Article 5446 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by James Cameron
Featuring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn
What it is: Science fiction sequel, action style
Ripley is revived from suspended animation 57 years after the events in ALIEN. She discovers the planet where the alien was discovered has been terraformed and is now the home of a colony. When the Company loses contact with the colony, Ripley accompanies a troop of space marines to discover the problem….
For the record, I saw the director’s version of the movie, which adds about seventeen minutes to the running time; I’d seen the original movie before, but it’s been long enough so that I couldn’t immediately say where the new scenes were added (though I rightly guessed that the scene involving Ripley’s daughter was not in the original). For the record, I don’t think the added scenes damaged or slowed down the movie, though it did make it a bit more exhausting of a watch. It’s still a nifty roller-coaster of a movie with the horror feel of the previous entry giving way to the action movie style of this one. Though I’m not a big action fan, there are a few directors who I really like in the genre, and James Cameron is one of them. This is one of those sequels that was really worth the effort. Still, I did have a couple of thoughts on this one that I didn’t notice the first time. The first is that, despite the fact that the first half of the movie is very different from the first half of the original, the second half of each movie follow very similar story arcs. Second is that, like the first movie, for the most part you don’t get a really good look at the aliens, but there’s one notable exception; it takes the time to give us a big, elaborate gawking look at that queen alien. Draining, but recommended.