OOM #21 – Aliens (1986)

Hello everyone, here we start once again a new franchise, this time from the second installment, as I said yesterday, I had already seen the classic masterpiece that is ‘Alien’ (1979) and today is the turn of the James Cameron helmed sequel. Check out James Rolfe’s review of the film, it’s nuts! You can read my thoughts below.

‘Alien’ (1979) is one of my favorite movies of all time, and it’s always among my lists of the best science fiction and horror films of all time. How could you come up with something better than that? You actually don’t come up with something better! You simply follow the trends, the bleeps and bops of the age in which you are, take the mythology, take it one or two steps forward and you have a new Alien sequel, but that doesn’t mean they are bad films, that just means that they’ll never be as good as the claustrophobic masterpiece that is the Ridley Scott directed film. It’s specially true when you are seeing this 2 and a half hour movie about a bunch of aliens fighting a bunch of hunky marines in a desserted planet, that’s when you realize that the ambitions and the goals of each movie are different, yet at the same time I’m not particularly dissing this sequel (time will tell if I diss or not any of the sequels) because this one is awesome! It starts really good, with a series of shots that seem to be taken out of Ridley Scott film, some smooth transitions and interesting angles, the way that Ripley is awakened and how everything then goes down it’s marvelous in many ways, the influence of Ridley here is apparent as it doesn’t still get into the area of expertise and usual style of James Cameron, that is when the marines get on board.

There it’s when the film takes a turn for the action oriented, and that’s when the film lost me for a second, the sequences where the aliens are sorrounding and finally attack the marines wasn’t specially scary or suspenseful for me, it was the more quiet and simpler moments of the movie that got me going, like when the facehuggers wanted to attack Ripley and the little girl that they find in the abandoned planet. The film’s main problem for me (besides the action sequences at the start, that have already warmed up on me because I’m a baby heart boy that ends up liking this stuff in the end) is that the movie lacks a theme or a sense, something behind of it to support it, it’s merely an entertaining action film with sci fi and horror elements, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but I don’t see myself rewatching this movie in the next few months, I guess if I’d buy the bluray I’d watch it again, because I love the visual style here, specially because it was a seminal visual style, it was this that initiated the metal-smoke-filled-red-lighted-flashing-light visual style that would later plague the scifi action genre for years to come, but here is nailed to perfection, being almost as dedicated as in the original 1979 film. The movie manages to move and tense yourself all the way through in the specific scenes that it wants you to feel that way.

There are moments, like when the little girl is captured by one of the xenomorph aliens, that is a beauty to behold (and my choice for the header picture of this post), as is the work with the creatures and the special effects, everything seems so smooth and organical, I miss this kind of creatures in modern films, I’m not essentialy a CG hater, but when the real thing feels and looks so much better than its CG counterpart (as cheaper as it is compared to prosthetics) I kinda get angry when it could’ve been made the other way around, an inversion in practical effects is an inversion in marketing (“We didn’t do it with computers! We did it live!” something that could’ve raised nowadays ‘Gravity'(2013)’s success to the rooftop and beyond). The cinematography is superb, but as I’ll find myself saying practically every day from now on, it isn’t as great and influential as the one in the Ridley Scott film. As a movie it stands on its own, I can see people saying that is better than ‘Alien’ (1979) but of course they’re wrong, but maybe that’s because they were raised in an era where this films were the norm, and that’s why the film feeds on and the influenciates many other action movies of the era. As much as the negativity seems to permeate most of this review, I loved the movie, it’s among the most entertaining pieces that I’ve watched this month, for sure.



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