Ten reasons why Aliens is the best film ever made.

Despite owning Aliens multiple times (VHS, DVD sets, BluRay Anthology), I ended up watching it over the weekend because it was on television. Thing is, much like Big Trouble in Little China, when it starts you can’t look away. Even if it means enduring E4’s ridiculously frequent, and oddly preachy, advert breaks.

This was the first time I’d watched it since watching the BluRay extras and so it kind of broke the spell a bit initially as I kind of know how they did everything but after a few minutes you’re hooked again. It occured to me that that Aliens is the best film ever made. It’s always been in my top five (maybe three behind Repo Man and The Thing) but looking through more inquisitive eyes, I was amazed at how fucking great it really is.


1. Sigourney Weaver acts her arse off in this film. The bit where she first enters the colony after Apone and Gorman agree the area is secured. She looks fucking terrified. Especially when someone accidentally makes her jump. Then she goes from abject terror to motherly concern to righteous fury and everything inbetween.


aliens1

Hudson being the opposite of frosty.

2. Hudson. He’s whiny and oddly a bit of a macho arsehole for a guy who’s basically their IT techie but his despair and fear are palpable.

A stunning performance and a really entertaining character who dies a hero’s death. Has pretty much all the best lines too.

“I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.”

“Well that’s a switch!”


 

3. That fucking bit where Hicks looks above the false ceiling. Look we know. Yes. They just turned the camera upside down but the impact of seeing those xenomorphs crawling towards him upside down… Jesus. Literally terrifying and awesome.

aliens - hicks - ceiling

Hicks has more than asbestos to worry about in this ceiling.


4. The bit with the sentry guns. It wasn’t even in the theatrical cut but it’s completely fab.

“Next time they walk up and knock.”

“Yeah, but they don’t know that.”

The day the Director’s Cut was released, I was outside HMV waiting for it to open.  I then took that VHS tape back home and spent the next couple of years murdering it.  Fantastic stuff.

aliens - sentry guns

It’ll be a happy day when they sell these on Amazon. I’ll be buying three.


aliens2

You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamned percentage.

5. Burke. The complete embodiment of corporate bastardness. How do you not love Burke? Even if he is a “rat fuck son of a bitch.”

Alas, we didn’t get to see his true comeuppance but his face to face meeting with a snarling xenomorph doesn’t leave you guessing what’ll happen next.

That said, the book and a deleted scene both confirm that he ends up in the xeno’s maternity ward and is all out of pain medications.  Thankfully for him, Ripley strolls by and gives him a grenade to ease the pain with.


6. The battle under the primary heat exchangers. Absolutely terrifying chaos. Seeing each of the marines getting picked off one by one. When Apone buys it, it’s as shocking for the audience as it is for Gorman. “Apone? Talk to me.”

It’s one of the best scenes ever because of its clever use of space, lighting and those little shoulder cams.  The way it cuts from utter destruction to the hopelessness of Ripley and Gorman in the APC is perfect.

Also, I totally thought Al Matthews (Apone) was actually dead. He’s not. I saw him last year in person. He’s tiny!

aliens - dietrich death

Only watched the film a few hundred times so it is reasonable that we never noticed the cocooned colonist in this shot.


aliens3

Ripley about to take Queeny off to Bay 12.

7. The power loader. I don’t know how much of it is trickery but to me it looks like they built a proper power loader.

And it looks like Sigourney Weaver was capable of operating it. This all makes for a fab final battle with Queeny too. Although we probably shouldn’t focus too much on Ripley crawling out of the airlock with OPEN SPACE underneath her and a giant fucking alien hanging off of her ankle.

But why let physics and stuff spoil your enjoyment of one of the best fight scenes in history?


8. Spunkmeyer. We barely got to know you, Private Daniel Spunkmeyer. But you had the best name.  Ever.  And you taught us to be wary when finding sticky patches on the floor.


aliens4

Coming around for a seven zero niner.

9. Corporal Ferro. Colette Ferro may well be our favourite character. Also she buys it from the same xenomorph as Spunky did but is there a cooler character than her when she’s bringing down the dropship from the Sulaco? No. While Hudson is hyperactively reeling off their arsenal, Ferro’s going on about being in the pipe. Five by five, Ferro. Whatever that means.


10. Most importantly.  Even now after watching this movie at least a hundred times, when the marines first go in I still feel like they are in charge and are going to make it.  It’s only when the dropship crashes that I remember they are all doomed.

Aliens is unfuckwittable, son.

15 thoughts on “Ten reasons why Aliens is the best film ever made.

  1. Mandy Cake

    And it’s a miracle James Cameron didn’t murder the British crew for taking so many tea breaks

    • ian kozelsky

      five by five, or 5×5 refers to “loud and clear” meaning the sound and visuals are good. I love the saying. I got you 5×5

      • ian kozelsky

        there is only one movie I would put up agains Aliens as the “best” and that would be: The Fifth Element

        • ian kozelsky

          quiz
          what does Vasques’ weapon say on it?
          What sit com did Burke star in?
          what does an incinerator fire?
          name another sci-fy movie in which Cpl Hicks stared..
          Who designed the original template for the alien artwork?
          What level rating does Ripley have to use the loader?
          When Hicks gives Ripley the tracker bracelet, does that mean they are engaged?

          • Hey there….

            I’m not going to wiki it.

            1. Adios (maybe)
            2. My Two Dads
            3. er… fire? Or napalm.
            4. Terminator, The Abyss. Unless you mean as Cpl Hicks?
            5. H.R. Giger
            6. “I have a class 4 rating” – this might be wrong!
            7. No. But I wish it did.

            :)

  2. Hahah yeah I saw that on the Blu Ray extras. British union rules. :)

  3. Love this list and fucking love this film. I’m seriously loving the sound of those extras. Will have to grab the blu-ray release now, which is a shitter, but needs must. Also, Hicks is one of my fave sci-fi characters of all time. Had a big crush on Michael Biehn when I was younger. Between Hicks and Kyle Reese, he kicked serious eighties arse.

  4. Aaron Spaulding

    “In the pipe” refers to being on the glide slope…set up properly for approach…”5 by 5″ means “all is good” taken from the 25 (5X5..get it?) possible comm. signal variances..1X5 means farther from the transmitter, thus the signal to white noise/static ratio is 1 (almost in audible radio comms) to 5 (horrendous chatter)….so 5X5 means great comms to noise ratio.

  5. JA

    Perfectly said. It’s been my #1 fav for about 25 years now. Since I saw it the first time.

    Came across this when searching for the meaning of Spunkmyers’ pilot jargon, which has baffled me forever. Still have no clue what she’s talking about and I’ve been a heli pilot for 15 years!!

  6. JA

    Well, what Aaron said makes sense although no one has ever had a need to say that in flight, especially on approach to a signal less destination. But what about the “Seven Zero Niner”??

    • Conor

      Seven zero niner would be a heading. As for best Characters, the best, and I would argue more badass than Ripley herself, is Pvt Vasquez. “Let’s rockkkkk!!!” Is the most memorable line in that movie. Going from calling Gorman a “bandejo jerkoff” to going out with him like a champ after he found his inner marine? Can’t beat it. But Ferro is sick, “apparently, she saw an alien once.” This list is quality, nice post. This has always been one of my top five favorite movies even though I was wayyyy too young to see it when I did for the first time, loved it anyway. You’re also right about Hudson having all the best lines. A line that used to always slip by me that I recently picked up is when Ripley lauds Newt for staying alive longer that that with no weapons/training: “why don’t you put her in charge!” Priceless. Any idea why the girl who played Newt never acted again? Chilling how when Ripley tells her these soldiers are here to protect them and Newt says “it won’t make any difference.” Brings Ripley back down to reality after playing mommy for a minute. She knows EXACTLY what Newt is talking about and you can read it all over her face.

      Anyone noticeCameron works with the same actors A LOT? Here’s a gem you might not know about because of the ridiculous physical change: Vasquez is the step mom from T2: Judgement Day.

      • I think the most memorable line in the movie is “put her in charge”!!! When Hudson refers to Newt after Ripley says she’s survived on no training.

  7. […] far as acting debuts go, Jenette Goldstein’s turn as Private Vasquez in Aliens is one of the most memorable.  Not only did her and the cast have to live up to the stunning […]

  8. suck

    nuke the site from orbit. it’s the only way to be sure

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