Hello and welcome back to the Nerd’s Eye View, where we analyze movies, not from the technical aspect of filming, but with the enjoyment (or lack thereof) from a fan. Today, we will be looking at the first sequel to Alien, Aliens (Spoiler: there’s more than one alien this time). I have to say, this is the first movie I saw in the franchise, and one of the ones I like the best. However, after watching it again several times, it seems that Aliens, while good, is just…inconsistent. The movie is too long to give a play by play so let me just explain what I’m talking about (in no particular order).
1. Acid blood – In the first movie, the acid blood goes through 2-3 decks in a matter of seconds. Not so in Aliens. This movie is all over the place. Several marines get sprayed with acid, yet they all have different reactions. Drake gets blood in his face, he’s dead. Hudson gets it on his arm, he’s using the arm two minutes later with no problem. An hour later, Vasquez gets acid on her leg and now she can’t run away. Five minutes barely go by when Hicks gets some on his armor AND his face: the armor is melted through immediately; they put a bandage on his face.
2. Ripley is the Virgin Mother – Ripley has been asleep for 57 years and when she wakes up, suddenly she has a daughter not mentioned once in the first movie. Possible quarantine violation that could kill the entire ship; no daughter. Unknown alien killing people on the ship; no daughter. Ship set to self destruct; no daughter. Wasting time trying to save $&@!*%¥ cat; not a single mention of her precious daughter! However, now that she has woken up, she’s very distraught over her loss. She’s not distraught over any other friends and family though.
3. Little girl plot device – continuing on the subject of the virgin Ripley, it’s clear to me that they made her a mother just so she can relate to the plot device aka Newt. Newt has been surviving on the planet for several weeks by herself. She’s lost her mom, her dad, her brother, and everyone she’s ever known. She’s even stopped talking for awhile since there was no one else to talk to. So who can relate to Newt? Who can bring her out of her shell? Who can be her surrogate mother? The Virgin Ripley! She had to be a mother to do that. Of course an adult who never had children couldn’t possibly help the child out in this situation. That would just be silly. But, it’s better than her relating to her simply for having a vagina.
4. Little girl plot device cont’d – we’ve all seen the movie. The marines get taken out almost to a man with three survivors rescued by Ripley in the Ripley mobile. However, you might not have noticed, but two of the marines left behind aren’t actually dead. Hudson notices that their vitals are weak, tho. They start arguing about going back to get them when Ripley yells out that they can’t be helped. That they’re being cocooned and are sure to be face raped any second. Fast forward an hour. The nuclear power plant is about to explode. Bishop is trying to bring down the spare shuttle by remote control. The aliens have busted in and only Ripley, Hicks, and Newt are escaping. Vasquez and Gorman blow themselves up and Newt is lost due to the shockwave. Ripley and Hicks try to rescue her, but she is grabbed by the aliens. Now, with two marines known to be alive plus three marines able to rescue them, they do nothing. However, with Newt possibly dead, Ripley, by herself and with half an hour of training, goes into the about-to-explode power plant to rescue her.
5. Aliens are scary – Ripley is having nightmares about chest bursters and possibly other things. Every night, she wakes up in a sweat. So what is her bright idea to get over her fear? Go to a planet full of them! And it WORKS! All through the movie, Ripley is so traumatized by the previous events, she can’t even talk about it without having emotional outbursts and/or shaking. Then she sees the marines die and suddenly she’s got an S on her chest. She saves people. She takes charge. She beats up the queen with the dodgeball suit from Dexter’s lab. It’s really impressive. Bullsh*t, but impressive.
6. The last 15 minutes of the movie didn’t have to happen – Ripley has rescued Newt before she could be impregnated. They’re leaving the hive and stumble upon the queen laying eggs. Now, the queen is intelligent and her focus is on protecting her eggs. You can tell because she let who knows how many grown aliens die breaking into the compound, but with just a burst of flame from the flamethrower, she makes the other aliens back off Ripley after she points the flamethrower at the eggs. Ripley and Newt start backing away from the eggs when one of the eggs opens. I guess Ripley takes offense at that because she burns that egg, then burns the other eggs, then shoots the grown aliens, then shoots grenades into the queen’s ovipositor. Now, after having her grown aliens killed, her eggs burned, and part of her body blown up by grenades, who could have guessed that the queen would be mad and try to kill Ripley herself? Everyone almost died, Bishop got ripped in half, all because Ripley couldn’t leave the queen alone for literally ONE MINUTE to die in a nuclear explosion.
7. Ripley’s trust issues – in the first movie, the company sent them to encounter the alien (still no explanation on how they knew about it in the first place) and she is attacked by Ash who was programmed to do whatever is necessary to bring an alien back. Yet, in this one, the company holds an inquest where they deny any knowledge of the previous side mission and of an alien never before seen “in over 300 surveyed worlds”. They also deem her as mentally unstable, so mentally unstable that she can NEVER be a pilot again AND that she has to take monthly psych evaluations. Of course, it doesn’t help matters that Ripley rants, raves, and calls them stupid (just a thought). Anyway, after having been set up by the company to give birth to space monster babies, and later, having her career taken from her while being called crazy, she believes Burke, the company’s representative, when he says that they’re going to destroy the aliens. Yet she doesn’t trust Bishop, who’s programming won’t allow him to harm humans, because Ash, another android, tried to kill her per COMPANY PROGRAMMING. It makes no sense!
8. Another bug hunt – Giving the inquest the benefit of the doubt, the reason they don’t believe her is because for the last 20 years they’ve had colonists on the planet with no incidents of face rape. Lo and behold, they lose contact with the colony (who could have guessed?) and so they send the marines out to investigate almost immediately. After cold sleep, they have a briefing and Hudson asks, “Is this a standup fight sir, or another bug hunt?” So now I ask myself, “Self, what bugs have they fought before if no one has seen these aliens before? Was it this?” I have to wonder. Of course it doesn’t help that every time I watch that scene, I picture Neil Patrick Harris giving the briefing instead of Gorman.
9. Guns don’t kill aliens. Flamethrowers do – the alien hive has been placed under the coolant towers of the nuclear power plant. Gorman, the idiot tells the marines there can be no shooting because they might rupture something and cause an explosion. He has the sarge take all the bullets and have them use flamethrowers instead. Now, I’ve worked in power plants. They are not nuclear bombs waiting to happen. They don’t work that way. That being said, I personally would prefer a quick death to face rape, impregnation, and having something burst out my chest, but maybe that’s just me. By the way, I lied. The flamethrowers don’t kill a single alien in this movie.
There are other little things, but none as big as these. All in all, it’s a great movie (which makes it really hard for me to criticize). If the franchise had ended here, a lot of people would have been happy (though Alien Resurrection is my personal favorite). However, though there are more in the franchise to talk about, I’ll leave them alone (for now). Next time, something a little more recent…