This time it's war
Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen! "Aliens" continues the story of Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), sole survivor of the space freighter Nostromo, who is rescued and revived after drifting in hypersleep for 57 years. Questioned by a panel of executives from her employer the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, Ripley's testimony regarding the Alien is met with extreme skepticism, as no physical evidence of the creature survived the destruction of the Nostromo.
After losing her space flight license as a result of "questionable judgment" in destroying the Nostromo, Ripley learns that LV-426, the planetoid where her crew first encountered the Alien eggs, is now a colonized settlement. The Weyland-Yutani Company has developed massive atmosphere processors, which make the air on LV-426 breathable.
They assure her there is no such parasitic life form, as the colony on LV-426 has been there over 50 years and never encountered such an organism. Shortly after her meeting with the executives, Ripley receives a visit from Carter J. Burke, a company employee, who informs her that contact has been lost with the colony on LV-426.
Weyland-Yutani will be dispatching Burke (Paul Reiser) and a unit of Colonial Space Marines to investigate. The company offers to restore Ripley's flight status if she will accompany them as a consultant. Psychologically disturbed by her experience onboard the Nostromo, Ripley initially refuses to join, but accepts when she realizes the mission is to fully eradicate the species.
Aboard the warship Sulaco, Lieutenant Gorman (William Hope) and Sergeant Apone (Al Matthews) introduce Ripley to the space marines, who seem just as skeptical of their ‘bug hunt' mission as the company. During a routine meal, Ripley is shocked to find out there is an android onboard. Bishop (Lance Henriksen) is a newer model of the same artificial life form that attempted to kill her on the Nostromo.
The heavily armed expedition descends to the planetoid's surface via dropship, where they find the colony seemingly abandoned. There are signs, however, of the creature Ripley described to them. Parts of metal grating have been eroded away by what appears to be highly concentrated acid.
After doing a sweep of the colony's facilities, the space marines discover numerous "facehuggers" in stasis within the colony's medical lab. Two are still living, the rest are dead. It seems it didn't take long for the colonists to discover the derelict craft and bring its secrets back with them.
The Marines eventually locate the colonists, who are clustered in the colony's nuclear-powered atmosphere processing station. Traveling to the station, the Marines find a large Alien hive filled with the cocooned colonists.
After an encounter with a colonist who isn't dead yet, a horde of Aliens awaken and slaughter most of the military unit with ease. Ripley single-handedly rescues Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn) and Privates Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein) and Hudson (Bill Paxton) in an all-personnel vehicle. With Lieutenant Gorman temporarily unconscious, Hicks assumes command and sets a plan to escape the planet and destroy the colony from orbit.
Now Ripley must face her fears and fight the Alien once again, only this time there are more. And if only one of those organisms wiped out her entire crew in less than 24 hours, what hope will these survivors have against an entire nest?
1986's "Aliens" is one of my all-time favorite movies. Director James Cameron took an action/adventure tone with the sequel, which was in stark contrast to the horror motifs of the original "Alien." Not only does Cameron delve deeper into Ripley's story, he also expands on the mythology of the alien species.
The film is a pulsating, living thing. It builds on everything that made the original so memorable, pushing the limits further in every way. "Aliens" is absolutely intense. The production design and visual effects still hold up over 20 years later.
"Aliens" is a classic film and one of few sequels that actually surpasses its predecessor. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Music, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration. The film won two awards for Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects and Sigourney Weaver received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Although Weaver did not win, it was considered a landmark nomination for an actress to be considered for a science fiction/horror film, a genre that was given little recognition by the Academy in 1986 - and still isn't.
This film shaped my childhood. I was in 5th grade when I saw "Aliens" for the first time and was terrified and infatuated all the same. Since then I've grown to cherish it as a prime example of what a movie should be. They just don't make ‘em like this anymore.by Adam Frazier