Was it a big deal? Was "Alien" already considered a classic and were people skeptical about the new movie?
It was a much-anticipated sequel. No one considered ALIEN such a classic that a sequel was out of bounds. Particularly with Weaver reprising the role of Ripley (and getting an Oscar nom in the process).
My recall differs from R1. "Alien" was a cult classic, but not a real "hit," and James Cameron was still basically a nobody when he made "Aliens," so it wasn't THAT anticipated. The sequel was MUCH different, in every way, than the original, and similar to "T2" took the horror elements of its predecessor and mixed them with enough audience-pleasing action to make literally an entirely new film genre.
"T2," on the other hand, was MASSIVELY anticipated, if only because the special effects (completely cutting edge at the time) were so off-the-charts amazing.
It wasn't massively anticipated, but once it opened, reviews were great and word-of-mouth was fantastic. I remember seeing it twice on opening weekend.
Alien was a HUGE hit for Fox. Line ups and sold out for the first few weeks.
Alien was a true horror film.
Aliens is an action film.
I prefer Alien.
It made the cover of "Time" before it was released, so people were really excited. People had agreed by that time the first "Alien" was a kind of classic, and Cameron was an extremely hot director at the time because of the success of "The Terminator." But when reports came through that he had completely changed the genre of the first "Alien" movie--instead of making another haunted-house horror film like the first one, the second had become a military picture--people were really curious to see it.
Also, the title really fascinated people because the monster in the original movie seemed impossible to kill, so it nearly boggled the imagination that Sigourney Weaver would go up against a whole nest of them.
I was an already-jaded 22 year-old at the time and I thought it was jump-out-of-my-seat exciting, especially the last 30 minutes.
I was not that into horror or sci fi at the time it came out but now it's one of my favorite movies. While Alien is groundbreaking and original, Aliens to me is a lot more entertaining.
Director's Cuts of both films are better than the theatrical versions in my opinion.
It was anticipated. The original Alien had been run on HBO and other pay cable channels, so many who hadn't seen the original theatrical release were by now familiar with it. By 1986, the John Hurt scene where the alien burst out of his stomach was classic. There was a lot of marketing and build up to Aliens. I went on opening night and there was a long line. The theater was absolutely packed. Everyone was screaming and jumping at many scenes. It was a fun atmosphere.
I agree with R5 in that the original was more of a haunted house movie. I've read that while Alien was a haunted house, Aliens was a roller coaster. I always thought that was a good description. I think Cameron was smart to turn the second one into more of an action film. He gave it his own spin. Everything after Aliens has been subpar to just plain awful.
The female protagonist in a balls to the walls action thriller was basically unprecedented, in that Ripley (although shown in her panties in the first film) is less a bimbo than almost all characters before her. The inclusion of Latinos, butch dykes and some good dialogue made this film come across very hip for Hollywood.
The practical effects - the eggs, claws and jaws - looked disgusting and REAL (unlike cg), the action and editing were smart and unpredictable.
I have never had an adrenaline rush from a movie like I did with Aliens. I liked T2, but thought Edward Furlong was a greasy lil' wimp, with Arnold serving as a kind of visual tax for seeing the finished film in its glory.
Maybe they should get Cameron to do the Prometheus sequel.
My mother took me to see Aliens as a teenager. She loved the first movie. I had seen it on cable and thought it was creepy but too slow. When Aliens started off just as slow as the first movie, I was bored and pissed. Little did I know. By the end of the movie, I was sweating, holding my breath and gripping my chair. My mom and I both left the theater laughing but amazed at what a thrill ride that movie was.
A few weeks later, we went to see it again and brought my best friend (who hated scary movies). Early on, when Ripley has the dream in the hospital, my friend actually got up to leave the theater. I convinced him to stay and he ended up loving it as much as we did. To this day, it remains one of all of our favorite movies.
It stinks of '80s cheese, but it was a satisfying action flick for the time. I mean Weaver got a best actress nomination out of it.
Aliens is one of the rare sequels that is just as good as the first film. You can probably count those on one hand.
The beginning of the downfall of big epic long wait on line, huge screen movie going, before the small box multiplexes took over. But, there was still enough big movie theaters to warrant the thrill of having a thousand people all whooping and hollering when Ripley delivers the classic "Get Away From Her You Bitch!"
The immortal "get away from her you bitch!" had the entire theater hooting and clapping. Some people even stood up. It was quite a moment.
LOOOOVE the Latina Dyke. Not a PC word, but she really was a butch DYKE in the best sense.
Aliens did kind of cheese it up, the original was a surprise hit and still had that 70's realism which was on the way out. The best part of Alien was it was a totally unexpected surprise, went to see on opening night without any idea what to expects. Scared the shit out of my 14 year old self.
I watched ALIENS again recently. It holds up very well except for the whiny Bill Paxton character, who is the kind of deliberately annoying character who wears out his welcome almost immediately. Also, the fact that the child is put in danger incessantly becomes too transparently manipulative.
But Weaver rocks.
R16, Alien did have the big surprise, which is why Cameron making Aliens an action flick worked. We knew to expect the alien-bursting-from-the-stomach. All the frenetic action kept you on the edge of your seat. Lost of white knuckles at the theater!
Wasn't there a trailer that announced: THE BITCH IS BACK!?
I read an interview with Sigourney Weaver some years ago where she said, once she heard that line in the trailer she was mortified, but it was too late to change it.
I think that was for Alien3, actually.
I think Alien and Aliens compliment each other quite well. The change of tone from horror to action works pretty well, IMO.
I wish they would have extended the part where Paul Reiser gets killed and shown it in graphic detail. Lol. Kidding, aside, Reiser's character is the perfect love-to-hate character. So slimy, annoying, and completely devoid of values, other than making a buck.
Lines around the block. (I waited in them)
EVERYONE wanted to see it. The good reviews helped.
Alien scared the shit out of people.
Adrenaline rush is correct. Like a great thrill ride. And very intense and well-directed. The slow buildup worked very well too, and the characters were believable and you could actually tell them apart!
Wasn't it about 6 years between Alien and Aliens? I think Alien was a sleeper cult movie that gained a fanbase over the years, and not an instant hit.
Which is the movie in the Alien series that shows the alien's va-jay-jay?
[quote]LOOOOVE the Latina Dyke. Not a PC word, but she really was a butch DYKE in the best sense.
I was shocked to find out that she is the same actress who was in T2 and Bigelow's Near Dark.
Her name is Jenette Goldstein!
This is the only time I have ever been able to stand watching Paul Reiser in anything.
There's a great story on how a nice Jewish gal became a pinup girl for military Latina dykes across the world.
I had such a crush on the actor who played Corporal Hicks. His name is Michael Biehn and he also was Kyle in The Terminator.
Yeah, Biehn was mussy-melting hot.
It was anticipated because there was very little information released about it, and people were excited to know what the plot was going to be. At the time people thought a creature was in the cat, in Ripley. They thought the story would be about the alien getting loose on Earth.
When it turned out to be another "in space" story, a macho trip replacing the lonely, moody fear of the first movie, people were both thrilled and a little disappointed. The Cameron over-the-top bloat versus the Scott serious-but-fuzzyheaded stylishness was a tough call for many viewers.
In the end, the reviewers pretty much helped swing the audience - on top of great word of mouth - that it was a rip-roaring good time.
No one thought that Alien was a rip-roaring good time. They thought it was better than that.
Of course, everything went to shit after the second movie ended.
[quote] I was shocked to find out that she is the same actress who was in T2 and Bigelow's Near Dark. Her name is Jenette Goldstein!
Don't forget her role as an ill-fated mom of two young kids in steerage in TITANIC!
Aliens was like a WW2 movie (with Sigourney in the John Wayne part) set in outer space. Without Weaver, it would have been very dated the moment it was released.
They mostly come at night... mostly.
Have you ever been mistaken for a man?
No, have you?
I loved Vasquez, and it was so surprising to see a butch lesbian in a mainstream Hollywood film at that time. She was fucking badass.
Think about the 6 year difference between releases.
1979. 1986. That's a lot of change.
I remember the reviews were generally positive, but somewhat mixed. I think either Siskel or Ebert didn't like it, maybe even both. I'm remembering now their saying they didn't like any movie that shows a child being put at risk, as that little girl who had survived alone was. That was a strange, prissy complaint, and you have to remember they hardly ever approved of horror movies anyway.
So no, it didn't get the acclaim the first movie did, but most fans of the first also loved the 2nd, I certainly did. It was a state of the art space movie at the time. I thought great space movies would keep coming every few years as they had, but then they pretty much stopped.
Somebody said "alien" and she thought they said "illegal alien", and signed up.
Played by a nice Jewish girl from England as I tecall.