How Aliens Ruined A Franchise

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How Aliens Ruined A Franchise

With the release of Alien there was a chance for a truly great sci-fi series, but reality is rarely as good as you want it to be.

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I can agree with this, it is very much a 'to teach their own'. I've always preferred the original Alien film as my Alien movie of choice. It certainly is a style of film I vastly prefer over Aliens.

It's really a question of different styles. Aliens works because it takes the series in a direction different to the original. The thing people seem to forget about when they ask for "more of the same" is that we already have the original. At least Aliens was better than someone trying and failing to repeat the original. Aliens is a competent action Sci-Fi film with much wider appeal. The problem is that to film fans the more nuanced approach of someone like Ridley Scott will always be more rewarding repeat viewing.

There is also the problem that James Cameron lacks a human soul.

Scrumpmonkey:
There is also the problem that James Cameron lacks a human soul.

This. Very much this.
Personally, The original is my fave and I'd rather the rest never happened. The whole franchise has been nothing but dumbed down ever since the second film. I liked Aliens when I was younger, but I was younger, which means not as smart. The older I get, the less the other films in the franchise interest me.

Yay someone like me who liked Alien better than Aliens. Those are rare to come by these days. Kudos!

Scrumpmonkey:
At least Aliens was better than someone trying and failing to repeat the original.

I like Alien³ better than Aliens.

1. In some very real ways, Aliens is still a horror film. The overwhelming tone of the film is not a gung-ho celebration of the marines' prowess, but instead a sense that, for all their hardware, the marines are still losing a war of attrition with something scarier than they are on their best day.

2. I can't help but feel that the idea Aliens "ruined a franchise" is more than a little ridiculous, predicated as it is on the idea that there were untold riches of Aliens movies that could have been made closer in tone to the first, "horror" offering...

...This was the 1980s. Name three horror franchises of the era that weren't varying degrees of ridiculous, exploitative, or outright god-awful by the time they got a sequel or two. I'll wait.

I feel like if they were not to take the franchise where they did it shouldn't have happened to begin with. I mean, Alien is a great sci-fi horror film, with profound imagery and themes that film classes all over the country will be talking about until the end of time, whereas Aliens is a great standalone action movie. Strangely enough, I don't really consider them to be of the same vein. The only thing that really connects the two films at all is the character of Ripley (and let's not even talk about the third movie).

The original Alien should have never really been a franchise to begin with in my opinion, so I don't really agree that its sequel really ruined anything other than continuing Ripley's character for no good reason (granted, I do actually like her arc across both films).

Scrumpmonkey:

There is also the problem that James Cameron lacks a human soul.

Say what you will about him, but James Cameron directed Terminator 2, which is the best action movie ever made XD

EDIT: Also, when did you become the Community Manager Schuyler? I thought you were just hired to remind Louis that he is a pedophile for liking Justin Bieber!

Eh, no.

I've seen this argument before, I'll probably see it again and it still doesn't make much sense.

Alien was a very good movie, but a large portion of its excellence was in the department of innovation.
The tension is nice, but most of the characters don't even have the level of depth Aliens had. In addition to that, they're all, with the possible exception of Ripley, astoundingly stupid. I was actually rolling my eyes when the captain climbed into a tight vent with a shitty homemade flamethrower, alone, hoping to take out an unknown presence IN THE DARK that had already killed several crew members.

And as another said, it's better to have a sequel that actually takes the series in a new direction rather than the first movie repeated.

I've actually come to despise James Cameron, but I've never understood these accusations of 2D characters in Aliens. Most of the marines put on the facade of these shallow baddass, but that's quickly stripped away as the squad in slaughtered. Gorman goes from the whiny incompetent idiot to realizing how useless he is and eventually saving people. It isn't a drama, so there's not a ton of characterization, but it's certainly there.

There are those who would call Aliens the "magnum opus" of the series, yet it could be argued that the word "magnum opus" is a self-condemnation for furthering a series. In fact, many series in gaming could be seen the same way - Ocarina of Time is seen as the magnum opus of the Zelda series, Super Metroid is the magnum opus of the Metroid series, Persona 4 is the magnum opus of the Persona series, just to name a few. Even worse is when the first game ends up being the magnum opus of the series like what we see with Deus Ex.

In a way, it wasn't Aliens' fault for "ruining" a series, it was the demand for a such a successful series (or product) to continue and to try outdoing itself. Once you achieve "magnum opus" stage, there's no doubt it will affect morale and the quality of later products. Yet it's hard to resist the urging of fans and their money...

Aliens is one of THE most iconic sci fi movies, now deeply rooted in our pop culture.
It is ridiculous to assume the choices made did anything close to "ruining the franchise".

Alien didn't have a franchise to ruin. Where could you have gone with that story? 'Alien, but in SPACE!' 5 films about a lone alien running around a cramped environment would have gotten as old as all the other horror films with a bajillion sequels got. James Cameron took it in the only direction which had any life at all instead of being a rehash, and that direction might not have spawned any truly great sequels, but it did inspire other filmmakers and create some truly brilliant games.

Besides, Aliens is absolutely not brain-dead, and whilst it may not be so complex cinematography, it has as much if not more relationship drama. And it makes a much more interesting case in terms of how androids would affect our lives than the normal frankenstein plot of Alien (a plot which Ridley Scott did yet again in Prometheus) . Most of the time in Alien is spent with half the crew dead and people walking round a dark area in typical slasher fic fashion. It was a truly great film, but so was Aliens

But Alien on its own isnt a franchise, so how could Aliens ruin it? Its a sequel.....which even then it takes more than 2 movies to be deemed a franchise. What ruined the franchise was the producers inability to be original and also to think that they had to add Ripley into every movie. Thats what ruined it, lack of creativity to tell a new story.

I very much enjoyed both movies, for different reasons. Alien was certainly scarier, but I feel that James Cameron was wise to not simply rehash the first movie. In taking the second movie in the direction that he did, he played to his own strengths (good action sequences and special effects that STILL hold up quite well), rather than doing a poor man's imitation of Ridley Scott's style.

The franchise could have thrived in either direction, or thrived in BOTH directions, with followup movies either playing up the horror or action elements, depending on the script-writer and director.

What I believe killed the franchise was that Alien3 was a vastly inferior horror movie to Alien, Aliens vs. Predator 1 and 2 were vastly inferior action movies to Aliens, and Alien: Resurrection wasn't particularly competent at horror OR action.

Yea I don't agree with this. Sure Aliens was more of an action film than horror, but it was a damn good action film. I feel the characters have more depth than you're giving them credit for, they all had more personality than most modern action casts do.

What ruined the Alien franchise was milking the license as much as possible. That's what spawned the likes of AVP 2 and Colonial Marines, not a movie released over 30 years ago.

I honestly prefer Aliens to Alien but I despise the fourth, The third is a slight okay but the ending is ruined a bit with bishop lookalike return, and lets not talk about Prometheus albeit it is more about the forerunners then the aliens.

The marines lacking character? Some lack, some don't. Hudson is one of the more iconic goes from bad-ass "We got tools to slaughter everything" to "You are going to die, their going to die, and I'm going to die!" Hicks keeps the same attitude thought, but shows that he is willing to stand though the thick and thin for the rest of his team. Gorman actually changes a lot; initially he wants to be the man in charge lacking the real credentials to impress the marines it backfires quickly, After he wakes up from the concussions he begins to help out and in the end is willing to sacrifice himself with Vasquez to take down the approaching aliens when there is nothing left. Bishop doesn't change at all, but then if you realize that works because he acts as he is, an android, it makes sense.

I will agree that it was more of an action movie then the first; but it retains its horror roots, more so with the extended cut, by slowly bringing the viewers into the changed world from what we first envisioned with Alien. Things are more dire as the aliens have taken over every colonist but newt, the weapons technology helps little to the overwhelming odds to the obviously smart aliens who bypass security and fortified areas, stealth their way into areas they would not be expected in, and overwhelm the highly trained military force. They keep tension high as they foreshadow and allude viewers with melted floors, bottled face huggers, rooms left astray mid way though usage, and a desolate base ruined by fighting. When the marines enter the rebuilt hive not even Ripley realizes what is going on, as the aliens come out of hiding they approach with slow tension all around coming from every angle! Soon the acid for blood takes its tole on quite a few marines and a heavy retreat is needed along with Ripley to bring in their APC closer. Aliens was horror in a different light, but expanded the idea of the series to include a more structure to the aliens own society and how it might have worked. The end in the reactor with Ripley surrounded by eggs with aliens closing in and newt in her arms made many hearts thump in their chests.

In the first, alien, we do learn about some of the crew. The mechanics are close with each other but are very untamed and very childish, the android Ash hid himself very well from the crew and had ulterior motives clear cut to the companies wants, Captain Dallas is unsure of himself but willing to lead as he needs, Lambert when in a bind can not be relied upon and easily freaks out. The idea was that this is a crew who is trained to operate the machines they know well but in a situation beyond their control with a monster they can not comprehend they are slowly riddled away to nothing. A lone but smart survivor ends up ejecting the alien out a airlock and into the engines of a escape craft.

A different take to the tension, and a different side of the horror, both movies help the idea of the franchise build upon one idea: A unknown xenomorph alien species of overwhelming strength, stealth, speed, and cunning eaither alone or in large numbers and how much damage they could do.

Fappy:

Scrumpmonkey:

There is also the problem that James Cameron lacks a human soul.

Say what you will about him, but James Cameron directed Terminator 2, which is the best action movie ever made XD

He's made some fantastic films no doubt. He is some kind of action directing robot sent back from the future to remind us just how amazing James Cameron is. He just get's a little to interested in jerking off how amazing his budgets are. Sometimes it feels like he makes films less to appeal to the human soul and more to show off his utter dominance over the lower peons. That's how the tech demo film Avatar got made.

Oh god, did it just become popular to hate on Aliens? After all that has been stolen from that film over the years? If this sequel didn't exist the first would be all but forgotten by this point. This argument doesn't hold water...with that said, I'd love to see a new Alien film that is made with a slower pace and gets back to the roots of the franchise.

I think you've got a lot of it wrong, starting with a very flawed premise. The thing is that arguably "Alien" should never have been turned into a franchise, it worked well as a specific, stand-alone story. "Alien" worked because it presented a specific setting, characters, and enemy, that could conceivably come together and play out a lot like you saw in the movie. Part of what made it believable and helped create the tension is that just as the characters were flawed, the alien itself wasn't so invincibly superpowered that things were a foregone conclusion which added to the tension as people went looking for it and so on. The way the alien dealt with the crew was as a result kind of fascinating, and while it was an alien, it was very similar to what a stealthy predator like a large cat might due to people under the right circumstances...

The thing is that outside of that specific scenario the "Alien" itself wasn't that threatening and that was kind of the point. You put it up against guys who are properly prepared and trained for dangerous situations, and it's a lot different. "Aliens" deserves points for being able to use largely the same material and tell a new story doing it. If you made a franchise simply based around what you saw in "Alien" it would turn into predictable seriel-horror, playing out the same way, again and again. Our "xenomorph" would become yet another creature picking off unprepared people using slight variations on the same set of tricks until people got really, really, bored with it. To be honest if someone had just made "Alien 2" and did it like the first movie, I doubt there would have been anything else in the franchise (comics, movies, novels, etc...).

As far as "deep" characters go, I'll add as a side note that I find it kind of annoying when people complain constantly about not having them in books and movies, especially when they do not belong, and might detract from the overall work. At the end of the day most people aren't all that deep, and when it comes to certain things like military squads, the whole point of being "military" is to sort of force everyone into a specific mould, that's what Boot Camp is for, to beat down individuality and build someone back up as a soldier (which is literally a tool). A bunch of marines on a combat drop are not going to be showcasing much in the way of deep sentiment, contemplating their navels philosophically, or whatever else. Veterans moving from hot spot to hot spot in particular are going to be very repressed emotionally since part of fighting a war is to put everything that is positive about humanity in some deep part of your mind and lock it up with a key while you run around being a monster... which incidently is why a lot of combat soldiers have trouble taking their humanity back out and being normal when they come home. On a lot of levels what makes a movie like "Aliens" work is that it sells the situation by having the marines act like... well... marines.

Not every story has to be deep to be good, and honestly attaching a lot of garbage onto things that don't need it has probably ruined as many, if not more, things than it's saved. Sure "Terminator" and "Aliens" were very simple stories at their heart, but I don't quite consider them "brain dead action fare" so much as they stayed pretty much on topic. Both movies also sold some pretty amazing concepts (robots, aliens, time travel, space ships) and got people thinking about those kinds of things, at a time when science fiction, fantasy, and things like video games, had nothing like the penetration that it does now. "Terminator" for example would not have benefitted from a digression where Reese spends 30 minutes of screen time trying to live out his secret fantasy of being a male ballet dancer now that he's in the past, just to prove how nuanced he is (awww, look, a hardened tough guy and demo expert, who secretly just wants to dance...).

Don't misunderstand the point here, deep characters who evolve are fine, but they don't always work, sometimes a movie is as much about the situation as it is about the people in it, if not more so. What's more, as I said earlier, not everyone is all that deep, even without training that serves to suppress individuality.

I don't see the connection in your argument. Aliens was a distinct take and while there were flat characters who's only existence was to make for death-fodder, you did get as much a look into the character of the core group as you did for the Nostromo's crew. Hicks is the quiet, reserved marine who's professional and lets Apone do the barking. Hudson is the cocky thug who realizes he's in way over his head but learns to toughen up even though it doesn't save him. Vasquez is the tough girl in a boy's-club of soldiers, she got their respect by refusing to bend or be a nagging den-mother, and even when she's about to die she never loses that bravado. Even Gorman, unconscious for a good measure of the movie, has his moments where he goes from being an inexperienced lieutenant to a soldier ready to die for his men.

Consider Newt as a character. As a child, she's been forced to mature fast. She's had to face some pretty horrible stuff and you can see the memories flashing in her eyes when Ripley mentions her missing brother. Yet she's tough. She manages to have little-girl moments too, like putting on a marine helmet and flashing a salute. There's a lot of meaning in those actions that doesn't need more exposition to make her a well-rounded character. Her saying "mommy!" at the end of the movie is a huge moment.

Now compare this to characters like Kane, Dallas or Brent from the first movie. Kane wanted to explore, but that's all we really got out of him. Dallas was perpetually bored and annoyed at his own crew when he had to take command in any meaningful way. Brent said "Right" a lot. I don't see how these people were any more richly nuanced than the core cast of Aliens. Ripley herself was underdeveloped, a hard-nose about her job but otherwise no more distinct from her comrades. That's what made her survival so impressive because in a way it was like her name was picked out of a hat. She didn't have any great ideas, didn't know how to handle herself any better than the others. It was as much luck that got her out alive.

In a broader sense, I don't think Aliens ruined the franchise. I don't even think Alien 3 ruined it. Nothing truly ruins a franchise because as long as there's interest there are ways to bring it back to life. Aliens was a step in a different direction, but one I think was healthy.

Consider a similar franchise that was coming out at the same time: Jaws. The first is a classic, the grandfather of the summer blockbuster. Then Jaws Two came out, and it was the same movie. Same type of shark, same main character, same theme music. Then Jaws Three came out. Same movie. Same shark. By the time Jaws 4 came out, the love for the franchise had dried up. People don't talk about Jaws they way they talk about the Alien franchise.

Because there is variety. There is something for everyone to enjoy. Alien is a slasher-movie in space, but one with a lot of creativity and thought behind it. Aliens is an action-film in space, but again, one with lots of creativity and thought behind it. Both have survived the test of time in their own distinct ways.

Aliens killed the franchise? I say Aliens saved the franchise from death by repetition.

Aliens didn't ruin a franchise, it created one, without Aliens you just have Alien, that cool horror film in space. It's not like Star Wars that actually has some sort of story to carry on, it's a slasher flick. Admittedly I'm not much of a horror fan but I can't really think of a horror film series that's kept on giving us decent quality films and hasn't changed things a fair bit.

EDIT: Huh...seems like the previous 2 posts put it far more eloquently than me.

I don't really agree with any of the points raised in the article. And as a fan of all movies, the dismissive attitude towards certain genres is a little condescending in my opinion. By definition of the argument. Alien should have been a stand alone film. The idea that James Cameron's films lack soul is a fairly recent one as many of his films are at their core, very much about human relationships. The Abyss being the best example of this. A lot of points raised very much have the benefit of both hindsight and the films influence on sci-fi action movies. It's a hard film to take seriously on revisiting because it has been so pervasive in pop culture. But you have to remember how groundbreaking that film was when it came out. And also how the macho marine characters were very much shown up to be as helpless as the crew of the doomed Nostromo. An idea so played out that the original motivation and shock factor has been swallowed up by countless films where the over confident military is picked off. The Aliens themselves remained a terrifying force and even though they lost some of the psycho-sexual terror found in the first film. It was very effective in the story it told.

Another reason that the argument is poorly framed is disregarding Alien 3. A troubled film I personally think is criminally under rated. Alien 3 was a bleak, hopeless film filled with complex characters that can get unexpectedly killed off. (Even after delivering heartfelt back story) THAT was a film that lives up to the bleak practicality of the first film and killed off nearly all the characters. It is the film widely regarded as the one that "ruined" the franchise.

I don't think any one film ruined the franchise. I think the franchise ruined the franchise. All Alien films have their own flaws and merits. But one amazing thing is that they are all wildly different films. No 2 are really alike and that is an incredible thing. The franchise collapsed because they had no more stories to tell and the property was not bankable anymore. They will eventually try and dust it off and reboot it with a fresh actor to escape the Ellen Ripley ties. (Much like Terminator did)

Aliens is an incredible work and must be viewed as a product of it's time. It is flawed, but not in the ways you listed. It changed the paradigms of the first film, but not at all to the detriment to that film. It has become a cliche of a cliche with catch phrases and parodies. It's director was once an outlaw genius is now a egomaniac dictator. Perceptions of films change with time. But like history, films must be viewed from the perspective of the time they were made. Hindsight has it's place, but not at the expense of good popcorn.

Edit: I hate to be "that" guy but Alien was not really a hard sci fi. No more than Blade Runner was or Gladiator was an accurate historical film. Ridley Scott has a reputation for being a world builder with a practical approach. His worlds are realistic to his vision for them and the story being told. He is NOT a director obsessed with realistic details. I admire him for this and that's why I think it is worth mentioning. I just fucking love movies and this article has rubbed me up the wrong way. Can't believe this is a featured piece.

SonOfVoorhees:
But Alien on its own isnt a franchise, so how could Aliens ruin it? Its a sequel.....which even then it takes more than 2 movies to be deemed a franchise. What ruined the franchise was the producers inability to be original and also to think that they had to add Ripley into every movie. Thats what ruined it, lack of creativity to tell a new story.

That was along the lines I was thinking of. I mean, Aliens was when Ripley got dragged back into it. For 3 I would have liked to seen a movie with a completely new cast with no connections to the first two. Maybe an industrial mining team in deep space uncovers an alien mine and decides to explore it. What killed the franchise was 3 in my opinion. All the payoff of saving Newt and Hick's offscreen death pissed me off when I first saw it and I didn't like how we got to see how the alien "saw". Yes, Aliens was far less innovative or scary than Alien but as a sequel you could do worse.

I like the entire series of films. Hell, I like most of the games and comics too.

The idea that Aliens somehow "ruined" a franchise (and this isn't the first time I've heard it being said) is frankly absurd. If the series had continued on from Alien as a horror franchise, it would have suffered the same fate as every horror franchise. It would have gotten increasingly formulaic and stale before fading away into obscurity and direct-to-video sequels.

Alien was already a fantastic horror movie. One that set the bar so incredibly high that if they had continued as a pure horror franchise, all we would have gotten is disappointing sequel after disappointing sequel. At least with Aliens they tried to do something different with the universe, and it worked. So now instead of one fantastic movie and a bunch of bleh sequels, we now have two fantastic movies of two different genres. How is that not better?

Also, as a side note, ragging on the Colonial Marines from Aliens for being two-dimensional while praising the characters from Alien for their depth is also kind of absurd. The Alien characters are for the most part just as two-dimensional. Character depth has never been part of that universe's stronger points.

So yeah... this article reeks of film snobbery.

I can't imagine Aliens without Alien or any of the rest of original quadriology. They create a masterpiece that has endured where so many other movies have faded into obscurity. To cite one as killing the franchise shows a severely impaired understanding not only as the movies in question, but the series and it's legacy as a whole.

If Aliens really did have such a lack of characterization then the ignominous death of Hicks and Newt in Alien 3 would not have stung so much. Alien and Aliens both had about equal levels of characterization, or depth if you will; but Alien had a lot more breathing room thanks to a tighter focus and expectations that did not lean toward "action horror." They are both admirable movies.

Even Alien 3 was decent in its own right, but it was the disrespect to what had come before, and the painful quagmire of tethering the series to Ripley's life that made the film less than it could have been.

For me, Alien: Resurrection is where the franchise truly jumped the shark, though.

(Edit: to clarify how much I get annoyed at A:R, I'd rather watch the AvP movies than A:R! A:R and onward is when the franchise went from "cool, smart fun" to "stupid, banal fun" for me. Still fun....but not maybe in the way I want it all to be.)

Lono Shrugged:
snip

I really would just echo what Lono said. They are all good and bad in their own ways. To say that Aliens somehow damaged, much less ruined, the franchise is silly. Any further attempts to remake Alien as it stood would have been written off as copy and paste cash in, and that would have been true. Alien as a concept really only worked that one time. The fact that each of the remaining movies took a completely different approach to the concept of aliens vs. humans, with the aliens being the clearly dominant predator (let's not talk about the travesty that is AvP, however) is actually a strength of the series, and one of the reasons it has lasted in the popular psyche.

Honestly, saying that Aliens ruined a franchise comes off as backlash attention seeking. The same "look at me, please, I'm being controversial" commentary that you regularly get from people who popularly decide to hate generally well liked and regarded things such as Final Fantasy VII (though sometimes that's just the Kefka fanboys who can't possibly allow that another FF game or villain are in the same class as theirs, even if only slightly inferior to most), Bioshock Infinite, Demon's/Dark Souls, and countless other media.

It's one thing to say "I didn't enjoy something because <objective complaint about technicals> and [subjective complaint of "didn't identify with"]" but it's something completely different to announce that it was the downfall of an entire series that actually profited because of the subject, and went on to make two more films.

Hell, I think Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions ruined that franchise, but then I remember that, despite those The Matrix still exists and it's still awesome.

To borrow a phrase from Yahtzee, a Bad sequel wallows around duplicating the original story, while a good sequel takes something from the original and expands upon it.

Aliens is the logical next step the series would have been able to go into. Terminator was a killer robot movie, but by Terminator 2 It becomes Killer robot movie, on top of 'Former Killer Robot now guardian' allegory for fatherhood and a movie about maybe not using technology to screw ourselves into oblivion.

The story should be allowed to expand, otherwise it would have faded into the typical horror story clichés. Alien and Aliens are two movies I cannot choose between, I enjoy them both for different reasons.

Aliens has something else to add into the film, even if it is just James Cameron's 'Parenthood' angle he puts into a lot of his movies. Aliens feels a little more empty (personally), but I enjoy the movie well enough to say that buying it on Blu-Ray wasn't a bad decision.

Redlin5:
That was along the lines I was thinking of. I mean, Aliens was when Ripley got dragged back into it. For 3 I would have liked to seen a movie with a completely new cast with no connections to the first two. Maybe an industrial mining team in deep space uncovers an alien mine and decides to explore it. What killed the franchise was 3 in my opinion. All the payoff of saving Newt and Hick's offscreen death pissed me off when I first saw it and I didn't like how we got to see how the alien "saw". Yes, Aliens was far less innovative or scary than Alien but as a sequel you could do worse.

The problem is that practice isn't allowed as much freedom once you've introduced the same character twice into the series. Ask any fan of the Halloween Franchise if they consider Season of the Witch canon. I think it's a brilliant idea, but audiences don't really think so, and money says more than originality, so more Michael Myers for another decade of film. Sadly, unless more people clamored for Ripley, The series should have stopped at Two movies, and a third would have been brilliant if they went the route you suggested, but what you see is what we have.

shogunblade:
The problem is that practice isn't allowed as much freedom once you've introduced the same character twice into the series. Ask any fan of the Halloween Franchise if they consider Season of the Witch canon. I think it's a brilliant idea, but audiences don't really think so, and money says more than originality, so more Michael Myers for another decade of film. Sadly, unless more people clamored for Ripley, The series should have stopped at Two movies, and a third would have been brilliant if they went the route you suggested, but what you see is what we have.

Once again the studio system fails to maximize the creative potential of an IP. Too much of a push for easy to sell sequels.

I agree on a lot of points, and for the record, while Aliens definitely falls more in the mindless action flick than the horror genre, it takes a gold medal. Its a great film, and the only reason I hold any distaste for requires a bit of explanation...

See, the way I see the Alien fandom, you're either somebody who started with Alien, or you started with Aliens. It follows my hypothesis about why people who started the Mass Effect trilogy with the original view the series through a somewhat different lense than people who started with Mass Effect 2. You came in partway through, and you have a different set of expectations, a different perspective. Basically, with Alien, you get unarguably one of the best horror films ever made with one of the best fictional monsters ever made. With Aliens you get an awesome action flick, one of the best, and while it develops Ripley very well, it carries the sense of an action/thriller with a few horror elements, in stark contrast to Alien. I'm not saying the series should've been horror only, but I think the biggest problem with people who start with Aliens is that they get the idea that the movies should've been action films, and that they weren't about Ripley, but the xenomorphs. Yes, the xenomorphs are an integral part to the series, and they're really what makes the franchise as a whole, but its Ripley that makes the movie trilogy - the second they chose to cast Ripley as a major character in Aliens, the films became more about her than the xenomorphs. Again, thats not a bad thing, and it doesn't rule out any alternative uses of the xenomorph in film, illustration, videogames, etc, but it makes Aliens about her (to which the whole film explores motherhood), and the sequel, Alien 3, is unsurprisingly about her and her development as a character. There's a lot of reasons to be disappointed with Alien 3, but the fact that it had only one xenomorph and no marines wasn't one of them, which seems to be among the two most common complaints.

Aliens didn't necessarily ruin the franchise, and it didn't divide the fanbase - it just added another fanbase to the franchise - one who liked it more for its ingenious horror, and one who loved it for the action-packed bug hunts. Its like The Beatles and Elvis - you can like both of them, but nobody likes them both to the same extent. I think you can have either one of those, but you can't have both in the same work. There's nothing wrong with action or horror, which are the two major directions the franchise has attempted since Aliens, and almost everything since then has tried to please both mindsets, ultimately to upset both of them. They wanna make an action-FPS Alien game, awesome, I may try it out if its any good. They're making a horror Alien game? I'm full-steam ahead on that, and if somebody doesn't particularly want that, they don't have to play it. I don't get upset with the IP that I'm not the target demographic, I get upset that it tries to have it both ways the majority of the time and it fails.

Oh, and I like Alien 3 more than Aliens. Come at me, bro.[1][2]

[1] This is a joke, mods. Please don't ban me or nothing :(
[2] The "come at me, bro" part is the joke. I actually do like Alien 3 more than Aliens.

You want one word that proves this whole argument bunk?

Prometheus.

Yes, Aliens stands out as the shining example of taking a film and making a sequel that runs off in a completely different direction, and yes, maybe it's easier to continue making dumb action films than it is to continue making taut horror. Aliens is still a horror movie but of a very different stripe (it's about the horror of the Vietnam War).

When Ridley Scott reluctantly revisited his own franchise, the result was Prometheus - an absolute travesty of a movie that literally nobody would have cared about if it wasn't for the umming and ahhing over whether it was an Alien prequel or not. It showed up the Alien route for the dead end it was; "haunted house film IN SPACE", "Vietnam film IN SPACE", "prison film IN SPACE", "entertaining movie if complete mess productionally IN SPACE" ran the first four, and following that up with "slow ponderous metaphysical treatise about the world and humanity's place in it IN SPACE" really didn't work. If I wanted to rewatch the first Alien, I've got it on DVD already. I don't need it being redone in the same way for a sequel. How could you even do it? "haunted house film IN... DIFFERENT SPACE"? Why bother?

To be pedantic about it, I don't see how there would have been a franchise without Aliens. Another Alien in the horror genre would have just been more of the same. You can't tell someone the same scary story twice and expect them to be frightened the second time. Switching to a more action bent let Hollywood take the ball and run into other, shittier, action directions. Can you really argue that anything else would have come from the IP if Aliens hadn't given them another direction to take it in?

Already been said, but the Alien doesn't become a major franchise without Aliens. Whatever you think of Cameron, had he not taken the sequel in that direction, you would most likely ended up with weak rehashes of the same concept watering it down. It would have been more akin to Hellraiser, or Saw for a more recent example, than the major influence it remains today.

Cameron took simple concept, expanded the world, and still kept the magic alive while doing it. Heck, the term you so blithely throw around in your argument, that has taken heart of how special this monster is, "Xenomorph, wouldn't exist if not for Cameron.

And, for what it's worth, I like Alien better than Aliens. But Aliens was the right way to do the sequel and is the film that made this a brand.

The type of horror you get in Alien is kind of a one trick pony. Sequels that tried to duplicate its success would only have ended up as B-grade slasher flicks like every other serialized horror franchise that came out in the 80s. Aliens is memorable specifically because it isn't just Alien in a different setting.

What a nonsense article. If you simply remake the same film over and over again, it gets boring. So it's hardly a surprise that Aliens as a sequel took things in a different direction and shifted toward action. And Aliens was a decent film if you take it for what it was trying to be; an action film. Oh and in terms of character development, the Nostromo's crew were scarcely more realised than the Sulaco's FTW. But all this is not what ruined a franchise. What ruined the franchise was the utter dross that constituted an Alien film post the Aliens movie. Pick anything and it's utter shite, and that has nothing to do with its genre. The Aliens franchise has become a disappointing shit stain because the films and games that make it up are crap, not because Aliens decided to do something different from its predecessor.

I generally agree, while i think Aliens is a great action flick, among the best actually, i dont consider it to be a good sequel.

But then again I have to disagree with the title, Aliens did not ruin the franchise, it made it a franchise, which in itself is kind of horrible^^

Most of you are probably to young to remember, but before Aliens, the xenomorph was actually very enigmatic. In Alien, its behaviour was very wierd at times, not exactly an animal, but mybe not really sentient. It offered the creepiness of a truely alien entity. Aliens reduced the creature to a overgrown insect, taking away much of the mistery surrounding it. If you are honest it is impossible to see the creatures from Aliens behaving the same as the creature in Alien.

Also it was made a big deal about how "indestructible" the creature is, in Aliens they are killed by handguns. In Alien they assumed it was an animal and would be scared of fire, Dallas went to hunt it, we know the result. There was no indication in Alien that it actually was scared by the flames or that it even cared. Since Aliens, though, fire is a apparently an effective weapon against the xenomorph, making it much less of a threat. So much less in fact that apart from Alien³ pretty much every story in the franchise has a major flaw:
Their limited intelligence and single minded nature would make them very easily controllable in a real world scenario, with people of actual intelligence handling the situation. In every story, be it comics, movies or video games, the humans have to be ridiculously dumb to actually make the story happen at all. It just became so contrived. And yes, there probably are exceptions to this, but the word "exception" is key here.

They are easily killed by light armament, making them actually kind of worthless in a sci fi environment as a biological weapon.

There is so much more to say about this, at one point I actually wanted to do a video talking about why I think it is a horrible sequel... ^^

Again, Aliens is a great action movie, that uses some horror elements to great effect, but to me Alien and Aliens can't relly exist within the same universe. By the nature of the two movies there are just to many contradictions.

Despite all of it's flaws, and it has enough of those^^, I like Alien³ more then Aliens, but then again I prefer a good tragedy over a heroic action movie at any time, so take this statement for what it is worth ^^

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