Time: 154 mins.
Genre: Science Fiction/Action
Won Academy Awards for Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects. Nominated for Best Actress, Art Direction, Film Editing, Score and Sound.
I have to say that this is one of my all time favorite action movies. James Cameron was never better than when he directed this film and THE TERMINATOR. I had not seen the original film when I was dragged to ALIENS by friends in college. It scared the bejesus out of me and made me an immediate fan of the series. I happen to think this film is better than ALIEN, but it's somewhat unfair to compare such vastly different styles. The original is all about the details, establishing this world and the characters and creatures therein. Setting up the pure horror of the situation. In ALIENS, it's clear that survival will not be an option for most of the cast. This is take-no-prisoners action at the highest level. Not only does it have great acting and special effects, but a story with heart. Ripley learns how to love again, regaining her humanity...while kicking the crap out of the aliens.
In this film, the Company begs Ripley to join a team returning to the same planet from the first film, which has been colonized over the past 50 years, while she was floating around space in suspended animation. It seems that they've lost contact and need someone to go there to find out what's going on. Ripley, of course, tells them where they can shove their request. Her life was destroyed on that rotten planet and there's no way she's going back, especially since she's just been rescued and returned to the land of the living. They believe the colonists ran into the same creatures she and the crew from the Nostromo did, and she's the only one who knows exactly what they could be dealing with. Her guilt over surviving and knowing first hand the horror the colonists could be encountering, causes her to give in and join the mission as an advisor. The rest of the crew, mainly made up of Marines, give her a wide berth, not sure what to make of her.
Once they reach the planet, it quickly becomes clear what the motives of the Company were for this mission. Sure, they want to know what happened to the colonists, but the crew discovers the Company sent them to the abandoned ship with the full knowledge of what they would encounter. Only one of the colonists has managed to survive, a young girl named Newt (Henn), who immediately forms a bond with fellow survivor Ripley. Both of them have seen what the Aliens are capable of and it's a nasty lesson soon learned by the marines. Even their superior firepower is not enough to defeat these clever and brutal creatures. With their numbers dwindling rapidly, Ripley has only one plan, regardless of what the Company wants, and that's to get everyone off the planet alive and to destroy the aliens. In the end, she comes to grips with her nightmares and faces them woman to woman, by taking on the Alien Queen. Both of them are trying to protect their "children" and only the strongest will survive. Since there are 2 additional films in the series, it's obvious who the winner is. Sort of.