Monday, January 19, 2015

744. ALIENS (1986)

Running Time: 137 minutes
Directed By: James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron, David Giler, Walter Hill
Main Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Carrie Henn
Click here to view the trailer


Moving right along, we jump ahead to 1986 and this time James Cameron takes a stab at directing Sigourney Weaver and her alien pals. I'm sure I'm in the minority, but having really liked the original, I disliked this one just as much.

It's been fifty-seven years since we last saw Ripley slumbering in stasis, her cat Jones curled up next to her. She's finally been happened upon by a separate crew on a separate mission and brought back to Earth, where she's being grilled by her superiors about the destruction of the Nostromo and her claims that aliens were the culprits. She's told that LV-426 (the planetoid where Dallas, Kane and Lambert first discovered the aliens) is now home to a colony of humans, who are all fine and good - no aliens in sight. However, not five minutes of screen time later, we learn that contact with the colony has been lost and now Ripley's claims are becoming more believable. Burke (Reiser) basically begs Ripley to accompany a batallion of soldiers back to LV-426 to check on the colony of humans and if alien life is encountered, destroy them. Ripley reluctantly agrees, if anything but to put an end to her nightly round of nightmares, jumping at the chance to destroy the aliens that cause them. The new crew consists of Cpl. Dwayne Hicks (Biehn), Private Hudson (Paxton) and another robot, named Bishop (Henriksen). Long story short, when the unit lands on LV-426 they find the colony gone, their quarters destroyed. They initially encounter a cluster of six aliens that are being held in containment tanks - two still alive, four dead. They know immediately that it must have been the creatures that Ripley was referring to that wiped out the human life and caused the destruction before them. It doesn't take long before not just one, but MANY aliens are on the prowl, with the only human life discovered being that of a young girl named Newt. From here, chaos ensues and I'll leave it to you fill in the rest, as the film is quite predictable and too long to go into anymore detail.


You wanna know what irked me the most? What irked me, much like the guy sitting next to you on the bus, slurping his coffee and giving a big "MMMM" after each slug? The fact that Sigourney Weaver's hair always seemed to be blowing in the wind, despite sometimes being indoors. It's just a little something, but every time I noticed it I got irked for some reason and it's all just a sign of how much I dislike James Cameron (Terminator is the exception), the father of big budget Hollywood. The difference between Scott's Alien and Cameron's Aliens was like night and day to me. You want me to put it into perspective for you? Ian Holm and Paul Reiser - nuff said. I mean, hey I love Mad About You as much as the next guy (that episode where Reiser and Hunt get locked in the bathroom is a classic, is it not?), but did the guy have any place here. Not only was a place made for him, but he was the biggest villain of the picture. No, it wasn't the aliens - hell, they were just trying to defend their planet (how would you feel if some crazy, dirty, ripped shirt woman stormed into your room and started frying your unborn children with a flame thrower?). Instead of relying on silence to maximum effect like in Alien, Cameron wouldn't have that - oh no! No, we had a big budget score, complete with lots of percussion and the big horn instruments - not trumpets, I'm talking tubas, son! Where Scott's Alien had seven lone crew members on a lone ship, trying to fend off ONE alien, Cameron subscribed to the philosophy of "go big or go home" (one of the worst philosophies) and had a complete crew of frat house characters, covering an entire colony of buildings and labaratories fighting dozens of aliens. God, even the opening titles irked me: where Scott had simple white lettering, appearing slowly across the top of the screen, Cameron had gaudy bright blue words that filled the center of the screen. Ugh.

Safe to say this was one of the most disappointing sequels I've seen. While I wouldn't call Alien a personal favorite or anything, I really enjoyed it as a bridge that got someone who doesn't normally like sci fi into the genre for a couple of hours - something that Cameron managed to mangle in the same amount of time. The film was too long, too big, too loud, too boisterous, too macho, too expensive and too predictable. Oh and of course, we had to incorporate a little girl into the mix, because little blonde haired girls are cute and that'll appeal to a certain demographic. Too bad the little girl talked nothing like a little girl - "Mostly they come out at night, mostly" - I hated that line! Oh and had it really been fifty-seven years since the events of Alien? Because wouldn't the people who cared about the Nostromo blowing up be dead or too old to care anymore? Seriously, I'm just going to stop and lets suffice it to say that everything about this movie frustrated and annoyed me. 

RATING: 3.5/10  This was just really disappointing and I want my money back! Actually, I did end up paying for this OnDemand, as Netflix is being particularly slow lately. 


January 19, 2015  12:59pm


  1. You've had these postings coming thick and fast lately (Rush to the 901 line?), and I'm struggling to keep up!

    Wow, this one got under your skin more than a bit eh?

    Well, I see why.. paint by numbers sequel stuff, big effects (In horror, less is almost always better).. and hey, guess what, an annoying kid. OK, nothing as bad as the Shane kid... but still such an obvious "I know this is just a re-tread, so how can we pretend it's different? How about a kid? Yes, that always gets the mutiplex audience going.. a cute kid..)

    I wouldn't be quite so down on it as you were..

    I rather liked to pastiche (I hope it was a send up.. wan't it??) of the military elite squad stuff (What? Someone saying we were supposed to take that seriously??), but on the whole..HoHum.

    1. Yes, race to 901 and I PLAN to keep the momentum going and get the whole damn book done by mid-summer, emphasis on the word "plan".


SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #66: La piscine/The Swimming Pool (1969)

Running Time: 120 minutes Directed By: Jacques Deray Written By: Jean-Claude Carriere, Jacques Deray, Alain Page Main Cast: Alain Del...