I'll be frank: I'm a Xenomaniac. The first two movies in this franchise (Alien and Aliens) are fantastic masterpieces, that, along with Predator, added two memorable creatures to the horror/ sci-fi genre.
Where the original Alien scared us with one creature, one new, fresh, unknown monster that would make its way into the lexicon of great movie monsters, Aliens knew the scares were over. Those off to see Aliens (a full 7 years after the original hit the screen) were more than familiar with the titular creature, and James Cameron; still making a name for himself, took the next best road...
He added many more Aliens and set them loose against a heavily armed squad of marines. He'd also add yet another great creature into movie history with the impressive Queen.
While Cameron has stated Aliens is his take on Viet Nam (a cocky, highly armed militia in the US heading against an army that featured more troops, familiarity with the territory, and a singular purpose) he doesn't slam you over the head with his underlying tone. No, this is Cameron at his finest. His first big-budget (having only had the small budget in the original Terminator) action film that would lead to him truly being the master of the sci-fi/ action fest.
While FOX would believe his vision was too long for theater-goers, we're blessed that other Xenophiles, like myself, familiar with the script (that the novelization was based on) knew that some rather interesting chunks were taken out of the film. When CBS(/ if memory serves) gave Aliens its first commercial broadcast, it was confirmed. In an effort to add some time back into the film, people were shocked to finally see scenes acknowledging that Ripley had a daughter, that it was, in fact, Newt's father that had been brought back to the colony with a facehugger attached to his face, making him the first infected, or the sheer awesomeness of the sentry guns.
The director's cut of the film has, after making it onto Laserdisc, eventually been the staple release of the film, and this blu ray is no different. It's been remastered, bringing forth the beautiful blue hue that permeates every scene upon the arrival at LV-426. The image is top-notch.
I own the Alien Quadriligy on DVD, the Limited Edition lightup/ numbered statue version of the Alien Anthology on Blu Ray, along with the SDCC Alien blu, the 35th anniv blu of Alien, and the limited edition artwork of Alien... and that's just the movies, not including dozens upon dozens of other collectibles and limited edition memorabilia from the movies... As well as both movies on the original official VHS formats.
Aliens is, in fact, in a tie with the original Alien as my favorite movie of all-time. (Although I have watched Aliens far more often).
So, if Aliens is my all-time favorite film, why am I giving it only 4 1/2 stars?
I purchased this because in both collections I own of the Alien series, none included a digital version of any of the films. I ended up with two codes for the digital copies of the original Alien via the 35th anniversary and the ltd ed art version, but still had no digital copy of Aliens. This blu ray includes the UV copy, which I had no issues springing for yet another copy for, especially at the sale price (believe it was $6.99 at the time). Much to my chagrin, once I redeemed my UV copy, it turned out to be the theatrical release... Which just isn't considered the standard format to watch Aliens after Cameron went back and restored the scenes that had been cut. The DC has been "gospel" now pretty much upon its release on DVD, when it got into the hands of nearly every fan. The disc itself features BOTH versions of the film (pretty standard- cant think of a release of Aliens that doesn't offer both) so if you do not care or do not worry about UV or maintain a digital library, there's no reason to pass this up if you're a fan of the movie. (Although buying the Anthology itself is probably your best deal, overall... Unless you just don't care at all about Alien 3 or 4). However, if you're like myself, and don't own a digital copy, be forewarned... The digital redemption FOX offers is not for the "Cameron true version".