Aliens (1986) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Aliens (1986) Directed by James Cameron. With Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton and Paul Reiser.


James Cameron is a man of many notable achievements. Not only is he an Oscar-winning director who can boast to have made the top two, highest grossing films of all time, (Avatar and Titanic), his own exploration of our Earth’s oceans made him the first person to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench on a solo mission. All that said, many still consider his 1986 film, Aliens, to be his landmark achievement to date.

A direct sequel to Ridley Scott’s seminal masterpiece, Aliens manages the clever trick of changing the overall tone, while retaining elements and building on much of what had come before. We rejoin Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) after the events of the previous film, adrift in deep space, frozen in cryo-sleep. After being rescued just after the opening credits, what then occurs is a military search and rescue mission to the planet LV-426, taking Ripley back to the scene of her horror.

While Aliens has more action scenes than its predecessor, Cameron, with help of James Horner’s haunting and suspenseful score, does a first class job of keeping the Alien universe mysterious and creepy, with a script that pays close attention to even its most peripheral of characters – providing endlessly quotable dialogue. Without giving the game away, the film expands brilliantly upon what we learned about the Xenomorph in the 1979 film, adding an inspired new layer of depth to the continuity. Once again, Sigourney Weaver is excellent as the leading lady and is surrounded by memorable performances including a chivalrous Michael Biehn, an agitated Bill Paxton and a calculating Lance Henriksen.

With themes that recall the Vietnam war, coupled with the instinctive protectiveness of the mother-daughter relationship, woven into a species-vs-species right to survive, Aliens is nothing short of breathtaking science fiction-horror at its absolute best. A classic in any genre, not to mention a more than worthy sequel to one of the most nightmarishly vivid concoctions in the history of cinema. Masterful. 5/5


About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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10 Responses to Aliens (1986) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. JustMeMike says:

    Nice review Gareth –

    No mention of Pvt Vazquez? No mention of Carrie Henn who played ‘Newt’ ?

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you for that. I just try to keep things punchy, in terms of overall word count, but yes, both Janette Goldstien and Carrie Henn contributed well. Vasquez wears that bandana better than Axl Rose.

  2. 70srichard says:

    I’m not trolling for traffic, take the link out if you want, I just did this last year, thought you might enjoy.

  3. This is easily a 5/5 for me as well, so many awesome memorable moments and quotable dialogue like you said. Nice review.

  4. filmfunkel says:

    Always enjoyable to see an excellent film receive an excellent review. : )

  5. cevans1982 says:

    Surely one of – if not THE – best sequels ever made, this is one of my absolute, absolute favourites and always will be. Nice review as always Gareth!

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you. Yes, Aliens really does an outstanding job on building the mythology. I love that Cameron was brave enough to go for a completely different tone. It worked so well and compliments Ridley Scott’s film brilliantly.

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