Thursday, March 15, 2012

Aliens (1986)

The story was what felt like a second option, which still regards the main plot as intense for the most part.  I’ll explain what I mean by second option a bit further down.  I have seen this movie enough times to know what I’m watching.  It’s an excuse to blow up aliens any way possible.  I probably come off as harsh to the average reader but you must hear me out for this one.  The movie is an action science fiction flick which will degrade nearly any story when the word “action” pops up.  In my opinion I prefer the strength of story compared to some extra “boom booms” as I like to call them.  Precisely placed action sequences can do amazing things for a movie but be weary of getting hooked.  I’d like to explain what I thought would be a different approach to the story.

                The colony traces the exact time frame as the plot in the film dictates already but the story would pick up with the colonists and how they live on LV-426 (nice planet name, nerd alert).  The setup wouldn’t need to be too long to explain how the corporation is profiting off of the colonists using their products to live on the barren planet (anyone’s dream right?).  Enter Carter Burke (Paul Reiser, seriously how much do you hate his character in the movie?) to discover the alien spacecraft and revisit it more thoroughly.  A group of colonists, perhaps even led by Burke, explore the unknown spacecraft to unlock the secrets that so baffle me to this day.  They find out what they were, where they came from or how long the spacecraft has been on this planet.  Indeed, fascinating areas to which you can draw such interesting story from.  Let’s unlock some origins of the aliens and discover their past.  They eventually find the “face huggers” and make contact while some deaths in the group occur, such as, someone trying to rip a “face hugger” off a friend only to kill them.  It’s similar to the first one but eventually the group mostly gets “face hugged” while perhaps a few escape back to the colony, with Burke.  Burke flees the planet as a coward while the aliens begin to grow in number off the colonists.  Enter Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver); she has been drifting for the said 57 years in space, when the colonists find her beacon in space go to retrieve her back to the colony before the danger gets out of hand.  A portion of the story has heart and attachments to characters, colonists, you like until they get used as hosts for the aliens.  A distress call goes out from Ripley and the marines come to save the colonists.  They come to find almost all missing except Ripley and perhaps a few others.  Burke comes back to take an alien to earth as originally intended.  A similar story near the original script can conclude the end, it’s the beginning that really needs fixing.  How does that sound?  The ladder half of the film can have some of the action scenes whereas the former can build a suspense and history of these aliens.  I can clearly understand why many people would deem my ideas for not as they most likely are entrenched in what the movie is.  A serious fan of science fiction has to be willing to dig deeper for information of such an unknown entity like an alien.  I rest my case on my own vanity for now.  The second option for the story is actually what they made.  I feel they bypassed over a better option.

                I will move on now and choose the ending to start with since that’s the best part anyway.  As Ripley, Cpl. Dwayne Hicks (Michael Biehn) and Bishop (Lance Henriksen) are trying to leave the complex its good writing to see some feeling and emotion from Ripley.  She had a little girl of her own, which fails to be mentioned sadly, that drives her to try to rescue Newt.  After being in hypersleep for so long she did find out her daughter had died already.  It explains much to the attachment she has with Newt, not simply just because there both females.  The double gun she created was classic, machine rifle with a flame thrower, how does that not rule?  You get to finally see the “Queen Alien” which proves to be a truly classic moment for the film and franchise.  The scene in which Ripley threatens the queen with the flamethrower to the eggs is diabolically evil.  She commands the moment with that strong role.  It’s one of Sigourney Weaver’s best performances.  I like how she backs off and torches the area anyway!  The mech-suit battle is short and sweet which is done well.  The queen dies in a fashion to tribute to the first film.   I’ll say the final scenes are engaging and of thrilling fashion.  It gives respect to the alien species that the only way to drop them is to blow them into space, that’s power there.

                The beginning part of the movie builds slowly and with a raunchy group of grunt soldiers.  Why send mostly pea-brained soldiers to investigate a potentially historic discovery of an alien species?  Where are the brains?  The story centers on grunts that have lacking vocabulary, including untimely and bothersome swearing.  It moves along with too much bravado, you actually can’t wait for the aliens to kill those guys.  Generally you want to grow attached to the hero element of a story but in this case it fails mostly.  I did like how Ripley was distrusting of Bishop for so much of the film; it creates tension from her previous experience with androids.  The acid blood seemed to pick and choose when it would inflict fatal wounds.  The acid sprays quite a few times and its potency varies to a confusing point.  Is the acid actually that much of a variable in itself?  Or is it used as a means to write off a character from time to time?  I just answered my own question.

                I really have a true passion to know the history of the aliens and a sequel should answer something, but it doesn’t.  The spacecraft which first stored them is also still a complete enigma that begs to be explored in a way of storylines.  The visuals and creature effects were fine and nothing to complain about.  Sigourney Weaver does lead the cast well enough, especially at the end.  I did hope for some more intriguing history of the aliens in any way possible but get left with more action and explosion scenes instead.  This is one of the more difficult films I’ve had to come up with a rating for.  I know I sound like I’m ripping it terribly but I still enjoyed it.
                Rating: 8 of 10

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