- Aliens (film)
:"This article is about the film; for the video games see
Aliens (Square computer game)and Aliens (arcade game).Infobox Film
name = Aliens
caption = The original 1986 theatrical poster
writer = Story:
James Cameron David Giler
Sigourney Weaver Michael Biehn Lance Henriksen Carrie Henn Paul Reiser
Gale Anne Hurd Gordon Carroll David Giler Walter Hill
20th Century Fox
released = July 18, 1986
runtime = Theatrical Cut:
country = United States
language = English
budget = $18,500,000
gross = $131,060,248
amg_id = 1:1524
imdb_id = 0090605
preceded_by = "Alien"
followed_by = "
"Aliens" is a 1986 science fiction/
action filmstarring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and Bill Paxton. A sequel to the 1979 film "Alien", "Aliens" is set fifty-seven years after the first film and is regarded by many film critics as a benchmark for the action and science fiction genres.cite web|url=http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20042607_24,00.html|title=The 25 Greatest Action Films Ever!|publisher=" Entertainment Weekly"|last=Bernardin|first=Marc|accessdate = 2007-07-16] cite web|url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/features/special/2007/scifi/?r=10&mid=1000617|title=100 Best-Reviewed Sci-Fi Movies|publisher= Rotten Tomatoes|accessdate = 2007-07-16] In "Aliens", Weaver's character Ellen Ripleyreturns to the planet LV-426where she first encountered the hostile Alien. This time she is accompanied by a unit of Colonial Marines.
James Cameron, "Aliens" 'action/adventure tone was in stark contrast to the science fiction/horror motifs of the original "Alien". Following the success of " The Terminator" (1984), which helped establish Cameron as a major action director, [Richardson, John H. "Iron Jim." " Premiere Magazine", No. 12, August 1994, p. 44–54.] 20th Century Fox greenlit"Aliens" with a budget of approximately $18 million. It was filmed in England at Pinewood Studios, and at a decommissioned power plant.
"Aliens" earned $86 million in the United States box office during its 1986 theatrical release, making it the highest domestic gross of the Alien series. It earned $131 million internationally,cite web|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/|title=Movie Franchises Index|date=2007|publisher=Box Office Mojo|accessdate = 2007-07-16] and was nominated for seven
Academy Awards including a Best Actress nomination for Sigourney Weaver, which was considered a benchmark at the time when the Academy gave little recognition to the science fiction genre. It won in the categories of Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects.
Ellen Ripley( Sigourney Weaver), the only survivor of the space freighter "Nostromo", is rescued and revived after drifting for fifty-seven years in hypersleep. At an interview before a panel of executives from her employer, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, her testimony regarding the Alien is met with extreme skepticism as no physical evidence of the creature survived the destruction of the "Nostromo". Ripley loses her space flight license as a result of her "questionable judgment" and learns that LV-426, the planetoidwhere her crew first encountered the Alien eggs, is now home to a terraformingcolony. Ripley is visited by Weyland-Yutani representative Carter Burke ( Paul Reiser) and LieutenantGorman (William Hope) of the Colonial Marines, who inform her that contact has been lost with the colony on LV-426. The company is dispatching Burke and a unit of marines to investigate, and offers to restore Ripley's flight status and grant her a commission as a lieutenant if she will accompany them as a consultant. Traumatized by her previous encounter with the Alien, Ripley initially refuses to join, but accepts when she realizes that the mission will allow her to face her fears. Arriving aboard the warship "Sulaco" she is introduced to the Colonial Marines, including Sergeant Apone ( Al Matthews), Corporal Hicks ( Michael Biehn), Privates Vasquez ( Jenette Goldstein) and Hudson ( Bill Paxton), and the androidBishop ( Lance Henriksen).
The heavily-armed expedition descends to the surface of LV-426 via
dropship, where they find the colony seemingly abandoned. The only living things found are two Alien facehuggers on display in the colony's medical lab and a severely traumatized young girl nicknamed Newt ( Carrie Henn). The marines determine that the colonists are clustered in the nuclear-powered atmosphere processing station. There they find a large Alien nest filled with the cocooned corpses of the colonists. The Aliens attack and kill most of the unit, but Ripley rescues Hicks, Vasquez, and Hudson. With Gorman unconscious Hicks assumes command and orders the dropship to recover the survivors, intending to return to the "Sulaco" and destroy the colony from orbit. A stowaway Alien kills the dropship pilots in flight, causing the vessel to crash into the processing station. The surviving humans barricade themselves inside the colony complex.
Ripley discovers that it was Burke who ordered the colonists to investigate the derelict spaceship where the "Nostromo" crew first encountered the Alien eggs, and that he hopes to return Alien specimens to the company laboratories where he can profit from their use as biological weapons. She threatens to expose him, but Bishop soon informs the group of a greater threat: the damaged processing station has become unstable and will soon detonate with the force of a
thermonuclear weapon. He volunteers to use the colony's transmitter to pilot the "Sulaco" 's remaining dropship to the surface by remote control so that the group can escape. Ripley and Newt fall asleep in the medical laboratory, awakening to find themselves locked in the room with the two facehuggers released from their tanks. Ripley is able to alert the marines, who rescue them and kill the creatures. Ripley accuses Burke of attempting to smuggle implanted Alien embryos past Earth's quarantine inside her and Newt, and of planning to kill the rest of the marines in hypersleep during the return trip. The electricity is suddenly cut off and the Aliens attack " en masse" through the ceiling. Hudson, Burke, Gorman, and Vasquez are killed and Newt is captured by the Aliens.
Sigourney Weaveras Ellen Ripley, the only character who previously encountered one of the Aliens. Ripley accompanies the Colonial Marines to investigate LV-426. Weaver reprised her role from "Alien", with Ripley being the only recurring character from that film.
Paul Reiseras Carter J. Burke, a corporate lawyer for the Weyland-Yutani Corporation who meets with Ripley after she is awakened from cryogenic stasis. He accompanies Ripley and the Marines to LV-426 to oversee the company's interests in the mission.
Michael Biehnas Corporal Dwayne Hicks, a squad leader of the investigating Colonial Marines. Hicks forms a close bond with Ripley during the mission to LV-426.
Lance Henriksenas Bishop, the android Executive Officerof the "Sulaco". Bishop accompanies the team investigating the disappearance of the colonists on LV-426.
Carrie Hennas Newt, real name Rebecca Jorden, a child who is the only survivor of the colony on LV-426. She forms a close bond with Ripley.
*William Hope as Lieutenant William Gorman, the
Commanding Officerof the Colonial Marines sent to investigate LV-426.
Al Matthewsas Sergeant Al Apone, the senior non-commissioned officer of the investigating Colonial Marines.
*Cynthia Dale Scott as Corporal Cynthia Dietrich, the Marine team's
Bill Paxtonas Private William Hudson, the Marine team's technician.
Jenette Goldsteinas Private Jenette Vasquez, the tough female Marine and operator of their M56 smart gun. She shares a close bond with Private Drake.
Mark Rolstonas Private Mark Drake, Private Vasquez's smart gun partner.
Colette Hilleras Corporal Collette Ferro, the Marines' dropship pilot.
Daniel Kashas Private Daniel Spunkmeyer, the dropship's crew chief.
Additional Marines were played by
Ricco Ross(as Private Ricco Frost), Tip Tipping(as Private Tim Crowe), and Trevor Steedman (as Private Trevor Wierzbowski).
Origins and inspiration
While completing pre-production of "
The Terminator" in 1983, director James Camerondiscussed the possibility of working on a sequel to "Alien" (1979) with producer David Giler. A fan of the original film, Cameron was interested in crafting a sequel and entered a self-imposed seclusion to brainstorm a concept for "Alien II". After four days Cameron produced an initial forty-five page treatment, although management changes at 20th Century Fox resulted in the film being put on hiatus, as they felt that "Alien" had not generated enough profit to warrant a sequel. A scheduling conflict with actor Arnold Schwarzeneggercaused filming of "The Terminator" to be delayed by nine months (as Schwarzenegger was filming " Conan the Destroyer"), allowing Cameron additional time to write a script for "Aliens". While filming "The Terminator", Cameron wrote ninety pages for "Aliens", and although the script was not finished, Fox was impressed and told him that if "The Terminator" was a success, he would be able to direct "Aliens"."57 Years Later - Continuing the story, Superior Firepower"]
Following the success of "The Terminator", Cameron and partner
Gale Anne Hurdwere given approval to direct and produce the sequel to "Alien", scheduled for a 1986 release. Cameron was enticed by the opportunity to create a new world and opted not to follow the same formula as "Alien", but to create a worthy combat sequel focusing "more on terror, less on horror". Sigourney Weaver, who played Ellen Ripleyin "Alien", had doubts about the project, but after meeting Cameron she expressed interest in revisiting her character. 20th Century Fox, however, refused to sign a contract with Weaver over a payment dispute and asked Cameron to write a story excluding Ellen Ripley. He refused on the grounds that Fox had indicated that Weaver had signed on when he began writing the script. With Cameron's persistence, Fox signed the contract and Weaver obtained a salary of $1 million, a sum equal to thirty times what she was paid for the first film.cite web|url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,961869,00.html|title=The Years of Living Splendidly|date=1986-07-28|publisher= Time Magazine|last=Corliss|first=Richard|accessdate = 2007-07-16]
Cameron drew inspiration for the "Aliens" story from the
Vietnam War, a situation in which a technologically superior force was mired in a hostile foreign environment: "Their training and technology are inappropriate for the specifics, and that can be seen as analogous to the inability of superior American firepower to conquer the unseen enemy in Vietnam: a lot of firepower and very little wisdom, and it didn't work."cite web|url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,961839,00.html|title=Help! They're Back!|date=1986-07-28|publisher= Time Magazine|last=Schickel|first=Richard|accessdate = 2007-07-16] [Shay, Don. "Aliens." Cinefex. Vol 27. August 1986.] In the story of "Aliens" the Colonial Marines are hired to protect the business interests of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, corresponding to the belief that corporate interests were the reason that American troops were sent to South Vietnam. The attitude of the Marines was influenced by the Vietnam War; they are portrayed as cocky and confident of their inevitable victory, but when they find themselves facing a less technologically advanced but more determined enemy, the outcome is not what they expect.
Concept and design
Early concept art was created by
Syd Mead, who had worked on "2010" and "Tron". One of the original designs for the spaceship "Sulaco" was spherical, but it was redesigned as the ship would be out of frame due to the film's aspect ratio. Cameron showed Mead his own concept art and the final result was described as a "rocket gun that carries stuff". Concept artists were asked to incorporate subliminal acknowledgments to the Vietnam War, which included designing the dropshipas a combination of a F-4 Phantom IIand AH-1 Cobra."Building Better Worlds - From concept to construction, Superior Firepower"]
Some scenes of the Alien nest were shot in a decommissioned
power plantin Acton, London. The crew thought it was a perfect place to film due to its grilled walkways and numerous corridors. Problems were encountered with rust and asbestos, however, and the crew was required to spend money to clean the asbestos. The Alien nest set was not dismantled after filming, and was reused in 1989 as the Axis Chemicals set for "Batman". When the crew of "Batman" entered the set, they found most of it intact.cite web|title=Movie Minutiae: "Aliens"|author=Kemble, Gary|publisher=ABC|date= 2005-12-02|url=http://www.abc.net.au/news/arts/articulate/200511/s1513926.htm|accessdate = 2008-03-02] was used to create the illusion that there were twelve in the scene. Instead of using hydraulics, the chambers were opened and closed by wires operated by puppeteers.
Cameron opted to hire actors who had, or could create, American accents. Over 3,000 residents in the United Kingdom auditioned, although many were rejected. After auditions of UK residents proved unsuccessful, the crew imported actors from America including
Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Michael Biehn, who had all worked with Cameron on "The Terminator". The role of Newt was the most difficult to cast according to the casting director. The casting team auditioned schoolchildren, but found that many of them had acted in commercials and were accustomed to smiling after saying their lines, a trait that the producers wished to avoid due to the dark tone of "Aliens". Carrie Henn, whose father was stationed at a United States military base, was chosen out of 500 children for the role of Newt, although she had no previous acting experience."Preparing for Battle - Casting and characterization, Superior Firepower"]
Actors who played Marines were asked to read
Robert A. Heinlein's novel " Starship Troopers" and undergo military training which included running, lifting weights, learning salutes, marches, deployments, and maneuvers for two weeks. Al Matthewshad experience in the military and believed he was cast as Sergeant Apone because of this experience. Cameron wanted the Marines to train together, so that they would form bonds that would show on-screen. Sigourney Weaver, William Hope, and Paul Reiserwere absent from training due to other obligations, but Cameron felt that this suited their characters as "outsiders" in the film. Michael Biehn was also absent from the training, as he was not cast until one week after filming had commenced.
"Aliens" was filmed on a budget of $18 million at
Pinewood Studios, with production lasting ten months. Production was affected by a number of personnel and cast disruptions. Shooting was said to be problematic due to cultural clashes between Cameron and the British crew, with the crew having what actor Bill Paxtoncalled a "really indentured" way of working. Cameron, who is known to be a hard driving director and at the time was bound to a low budget with a release date set that he could not delay, found it difficult to adjust to working practices such as the regular "tea breaks" that brought production to a temporary halt. The crew were admirers of Ridley Scott, and many believed Cameron to be too young and inexperienced to be directing such a film as "Aliens", despite Cameron's attempts to show them his previous film, "The Terminator", which had not yet been released in the UK."This Time It's War - Pinewood Studios, 1985, Superior Firepower"]
At one point the crew members mocked Cameron's wife, producer Gale Anne Hurd, by asking her who the producer was and insisting that she was only getting producer's credit because she was married to the director. A walkout occurred when Cameron clashed with an uncooperative cameraman who refused to light a scene the way Cameron wanted. The cameraman had lit the Alien nest set brightly, while Cameron insisted on his original vision of a dark, foreboding nest, relying on the lights from the Marines' armor. After the cameraman was fired, Hurd managed to coax the crew members into coming back to work.
Weapons and props
Weapons used by the Marines were based on real, fully functional weapons. British armorers used guns they found to be the most reliable when firing blanks and those which looked futuristic. The pulse rifles were created from a Thompson SMG, with an attached fore end of a Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun and a Remington 12 Gauge Model 870P receiver with barrel. The smart guns carried by Vasquez and Drake were based on the German
MG-42machine gun and were maneuvered with steadicamharnesses created using old motorcycle parts. The crew found flamethrowers the most difficult weapon to create and use, as they were the heaviest and most dangerous.The Risk Always Lives - Weapons and action, "Superior Firepower"]
James Hornerfelt he was not given enough time to create a musical score. Horner arrived in England and expected the film to be "locked" so he could write the score in six weeks, which he thought was a sufficient amount of time. Horner, however, discovered that filming and editing were still taking place, and he was unable to view the film. He visited the sets and editing rooms for three weeks and found that editor Ray Lovejoywas barely keeping up with the workload due to time restrictions. Horner believed Cameron was preoccupied with sound effects, citing that Cameron spent two days with the sound engineer creating the sounds for the pulse rifles. He also complained that he was given an outdated recording studio; the score was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestraat Abbey Road Studios, a thirty-year-old studio that was barely able to patch in synthesizers or use the electronic equipment that Horner required.The Final Countdown – Music, editing and sound, "Superior Firepower"]
Six weeks from theatrical release, no dubbing had taken place and the score had not been written, as Horner was unable to view the completed film. The final
cuefor the scene in which Ripley battles the Alien queen was written overnight. Cameron completely reworked the scene, leaving Horner to rewrite the music. As Gale Hurd did not have much music production experience, she and Cameron denied Horner's request to push the film back four weeks so he could finish the score. Horner felt that, given more time, he could get the score to 100% of his satisfaction, rather than the 80% he estimated he had been able to achieve. The score was recorded in roughly four days. Despite his troubles, Horner received an Academy Award nomination (his first) for Best Original Score.
Horner stated that tensions between himself and Cameron were so high during post-production that he assumed they would never work together again. Horner believed that Cameron's film schedules were too short and stressful. The two parted ways until 1997 when Cameron, so impressed with Horner's score for "
Braveheart", asked him to compose the score for "Titanic".
Brothers Robert and Dennis Skotak were hired to supervise the visual effects, having previously worked with Cameron on several
Roger Cormanmovies. Two stages were used to construct the colony on LV-426, using miniature models that were on average six feet tall and three feet wide. Filming the miniatures was difficult due to the weather; the wind would blow over the props, although it proved helpful to give the effect of weather on the planet. Cameron used these miniatures and several effects to make scenes look larger than they really were, including rear projection, mirrors, beam splitters, camera splits and foreground miniatures.
The Alien suits were made more flexible and durable than the ones used in "Alien", to expand on the creatures' movements and allow them to crawl and jump. Dancers, gymnasts and stunt men were hired to portray the Aliens. The creature's head was changed from the sleek shape used in "Alien", as the crew thought that the original shape would crack with the creatures' increased mobility. Ridges were added along the head to increase its durability during movements.
Scenes involving the Alien queen were the most difficult to film, according to production staff. A life-sized
mock-upwas created by Stan Winston's company in the United States to see how it would operate. Once the testing was complete, the crew working on the queen flew to England and began work creating the final version. Standing at fourteen feet, it was operated using a mixture of puppeteers, control rods, hydraulics, cables, and a crane above to support it. Two puppeteers were inside the suit operating its arms, and sixteen were required to move it. All sequences involving the queen were filmed in-camera with no post-production manipulation."The Power of Real Tech - Visual effects, Superior Firepower"]
Eagerly anticipated by fans following the success of "Alien", [Cosford, Bill. Let 'Aliens' Invade Your Peace of Mind. "The Miami Herald", July 18, 1986, pg. 1D.] "Aliens" was released in America on July 18, 1986, and September 26 in the United Kingdom. The film opened in 1,437 theaters with an average opening gross of $6,995 and a weekend gross of $10,052,042. It was number one at the United States box office for four consecutive weeks, grossing $85.1 million domestically, the highest-grossing "Alien" film in the country. The film took in $45.9 million in the international box office, for a total gross of $131 million.cite web|title=Aliens box office results|publisher=
Box Office Mojo|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=aliens.htm|accessdate = 2008-02-27]
Test and pre-screenings were unable to take place for "Aliens" due to the film not being completed until its week of release."Aliens Unleashed - Reaction to the film, Superior Firepower"] Once it was released in cinemas, critical and audience reaction was very positive. Critic
Roger Ebertcalled it "painfully and unremittingly intense" and a "superb example of filmmaking craft".Citation|last = Ebert|first = Roger|author-link = Roger Ebert|title = Aliens (review)|newspaper = Chicago Sun-Times| pages = |year = 1986|date = 1986-07-18|url = http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19860718/REVIEWS/607180301/1023] Walter Goodman of " The New York Times" said it was a "flaming, flashing, crashing, crackling blow-'em-up show that keeps you popping from your seat despite your better instincts and the basically conventional scare tactics."Citation|last = Goodman|first = Walter|author-link = |title = Movie Review: Aliens (1986) - Film: Sigourney Weaver in 'Aliens'|newspaper = The New York Times|pages = |year = 1986|date = 1986-07-18|url = http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9A0DE7DA1731F93BA25754C0A960948260&oref=slogin] " Time Magazine" featured the film on the cover of its July 28, 1986 issue, calling it the "summer's scariest movie". "Time" reviewer Richard Schickel declared the film "a sequel that exceeds its predecessor in the reach of its appeal while giving [Sigourney] Weaver new emotional dimensions to explore." The selection of "Aliens" for a "Time" cover was attributed to the successful reception of the film, [cite web|url=http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article/?cid=87922&rss=mrqe|title=Aliens - Special Event Archives|publisher= Turner Classic Movies|last=Kjolseth |first=Pablo|accessdate=2008-09-16] [Stuever, Hank. (1997-11-28) Ripley knows best - Men in `Alien' films just don't get it. "Austin American-Statesman", p. E1] as well as its novel example of a femalescience fiction action heroine. [cite web|url=http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/03/10/161033.php|title=Movie Review: 300 (Aliens)|date=2007-03-10|publisher="Blogcritics Magazine"|last=Desjardins|first=David
accessdate=2008-09-16] Echoing "Time"'s assessment, Dave Kehr of "
The Chicago Reader" called the film "one sequel that surpasses the original."Citation|last = Kehr|first = Dave|author-link = Dave Kehr|title = Aliens (review)|newspaper = The Chicago Reader|pages = |year = |date = |url = http://onfilm.chicagoreader.com/movies/capsules/192_ALIENS]
Reviews of the film have remained mostly positive over the years. In a 1997 interview, Weaver stated that "Aliens" "made the first "Alien" look like a cucumber sandwich."cite web|title=Beauties and the Beast|author=Hochman, David|publisher="Entertainment Weekly"|date=
1997-12-05|url=http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,290562,00.html|accessdate = 2008-01-31] In a 2000 review, film critic James Berardinellisaid "When it comes to the logical marriage of action, adventure, and science fiction, few films are as effective or accomplished as "Aliens"."cite web|title=Aliens (review)|author=Berardinelli, James|publisher=Reelviews.net|date=2000|url=http://www.reelviews.net/movies/a/aliens.html|accessdate = 2008-04-16] " Austin Chronicle" contributor Marjorie Baumgarten labeled the film in 2002 as "a non-stop action fest."Citation|last = Baumgarten|first = Marjorie|author-link = |title = Aliens (review)|newspaper = Austin Chronicle|pages = |year = 2002|date = 2002-06-07|url = http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Calendar/Film?Film=oid%3a140686] Based on thirty-seven reviews, the film has a "fresh" rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoeswith an average critic score of 8.7 out of 10.cite web|title="Aliens" reviews|publisher=Rotten Tomatoes|url=http://au.rottentomatoes.com/m/1000617-aliens/|accessdate = 2008-02-27]
Awards and accolades
"Aliens" was nominated for seven
Academy Awards including Best Music, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration. It won two awards for Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects. Sigourney Weaver received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, and although she did not win, it was considered a landmark nomination for an actress to be considered for a science fiction/horror film, a genre which was given little recognition by the Academy in 1986. [Career of living dangerously: Sigourney Weaver ready for next risk. "New York Daily News", Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. March 21, 2001.]
"Aliens" received four
BAFTAaward nominations and won in the category of Visual Effects.cite web|title=Film nominations 1986"|publisher=British Academy of Film and Television Arts|url=http://www.bafta.org/awards/film/nominations/?year=1986|accessdate = 2008-03-03] It won eight Saturn Awardsin the categories of Best science fiction film, Best actress (Sigourney Weaver), Best supporting actor ( Bill Paxton), Best supporting actress ( Jenette Goldstein), Best performance by a younger actor ( Carrie Henn), Best direction (James Cameron), Best writing (James Cameron), and Best special effects ( Stan Winstonand the L.A. Effects Group).cite web|title=Saturn Award Winners|publisher= Saturn Awards|url=http://www.saturnawards.org/past.html|accessdate = 2008-03-03]
"Time Magazine" named "Aliens" in their Best of '86 list calling it a "technically awesome blend of the horror, sci-fi and service- comedy genres."cite web|title=Best of '86|publisher="Time Magazine"|date=
1987-01-05|url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,963157,00.html|accessdate = 2008-03-03] In 2007, " Entertainment Weekly" named "Aliens" as the second-best action movie of all time, behind " Die Hard". In a Rotten Tomatoesanalysis of the top 100 science fiction films, "Aliens" ranks tenth among the best-reviewed films of the genre. In 2004, "Aliens" was ranked thirty-fifth on Bravo's "100 Scariest Movie Moments" for the scene in which Ripley and Newt are attacked by facehuggers; the original "Alien" was ranked second for the chestburster scene.cite web|title=The 100 Scariest Movie Moments|publisher="Bravo"|url=http://www.bravotv.com/The_100_Scariest_Movie_Moments/index.shtml|accessdate = 2008-03-09] IGNranked it third in its "Top 25 Action Films of All-Time", stating that "there won't be an "Alien" movie as scary – or exciting – as this one made ever again."cite web|title=The Top 25 Action Films of All-Time|publisher= IGN|url=http://au.movies.ign.com/articles/673/673392p5.html|accessdate = 2008-03-09]
A "Special Edition" of "Aliens" was released in 1992 on
laserdiscand VHSthat restored seventeen minutes of deleted footage. These additions include a segment showing Newt's family first encountering the derelict spacecraft on LV-426, Ripley learning that her daughter died during the years she was in hypersleep, a scene in the operations building in which the Marines use sentry guns against the Aliens, and several extended dialogue scenes between Ripley and the Marines. These scenes had been deleted from the original theatrical release as 20th Century Fox representatives thought the film was showing "too much nothing" and spent an unnecessary amount of time building suspense.Aliens: Special Edition audio commentary]
Most of the Special Edition's footage was first seen when the film made its broadcast television debut on CBS in 1989, but two additional sequences concerning Burke's transmission to the colony about the derelict, and the Jorden family's subsequent discovery of the same, were added to the initial Laserdisc release. According to Cameron, the visual effects for the scene were uncompleted, so he went back to the Skotak brothers and had them finish the sequences. All currently available versions of the Special Edition contain these scenes.
The special edition was released as part of "
The Alien Legacy" DVDbox set in 1999 along with "Alien" and " Alien 3". Both the theatrical version and the special edition were released again in 2003 as part of the " Alien Quadrilogy" DVD box set along with similar versions of "Alien", "Alien 3", and " Alien Resurrection". A separate two-disc "Special Collector's Edition" DVD of "Aliens" was released on January 6, 2004 containing the same material as the two "Aliens" discs in the "Quadrilogy" set.cite web|title="Aliens" (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)|publisher=Amazon.com|url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00012FXAE/ref=pd_cp_d_0?pf_rd_p=316286001&pf_rd_s=center-41&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00000ILDE&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0SH4J243Z3NWZ008JHPH
accessdate = 2008-03-03] Additional content in these versions included an
audio commentaryfor the special edition featuring director James Cameron, producer Gale Hurd, special effects artists and crew members. The second disc included special features relating to pre-production, production, and post-production.cite web|title="Aliens" - Collector's Widescreen Edition|author=Patrizio, Andy|publisher=IGN|url=http://au.dvd.ign.com/articles/440/440017p2.html|accessdate = 2008-03-09]
Interpretation and analysis
Stephen Mulhallhas remarked that the four "Alien" films represent an artistic rendering of the difficulties faced by the woman's "voice" to have itself heard in a masculinist society, as Ripley continually encounters males who try to silence her and to force her to submit to their desires. Mulhall sees this depicted in several places in "Aliens", particularly the inquest scene in which Ripley's explanation for the deaths and destruction of the "Nostromo", as well as her attempts to warn the board members of the alien danger, are met with officious disdain. However, Mulhall believes that Ripley's relationship with Hicks illustrates that "Aliens" "is devoted ... to the possibility of modes of masculinity that seek not to stifle but rather to accommodate the female voice, and modes of femininity that can acknowledge and incorporate something more or other of masculinity than our worst nightmares of it." [ Stephen Mulhall, "In Space, No-One Can Hear You Scream: Acknowledging the Human Voice in the Alien Universe," in "Film as Philosophy: Essays on Cinema After Wittgenstein and Cavell", editors Read, Rupert and Jerry Goodenough; Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, p. 60]
Several movie academics, including
Barbara Creed, have remarked on the color and lighting symbolism in the Alien franchise, which offsets white, strongly lit environments (spaceships, corporate offices) against darker, dirtier, 'corrupted' settings (Derelict alien ship, abandoned industrial facilities). These black touches contrast or even attempt to take over the purity of the white elements. ["Alien and the Monstrous-Feminine" - Creed, Barbara; from "Alien Zone: Cultural Theory and Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema", Editor Kuhn, Annette; Verso, 1990, Page 129] Others, such as Kile M. Ortigo of Emory University, agree with this interpretation and point to the "Sulaco" with its "sterilized, white interior" as representing this element in the second film of the franchise. [" [http://www.usask.ca/relst/jrpc/art17-alienresurrection.html Ripley and Alien] " - Ortigo, Kile M. in "I’m a Stranger Here Myself": Forced Individuation in Alien Resurrection", Department of Psychology, Emory University, Georgia, United States. Accessed 2008-05-20.)]
Academics analyzing the role of the Ripley character remark on the symbolism of the "Sulaco"
'scryo chamber. Ripley is compared with an incorrupt Catholic saint preserved in a glass coffin (akin to Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, both in her lying in state in the cryotube as well as her "incorrupt body", which has twice survived being almost "impregnated" by the Alien). Accompanied by the Agnus Deiof the Ordinary Mass playing in the background of the opening scene, these scholars argue that the Sulaco is transformed "into a holy site where the iconic bodies of a fetishistic religion lie in state," setting the scene for a lone facehugger attacking its victim (corrupting it) and also causing the emergency system to eject the cryotubes into space and to plunge to Fiorina "Fury" 161 (representing the Fall of Man). [" Alien Woman: The Making of Lt. Ellen Ripley" - Ximena Gallardo C. & Smith, C. Jason; Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004, Page 122-123]
While some claim that the shape of the "Sulaco" was based on a submarine, [ [http://www.starshipmodeler.com/tech/othr_ref.htm Alien
[s]] (from the 'starshipmodeler.com' website. Accessed 2008-05-20.)] the design has most often been described as a 'gun in space' resembling the rifles used in the movie. [ [http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/05/16/syd-meads-sulaco-shi.html Syd Mead's "Sulaco" ship from Aliens just a big gun] " Boing Boing" Accessed 2008-05-18.] Author Roz Kaveney called the opening shot of the ship traveling through space 'fetishistic' and 'shark-like', "an image of brutal strength and ingenious efficiency" - while militarized interior of the "Sulaco" (designed by Ron Cobb) is contrasted to the organic interior of the "Nostromo" in the first movie (also designed by Cobb). ["Alien to The Matrix: Reading Science Fiction Film" - Kaveney, Roz; I.B. Tauris, 2005, Page 159] David McIntree noted the homagethe scene pays to the opening tour through the "Nostromo" in "Alien". ["Beautiful Monsters: The Unofficial and Unauthorized Guide to the Alien and Predator Movies" - McIntree, David; Telos Publishing, 2005]
androidcharacter Bishop has been the subject of literary and philosophical analysis as a high-profile fictional android conforming to science fictionauthor Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Roboticsand as a model of a compliant, potentially self-aware machine. [cite conference
first = G | last = Buttazzo| coauthors = | date = | year = 2000
month = May | title = Can a Machine Ever Become Self-Aware?
booktitle = Artificial Humans, an historical retrospective of the Berlin International Film Festival 2000 | editor = R. Aurich, W. Jacobsen and G. Jatho
others = | edition = | publisher = | location = Goethe Institute, Los Angeles | pages = 45-49 | url = | format =
accessdate = 2007-01-10
id = ] His portrayal has been studied by writers for the
University of Texas Pressfor its implications relating to how humans deal with the presence of an " Other", [cite journal| last = Nishime | first = LeiLani | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = The Mulatto Cyborg: Imagining a Multiracial Future
journal = Cinema Journal | volume = 44 | issue = 2
pages = 34-49 | publisher =
University of Texas Press
date = Winter 2005 | doi =
accessdate = 2007-01-10 ] as Ripley treats them with fear and suspicion and a form of "hi-tech racism and android apartheid" is present throughout the series. [cite conference
first = Anton Karl
last = Kozlovic | authorlink =
title = HAL-o-phobia: Computer Horror in the Pre-1990 Popular Cinema | booktitle = Sincronía
date = Spring 2004
doi = | id =
accessdate = 2007-01-10 ] This is seen as part of a larger trend of
technophobiain films prior to the 1990s, with Bishop's role being particularly significant as he redeems himself at the end of the film, thus confounding Ripley's expectations. [cite journal | last = Kozlovic | first = Anton Karl | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Technophobic themes in pre-1990 computer films | journal = Science as Culture | volume = 12 | issue = 3 | pages = 341-373 | publisher = | date = September 2003 | url = | doi = 10.1080/09505430309008 | id = | accessdate = 2007-01-10 ]
*"Superior Firepower: The Making of Aliens", "
Alien Quadrilogy" – Disc 3, 2003, 20th Century Fox
*"The Complete Aliens Companion" (by
Paul Sammon, Harper Prism, 1998, ISBN 0-06-105385-6)
*"Beautiful Monsters: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to the Alien and Predator Films" (by
David A. McIntee, Telos, 272 pages, 2005, ISBN 1-903889-94-4)
1986 in film
Box Office Leaders USA
The Karate Kid, Part II
date = July 20
date2 = August 17
year = 1986
after = The Fly
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