“I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”
That line is one of the many that earned the birthday girl, Sigourney Weaver, an Oscar Nomination for Best Actress in 1987 for her second outing as Ellen Ripley in Aliens. She celebrated her birthday yesterday, born in 1949. To honor her, I figured we could kick off the Halloween season with a sci-fi- horror film.
This movie is in my top three alongside Raiders of the Lost Ark and Who Framed Roger Rabbit as my favorite movies of all time. While not as horror centric as the first film, it has the right amount of tension to put it right on par with it, and proves that James Cameron is a master when it comes to making sequels. Take what’s great about the first, and try to multiply it. What’s better than one Terminator and one Xenomorph? More of them! And let’s make our heroine from the first movie have some PTSD from her encounter in the first movie. It’s there both times.
Of course, I can’t mention this flick without the many supporting characters, Hicks, Bishop, Newt, Hudson (“Game over man, game over!”), Burke, Vasquez, Apone, etc. Everyone brings something to the table that makes the overall situation the characters find themselves in much more dire.
The story of Aliens picks up right where Alien left off, with Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley in hypersleep after defeating the xenomorph. Well, fast-forward 57 years because her ship gets lost in space. She awakens to a world shockingly still familiar to her, with corporate bureaucracy not changing much, and her story about why she destroyed their starship not holding much water because the insurance people only care about the millions lost on the destroyed starship. The scene where she argues with the board is one of the many reasons she earned that nomination for Best Actress. And there are many more following that scene that further hammers that point home, especially Ripley’s first confrontation with the Queen, where not a single line of dialogue is spoken, but so much is conveyed between them through body language.
Ripley herself goes through a gradual change throughout the film. First, she’s jumping at shadows and dealing with nightmares of her first encounter. Then, she’s forced to go back to the planet where it all started to face her fear alongside a bunch of skeptics. And finally, she faces the biggest mother of all, still terrified out of her mind and actually conveying it on screen for everyone to see. As much as I like flicks like Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, you don’t get a performance like that.
While not as scary as the first movie, it’s a great companion piece to watch during the Halloween season if you need a good scare. It does the slow build to the reveal of the aliens perfectly. And it won an Oscar.
Oh, and Happy Birthday Sigourney Weaver!