Alien vs. Aliens

Another DVD set I picked up from The In-Laws is the Alien Trilogy (I’m not sure why #4 isn’t included in this set.  Before each and every movie, there is a 10-second montage of all four movies, yet the fourth one isn’t included).  I hadn’t seed any of them since high school, so it was fun to be a little bit surprised by a few things I’d forgotten, and a little bit nostalgic at the same time.

Alien, people will say, is a quintessential thriller movie.  We don’t see much happening for a good hour and even then it’s just a few frames here and there.  From what I saw, though, on the DVD player looped through my HD projector, that might be a good thing.  It looks like the alien is a dude in a suit.  It’s not like “I can still tell that’s just a guy”, it’s more like “they got a motorcycle outfit and put an alien mask on some guy.”  Personally, I think the movie is pretty boring; I found myself fast-forwarding through a lot of parts that probably added to the suspense.

Seriously. I didn't know there were attractive people in 1979.

During one of the many times Scott directed a hot Sigourney Weaver thinking about what to do next in complete silence, I read the history of the franchise on Wikipedia.  It’s pretty fascinating stuff.  Did you know the studio didn’t want to make a sequel to Alien because they said it didn’t make enough money?  Budget: $10 million; Gross: $100 million.  That’s a lot of freakin money.

Anyway, James “Avatar/Titanic/True Lies/T2” Cameron thought he could turn the movie into a cool action picture.  So he sat down and wrote a huge script and the studio loved it.  When he got done, however, they cut like 20% from the movie – it slowed down the action, they said (for instance, you know how Ripley takes care of that little girl like it was her own?  That’s because Ripley had a daughter who died between the first and second films, which we didn’t know about because the studio cut that little tidbit).  Ms. Weaver got an Academy Award nomination for her role (how often do you see blockbusters, let alone sci-fi blockbusters, get any nominations).

Once the numbers were in for Aliens and everyone involved had their pick of projects, the studio hired a newcomer by the name of Joss Whedon to write an additional two movies.  The first of the two would have Hicks going back to the aliens’ home planet where we find out their origin – Ripley would barely be in it.  The next movie would have the aliens coming to earth and only Ripley and Hicks know how to stop them.  Doesn’t that sound badass?

Instead, we have Alien3 where Hicks and Bishop and Newt have conveniently died and Ripley is put on a prison planet of all men to fight it out without any weapons (sort of like the first movie), and Alien: Resurrection where a clone of Ripley comes to save the day. A clone!

One little footnote: I found most of the special effects in 1986’s Aliens much more convincing and believable than all the CGI crap they use in every other scene in every other movie today.

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