In Aliens, the nasty creatures from the first movie are back with a vengeance. There's more of them this time around and silly humans are only too happy to dismiss Ripley's report as nothing but hogwash and declare her unfit for flight duty. That is, until they lose contact with a terraforming colony that lives in LV-426. Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), a representative for Weyland-Yutani enlists Ripley's help in investigating Hadley's Hope. With a team of marines to escort them, the two head off to see what fate has befallen the colonists. While the characters of this film are far more aware of the threat as compared to the first one’s protagonists, this sequel still manages to deliver more action and tension than the original.
Looking Back to the Past
In the first movie, Ripley was among a team of space voyagers aboard the commercial space vessel Nostromo. They catch a systematized transmission coming from the planetoid LV-426. Obligated to do so, they search for survivors and they find an abandoned ship in the process. After that they head back home only to find out that a hostile life form has come along for the ride. The alien was dangerous -- attacking anyone and everything that crossed paths with it. It's only goal was to incubate its young using the bodies of its victims. It was killed eventually by being blown out of the air lock. Not counting the cat, Ripley is the only surviving member of the crew.
James Cameron Works His Magic
Aside from its excellent pacing, Aliens also shines when it comes to character development. The movie doesn't take any shortcuts when it comes to establishing the relationship between the team of marines and the camaraderie between them. A few of them get a chance in the limelight, showing their own distinct personality and having the rest of the cast filling in the rest.
Bishop, for instance, the ship's synthetic (or "artificial person") starts out as a mystery. Ripley warns him to stay away, with the malfunctioning A2 still fresh in her mind. Without giving too much of the story away, just know that he changes her mind later on, proving to be a dependable ally. Pvt. Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein) is the crew's spitfire, often being responsible for humorous quips as her team pokes fun of her manly appearance. Sgt. Apone (Al Matthews) knows how to lighten the mood, saying that there are colonists' daughters that they have to "rescue from their virginity." We can go on and on about this, really. Bottom line is, the characters are likeable in different ways. This makes the movie more compelling. You root for them, even though you know it's only a matter of time until it's their turn to get picked off.
Meet the Horde
Of course, the protagonists eventually discover that the colony is overrun by aliens. They cross paths the fleet-footed little girl (Carrie Henn) who has managed to survive thus far by keeping out of sight via the air ducts. Even without training, the young actress manages to impress with her convincing acting. Her lines are snappy, with an ominous tone that really adds to the tension. Speaking of which, the action sequences do get quite intense, especially during the last scenes where Ripley goes guns a blazin' to save Newt. Aliens come out of the woodwork, crawling out of the vents and popping out of the floor one after the other. Director James Cameron manages to extend the action scene without the intensity ever dropping. That, combined with Sigourney Weaver's genius portrayal of Ripley ties all the elements together.
Fast Paced, Action Packed, Space Movie
While Alien was an atmospheric movie riding on its insidious tension, Aliens is, in contrast, a roller coaster ride. It will make you feel for the characters. It will frighten you and make you feel really bad in a really good way. From the cast's convincing performance to its use of gore in just the right places, all of the film's individual elements come together to form a masterpiece. We also commend the thought and skill that went into the movie's visual effects. If you're worried about its decades-old release date, don't. Aside from a handful of fads which reveal its age, the movie doesn't look dated. The sets are incredible and trust us, the toothy aliens look absolutely horrifying.
If you're a sci-fi fan, there's really no reason to miss out on this if you haven't seen it yet. With James Cameron behind the film, plus a solid performance from its cast of actors, Aliens will undoubtedly be a ride you won't forget.