Big-budget special effects, swiftly paced action, and a distinct feminist subtext from writer/director James Cameron turned what should have been a by-the-numbers sci-fi sequel into both a blockbuster and a seven-time Oscar nominee. Sigourney Weaver returns as Ellen Ripley, the last surviving crew member of a corporate spaceship destroyed after an attack by a vicious, virtually unbeatable alien life form. Adrift in space for half a century, Ripley grapples with depression until she's informed by her company's representative, Carter Burke (Paul Reiser) that the planet where her crew discovered the alien has since been settled by colonists. Contact with the colony has suddenly been lost, and a detachment of colonial marines is being sent to investigate. Invited along as an advisor, Ripley predicts disaster, and sure enough, the aliens have infested the colony, leaving a sole survivor, the young girl Newt (Carrie Henn). With the soldiers picked off one by one, a final all-female showdown brews between the alien queen and Ripley, who's become a surrogate mother to Newt. Several future stars made early career appearances in Aliens (1986), including Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Reiser.~Karl Williams
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".
James Cameron’s “Aliens” is the rare sequel that not only improves upon the original in every way, but could be a standalone film. It’s definitely a sci-fi classic, with lots more action and horror elements from the original. Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, and more are outstanding, but the story and production values are amazing. This edition includes many special features, including artwork and more that helps understand Cameron’s thought process. Well worth it, all things considered!
My goal to find improved video quality of my favorite movies was met with this disk. Many of the darkened & hard-to-see background scenes in the earlier formats have been greatly improved here.
The option to watch both the originally released & 1990s extended versions is a nice feature. The extra scenes added in the extended version really does add to the storyline.
This disk also allows my Blue-ray player to mark the location in the film should I choose to stop it & recalls where it can resume showing the movie the next time I pop in the disk......many older and cheaper recorded blue-ray disks do not allow for this most convenient feature.
Love this movie! It gives a more action story with this sequel and the director's cut an added bonus. You have both theatrical or director's cut to choose from this bluray. Grab your popcorn and enjoy a film that still holds up to CGI bloated films of today.
What can I say about this movie that hasn't been said before? Nothing really - it is a beloved sci-fi masterpiece that solidified James Cameron as one of the top directors in Hollywood History. Sure he would go on to make Terminator 2, True Lies, Abyss, Titanic and Avatar - all great classics too... but it is here with Aliens that I became a James Cameron fan for life. This movie defined the visual "Space Marine" concept for generations to come. It turned Sigourney Weaver into a bonafide action hero. It also is one of those very rare occasions that for many - a sequel to a GREAT movie actually lived up to (if not exceeded) the original film.
As for the packaging and presentation of the blu-ray - its is awesome. There is nothing to complain about and the ability to have a digital version link to my VUDU account is just icing on the cake. I love being able to just use my roku to get to a movie when I want to just watch and not hunt down the disc.
Last thing - I owned the laser disc and DVD versions of this movie - this is by far the cleanest copy I've ever scene. This is not a cheap repacking of older versions (a lot of the $5 blu-rays are just DVD transfers).
I first watched this film in the 80's when it was released on VHS. This movie has a fantastic cast but Hudson played by Bill Paxton is my favorite character of the film. I'm glad that this bluray release has both theatrical and special edition versions (AKA extended cut) and as far as the audio and visual quality goes it looks and sounds great even though it's an older film.