The 154 minute version of this movie is a distinct improvement
over the theatrical edit.

Premise

Ripley is found 57 years after the events of the original movie. At
this point, the planet with the aliens has been colonized and
Ripley’s
expert knowledge of the beasts is needed to assist marines in a
rescue
mission.

This movie is in a completely different genre from the original.
The
suspence thriller aspect is almost entirely gone, delivering a full
bore action flick instead.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

The complete cast and crew information is available from those kind IMDB
folks.

The cast includes Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Paul
Reiser, Lance
Henriksen, and Bill Paxton under the direction of James
Cameron.

High Point

“Get away from her, you bitch!”

Low Point

Not only do they use the same ending as the original, but you can
hear
the thing scream when it happens. Did they not pay attention to
the
original’s ad campaign?

The Scores

I have to give credit for originality when a sequel
completely departs from the genre of the original. I just wish
they’d
used a new ending. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects had improved with the technology.
Some of the
alien motion looks fake, but the animatronics were wonderful for
the
day, and the computer technology hadn’t developed well enough
to be
used as a substitute. (Those of us who have seen Alien:
Resurrection
know that CGI isn’t necessarily the right
move,
either.) The aliens looked wonderful when they didn’t need to
move
quickly, but there are still a few jarring moments. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The story got off to an excellent start. The first half
beautifully set up the new world, and (more significantly) showed
a
character who had a traumatic experience actually exhibit
psychological side effects. The politics involved with the
conspiracy
to retrieve the aliens were well done, giving a real sense of the
kind
of inhuman beast the company is. The details in setting up the
marines in the drop work very well, particularly when Hicks takes
a
nap before landing. Unfortunately, subtlety goes out the window
when
the action starts, and it becomes a fairly predictable
shoot-em-up.
Still, as a member of the action genre, half a great script is pretty
impressive. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting from Sigourney Weaver was excellent.
Michael
Biehn and Paul Reiser did well, but Bill Paxton just never
convinced
me. It may not be entirely him, as I’m not convinced the military
would keep a character like that around, but I never bought it
most of
the time. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced is still fairly
strong,
even on repeat viewings. The action scenes do get the
adrenaline
going, and the half of the movie before the action still surprises
me
with the attention to detail. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is fantastic. The costumes aren’t
dated; they
used standard combat fatigues that haven’t really changed, or
they
used minor variants on long-established fashions (such as the
upturned
collars on otherwise typical suits.) The people on the world
before
it was terraformed were often sweating considerably, which was
a nice
touch to remind people that, even though the air is now
breathable,
the planet itself still isn’t a human world. The set design and the
lighting (including the colour filtering) was exceptional. James
Cameron may not have a lot of ideas that are entirely his own,
but he
knows how to shoot a movie. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s one of the strongest entries in the action
genre. It isn’t nearly as artistic as the original, but if you’re
looking for “flash and bang” entertainment, you could do a whole
lot
worse. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Aliens receives 35 out of 42.