Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Sequel Spotlight: Aliens

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. In this series, I’ll be taking a look at some famous (and infamous) sequels to see how they compare to the original. I'll do my best to alternate between the greats and the best forgotten. Leave your thoughts or a suggestion for a spotlight in the comments!

Directed by James Cameron
Released July 18, 1986

Rather than alternate between good and bad for my first two installments, it’s worthwhile to showcase two stellar sequels directed by James Cameron in a row (let’s hope “Avatar 2” makes it onto this list also). In this case, Ridley Scott directed the first film, released in 1979, which proved slightly underwhelming upon my first viewing after I had been told that it was the scariest movie ever. The tagline “In space no one can hear you scream” is eternally classic, and there’s nothing quite like watching an alien burst out of someone’s stomach for the first time. The sequel, however, added action to the experience, sending in a whole team fully aware of what threat the aliens posed and still no match for what they encounter. This full-on science fiction film earned Sigourney Weaver an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, which is no small feat. Her Ellen Ripley is unhinged and entirely protective of her people after her traumatizing experiences in the first film. Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Bill Paxton, Paul Reiser, Michael Biehn, and a young Carrie Henn, in her only film role ever, round out a superb cast performing at an above average level for this kind of film. Its expert combination of action and suspense should be cited as one of the ultimate examples of how to make a superb film. I have plenty to say about the third film in a series, but I’ll save that for a future post. If you haven’t seen this film and even mildly like science fiction and action, see it now.

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