Friday Flashback - Aliens

Friday Flashback is where I look back at the books, films, TV shows and million and one other things that have inspired me over the years in my art, story telling and well... life! This week I'm have a look at one of the films that could be said to have inspired a generation. James Cameron's mind blowing squeal to Alien: Aliens.

Aliens hit the big screen back in 1986 and for those that live under a rock the film is a science fiction action film directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton. Importantly, as only a  very small amount of films can boast this, Aliens is a trend bucking sequel to the 1979 film Alien as in it is equally as good as it's predecessor (some say, not me, even better than). The story of Aliens follows the lovley Sigourney Weaver's character (Ellen) Ripley as she returns to the planet from the first film where the ill fated crew of the  Nostromo encountered the hostile Alien creature. However, this time she is accompanied by a unit of Colonial Marines and as the tag line states, ''s war'.

Here is the link (click on the image, the embedding is blocked!) to the 1986 Trailer for the film:

In comparison to the first film Alien, Aliens injects some action into the horror tone of the franchise. With James Cameron in the driving seat this mix of action and horror works to great effect giving the film a close enough feel to the first one to not lose sight of what it is about and a different enough vibe to make it stand on its own too.

Aliens cost around $18 million to make and  the box office and during its 1986 theatrical release pulled in a staggering $131 million internationally (this is 'old-money' don't forget) and let's not even think about how much Video and DVD sales have netted since. Aliens was also nominated for seven Academy Awards including a Best Actress nomination for Sigourney Weaver. However, as usual in these events the snobbery against Sci-Fi and Fantasy means that sadly the film only walked away with the usual fare a Sci-Fi film is granted and took home the awards in the categories of Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects. In contrast to this Aliens won eight Saturn Awards including Best Science Fiction Film, Best Actress for Sigourney Weaver and Best Direction for James Cameron.

So what is it all about?

Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the sole survivor of the alien attack on the mining ship Nostromo from the first film, awakens from hypersleep 57 years later when she is found by a salvage ship in deep space. The company she works for refuse to believe her discovery and existence of the alien creature as they have colonized the planet, now called LV-426, almost 20 years ago. As punishment they strip her off her flight officer's license forcing her to take a job as a loadlifter, the future equivalent of a forklift driver, in one of the space docks that orbits the Earth.

It is not long before things take a curious change of direction as all contact from the planet is suddenly lost and the company ask Ripley to join them as an advisor and take a team of Colonial Marines to investigate. At first she is reluctant, however recurring nightmares of her original encounter force her to change her mind. 

Arriving at the colony world with enough fire power to level it, it is not long before the team discover that, despite the complex appearing to be deserted, they are not alone...

I highly recommend this film as either a re-watch if you have seen it or just watch it if you haven't! I think sadly despite some interesting characters, concepts and ideas it all goes down hill from here with the Alien franchise – rapidly! Especially if you take those travesties Alien Vs Predator 1 & 2 into account – what were they thinking?

There is hope for Alien fans out there. The man who started it all is back in the driving seat (Ridley Scott ) and making a new Alien film. It is a prequel no less and is called: Prometheus.

From what I have seen of  it so far it is the film that sequel/prequel that Alien and Aliens deserves. Just in case you have not seen the trailer, here it is:

Click here to read my Friday Flashback of Alien   



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