Sorry about last weekend’s absence. Between Comic-Con recovery (which took a bit longer than expected) and the Dead Protagonists Society’s fourth issue launch (available at firstname.lastname@example.org), I was a bit worn out.
But never fear; you’re intrepid Film Cannon is back with another double feature. Bring on the Aliens!
I first watched both “Alien” and “Aliens” when I was little, thanks to my sister. More accurately, I tried to watch “Alien,” but I was thoroughly bored by it, although I did like “Aliens.” I remembered enough from both movies to not be surprised by the endings, but well, a lot happens to memories in 16+ years.
It was with great reluctance that I watched “Alien” again; I have a lot of problems with Ridley Scott films (mainly, I think he makes boring and dumb films), but I will say that “Alien,” with its horror film leanings and bare bones approach, is one of his better offerings.
The plot is on the basic side: a salvage crew (in space) stumbles upon some eggs on an alien planet, unfortunately brings a hatchling onto their ship, and the crew members start dying one by one. There are some dumb moves, some betrayals, some good moments for “bad” characters, but it’s pretty much what you expect.
“Aliens” isn’t too much different. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) survived the first film, only to be found 50 some years later. Of course, no one believes her version of what happened, but when some colonists on that alien planet get in trouble, her former bosses send her and some marines back there to rescue survivors and/or kick some alien ass.
Again, it’s what you expect, although I think the sequel is better paced and a more fun B-picture to sit through.
But in my own personal rewatch I discovered that while the movies are entertaining, neither one is really that good, and that’s because the threat is just not scary.
Maybe in their day they were, but I’m reminded of the Terminator franchise – the bad parts. Yes, these super machines are sent back to kill some defenseless humans, but somehow or another, against all logical odds, those pesky humans keep surviving.
It’s the same thing here; we know that Ripley’s going to pull through; we know that she’s going to kill the aliens, but there’s going to be at least one left for the sequel.
There are no surprises, no suspense, no point in watching them. They’re not bad; they are just stepping stones on the way to better sci-fi. Let’s do the films justice and move along to better offerings.