Aliens remains a masterpiece and James Cameron’s best movie with a real budget. The Terminator is his best with limited money, making it a semi-Indie flick. After these two, I’m not really sold on the remainder because they’re more “Wow! What effects!” which is Titanic; it would’ve worked better without Arnold: True Lies; and lastly, he’s just repeating the Vietnam War metaphor…Avatar.
Many also say Aliens is better than its predecessor Alien. Here, I completely disagree. I put those two films together as a great pair as per Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. Both duos are examples of incredible originals with fantastic sequels. What earned Empire and Aliens their accolades was how they took the story elements from their predecessors and made a different kind of film without repeating the previous plot. Alien is a Horror movie in a Science Fiction setting. Aliens is an Action movie in a Science Fiction setting. The Xenomorphs’ frightening nature does bring Horror elements into Aliens but they’re more of an enemy than an enigma thanks to Ripley’s experience.
I was lucky enough to see Aliens in a movie theater when it was first released. I had quit my crappy Summer job during my birthday week and Mom was nice enough to drop me off at Eastland Mall’s triplex. A former co-worker recommended it. I remember asking him a question based upon my indirect knowledge of the Xenomorph; why would they send marines? Aren’t the creatures invincible? I had never seen Alien, I only knew gist from the grade-school playground and the MAD parody. I loved his response, “They’re not immune to bullets. It’s just that they run out of marines quickly.”
The film spawn a million Traveller campaigns through its execution. Too bad the role-playing game’s vague and weak mechanics made it a crap experience. On the upside, Cameron’s costume and gear design finally demonstrated what futuristic battle dress and slug-throwing weapons could be. Battlestar Galactica followed Aliens’ lead when it came to firepower with the starships and side arms. Despite Traveller not being the D&D-like game to recapture the movie’s essence, I’m confident GDW’s newer game 2300 AD was heavily influenced by it. The boxed set’s first edition cover alone makes my point.
Every other Alien-based movie since have been crappy to underwhelming at best. Alien3 should’ve stuck with William Gibson’s screenplay despite the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991; who was to say there won’t be a Soviet-style polity in the future, in space? Alien: Resurrection had a great premise only. Prometheus? Where to begin? Alongside Covenant, they’re both stories requiring people being incredibly stupid or nothing would happen. I know people get stir crazy after being in hibernation or cooped up in a confined starship for weeks, months and years; see all the Europeans who crossed the Atlantic and Pacific a few centuries ago. In the future they will still follow safety protocols on a new planet because nobody wants to travel several dozen light years and then be killed in the first day thanks to touching a mysterious pool of goop.
With Disney’s conquest of Twentieth Century Fox, the Greedy Mouse now owns the Xenomorph, including the rights to publish comic books after Dark Horse’s 30-year run ended. I’ve been buying their first series. It’s mediocre. More of a shock that Marvel is allowed to illustrate the gore these stories entail and how corporations put the Earth at risk to control the Xenomorph; I could see Disney trying to weaponize its creations in the near future. I know movies will soon follow. Disney is going to put what it paid for to work immediately to pay off the debt it took on to get The Simpsons and Fox’s other creations. My fist suggestion besides erasing all movies following Aliens as canon, have the saga pick up after Ripley, Newt, Bishop and Hicks return to Earth safely and adapt Dark Horse’s first and best comic series. Bishop and Ripley’s whereabouts are unknown. Newt is institutionalized until she’s in her early twenties by Weyland-Yutani. Hicks is forced to stay in the US Space Marines Corp against his will to keep him quiet too. Then one day, a whacky religious cult in the colonies finds another stash of Xenomorph eggs and they willing become hosts for face huggers. Why? They believe it brings them closer to god or whatever. Now an older Hicks and Newt are brought out of their “cells” to help prevent the Xenomorphs’ spread. Disney can work in the return of Bishop and Ripley somehow, the comic never did. However, they must keep the comic’s other distressing element which I believe would happen in real life. It’s too late, several infected cultists made it back to Earth and the Xenomorphs will get loose. Not due to the cultists being very cunning, no they’ll be on par with the January 6, 2021 moron brigade. Corporate greed and short-sightedness will continue to be the true absolute evil as Weyland-Yutani tries to control the Xenomorphs for profit.