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ALIEN vs. ALIENS


Guest Russell Lucas

ALIEN vs. ALIENS: Which is superior?  

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Matt Zoller Seitz: "Notes on watching 'Aliens' for the first time again, with a bunch of kids."

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I'm sorry, but I just can't take a side. I refuse to compare masterworks of such different aims.

Did George Clinton ever get a permit for the Mothership, or did he get Snoop Dogg to fetch one two decades late?

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  • 1 year later...

Scattered thoughts on my viewing of Aliens last night:

1) This was the first time in probably ten years that I've watched the theatrical cut instead of the director's cut. I don't intend to ever view the director's cut again.The theatrical cut is undeniably superior.

2) At this stage of his career, Cameron demonstrated brilliant efficiency in his storytelling. The theatrical cut's build-up to the initial appearance of the xenomorphs on LV-426 is precise and careful. No moment overstays its welcome. Aliens sets up a large ensemble and lays out its narrative groundwork with ease.

3) You cannot overstate just how good Weaver is here. She deserved her Oscar nomination. She would have deserved a win.

4) Insofar as Aliens is a sequel from the Die Hard 2 school (remake the original, with a TWIST), this film is particularly clever about the way it retreads the original film's territory. It bakes that sense of repetition into Ripley's character arc--she needs to relive the experiences of Alien to conquer her fears--and then recontextualizes those big moments to gives them new impact.

5) The film loses me a bit during the climax. Its pacing is immaculate (Cameron loves his tense build-ups, after all, and there's few filmmakers who have done this sort of thing better), but after all the film's mounting tension, with shadowy swarms of xenomorphs destroying everything in their path, what we get as the apex of horror, the ultimate form of Ripley's fears, is just a bigger, badder bug (essentially a insectoid version of the Terminator with a maternal slant). The film generally underplays the psychosexual elements that are so significant in the Ridley Scott film, but if ever there was a moment for Aliens to really turn up the H. R. Giger and deliver some true nightmare fuel, the reveal of the xenomorph queen would have been it.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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