This time it’s war, as we return to the universe created in the original Ridley Scott sci-fi flick. James Cameron takes over as storyteller and director in this entry in the 101 Sci-Fi Movies list.
Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is still in hyper-sleep, just as we left her at the end of the first film, but like her, we’re stunned to discover that she’s been asleep for 57 years, and that the planet, Lv-426, that the Nostromo landed on, now has a human colony residing there running a terraforming operation.
And The Company, Weyland-Yutani by name, has just lost contact with them.
Recruited by Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), Ripley agrees to face her nightmares, she is traveling with a squad of colonial marines in a consultant position. The squad is made of a number of bad asses and possible allies for Ripley like Hicks (Michael Biehn), Hudson (Bill Paxton) and Bishop (Lance Henriksen).
On arriving they find the colony deserted but for one little girl, Newt (Carrie Henn), and a whole pile of trouble. Ripley and the marines get caught up in a battle for their lives as they stumble across a hive of xenomorphs, with something they’ve never seen at its heart, and learn that once again The Company has other plans.
Weaver found herself nominated for a best actress Oscar for her performance, something that almost never happens in a genre film, and while she does turn in a stellar performance. I believe that if the Director’s Cut had originally been released in the theaters she would have easily won, as it not only portrayed a woman facing her fears through trial, but also dealing with the loss and rediscovery of motherhood.
Cameron, known as a perfectionist, crafts a taut, action thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout, letting the tension build until the first explosive action sequence.
Despite its sci-fi trappings, this really is a war movie, as James Horner’s score will tell you with its heavy drums and percussion, which along with the tight editing, rockets you along from moment to intense moment.
Much like a movie coming up on the 101 Action Movies I saw this one twice on a military base, with a packed summer audience at an outdoor theater, and it was a pretty wild experience.
And despite the amount of time that has gone by, I’ve yet to see a sci-fi war movie that could frighten and thrill in turns. The battle sequences are intense, especially the final assault when the aliens somehow get inside the barriers the squad has erected and tear into our heroes.
All of it of course leads to the final confrontation between Ripley and her nightmares as she tries to keep Newt safe.
The film is amazing, and anytime I come across someone who has never seen it, I tell them that is the next movie we have to see together.
It’s loud, brilliant, and so intense.
Don’t ya think?