[Favourites Friday] Aliens

So far this year I have seen two fast-paced action films where there is a leading lady and not a leading man who lets their fists do the talking – my reviews for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Haywire will be up next week.

For today’s edition of Favourites Friday I thought I’d carry on this action leading lady theme with a look at Aliens, starring Sigourney Weaver as the fantastic Ellen Ripley. Weaver portrayed Ripley in 1979’s Alien before reprising her role in all of the Alien sequels: Aliens (1986), Alien 2 (1992) and Alien Resurrection (1997).

I’ve decided to focus on Aliens as, while Ripley does kick ass in each one of the films, it’s Aliens where I think she is particularly fiesty.

VITAL STATISTICS

Aliens
(1986)
Directed by James Cameron
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn and Carrie Henn

IMDb: “The planet from Alien has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?”

WHO IS RIPLEY?

  • Ranked No 9 on Empire magazine’s ‘The 100 Greatest Movie Characters‘, Ripley is the main protagonist of the Alien series.
  • A human, in Alien she is a warrant officer aboard the Nostromo, a spaceship from planet Thedus returning to Earth.
  • In Aliens she is the only survivor of Nostromo, and is rescued and revived after drifting for 57 years in stasis.
  • She had a daughter, Amanda Ripley McClaren, who died sometime between Alien and Aliens.

WHY SHOULD YOU WATCH ALIENS?

In my opinion, Ripley is the ultimate action heroine, and Aliens shows her off at her best. Weaver did a great job in Alien and an even better job in Aliens, which she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, in fact.

The main protagonist of the film, Ripley joins a group of marines as they investigate why contact has been lost with LV-426, the now colonized planet from Alien. Hesitant and anxious about revisiting the dangerous creatures that she had encountered 57 years earlier, Ripley only joins the marines after being promised that the group is going to destroy the creatures, not study them.

Bearing in mind that she is with a group of marines, it is Ripley who is the real warrior of the group. She has knowledge of the creatures from her previous encounter with them, and she uses this to great effect. She knows how these creatures work and what to do to defeat them. That isn’t to say that the mission goes smoothly, far from it, in fact.

The only surviving colonist is a young girl who goes by the nickname ‘Newt’. Highly traumatized, Newt stays close to Ripley. Because of Newt, Ripley’s maternal instincts really come into their own and she becomes an incredibly tough, protective surrogate mother towards Newt. It is about Newt that she says to the Queen Alien: “Get away from her, you bitch!”

If you want to watch a movie with a truly kick ass female lead, the Alien series is a fantastic place to start.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “[Favourites Friday] Aliens”

  1. Hi, Claire and company:

    Great topic and an even better break down and critique!

    ‘Aliens’ has always struck me as the film that should have started the franchise. While its predecessor, ‘Alien’ felt like a drawn out, updated, up-budgeted version of the superior B&W ‘It! The Terror from Beyond Space’ from 1958 with Marshall Thompson.

    ‘Aliens’ has it all. The classic, distinct ‘Us vs. Them’ vibe of Red Scare Sci-Fi. Lots of unanswered questions as suspense continuously builds. A determined squad of Marines decked out with cool weapons.
    Especially Hicks, Hudson and Vasquez engaged in a long, protracted battle between massed numbers of Aliens versus high tech firepower.

    The heroine returning to face her demons while oily Paul Reiser schemes to bring an Alien back home as things go from bad to worse.

    An all around remarkable and memorable film that still sets the mark for all of its sequels and variants!

  2. This is one of my favourite films Claire. For a long time it was number one on my list…but then I saw Sideways and Sunset Boulevard and 12 Angry Men and The Apartment and…

    ….but I’m so glad you chose this for Favourites Friday. It is such a great action film that also incorporates sci-fi and horror with elements of the haunted house/monster movie with Weaver’s super central performance. Cameron’s best film by a long shot.

    1. Cameron’s best film by a long shot? I could never decide between Aliens and T2. Aliens is so great because of the brilliant cast, the natural relationship of the marines, and of course the aliens; but then T2 is such a fantastic story, so perfectly executed.

      Anyway, great post Claire. Ripley really is kick ass in this film, in the first film she manages to survive well enough, but Aliens is where she really takes control. Fantastic.

      1. Interesting…you see I wouldn’t even consider Aliens up against T2 for the top spot since I think The Terminator is the better film – darker, more edgy and raw, more haunting.

        That said, T2 is still one of my favourite films – Cameron has made so many great films, it is just a shame he takes so long between making them.

  3. Picking up on the first point rather than the Aliens franchise about fast-paced action films with leading ladies – kick-ass heroine’s don’t come much better than Colombiana’s, played by Zoe Saldana.

    ‘A young woman grows up to be a stone-cold assassin after witnessing her parents’ murder as a child in Bogota. She works for her uncle as a hitman by day, but her personal time is spent engaging in vigilante murders that she hopes will lead her to her ultimate target – the mobster responsible for her parents’ death.’

  4. Believe it or not, but I had never seen this until about a year and a half ago. I personally prefer Alien to the sequel, but I know not everyone feels the same about that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s