30 Years of Aliens

Cast-of-James-Camerons-Aliens

Wow, was it really 30 years ago that Aliens was released? Have I really spent the better part of 30 years quoting that one movie? Yikes!

I thought in the spirit of the 30 year Aliens anniversary I might share with you my love of the Aliens franchise. I first watched it when it was out on VHS and I was waaayy too young. Aliens scared the crap out of me, and yet I loved it. I loved all of it. I loved Newt, a kid just like me. I loved all of the Colonial Marines. And I adored Sigourney Weaver’s performance as Ripley.

That was probably my first real impression of a strong female hero, and her performance lingers with me to this day. This was a woman with severe PTSD who was able to go back and confront her worst nightmare for a second time. And even though she wasn’t accepted by the Marines around her, she sure showed them she knew what she was doing. While Bill Paxton’s Hudson was falling apart it was Ripley keeping everyone together. It was Ripley who Burke deemed enough of a threat to try to eliminate first. Moreover, she’s the one who rescued Hicks. Not the other way around. While people get geared up for Gal Gadot to play Wonder Woman in her own movie, I just like to sit back and remember that, for me, the first female superhero was Ellen Ripley. This is probably why my love of Aliens has endured like it has.

PulseRifle Aliens

I am seriously the girl who may not remember the names of the seven dwarves but sure as hell can recite the names of all the Colonial Marines. I don’t know if a day goes by when Webmonkey Rob and I aren’t lobbing Aliens quotes at each other. Aliens toys litter our house. From our pulse rifle to our plush face hugger.

Aliens was my Star Wars, what can I say? And let me emphasize, Aliens, not the movies that came after. From the very first, I never really cared for Alien 3. So much so, that it took a long time for me to forgive David Fincher enough to watch his other movies. Yes, I know now it was badly handled by the studios, and hehas disowned it, but still. As for Alien Resurrection…. the first Alien movie to come out for which I would legally be able to watch it in the cinema- yeah, it was a piece of crap, even with Joss Whedon’s involvement. And my dislike for Prometheus has already been covered on this website. Aliens, that’s how you do a sequel. Not re-creating the first movie, but instead making it your own, while including little touchstones that echo the previous film.

Now sure, Aliens isn’t a perfect movie. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s taken me nearly 30 years to realise that Jeanette Goldstein as Vazquez was essentially in brown-face. I may have to save that for another article, because honestly it’s pretty disturbing, especially when Vazquez was one of my favourite characters. And yes, these Marines were terrible soldiers. Just the worst. So much so that the much maligned Aliens: Colonial Marines game actually makes good headway in explaining why these Marines were so bad. But despite its flaws, Aliens will always stay with me. It still makes me laugh. It still scares the crap out of me. Even the SFX still holds up, which is rare for a movie from the 80s. And frankly, even though part of me is excited that director Neil Blomkamp wants to make an Aliens continuation. Part of me doesn’t want it to happen, because I’m not certain it’s possible to make a better sequel than Aliens.

Happy Anniversary!

Shiromi Arserio grew up on a healthy diet of science fiction. Today, she lives in Seattle, WA, where she works as a voice actor, audiobook narrator and writer.