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), is pretty steamed that Ripley destroyed the mother ship (with the alien in it). But when the radio silence of one of the Company's colonies points toward another alien outbreak, Burke enlists Ripley in a search mission.
    So she's thrown together with a company of Marines, including Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein), a burly, tough-talking woman machine-gunner; quiet Hicks (Michael Biehn) and noisy Hudson (Bill Paxton); a gravel-voiced, enigmatic android named Bishop (Lance Henriksen); Sgt. Apone (Al Matthews), a cigar-chomping top kick; and Lt. Gorman (William Hope), the group's callow and effete commanding officer.
    As a screen writer, Cameron has an uncanny ear for the way these trench rats talk, their banter and swaggering bravado. He has the same instincts as George Lucas did in "Star Wars" -- make the future seem real, and lived in -- but he pushes it further. The surroundings are different, the weapons are fancier, but as the soldiers razz Lt. Gorman or ready themselves for battle, it might as well be Vietnam.
    The humor is a way to get us to like these characters, so that when they're thrown into danger it's not just a cheap thrill. And it's a way to draw you into the early going, without squandering any of the cliffhangers -- it allows Cameron to pace his movie along a perfectly accelerating curve, to pack the excitement into the last 45 minutes (which is almost all climaxes) without losing the audience at the beginning.
  • At its heart, "Aliens" involves a myth deep in everyone's psychology, a war between a good mother and a wicked stepmother (the "Alien Queen"), and it ends with a tableau of the family triumphant, although this might be the weirdest family anyone's ever seen -- a gun-toting mom, a wild child and an android who's been sawed in half. But in that single image is the whole of Cameron's strategy -- to take what's familiar and permanent in ordinary life, and twist it, and twist it again. "Aliens," in other words, might be about a young girl who hates her stepmother and loves her mom -- it just wouldn't be nearly as much fun. Aliens, opening today at area theaters, is rated R, and contains violence and profanity.
  • [W]ritten and directed by James Cameron, the Canadian boy from Chippawa, Ont., Aliens is smartly conceived and executed, and it does contain its share of thrills and scares. But it is very much a sequel, and the element of surprise, the most invaluable of commodities in enterprises such as this, has been lost.
  • In “Aliens,” Biehn plays Weaver’s comrade-in-arms, and while she seems to be the only human on this Marine mission with any smarts, he at least shares her humanity. It’s a quality in short supply this time.
    There’s no attempt to let us know or care for this new crew as we did for the old one, for Harry Dean Stanton or Yaphet Kotto, John Hurt, Tom Skerritt or Veronica Cartwright. Losing them was a wrench. These awesomely muscled men and women are sewer-mouthed, burr-headed young grunts, there to wrestle the weaponry about and to be picked off.
  • The supporting actors here are inventions like the PulseGun or the SmartGun, which red-bandannaed Private Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein) stalks about with regally, like a flamenco dancer. (“Aliens” is going to be big on the survivalist circuit. It’s about this point that you remember Cameron also co-wrote “Rambo: First Blood Part II.”).
    The film may be as empty as it is fast and noisy, but Cameron still has a droll touch with his villains--watch who steps off “Aliens’ ” elevator in pursuit of Weaver--and with amazing mechanical inventions: Here it’s a forklift suit with monstrous lobster claws. (The film’s R rating is for its language and gruesome effects; it’s definitely not for impressionable children in spite of its 9-year-old heroine.)
  • Two of the actors, ex-comic Paul Reiser and Lance Henriksen (“The Right Stuff’s” Wally Schirra) as the ship’s exceptional android, are particularly fine, as is James Horner’s ruminative, intelligent music and Emma Porteous’ eye for costuming.
    But of all the film’s choices, the best was Weaver. She’s its white-hot core, given fine, irascible dialogue to come blazing out of that patrician mouth, and the chance to look, for a moment, like a space-dusted Sleeping Beauty in her hyper-sleep casket.
  • Perhaps the best single word to describe James Cameron's Aliens is relentless. Tautly paced and expertly directed, this roller coaster ride of a motion picture offers a little bit of everything, all wrapped up in a tidy science fiction/action package. From the point when the opening half-hour of exposition ends and the real movie begins, Cameron barely gives viewers a chance to catch their breaths or ease their grips on their armrests as he plunges his characters from one dire situation to the next. This is one of those rare motion pictures that involves the audience so completely in the story that we're as worn out at the end as our on-screen counterparts.
  • When it comes to the logical marriage of action, adventure, and science fiction, few films are as effective or accomplished as Aliens, and there's nothing on the market (either in theaters or on video store shelves) that will leave you as thoroughly exhausted.
  • If you take the special edition of James Cameron’s astounding sequel to the classic Alien, it’s a film where you don’t see – save for a facehugger right at the start – a single alien creature until almost an hour has been clocked up.
    One full hour.
    How incredible is that, particularly contextualised against modern day flicks that never seem to introduce the cat to the bag, let alone let it out? But there’s more to it than that, because Cameron then spends that hour superbly well, managing to ratchet up the tension to quite unbearable levels in the build-up to the inevitable first encounter. In fact, there’s a convincing argument, and this writer would certainly subscribe to it, that the scariest thing in the whole of Aliens is a flashing dot on a screen, accompanied by a beeping noise.
  • I was as much doing an homage to what Ridley [Scott] had created as I was making my own movie, but I did set out to do both in a balance. I didn’t think I could outdo Alien for pure shock. … So I had to come up with an end run around that would be equally entertaining for an audience but in a different way.
  • I was sitting with the three producers, and we were in the office of the then-head of 20th Century Fox. And I said, ‘Guys, I got an idea for the title. And it goes like this.’ And I wrote, ‘Alien’ in large block letters. And I put an S on the end. I showed it to them. I said, ‘I want to call it Aliens, because we're not dealing with one. Now we're dealing with an army, and that's the big distinction. And it's very simple and very graphic.’ And I said, ‘But here's what it's going to translate to.’ And then I drew the two lines through it to make it a dollar sign. And that was my pitch. And apparently it worked! Because they went with the title. They never questioned it.
  • Though it's perhaps the most iconic single prop in the entire Alien franchise, the power loader Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) uses to fend off the xenomorph queen in Aliens (1986) was a real pain to make. A new featurette, premiering today on The Creators Project, reveals that, while Rome wasn't built in a day, the very first model for this "far future forklift," actually was. "The practical effects guys in England, they just thought I was nuts," Cameron says in the clip, referring to the time he essentially locked his team in a room with a bunch of pipes and foam core. But by the end of the day they had a recognizable prototype of the first robot exoskeleton to hit the silver screen. When they tested out their experiment, Cameron says, "All the effects guys were starting to think, 'Oh my god this actually sort of works just enough that he's going to make us do this.' And I did, I made them do it."
    • James Cameron as quoted by Beckett Muffson, “[Exclusive 30 Years After 'Aliens,' James Cameron Looks Back on the Power Loader”], Vice, (September 16, 2016)
  • Thirty-five years on, Weaver’s performance remains the high watermark for strong female leads in action movies. It’s a character description that may sound redundant and regressive in this day and age, but in 1986 Weaver embodied it to a degree that left many other great performances by great actors that came afterwards suffering by comparison.
  • Parents need to know that the relentless, ravenous clawed monsters in Aliens, the sequel to Alien, are likely to give small kids (and others) nightmares. It's even more violent than the original. Besides the rerun of the grisly moment when embryonic aliens burst out of people (in reality and in dream scenes), we also see quick cuts of victims seared with acid, getting set on fire, and blowing themselves up with a grenade. Gunfire, bombs, and flamethrowers are directed at the aliens. Most disturbing of all -- or, at least, the most nakedly manipulative -- is the perpetual threat of ghastly violence/death/contamination directed at a frightened, screaming little girl. There's also a plethora of swearing and lots of adoring fondling of guns and high-powered weapons.
  • Families can talk about the military metaphor in Aliens; it's said James Cameron had Vietnam on his mind when he depicted a group of gung-ho Marines charging into tunnels only to get shredded to pieces by hordes of an enemy that keeps on coming. What could the characters have done differently?
  • `Aliens,` said Cameron, resplendent on a recent June afternoon in a black, open-neck shirt crawling with virulently purple orchids, is the movie I would have died to see when I was 14.
  • An action-thriller that women will cheer for.
  • A sequel to director Ridley Scott's "Alien" was inevitable, of course. This traditional horror movie set in outer space simply made too darn much money for the studio to simply let it stand alone.
    Surprisingly, when director James Cameron took over, he was determined to make a different movie rather than merely rehash the first. Thus, "Aliens" was adventurous, taking the story in new and exciting directions as an action-adventure yarn instead of another horror movie.
    Indeed, a number of critics feel "Aliens" is better than "Alien."
  • The ads for "Aliens" claim that this movie will frighten you as few movies have, and, for once, the ads don't lie. The movie is so intense that it creates a problem for me as a reviewer: Do I praise its craftsmanship, or do I tell you it left me feeling wrung out and unhappy? It has been a week since I saw it, so the emotions have faded a little, leaving with me an appreciation of the movie's technical qualities. But when I walked out of the theater, there were knots in my stomach from the film's roller-coaster ride of violence. This is not the kind of movie where it means anything to say you "enjoyed" it.
  • The director, James Cameron, has been assigned to make an intense and horrifying thriller, and he has delivered. Weaver comes through with a very strong, sympathetic performance. The supporting players are sharply drawn. The special effects are professional. I’m giving the movie a high rating for its skill and professionalism and because it does the job it says it will do. I am also advising you not to eat before you go to see it.”
    • Roger Ebert, Aliens 1986, Rogerebert.com, (July 18, 1986).
  • It's here that my nerves started to fail. "Aliens" is absolutely, painfully and unremittingly intense for at least its last hour. Weaver goes into battle to save her colleagues, herself and the little girl, and the aliens drop from the ceiling, pop up out of the floor and crawl out of the ventilation shafts. (In one of the movie's less plausible moments, one alien even seems to know how to work the elevator buttons.) I have never seen a movie that maintains such a pitch of intensity for so long; it's like being on some kind of hair-raising carnival ride that never stops.
    I don't know how else to describe this: The movie made me feel bad. It filled me with feelings of unease and disquiet and anxiety. I walked outside and I didn't want to talk to anyone. I was drained. I'm not sure "Aliens" is what we mean by entertainment. Yet I have to be accurate about this movie: It is a superb example of filmmaking craft.
    • Roger Ebert, Aliens 1986, Rogerebert.com, (July 18, 1986).
  • Skip ... if you’re not a fan of war movies. Even though “Aliens” belongs to a number of genres, it is basically just a scarier, louder, gorier version of a classic combat flick. Add in the profanity, the high body count and the endless waves of monsters coming out of the darkness, and you’ve got something that’s a far cry from the typical sci-fi or horror film.
  • James Horner's score contains elements of Goldsmithian militaristic marches and borrowings from his Star Trek III score, as well as a touch of "The Gayne Ballet," as used in 2001, making it seem more of a rehash than an original from this talented composer. Stan Winston has done an excellent job of making H.R. Giger's original Alien design quicker moving and more mobile, adding a hitherto unseen form of the Alien for the climax.
    Aliens ends up as a wild and woolly roller-coaster ride of a movie which should attract anxious crowds of thrill fans as it cuts a swath through theaters from here to Alpha Centauri.
  • “Aliens is about nothing at all beyond squeezing yet another buck from what seven years ago was an original, arresting — and profitable — science-fiction-horror [film]. Alien was so good because it said all that needed to be said on its subject. [S]equels are superfluous, dictated by pure greed as opposed to any driving artistic compulsion.”
  • Cruder than the original, Aliens is a distinctly greedy mega-production. For sure, there’s only so many times you can tell the same story and rewrite the same set pieces: Because the film’s human melodramas play second fiddle to the kick-ass action sequences, it’s obvious that 20th Century Fox wanted to bank on the success of the original film.
    Some time after its release, Alien began to develop a following among feminists, confirmed when one of my film school professors would frequently reference the set design’s phallic and vaginal imagery. But it’s Ripley’s battle to be heard by the film’s alpha males and mother ship that truly resonates today. This mostly subtextual war of the sexes is on whorish display throughout Aliens: the mother alien is referred to as a “badass” by Bill Paxton’s insufferable Hudson; Ripley’s cigar-chomping sergeant doesn’t think she can do anything; and the tough, eager-to-please Latina lesbian who calls Ripley “Snow White” is teased for looking like a man.
    After floating in space for 57 years, Ripley is picked up by a salvage ship and is treated like a rape victim by a money-minded conglomerate. After her feminine insight gets the better of everyone, she helps spearhead a mission back to the alien planet after the ship loses contact with its colonists. Plot holes abound, but more tragic is the sorry lot of archetypical characters a fierce Ripley has to rub shoulders with; you can tell exactly in what order everyone will die depending on how nondescript, polite, hysterical, or evil the characterization.
    Aliens is a “guy movie” through and through, right down to the “get away from her, you bitch” female-on-female violence (Cameron, David Giler, and Walter Hill must have been watching Dynasty while writing their screenplay). The director’s cut of the film hauntingly amplifies Ripley’s disconnect from her dead daughter and her relationship to the young Newt (essentially a substitute for her creepy pet cat). Otherwise, the film’s human interactions are nowhere near as interesting as Cameron’s deft direction of action and use of non-alien space (the “Remote Sentry Weapons” killing spree may be Cameron’s finest moment).
  • The special-effects specialists are featured prominently in the credits that precede Aliens, and so they should be. Under the direction of James Cameron, they have put together a flaming, flashing, crashing, crackling blow-’em up show that keeps you popping from your seat despite your better instincts and the basically conventional scare tactics.”
  • Although the aliens still have that nasty way of bursting through people's skin, mostly we meet them full-grown, with scales and coils and, my, what big teeth. Now they look like dragons, now like sea monsters or pterodactyls or a combination plate of lizard, bat, eel and spider. The young aliens resemble agitated lobsters. I thought I saw an elephant trunk on the Big Mamma alien, who is too big to be blown away even by Miss Weaver's big gun, but it could have been something else. Anyhow, it wasn't anything you'd want clutching at your foot while you were trying to hang on to your spaceship and not be gulped into the void.
    No monster movie with pretensions can do without a scene that stirs a twinge of compassion for the monsters. It might be just my wishful imagination, but I thought I detected an expression of anguish on Big Mamma, a prodigious breeder, as dozens of her extra-large eggs were getting badly cracked. But she could merely have been opening her glacierlike jaws to devour that little girl.
  • Talk about relentless. There probably has never been a cliffhanger as outrageous or as ingeniously sustained as Aliens, writer-director James Cameron’s absolutely smashing sequel to Alien, Ridley Scott’s 1979 science-fiction/horror classic…. Aliens proves that a bigger budget and more elaborate special effects haven’t spoiled Cameron, and that he can still generate that involvement. In many ways, this is one sequel that improves on the original.”
  • “[O]ne of the things that makes Aliens work is the performance of Sigourney Weaver, reprising her role from the first film. She is strong and serious and very human. And she puts to shame the spate of one-dimensional macho heroes we’ve had lately who all look like plastic imitations of each other.”
  • Aliens is often regarded as a blueprint for how to execute an effective sequel. And rightly so. It didn’t try to replicate the first film. Instead, it took its essence and Scrapheap Challenged a rip-roaring war movie out of it. Ripley, the lone survivor of the mining ship, Nostromo – the sepulchral setting for the first film’s slasher-horror minimalism – joins a ragtag band of marines to take the fight back to the aliens. And what a bunch they are: Michael Biehn’s stoic Hicks, Bill Paxton’s wild-eyed gobshite Hudson, Jenette Goldstein’s badass gunslinger Vasquez. Frost, Spunkmeyer, Gorman, Apone, Drake – it’s amazing how many memorable grunts Cameron managed to forge with so little expository dialogue. That they used enormous “smart guns” mounted to their hips and sped around in a Batmobile-esque armoured personnel carrier only served to sprinkle more geek catnip on my impressionable 12-year-old brain.
  • Rewatching it over the years I’ve only come to appreciate Aliens more. It remains a masterclass in building tension: we don’t actually see an alien until the hour mark, and when we finally do it’s in a bewildering frenzy of bodycam panic. The scene with Ripley and Newt (the girl Ripley finds living feral on a base long since overrun by aliens) trapped in a laboratory with a scuttling face-hugger is still a bum-clenching ordeal. Paul Reiser’s smarmy, flop-sweat-slick company man, Burke, has become ever more punchable with every passing year. And Ripley overcoming her prejudices to accept the android Bishop as a friend is more touching now than it ever was. Yes, Bishop had to be literally ripped in half in order for her to do this, but the point stands.
    It could be argued that Cameron hasn’t made a truly great film since Terminator 2 (1991). That was the other adult-centric movie I remember featuring heavily in my childhood. Both Cameron films, both sequels to grimier, more disturbing originals that my mum would rather I didn’t watch, both held together by remarkable performances by their leading women. I’ve come to think that my mum was engaged in a not-so-subtle campaign to imbue me with an appreciation of strong female role models.
  • Brandishing sophisticated weaponry and rescuing hostages in a style that leads Pauline Kael to label her “no more than a smart Rambo” (79), Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley champions a type of a feminist role in Alien (1979) (dir. Ridley Scott) and its filmchild Aliens (1986) (dir. James Cameron). Lawrence O’Toole croons that “Weaver brings wit, warmth, compassion, sweat and strength to her heroic role. Feminism has barely had it so good”, while David Ansen calls her “human macho” a “strong, unsentimental heroine” (64), and Rebecca Bell-Metereau celebrates Ripley as a “prototype for a new female lead…because she is not stunning, stunned, or simpering” (210) Single-handedly defeating alien creatures who threaten to destroy the human race, Ripley is intelligent, resourceful, independent, able to take command, and, in the greatest divergence from Hollywood’s typical depiction of “feminists,” not linked romantically to a man. “The closest thing that [Aliens] comes to romance” is Corporal Hicks showing Ripley how to operate an M41A pulse rifle (Kael 79). Ripley thus seems to epitomize, both for the films and their many viewers, the type of a new woman, one who not only holds her own in a man’s world, but is the only person to survive successfully in it.
  • FROM the halls of Montezuma to the spores of outer space, they will fight our country's battles anytime, anyplace . . . The Marines, sweating and swearing and valiant as lions, engage "Aliens" in this hell-bent-for-leathernecks sequel to the 1979 thriller by Ridley Scott.
    "Alien" was a classic of gothic horror, but "Aliens" is a blockbuster of epic combat, a high-powered, spine-tingling, interplanetary "Pork Chop Hill." Here, a few good men -- and in the year 2036, a few good women -- battle the blood-thirsty beings of the planet Archeron.
  • Raunchy one-liners relieve the fear of the unknown that menaces this mean, terrific team. Only the sequel isn't as shocking because we know a little about the monster now. "Aliens" can't top the original caesarean scene -- the monster tearing through the abdomen of its human host. But this time there are more parasites. If "Alien" was a cancer metaphor, "Aliens" is more like AIDS. There may be no defense, though there are plenty of skirmishes.
    Then there's the red-blooded feminism. Basically it's "Rambo" for her, with Weaver's demeanor steelier than Stallone's. But she is a woman. And that means she's got to balance a career and mothering when she takes a spunky nine-year-old space orphan under her wing.
  • As in the original, Cameron's space looks lived in. The computer banks are dusty and the troop-ers wear fatigues instead of silver-zippered suits. The monsters, in their many forms, are recreated with gooey veracity, plus there's a new queen bee ovipositing spores in the aliens' nasty nursery. Boy, do those things make a lot of slime.
    It gets slippery for Ripley in a girls-only show-down with the alieness, despite the backing of formidable comrades: Michael ("Terminator") Biehn as a dashing corporal and Lance Henriksen as a valiant synthetic ("I prefer the term artificial person myself"). The vigorous and well-chosen cast also includes comedian Paul Reiser in his first serious role, as a corporate villain; and Al Matthews as the bull-necked sarge who moves 'em out to the rat-tat-tat-tat of the drums.
    Except for the droid, they're characters you'd find in any foxhole from "Sergeant York" to "The Green Berets." The enemy is as merciless as the Nazis, as elusive as the North Vietnamese. All of it is set against the pristine starscape of deep space.
  • Director James Cameron makes all the right moves. [H]e brings to Aliens a solid gift for action, pacing and excitement…. Though Aliens is unable to eschew some obvious sci-fi conventions and those of other genres as well, it brings a fresh and lively spirit to this tired cinematic clime. Scene to scene, encounter to encounter, its tension builds unrelentingly. So, fasten your seat belts. It’s a blast.
  • You’re entering a tight corridor filled with menacing shadows. Is that breathing you hear? Well, don’t run. Clanging metal walkways and staircases always give your position away.
    You might be playing a first- or third-person shooter - or watching the film “Aliens.”
    Every science fiction/horror game of the last 20 years - from the granddaddy of them all, Id’s “Doom,” to recent titles such as Electronic Arts’ “Dead Space” series - owes a debt to the first two films in the “Alien” franchise, Ridley Scott’s moody 1979 original and James Cameron’s action-packed 1986 sequel, “Aliens.”
  • Cameron was confident enough to not only dream up a sequel that continued Ripley’s story but also shift it into a different genre. Where Alien was pure horror, Aliens was first and foremost an action thriller; the movie’s tagline, “This time it’s war” was a clear indication that Cameron’s movie was anything but a straight retread.
  • In the wake of Aliens, the pop culture impact of the colonial marines – and the look of film in general – was immediate. It’s worth noting that Paul Verhoeven’s adaptation of Starship Troopers, with its military units wearing light armour rather than powerful exoskeletons, was actually closer to Aliens than Heinlein’s book.
    Aliens' impact on videogame design, meanwhile, can be seen everywhere – from the retro alien blasting future soldiers in Contra (1987) to the frat-boy space marines in Gears Of War and a thousand identikit sci-fi shooters. In the absence of more colo-nial marines adventures on the big screen, videogame designers filled the void.
  • It starts with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) emerging like Sleeping Beauty from more than half a century of interplanetary slumber, which she doubtless needed after her prior ordeal. The planet where it all happened, she learns, has since been colonized by humans, who have broken off contact with Earth—but note the time line: they did so only after she awoke. Is that a mere plot contrivance, or could it be that the monsters have been waiting for Ripley, to summon her to the fray? She certainly seems more determined and queenly this time around, with a foe to match, plus an android, played by Lance Henriksen, and the result is a formidable acceleration of all the fears that lurked in the first film: the frigidity of Scott’s detached and spooky manner is replaced by the relentlessness of a racing heart. Action thrillers assail but rarely test us; this is the tautest, most provoking, and altogether most draining example ever made.
    • Anthony Lane, “Happy Landings”, The New Yorker, Critic’s Notebook, June 1, 2009 Issue, (May 25, 2009)
  • There ought to be a warning attached to the video release of "Aliens," the sequel to the 1979 sci-fi thriller "Alien." It should read: "Warning. Not To Be Viewed Alone, Nor After 11 p.m. Otherwise, Tranquil Sleep Cannot Be Guaranteed." Because that's how I watched this remarkable thriller -- late at night and alone. I found it, quite simply, terrifying -- one of the scariest movies since "The Exorcist." And one of the best of this type.
    Translated to video, "Aliens" is not quite as terrifying as it was in theaters, but the suspense, drama and horror are there nonetheless.
    Sigourney Weaver, that willowy, captivating young star, returns as the sole survivor of the earlier space mission. She's been asleep for 57 years when she's returned to Earth. Why the technology hasn't changed too much in half a century is about the only unanswered question in this otherwise near-perfect thriller.
  • The rest of "Aliens" is basically a series of search-and-destroy missions in the bowels of an abandoned structure on a far-off planet. But the way the creatures are stalked, and the slow, me-thodical steps the marines take before suddenly confronting them, make for superb drama. Some-times, even though you know the nature of the enemy, not knowing when or where it will strike is more terrifying. And so it is with this wonderfully filmed thriller.
    Whereas the original "Alien" was a bit too laid back for my tastes, with its characters spending too much time sipping coffee and waiting to be devoured, skewered and decimated, "Aliens" has no such flaws. It is a continual series of furious encounters with the aliens, who are multiplying rapidly.
  • Watching a movie like "Aliens" on home video cannot match the terror from a big screen, at least for me. The security of one's own living room is reassuring, and so is that omnipotent off button on the VCR. But if you make the commitment to watch "Aliens" -- and I think you should -- you will see something quite remarkable. Not only is terror sustained for more than two hours, but also the last 20 minutes -- Weaver's final confrontation with the queen bee of the aliens -- has to to be one of the scariest horror sequences ever filmed.
  • Director James Cameron’s continuation of Ridley Scott’s Alien is long on brawn and short on brains. Too many Marines, too much noise, and too many acres of heavy hardware clutter up the scenery.
  • Count me out of the fan club for this one. To me, Aliens is one extremely violent, protracted attack on the senses, as surviving space explorer Sigourney Weaver again confronts the spiny, slithering creatures who killed her buddies in the original film, Alien. Some people have praised the technical excellence of Aliens. Well, the Eiffel Tower is technically impressive, but I wouldn`t want to watch it fall apart on people for two hours. R.
  • Fifty-seven years on, Ripley is discovered - Sleeping Beauty in space. Plagued by nightmares and surrounded by sceptics, she's forced to return to the resting place of the original alien's mother ship with a bunch of seen-it-all-before Marines. Confidently directed by James Cameron (heretofore known only for 'The Terminator' and 'Piranha II'), this sequel dares to build slowly, allowing Weaver to develop a multi-dimensional character even as it ups the ante by fetishising the Marines' hi-tech hardware and spawning legions of aliens (the suspense involves guessing which group will be cannon fodder). There is always an interesting tension in Cameron's work between masculine and feminine qualities. When it finally hits the fan here, we're in for the mother of all battles.

“Aliens 30th anniversary: Oral history of Power Loader Ripley vs. The Alien Queen” (July 18, 2016)[edit]

Anthony Breznican, “Aliens 30th anniversary: Oral history of Power Loader Ripley vs. The Alien Queen”, Entertainment Weekly, (July 18, 2016)

Looking back, I’m always astonished that they trusted me to flame the dummies and shoot blanks into the stunt guys and bazookas into some of the other targets. You know, we just went for it. And luckily I didn’t kill anyone.
  • Monday, July 18, marks the 30th anniversary of the debut of Aliens, so EW asked Weaver, director James Cameron, and producer Gale Anne Hurd to reminisce about that final knock-down drag-out.
    Cameron: I did the initial drawings. I presented them to Stan Winston, and then the next thing was, all right, now how are we going to do this damn thing? Because you got to remember, there was no CG back then. So, you know, we’re talking about big puppets, miniature puppets, and maybe some guys inside it, and I said, well, I think you can put guys inside this thing. I think you can put two people inside it. He thought I was nuts. So we did a test where we built a frame that could hold two people.
    Hurd: You’ve got to remember the state of computers back then also, this was not a time of microcircuitry that’s as advanced as it is today. There were robots in manufacturing lines, and we used some robotics in the film, but it was first generation. If it could be choreographed with people, it’s much easier to tell someone what you want to do and how to change something in a nuanced way. And it’s less likely to break!
  • Weaver: Looking back, I’m always astonished that they trusted me to flame the dummies and shoot blanks into the stunt guys and bazookas into some of the other targets. You know, we just went for it. And luckily I didn’t kill anyone.

“'Aliens' Turns 30: Celebrating The Iconic Sci-Fi Sequel” (July 18, 2016)[edit]

AUDIE CORNISH and CHRIS KLIMEK “'Aliens' Turns 30: Celebrating The Iconic Sci-Fi Sequel”, “All Things Considered”, NPR, (July 18, 2016)

Well, in 1986 we are slightly more than a decade out of Vietnam, but we're just starting to deal with it in pop culture. But "Aliens" is very much channeling the fallout of Vietnam. All of the military slang heard in the film among the Marines is Vietnam-era. Kind of combined with the - you know, the rah-rah-rah (ph) militarism of the Reagan '80s. To the extent that "Alien" was about the ennui and disillusionment of the '70s, "Aliens" is the - you know, the "Morning In America" version of that, even though it is kind of a critique of military power.
  • CORNISH: OK, remind us the difference between 1979's "Alien" and what came seven years later in "Aliens" with an s. Like, fundamentally, what's the difference in plot?
KLIMEK: Well, the difference is actually the entire genre. You know, "Alien" was this spooky haunted house movie in space. And "Aliens" starts out that way but turns into this suspense action war movie. Ripley wakes up 57 years later, like Rip Van Winkle. She's been drifting off in space having survived her first encounter with the alien. And she gets back to Earth and finds that no one believes her story. But some months later - some traumatic, nightmare-suffering cloaked months - invited to go back to the planet LV-426. And I think this is the element that makes this story universal. Even though very few of us have experience fighting monsters in space, the idea of having to go back and confront your demons is universal. And that's the story of "Aliens."
CORNISH: And you've talked about the atmosphere at the time. What was going on kind of in the broader culture that you think helped people I guess connect with this film?
KLIMEK: Well, in 1986 we are slightly more than a decade out of Vietnam, but we're just starting to deal with it in pop culture. But "Aliens" is very much channeling the fallout of Vietnam. All of the military slang heard in the film among the Marines is Vietnam-era. Kind of combined with the - you know, the rah-rah-rah (ph) militarism of the Reagan '80s. To the extent that "Alien" was about the ennui and disillusionment of the '70s, "Aliens" is the - you know, the "Morning In America" version of that, even though it is kind of a critique of military power.
CORNISH: Now, in the end, why do you think that this resonated? Like, are - I don't know, like, why are we talking about it 30 years later?
KLIMEK: I think there were a few things that just all lined up. I think the novelty of having a woman helming a movie like this and then the quality of the performance. You know, she - Weaver is so strong in this film. So it was of its time, but it was also groundbreaking. And those elements just intersected in a way that made it a big hit.

Summer of ‘86: James Cameron’s Aliens” (August 3, 2011)[edit]

Robert C. Cumbow, “Summer of ‘86: James Cameron’s Aliens”, Slant, (August 3, 2011)

Sigourney Weaver’s wonderful, resourceful Ripley doesn’t just continue the tough-woman role but transforms and refines it until she out-Rambos Rambo, succeeding where the military cannot.
Aliens also shares Kubrick’s atmosphere of a desensitized future; but here, feelings aren’t deadened, but heightened. It’s more Clockwork Orange than 2001 everyone is edgy, resentful, suspicious, abusive; their only humor is insult-humor. These are the ‘80s, the era of The Road Warrior and dozens of other junkyard futurism films in which human behavior has been stripped to the essentials and human emotions reduced to raw-edged anger or screaming terror.
  • What returns from Alien: creepy egg chamber, spidery face-clinging larval parasite, chest-bursting imago, search missions in dark and wet places, a race against a nuclear self-destruct device, android malfunctioning and going literally to pieces, corporate conspiracy to obtain an alien at the cost of innumerable human lives, the airlock as weapon of choice, and the nasty suggestion that it isn’t all over (embodied there in a cat, here in a little girl, both apparently red herrings).
    What’s new in Aliens: Cameron replaces the timeless lethargy of Ridley Scott’s space and the sweaty, stultifying boredom of life on an intergalactic freighter with frenetic pace. Aliens grabs you immediately and never lets go; it seems much shorter than its 2:17 running time (and even the 2:34 restored/enhanced edition released in 1999 streaks by with white-knuckle kinetics).
  • No futuristic plastic fantastic technology. Metal takes over, and dominates the look and sound of the film.
    Sigourney Weaver’s wonderful, resourceful Ripley doesn’t just continue the tough-woman role but transforms and refines it until she out-Rambos Rambo, succeeding where the military cannot.
    And of course there are the Marines—the “mechanized infantry” of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, which Cameron boldly adopted a decade before Paul Verhoeven’s film and dropped into Aliens about forty minutes in. We have references to a “bug hunt,” getting the shakes before a drop, female pilots, cameras mounted on the Marines so leaders behind the lines can see what the troopers on the point are seeing. Cameron clearly loved Heinlein’s novel and found a way to film it by dovetailing it neatly into his sequel to someone else’s film of someone else’s vision.
  • What’s not to like? There are a few things, including four of my seven least favorite movie clichés: sitting bolt upright from a dream, yelling “no” at something that’s already happened, outrunning an explosion, and having a computer voice remind us that time is running out. Newt, the little girl who is the sole survivor of an ill-fated farming colony on LV-426, is witty, wise, and brave beyond her years, but when the chips are down she has nothing to contribute beyond screaming repeatedly. The marines talk in a 1970s idiom (“check it out,” “bad ass,” “get it on”) even though the movie is set in a future by which, surely, those vacuous expressions—which sounded false even in 1986—will be unheard of. Their weapons are so impractically huge as to be more comical than impressive. Indeed, most of the film’s machinery seems designed with its human interface only half thought-out, creating the impression of future man as a kind of industrial junkyard hybrid. And of course this underscores the mirroring effect of the android: a machine that is almost human interacting easily with humans who are almost mechanical.
  • But the film’s many fine touches more than balance out the occasional clichés and annoyances. We cut from an alien larval parasite’s spidery legs gripping the head of a space farmer to a close shot of Ripley’s spidery fingers manipulating a cigarette. Cameron enjoys giving us Kubrick references: reverse tracking, especially long corridors; a kid riding a three-wheeler; human talks in alien environments; sidewise tracking cameras discover characters and events around corners; scenes are introduced and enhanced by drums; we’re won over by an android as logical and as humanly fallible and wistful as HAL. There’s even a tough-talking, verbally abusive sergeant whose attitudes and phraseology recall Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (but wait, that can’t be a Kubrick reference since Full Metal Jacket didn’t come out until after Aliens…)
    Aliens also shares Kubrick’s atmosphere of a desensitized future; but here, feelings aren’t deadened, but heightened. It’s more Clockwork Orange than 2001 everyone is edgy, resentful, suspicious, abusive; their only humor is insult-humor. These are the ‘80s, the era of The Road Warrior and dozens of other junkyard futurism films in which human behavior has been stripped to the essentials and human emotions reduced to raw-edged anger or screaming terror.
  • [D]espite the relentlessly bleak and pessimistic view of future humankind, Aliens sings an ultimately joyful song, and I will always love it for the bold self-assurance with which Cameron does Heinlein and out-does Scott.

“Xenomorphs Exposed! James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver, and Cast Reveal Secrets of 'Aliens'” (July 25, 2016)[edit]

Marcus Errico, “Xenomorphs Exposed! James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver, and Cast Reveal Secrets of 'Aliens'”, Yahoo.com, (July 25, 2016)

As opposed to formulaic filmmaking, go to an auteur and have the auteur write the script and reinvent the story while staying true to canon.
Sigourney set the bar. I was in awe of her before I ever met her. I had her picture up on the wall while I was writing the script. No actress had gotten nominated for Best Actress for a genre picture until then, not for science fiction or horror.
  • Before he started developing Aliens, Cameron had a different kind of extraterrestrial-themed project in mind, tentatively titled E.T. That name, of course, changed once he learned of Steven Spielberg’s film — Cameron retitled it Mother after its maternal themes. The script languished until he started developing the Alien sequel. “I cribbed some chunks from [Mother]. But it seemed to fit very well,” Cameron told us. “In the same way we needed to evolve and ratchet up Sigourney’s character, we needed to take the nemesis — the idea of the alien — and take it to another level. It was kind of staring us in the face: There was this ship filled with all these eggs. … Who laid the eggs?
    Continued Cameron: “Now, a scene that was removed from Ridley’s film showed there was a closure of the life cycle where the humans were cocooned and became eggs. We just threw that out. In my mind, I didn’t go against canon because that scene hadn’t made it into the release cut. So, I thought, ‘You got a mother someplace.’ Now you’ve got two mothers. Obviously, I never went anywhere with [Mother] — I just stuck it all into Alien 2.”
  • ”Sigourney set the bar. I was in awe of her before I ever met her. I had her picture up on the wall while I was writing the script,” said Cameron, who directed her to an Oscar nomination for the performance. “No actress had gotten nominated for Best Actress for a genre picture until then, not for science fiction or horror.”
    “I was just starting Gorillas in the Mist, which was an intimidating project because I had to play a real person and I had never done that,” Weaver recalled. “So it [the Oscar nomination] was a real shot in the arm. I didn’t realize it was groundbreaking until Jim told me. He still thinks I should have won.”
  • “For better or for worse,” said Hurd, who currently produces The Walking Dead. “All of a sudden, sequels, which were not common then, became considered a little more viable.”
    “A lot more viable,” Cameron interjected. “At the time we made Aliens, the rule was that a sequel would cost twice as much and make half as much. So, it never looked like a particularly good business model.”
    Hurd said Aliens established a rulebook for making a quality sequel: “As opposed to formulaic filmmaking, go to an auteur and have the auteur write the script and reinvent the story while staying true to canon.”
    “It’s about answering a question they didn’t know to ask, but when they see it, it seems obvious,” said Cameron.

“‘ALIENS’: A BATTLE-SCARRED TREK INTO ORBIT” (July 24, 1986)[edit]

David T. Friendly, “‘ALIENS’: A BATTLE-SCARRED TREK INTO ORBIT”, Los Angeles Times, (July 24, 1986)

  • In its first five days, “Aliens” took in a healthy $13.4 million at 1,437 theaters. Seven years after Ridley Scott’s space- noir classic “Alien” first arrived, “Aliens” looks like the runaway hit of the summer and may even surpass “Top Gun” when all the counting is done.
    But “Aliens” almost didn’t make it to the screen.
    In an era when it seems as if half the current releases are sequels feeding off yesterday’s fare, “Aliens” almost crashed and burned. At one point, 20th Century Fox, the studio releasing the film, nearly sold the rights to the sequel to the producers of “Rambo.”
  • Today, the lines for “Aliens” snake around the block even for weekday mid-afternoon screenings. The line to take credit for making “Aliens” is only slightly shorter. If movie-making is a collaborative art, the story behind the making of “Aliens” offers classic evidence that the number of contributors increases exponentially with the success of a film.
  • Fall, 1983 : The 42-page treatment, written in three days, was submitted to Fox where, because of lack of support for the idea, the project went into its own form of hyper-sleep. Said Cameron: “An executive told me he didn’t like the treatment because it was wall-to-wall horror and it needed more character development.” At one point a deal was almost closed to sell the rights to the sequel to producers Mario Kassar and Andrew Vanja (“Rambo”) but the lawyers couldn’t close the deal. Prospects for a sequel looked dim.
    July, 1984 : Independent producer Larry Gordon was hired to replace former studio production head Joe Wizan. Finding few projects in the production pipeline, he looked for possible sequels and came across the “Aliens” file. “I couldn’t believe it hadn’t already been done,” Gordon said. “In this business there are those decisions you agonize and lose sleep over, but this was so obvious. It was a no-brainer.”
  • When Fox insisted that it would make “Aliens” with or without Weaver, Cameron and Hurd quit again, this time taking off for a honeymoon in Hawaii. Said Hurd: “We assumed it was a dead issue, and when we left for Hawaii we thought the movie was off.”
    But when they returned, the movie was on--with Weaver as the star. According to those close to the negotiations, she was paid close to $1 million in compensation plus a percentage of the profits, the highest salary she has earned to date in her career.
  • September, 1985: “Aliens” finally started shooting on a London sound stage. After all the debate and questions about the budget, Hurd and Cameron brought in their movie on schedule and on budget. The studio loved the dailies and the buzz began to leak out: “Aliens” just might be the sleeper hit of the summer.
    But there was one more bitter struggle preceding the film’s opening. Fox wanted a movie of two hours or less but Cameron’s print came in at a lengthy 2 hours, 17 minutes. Nowadays, studios rarely release movies longer than 2 hours, 5 minutes, because the length cuts the number of daily screenings from five to four, substantially reducing the box-office take.
    For Fox to have the extra showing, Cameron would have had to cut 12 minutes.
    Late April, 1986: As Cameron and Hurd were working on their final “mix” (joining sound and picture together), Rudin flew to London to see their cut. Said Cameron: “We were standing on this London sidewalk and Rudin asked us if there was anything that could be cut. But we felt that if we had to take out 12 more minutes, the movie wouldn’t make sense.” Rudin acquiesced.

“Aliens Review” (9/10/1986)[edit]

Ian Nathan, “Aliens Review”, Empire, (9/10/1986)

What also counts here is execution. Cameron accepted Scott's (and, of course, H. R. Giger's) design ethic — gloop, scaly bits, loadsa teeth and long, dark, dingy, dripping corridors — but reinterpreted them as a battleground rather than a haunted house. The point he grasped straight away is that you can't win against this foe or the stigma, the sheer terror that this endomorph engenders would be lost. You can only escape. He replaced Scott's "behind-you" tension with a muscular fury, unrelenting, sweaty-palmed, pant-filling movie intensity. Nothing before or since has locked the viewer in with such an all-consuming sense of peril (audiences and critics actually complained of physical discomfort even illness upon exiting the auditorium).
  • Aliens is the perfect sequel. The Empire Strikes Back, while certainly a better film than Star Wars, was more a polished segment in a longer story than a stand-alone adventure. But Aliens is the model for every potential sequel-maker: it connects irrefutably with the events of the original (even to the point of starting exactly where the drama left off, albeit 57 years later) and expands on all the ideas and themes while simultaneously differentiating itself. The same, yet entirely different. Perfect.
    It also stands as testament to the unwavering vision and icy nerve of James Cameron (here directing only his third movie). Utilising the bombed out skeleton of Battersea Power Station to create the vast industrio-grim colony/hive setting for events, he was faced with a veteran British crew who had worked on Alien and worshipped the ground Ridley Scott walked on. What could this Canadian punk kid know? Well, for starters that in this case more is, indeed, more. Not just a single, ruthless, unbeatable killing machine but an army of them. On home turf.
  • What also counts here is execution. Cameron accepted Scott's (and, of course, H. R. Giger's) design ethic — gloop, scaly bits, loadsa teeth and long, dark, dingy, dripping corridors — but reinterpreted them as a battleground rather than a haunted house. The point he grasped straight away is that you can't win against this foe or the stigma, the sheer terror that this endomorph engenders would be lost. You can only escape. He replaced Scott's "behind-you" tension with a muscular fury, unrelenting, sweaty-palmed, pant-filling movie intensity. Nothing before or since has locked the viewer in with such an all-consuming sense of peril (audiences and critics actually complained of physical discomfort even illness upon exiting the auditorium).
  • Thematically Aliens also expounds the set-up further. Central is a continuation of Scott and Dan O'Bannon's (the original screenwriter) bogey man hypothesis — what if a lifeform was so attuned to survival it became the perfect killing machine and as such garnered a degree of Darwinisitic respect, even form its prey? Ash in Alien, lunatic android though he was, praised the monster for its "purity", even Ripley, confronted by the duplicity of company man Burke (Paul Reiser), has to admit that "You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percent-age!" Then it really gets going: Alien as giant phallus (and now there's a whole army of them) versus feminist heroine. The feminist subtext is hardly "sub" at all, Ripley is one of the strongest female characters in movie history. Closer to Cameron's heart, and a theme that recurs throughout his work, is the preservation of the nuclear family. With Newt rescued and Ripley taking on the role of surrogate mother we only need add Hick's gentlemanly (but by no means dominant) father to complete our model of perfect family unit (the other survivor, the android Bishop, well, he's either a kindly uncle or the pet dog or something). This whole notion is finally boiled down to a remarkable battle of maternal instincts — Ripley defending her child Newt; the queen Alien defending (or, at least, avenging) her children — summed up memorably in Ripley's battle call: "Get away from her, you bitch!" The biology of the species has been developed to the point where empathy if not sympathy is acceptable. And if you want to keep this up there is the 'Nam in space metaphor: unseen "gooks" mounting stealth attacks and the retreating Yanks totally undone by a tactic and mindset they cannot comprehend (a metaphor for US foreign policy?).
    Yet none of such academic noodling is ever at the expense of the thrills. Cameron understood fundamentally the basis here was a gut reaction. Aliens construction of action scenes, its build-up of tension and its final execution of combat is a marvel to behold (the film literally provokes a physical reaction). These are characters we care about, headed up by a resourceful heroine who is pitted against a formidable enemy in a thoroughly believable environment. Pure movie.

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