Aliens (1986)

A reluctant Ellen Ripley is persuaded to venture back into outer space in search of marauding aliens, this time accompanied by a crack military team.
“A remarkable accomplishment: a sequel that exceeds its predecessor in the reach of its appeal while giving [Sigourney] Weaver new emotional dimensions to explore.” Richard Schickel, Time magazine, 1986 One of the few sequels offering more than a simplistic retread of its predecessor, James Cameron’s follow-up is more action-packed shoot’em’up than relentless nailbiter, but is none the worse for that. The first film’s single monster has been replaced by hundreds, thanks to the ill-advised colonising of the planet LV-426, where Kane (John Hurt) encountered the alien eggs in the earlier film. Individual set-pieces are shot and cut with ferocious brio, interleaved with a surprising amount of humour (mainly courtesy of Bill Paxton’s cowardly Hudson). But Cameron also enriches the first film’s complex themes of sexuality and motherhood: at the start of the film’s longer cut, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) hears that her daughter grew up and died while she was in 57-year cryogenic suspension, after which she forms an instinctive bond with Newt (Carrie Henn), survivor of an alien massacre – thus earning the moral right to confront the alien queen in the all-stops-out climax. There’s a hint of Aliens in Cameron’s mega-budget Avatar (2009), though the aliens there are resolutely peaceful. More vicious aliens occur in Guillermo del Toro’s Mimic (1997) and the Resident Evil series (2002).
1986 USA, United Kingdom
Directed by
James Cameron
Produced by
Gale Anne Hurd
Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser