Up until last week, I had never watched any of the Alien movies, or even heard much about them. I knew the basic gist of what they were about, knew about face huggers, and what the xenomorphs looked like, etc… but didn’t know any of the plot details or whatever, so there was really nothing spoiled for me ahead of time. Although this is not nearly as highly revered or rare as someone who has never seen a single Star Wars movie, I thought you might all enjoy my impressions of each of the movies, as someone who saw them all, in order, with relatively little to no foreknowledge of what happened in each one, over a short time.
SPOILERS FOLLOW AS I DISCUSS PLOT POINTS IN EACH OF THE MOVIES.
I liked this one, bordering on loving it. Maybe after another viewing I would love it. Everything except for the strange lighting choices (enough strobe lights already!) and that fucking cat, was really awesome. It was mysterious. It had great pacing. The twist with the artificial human adhering to his programming/mission gave a great reason for the behavior we had been seeing throughout the movie, and it made for a believable antagonist. I enjoyed the minimal nature of the movie, the isolation and the fear. Overall, 9/10. I can definitely see why this is considered a classic and a genre-definer. Had I seen it in its day, I might have considered it a 10/10. A bit dated now, but I tried to see all past that as best as I could.
I hated this piece of dreck. I can’t go on about how disappointing this one was. Perhaps the reason I hate it so much is because it was so built up for me. I am and have been aware that this one is the most popular of the original movies, so it was really built up for me. Maybe that’s it. But honestly, I just don’t understand how anyone can like this movie. It was so full of plot holes, cliches, and in the end it was just a direct carbon copy of the first movie, it left me feeling completely flabbergasted that anyone could like it.
First of all, Ripley had no reason to go back and “face her fears” or explore it or anything, and the company had no reason to even want her to go back (let alone allow her to live). If the company was really as greedy/callous as they were portrayed in the first 3 movies, they would have just found some way to kill when they found her in stasis. They knew what she had seen. The whole kangroo court-marshal thing was entirely pointless. Why would they even WANT her back at the colony to go investigate/fight the aliens?
The other problem I had with this movie is how sadly predictable it was. It was immediate from the get-go who the antagonist was. I don’t even remember his name now, but he was the guy who convinced Ripley to go with the marines and investigate the colony. I’ll just call him Obviously Evil Guy. I mean, the part where she was like “Do you promise you aren’t going to try to bring one back alive?” and he was like “no, of course not! We just want to find out what happened to the colonists!” made me roll my eyes, and I couldn’t believe for a minute that Ripley would buy into that. She KNEW from what happened in the first movie that her life was expendable, that all the company wanted was to get their hands on the xenomorphs, and that she was just going to be their pawn. I also feel like she was smart enough to realize this, and had no reason to go back. So when Obviously Evil Guy turns out to be Obviously Evil (as if anyone didn’t know from the beginning of the movie), with his plans to impregnate Newt and Ripley with aliens and smuggle them back, the surprise from Ripley was completely unbelievable. It was predictable. It was stupid. Blech
And then, the last 30 minutes or so of the movie was just a complete rehash of the first. With more fire. And explosions. Woo fucking hoo. How did the first movie end? With a heart-racing, pulse-pounding escape from a self-destruct mechanism only to find that the alien has made it onto the escape vessel, and the only way to get rid of it is to eject it into the vacuum of space. How did Aliens end? THE SAME FUCKING WAY, BUT WITH A GIANT MECH FIGHT AND THIS TIME IT’S A QUEEN!!! Ugh.
Don’t even get me started on all the stereotypical characters and interactions. The tough latina who’s as butch and masculine as the rest of the guys. The little child who manages to overcome all obstacles and survive an impossible-to-survive situation. The archetypal evil corporate villain with his thinly veiled plans. All the other tough-guy marines. And Bishop, the “wheel of morality” character who’s only purpose in the movie was to teach Ripley the important moral lesson that not all artificial persons are evil. Yay for shoe-horned moral lessons! Don’t we all love those???
Aliens was basically Alien, with a much more predictable plot, a whole lot more explosions, guns, fire and stereotypical characters. Utterly disappointing. But at least Sigourney Weaver was awesome in it. And it was a technically proficient movie with better lighting than the first. And no stupid cat. 3/10
A vast improvement over Aliens, having returned to much of what made Alien so good. Got rid of all the silly gunfighting and explosions and such. The characters were far more interesting. Less stereotypes and far less predictable overall. I cared not one iota that Hicks or Newt were dead. Why this bothered anyone or felt like it ruined Aliens is beyond me.
I liked the fact that it was about a group of dysfunctional prisoners working together to survive against just one alien, and how it addressed the awkwardness of a bunch of men being subjected to the presence of a woman after being away from society for so long.
I really liked Ripley’s motivational speech near the end about how the company didn’t care one fuck for them or the little world they had created, etc, and how if they wanted their lives to mean anything, they needed to kill that alien. I appreciated the fact that they didn’t just copy the whole “self destruct, alien manages to escape, alien gets sucked into outer space” thing that Alien and Aliens did. The alien jumping up out of the hot lead at the end was predictable, I admit, but I didn’t see the water-based solution coming, and that was pretty cool (if not a bit scientifically implausible) and made it worth it. The scene at the end with her sacrificing herself was meaningful and sad, and I felt like it was a nice conclusion to the trilogy.
Overall, not nearly as good as the first, but a huge improvement over the 2nd. 7/10
I know why they make movies like this, because they just want to cash in and make some money on a franchise that they know will provide. That being considered, I didn’t hate it. I wouldn’t really say it was a good movie overall. But it hadn’t been built up for me, I had heard it wasn’t really very good, so my expectations were low. It had some interesting things going for it, but nothing really I can dissect in much detail for why I liked it or hated it.
Of course, they went with the whole “destroy the ship and escape, only to have the alien escape with ripley, and then suck it out into space” ending, which worked well for the first two movies, so why not do it again? Except of course, when THIS alien got sucked out into space it was 10000 times more gory, because it was getting squeezed through a little hole. And the looks on its face were very sad and haunting, so at least that was unique.
Overall a decent action movie. Met my expectations, and might even watch it again someday. 6/10
Now… knowing how much everyone loves Aliens and how betrayed everyone was with how Alien 3 went… let me just get my flame shield, and I’ll be back to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have for me