Film (1986). Brandywine/Twentieth Century Fox. Produced by Gale Anne Hurd, directed by James Cameron. Written by Cameron, based on a story by Cameron, David Giler, Walter Hill. Cast includes Michael Biehn, Jenette Goldstein, Carrie Henn, Lance Henriksen, William Hope, Paul Reiser and Sigourney Weaver. 137 minutes. Colour.
This formidable sequel to Alien is more an action than a Horror movie, reminiscent of all those war films and Westerns about beleaguered groups fighting to the end. Ripley (Weaver, in a fine performance), the sole survivor at the end of Alien, is sent off again with a troop of marines to the planet (now colonized) where the original alien was found. The colony has been wiped out by aliens (lots of them this time); the marines, at first sceptical, are also almost wiped out. Ripley saves a small girl (Henn), the sole colonist survivor, and finally confronts the Queen alien.
Aliens is conventional in its disapproval of corporate greed; less conventional is its demonstration of the inadequacy of the machismo expressed by all the marines, women and men. A peculiar subtext has to do with the fierce protectiveness of motherhood (Ripley and the little girl, the Queen and her eggs). This is a film unusually sophisticated in its use of sf tropes and is arguably even better than its predecessor. The novelization is Aliens (1986) by Alan Dean Foster. [PN]
see also: BSFA Award; Aliens Versus Predator; Hugo; Mecha.
- David Thomson. The Alien Quartet (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 1998) [nonfiction: #4 in the publisher's Bloomsbury Movie Guide series: pb/photographic]
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