Aliens, Plural

The 1986 science fiction classic Aliens is a rare treat, one of the few sequels that may be as good or even (gasp!) better than the original. We all know that Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece, Alien, is an atmospheric work of artistic genius. The film's set design and nail-biting tension guaranteed it would be one of the most ripped-off flicks ever. However, viewing the films together, it becomes clear that what Ridley Scott birthed in 1979 reached beautiful puberty in the hands of crowd-pleasing mega-director James Cameron in 1986. The thing that makes Aliens so damn enjoyable is the superb cast and the performances that Cameron squeezes out of them. It may seem hard to beat the supporting cast (Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto) that populated the original. After all, they lend a psychological thriller feel to the movie. But I have two words for you: Bill Paxton. His off-the-wall portrayal of Hudson is one of the great performances of the 1980s. Cameron re-used most of the supporting cast of Terminator with great and surprising success. They all make this movie a nonstop thrill ride from soup to nuts. Aliens plays at Landmark's Inwood Theatre, 5458 W. Lovers Lane, at midnight Friday and Saturday. Visit for details.
Fri., April 10; Sat., April 11, 2009
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John Freeman