Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB
USA/United Kingdom, 1986. Twentieth Century Fox, Brandywine Productions, SLM Production Group. Story by James Cameron, David Giler, Walter Hill, Screenplay by James Cameron, based on characters created by Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett. Cinematography by Adrian Biddle. Produced by Gale Anne Hurd. Music by James Horner. Production Design by Peter Lamont. Costume Design by Emma Porteous. Film Editing by Ray Lovejoy.
A masterful combination of science-fiction, horror and action, not to mention family drama, this James Cameron classic is a textbook example of Hollywood filmmaking as both entertainment and thought-provoking political commentary. Sigourney Weaver is once again the unbeatable Ellen Ripley, surviving member of the ship Nostromo who has been awakened from hypersleep decades after she fought the nasty alien and barely made out with her life. The planet that she and her crew first encountered the creature on has been colonized for mining purposes by a greedy corporation and, owing to her experience, she is asked to go back to investigate the sudden loss of communication from the human settlers there. With a crew of hotheaded, uncooperative soldiers (this is where the politics come in, Vietnam disillusionment thrown into a mess of Reagan-era materialism), Ripley lands on a desolate rock that turns out to have been taken over by a whole army of nasty creatures who are lethally dangerous to their very last breath.
Chaos ensues, and between the top-notch acting, tightscrew direction and state of the art visual effects that are still impressive more than two decades later, you’ll find you’ve never had such a good time being scared out of your mind. Weaver, earning an unheard-of Oscar nomination in the horror genre, is the ultimate in action hero: she is maternally vulnerable when dealing with a little girl who is the only human survivor on the planet, and uncompromisingly tough when needed to blast the villains into outer space for good. And then there’s her showdown with the Queen of the aliens herself! There’s just no comparison, this movie is the top of the heap.
Academy Awards: Best Visual Effects; Best Sound Effects Editing
Nominations: Best Actress (Sigourney Weaver); Best Art Direction; Best Film Editing; Best Sound; Best Original Score
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Actress-Drama (Sigourney Weaver)