Aliens (1986)

Aliens (1986), directed by James Cameron.

Action/adventure sequel to SF/horror original Alien (1979). I like the original more (there is just no comparison) but there is no point in making the same film over again, so an action sequel is not a bad choice. The last hour is non-stop intensity.

Cameron and the other crew obviously care about the mythology and bring forward a lot of the gear and recapitulate much of the original plot: sleep chambers, motion trackers, flame throwers, robot, crawling through the air ducts (a well-worn SF cliche), and the race against the big explosion. Sleepy time at the end.

The photography has nothing like the fine composition of the original, and the sets and effects are more Cameron/Terminator than Scott/Alien. The characters are more one-dimensional: corporate bigs, their weasel, bone-headed marines. Sigourney Weaver tends to overpower the others.

Introducing the little girl adds cuteness which can be deadly in this sort of film, but it gives us the "motherhood" theme which applies to both sides of the human/alien conflict. A heavy handed message.

Once you've seen aliens splattered by gunfire they are no longer as scary. The biology and life cycle was mysterious in the first film; adding the Queen mother makes it more familiar to us, but less interesting.

By the way, the old giant ant movie Them! (1954) has some striking plot parallels.

James Horner score, with a bit of the original Jerry Goldsmith retained.

The Blu-ray has more blue/orange color grading than Alien (1979), although not quite so much as some contemporary films.