Aliens

Screening on Film
Directed by James Cameron.
With Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn.
US, 1986, 35mm, color, 137 min.

Recruited to make a sequel to Alien, James Cameron reworked the original as a genre mash-up—a horror sci-fi war movie that was also a last-stand crypto-Western and a drama of maternal love—multiplying the monsters while maintaining the original’s anti-corporate attitude. Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley is dispatched, along with a squad of Marines, on behalf of “the Company” to investigate the disappearance of settlers on the alien planet. The Company has no difficulty writing off humans’ lives in the service of profit, while Ripley is innately nurturing. Motherhood is at once macho and monstrous and, in her all but single-handed conquest, Ripley can lay claim to be the greatest Reagan-era hard body of all.

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