Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Aliens (1986)

Ok, I'm aware that it's been a while since my last post and that my previous post was on the oh-so-stupid, but oh-so-fun Salt, and I appear to be following up with another action movie. But luckily for you, I have two recently watched old-school Hollywood movies to post on, so hold your horses.

Aliens stars Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, the lone survivor of the original film (Which I haven't seen, my cousins were visiting and this film was on Netflix Watch Now and they insisted we watch it). After 50+ years in hypersleep, Ripley awakens to discover that the planet where her ship first encountered the alien from the first film is now a colony, and she is asked to join a group of Space Marines to investigate the loss of contact with the colony. Of course, it takes no genius to figure out that aliens have overrun the colony and have taken every colonist except for a young girl named Newt, whom Ripley bonds with and will stop at nothing to ensure that the young girl survives.

The film is a brilliant action movie on its own, but features a lot of great suspense and tension as the group tries to survive on an overrun colony. But ti also serves as an examination of the maternal instinct, matching two "mothers" in a life or death battle to protect their "child" by having Ripley do battle with an Alien queen. It's in this context that Sigourney Weaver blows you away, justifying her Oscar nomination for her performance. Ripley isn't a badass, per se, she doesn't know how to use guns and she isn't a one-women army, but instead she's resourceful, intelligent, tough, and fiercely maternal. It's an important role for the portrayal of women in film, because she's not just a woman, she's a fully realized character and her gender really has nothing to do with it, she has no romantic leads, she isn't ostracized because she's a woman. She happens to be a great character who just happens to be female. And by the end of the movie, you will feel as exhausted and drained as Ripley, and I have no idea how Sigourney Weaver could do it, to walk on set and film a scene and appear as if she's been put through the ringer and about to drop in a heap, but she does and it's to the film's benefit.

Even though it's a sci-fi/action movie, it's one of the best movies I've seen. It's massively entertaining and insanely well-made.