I watched ALIENS this weekend for the first time. Before you ask, I haven’t seen the first one yet – though I plan to. Why pick now to watch this classic piece of Sci Fi Action/Horror? Because a friend recommended it. Multiple times. Then gave me a special DVD copy for my birthday earlier this month.
I’m glad I waited to watch ALIENS until I had a good sound system and decent-sized screen to watch it on. I could appreciate the sets and detail in the SFX in a way that I doubt would have come across if I had been watching on my funky laptop screen, or even my less-dinky desktop screen.
Once I popped the DVD in and started it up, I realized I was faced with a choice: watch the original theatrical release, or the special extended edition from 1991? After a quick Twitter poll I decides on the original release. I’m always torn when it comes to picking versions of films – you can only see a movie once for the first time, and the question of following the studio’s vision or the director’s can sometimes be paralyzing. I still think version fatigue Kay play a part in why I still can’t really say I’ve seen Bladerunner, despite multiple attempts. (And yes, by virtue of admitting that here, I’ll probably wind up trying again soon).
(Interjection – I’m writing this on the train and they just ran a missing child announcement. First time for everything, I guess. Anyway, back to the film…)
I liked ALIENS. A lot. It shook up my perception of what a sci fi horror movie could be. It gave me a new lens on a new (to me) action hero. Apparently James Cameron was re-inventing the genre when he made it, so that always helps male things fun, although his fingerprints were also visible all over the shooting style and particularly the wide shots. Then again I suppose that’s part of why people enjoy him – an identifiable style they associate with his movies.
I liked the group of space marines, particularly how each of them was an individual whose story you could watch and get involved with. Did anybody else think, however, that sending them in with their guns seemed like woeful underpreparation at best, and wilful recklessness if we look at the film’s darker consumerist underbelly?
Speaking of dark consumerist underbellies: holy crap, Paul Reiser! When I was little he was on Mad About You; part of me kept waiting for Helen Hunt to show up, or for how character to start swatting at invisible flies. It was obvious from the start, to me, that he’d end up doing something crooked, and I wasn’t sure why Ripley would have taken him at his word, but maybe she let hope cloud get judgement.
And Newt. Newt was awesome. The scenes between her and Ripley were tender but also realistic – I loved that Ripley didn’t talk down to her and how she was brought in by the group of soldiers.
Overall? Glad I watched it. And I’ll probably watch it again – maybe next time, I’ll tackle the special edition.