Aliens (1986)

(Fourth viewing, On DVD, May 2005) This is one of my all-time favourite films, and even a Xteenth viewing fails to dispel its magic. On a script level, it’s written with attitude and skill: usually billed as an action film, it nevertheless contains only three pure action scenes, with the rest of the film being dedicated to buildup, tension and stark terror. The last act grabs by the throat and never lets go. Fantastic stuff, ably supported by excellent performances and generally excellent special effects. Perhaps the most accomplished special-effects film of the pre-digital era, Aliens has survived admirably well to the passage of time and increased technical sophistication. (I have some issues with the back-projection work, but that’s pretty much it. Oh, and the 1.78 aspect ratio, but even James Cameron regrets that today.) Great, great film; the epitome of what a sequel should be. The “Alien Quadrilogy” box-set special edition is packed with supplementary material, including a good audio commentary, tons of documentaries and -hurrah!- an extended special edition that’s even better than the original. See it now and see it again soon!

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