Release Date: July 18, 1986
Director: James Cameron
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton.
Tag Lines: “This time there’s more.”
“This time it’s war.”
“There are some places in the universe you don’t go alone.”
“Somewhere in deepest space, all hell is breaking loose.”
“They’re Even Scarier The Second Time Around!”
Relevance: Sometime in the early 1980’s I watched ‘Alien’ on HBO and instantly fell in love with it. My dad and I would watch it every time it was on and eventually recorded it becoming one of our “movies on blank VHS tape” in our collection. Ridley Scott’s science fiction horror film was one that both entertained and enthralled us. In the summer of 1986, at age fifteen, I was thrilled when they finally released a sequel. However, due to its R-rating and no one to take me to the theater, I had to wait for it to make its way to Blockbuster Video.
‘Aliens’ was released in late July of 1986 to positive reviews as well as long lines at the box office. It went on to become the seventh highest grossing film of that year as well as nab two Academy Awards from it unprecedented seven nominations. Science Fiction horror films were often overlooked by Hollywood as award contenders. That only proved to me how much I really needed to see the film. In February of 1987, thanks to the aforementioned Blockbuster, I finally watched the movie once again joined by my dad.
Just like the first film, both of us were easily entertained by ‘Aliens.’ The sequel was even more epic, with greater special effects, scares and thrills to keep us glued to our seats. It also had a stellar performance by Sigourney Weaver, who was now a household name, thanks in part to the first film. She was so incredible as Ellen Ripley, she was nominated for one of its Oscars for Best Actress. She was brilliant and became one of the first female action super heroes that I remember rooting for.
‘Aliens’ remained one of my favorite science fiction movies right through college. It was also a “movie on blank VHS tape” that I took with me and watched numerous times with friends. One of my friends loved the movie as much as I did and we watched it non-stop. In 1992, when ‘Alien 3’ was released we were both very excited for the movie, although neither of us made it to the theaters to see it. In fact, throughout the years I never once made it to the theater to see any of the ‘Alien’ sequels, prequels or spin-offs. I loved all of the films, but nothing quite compared to ‘Aliens.’ It’s one of those rare moments that I find a sequel better than the original, but it simply is superior, arguably of course.
Today’s Thoughts: “We’re on an express elevator to hell, going down!”
I own the Special Edition DVD’s of ‘Alien,’ Aliens’ and ‘Alien 3,’ known as the ‘Alien Legacy Box Set,’ and have watched them periodically throughout the years. Those special editions include the extended cuts of the films. So that means that watching ‘Aliens’ today was close to a three hour endeavor, but one well worth it.
Now thirty-four years old, ‘Aliens’ is still a fantastic science fiction, action, horror film and really does stand the test of time. Sure, there are a few special effects that now seem a little dated, especially some flying spaceship sequences, but overall it looks great. Those aliens are still fascinating and scary as hell and so much fun to watch. So is Sigourney Weaver. In fact, the entire cast is pretty remarkable and are really effective, although they are third in line after Ms. Weaver and those aliens. “Get away from her you bitch!”
‘Aliens’ is a fantastic movie and one that I have loved from day one. I am a huge fan of the entire franchise and look forward to all of its next incarnations either it be on the big or little screen. I don’t think I will ever get tired of those crazy, acid filled aliens. They are the perfect entertainers and nightmare inducers and I look forward to them being around for the rest of my life.
Awards: Academy Award for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing, Don Sharpe (winner), Acadmey Award for Best Effects, Visual Effects, Robert Skotak, Stan Winston, John Richardson, Suzanne M. Benson (winner), Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Sigourney Weaver (nomination), Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Peter Lamont, Crispian Sallis (nomination), Academy Award for Best Sound, Graham V. Hartstone, Nicholas Le Messurier, Michael A. Carter, Roy Charman (nomination), Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Ray Lovejoy (nomination), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score, James Horner (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, Sigourney Weaver (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects, Robert Skotak, Stan Winston, John Richardson, Suzanne M. Benson (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Make Up Artist, Peter Robb-King (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Production Design, Peter Lamont (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Sound, Graham V. Hartstone, Nicholas Le Messurier, Michael A. Carter, Roy Charman (nomination).
Ways to Watch: HBO Max, Vudu, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Cinemax, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, DVD Availability.