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Wednesday, May 07, 2014


The latest book I'm reading is Aliens: The Official Movie Novelization by Alan Dean Foster. The novel sticks very close to what is one of my favorite movies: Aliens ...

a 1986 American science fiction action horror film directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, William Hope, and Bill Paxton. It is the sequel to the 1979 film Alien and the second installment of the Alien franchise. The film follows Weaver's character Ellen Ripley as she returns to the planet where her crew encountered the hostile Alien creature, this time accompanied by a unit of Colonial Marines. Aliens' action-adventure tone was in contrast to the horror motifs of the original Alien.

Roger Ebert gave the movie 3.5 stars in his review. Here's a bit of it ...

[...] Weaver was the only survivor of that first expedition [see Alien], and after saving her ship by expelling an alien through the air lock into deep space, she put herself into hibernation. She is found 57 years later by a salvage ship, and when she awakes she is still tormented by nightmares. (The script does not provide her, however, with even a single line of regret after she learns that 57 years have passed and everyone she knew is dead.) A new expedition is sent back to the mystery planet. Weaver is on board. She knows what the aliens are like and thinks the only sane solution is to nuke them from outer space. But in the meantime, she learns to her horror that a human colony has been established on the planet and billions of dollars have been invested in it. Now Earth has lost contact with the colony. Has it been attacked by aliens? Are there stars in the sky? The crew is made up of an interesting mixed bag of technicians and military personnel. My favorites were Lance Henrikson as a loyal android, Jenette Goldstein as a muscular marine private and Michael Biehn as the uncertain Cpl. Hicks. Also on board is the slimy Burke (Paul Reiser), who represents the owners of the planet's expensive colony and dreams of making millions by using the aliens as a secret weapon.

The movie gives us just enough setup to establish the characters and explain the situation. Then the action starts. The colony has, of course, been overrun by the aliens, all except for one plucky little girl (Carrie Henn) who has somehow survived by hiding in the air ducts.

The marines explore the base on foot, which seems a little silly in view of the great speed with which the aliens attack. Nobody seems very interested in listening to Weaver's warnings. After all, she's only the one person who has seen an alien, so what does she know? And then the movie escalates into a nonstop war between human and alien.

It's here that my nerves started to fail. "Aliens" is absolutely, painfully and unremittingly intense for at least its last hour. Weaver goes into battle to save her colleagues, herself and the little girl, and the aliens drop from the ceiling, pop up out of the floor and crawl out of the ventilation shafts. (In one of the movie's less plausible moments, one alien even seems to know how to work the elevator buttons.) I have never seen a movie that maintains such a pitch of intensity for so long; it's like being on some kind of hair-raising carnival ride that never stops ...


Here's a trailer ...


Anonymous Richard said...



3:22 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

So many movies :) The Forever War should be interesting, and another Blade Runner - yay.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Forever War, what a great book, may have to read it again

4:49 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I read it long ago and then again recently. Still liked most of it.

5:12 PM  

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