Wednesday, October 28, 2009
A Movie A Day: Alien/Aliens - Science fiction and horror collide to make two masterpieces
A classic was born in 1979 with the sci-fi/horror pic Alien, helmed by the great Ridley Scott. It was a different kind of movie, totally different from Star Wars and Star Trek. And by god it was great. A seven man crew aboard this mining ship, Nostromo, on it's way back to Earth, receives what they think is a distress call from this uncharted planet. The crew proceeds to the planet despite some opposing views about to investigate. Once there one of the crew members is infected and brought back to the ship with some type of parasite attached to its face. Then the horror begins. The crew tries to survive against the fully grown alien organism and the suspense is unbelievable. The entire cast rocks including Tom Skerritt as Captain Dallas, Yaphet Kotto as mechanic Parker, and newcomer Sigourney Weaver as Ripley. Director Scott brings forth a beautifully shot film that is one of the best in his career. Alien was a hit when it came out, not as big as Star Wars, but a hit nonetheless. A sequel was warranted.
So 7 years later the sequel Aliens was crafted by James Cameron, who was coming off the exciting Terminator movie. Cameron was able to take what Ridley Scott has started in the first Alien movie and actually expand on it and make an even better movie in my opinion. Set 57 years later, lone survivor Ripley is picked up from her hibernation in her escape shuttle and taken back to Gateway station, orbiting Earth. She is promptly targeted by company executives who think her story is crazy. Later when communication is lost with the colonists who have been working on the same planet where Ripley and her crew found the deadly alien, she is asked to go back with a team of Colonial Marines to check it out. Ripley is hesitant at first but goes back to face her demons. Once arriving on the planet the only survivor left is a little girl named Newt. And then all hell breaks loose as the aliens see fresh hosts in the marines. The battle scenes in this movie are freaking awesome. Cameron does and excellent job with those but he also does a good job with the quieter moments too. Plus Cameron created so many things for this movie like the personal loader, the pulse rifles (best weapon ever!) and the APC vehicle. Genius. The entire cast is great from returning Weaver as the determined Ripley; Michael Biehn as Hicks; Bill Paxton as Hudson; Lance Henriksen as the android Bishop; Jenette Goldstein as Vasquez; and Paul Reiser as slimy company man Burke. Aliens is one hell of a movie. And Cameron has a special edition that even adds more detail like Ripley having a daughter and Newt's ordeal before the Marines arrive. Both Alien and Aliens reside in IMDB top 75 films of all time. And I couldn't agree more.