Aliens Didn't Ruin a Franchise, It Established One

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Jimothy Sterling:
Jesus, I am a fucking nerd.

It's okay, Jim. We all are.

If it makes you feel better, I'm probably going to watch Aliens again, something I haven't done in years now. For a long time, Aliens has been my least favorite of the three. Alien stands at the top as an excellent horror film and Alien 3 . . . well, I do have to say that I at least liked some of the characters of Alien 3 (even if they weren't as good as in the first one) and I liked that it had the balls to kill off Ripley at the end. But Aliens has rubbed me the wrong way for a long time, because I did see it as just an action movie.
And I really dislike how much of a stereotype Burke was. I mean, Ash was a robot and he couldn't disobey his programming, but Burke was a human being, supposedly. Even if he ended up getting killed at the end, I'd have rated the film higher overall if there'd been something to suggest Burke's humanity, such as him seeming genuinely horrified when he sees what his orders actually resulted in up close and personal instead of insulated from them by a distance of many light-years and and probably many more layers of bureaucracy (but then, it wouldn't be a James Cameron film without a one-dimensional stereotype to be a bad guy, even if there are murderous aliens around to fit the bill).

But I may just watch the film again to reassess my opinion of it. It worked with Majora's Mask, which I find I like a whole lot more now than I did when I was younger.

Oh, and for the record, good show. This response to the previous article made for an engaging little debate on the different perspectives. Far more engaging than the No Right Answer videos, which I can't be persuaded to touch with a twenty foot pole, unless the pole has a cattle prod on the end.
Bravo.

Agreed. Neither exists at the expense of the other. Not only are they completely different genres of film, but while Alien was arguably of higher quality, Aliens was arguably the more memorable and inarguably left a far more lasting and stronger impression on the public consciousness ("Have you ever been mistaken for a man, Vasquez?"/"Game over man, game over!"/"Get away from her, you bitch" and iconic and oft-mimicked scenes throughout, like the Aliens drawing nearer on the motion tracker and Ripley fighting the queen in her loader).

(That said, as I mentioned in my comment on the other thread, if Prometheus was any indication Scott himself planned to piss the whole franchise away with the sequel, so nothing Cameron did could have "ruined" the series' future, really.)

I agree with Mr. Sterling completely. You nailed it right on the head, sir. And I've never been so proud of calling myself an Aliens fan till I read your rebuttal.

I give credit to Mr. Schuyler for presenting a decent argument, but it really felt a little far fetched. I think he needs to apologize to the fans of the franchise for causing such an unnecessary stir, IMHO...

Both movies are fantastic. I even own the Rifftrax for Alien which is hilarious and I recommend. As for Alien: Isolation, it's a ray of sunshine in a tangled web of movie and game development-by-committee garbage. It looks good, it sounds good, and it has the kind of story concept I can get behind. I fucking love the opportunity to learn about Ripley's daughter and rewind the tapes a little. This is a video game that needs to be made not only for the fans, but as a big flaming middle finger to an industry that had the audacity to laugh at us for loving horror games, those executives who have never played a video game in their lives yet tried to force-feed us watery mainstream spunk and call it "Triple-A" gaming.

Oooooooo I think this is the first time I've ever seen an editorial specifically made to disagree with another editorial on this site! Nothing like a bit of light-hearted confrontation. :3

RJ 17:
Do you honestly believe that just having another single alien hunting down a bunch of marines this time would have made for a better sequel? Or would people have felt it was kinda the same as the first movie? You'd basically just be making Halloween, Friday the 13th, or Nightmare on Elm Street only replacing Michael, Jason, and Freddy with a Xenomorph. How many sequels did those movies have? How many of them were the exact same movie just with different kill scenes? Personally that's why I've never really been a fan of slasher-flick series. The first installment might be fun to watch, but after that we already know all there is to know.

This was a chunk of what I had posted in response to the other article, pretty much exactly what Jim has to say: changing gears and going straight-up action was a great move because it prevented the franchise from becoming stale and repetitive. I can't help but doubt that the Aliens franchise would have such a rabid fanbase if it just equated to "Halloween, but with an alien." Indeed, just as Jim put it: the action setting of Aliens glorifies the horror setting of Alien all the more by taking the franchise in a new direction rather than just being the same as the first movie.

NinjaDeathSlap:
Yes! Yes Jim! For the love of God yes!

I have one more issue with the original article that I don't think was touched on here (not that I want this to turn into a witch hunt or anything), but I took serious issue with the implication that Aliens is just non-stop balls the the wall action with no down time left to spare for character development and tension. I watched Aliens a few days ago, and while I wasn't timing it, I swear it must be about an hour into the movie's run-time before the Xenomorphs actually show up! I guess that hour was just vacuum then, what with all the tension building and character development not existing.

In fact, even after the first battle, the films whole second act is focussed on the few surviving characters trying to stay alive in a claustrophobic space with limited resources, while simultaneously discovering that the hordes of Xenomorphs massing somewhere off-screen to kill them all aren't the only enemy they have to deal with. But no, my mistake, it's all just one-dimensional mehreens jacking off apparently.

Speaking of one-dimensional marines, I won't try and say that Vasquez and the gang are the most complicated characters in the world, but at least they exhibit enough recognisable personality to be memorable, which is more than I can say for the crew of the Nostromo.

I was going to write something similar, though it would not have been as well written as this. You are right my friend that it is in fact (in the director's cut) over one hour before the marines arrive at the hive.

THANK YOU, Mr. Sterling. This is the Escapist Magazine, not the Blowhard-Wants-To-Make-Only-One-Style-Of-Sci-fi-Filmmaking-Respectable magazine. Aliens is every bit as untouchable a cornerstone as the original, if for different reasons, and it made me sick to see it attacked on the front page of this website in particular. These days it almost seems like knocking James Cameron films is becoming trendy - shows what kind of historical ingratitude people have when they want to sound intelligent or edgy about something. If ANY website should have the insight to talk about the strength of his themes across his films, it's this one - thank god you're on board. Peace!

I think this was a fairly obvious response. One, because while Schuyler raised an interesting question, he hardly seemed able to back it up. Two, because he's obviously not a professional critic.
Most of what Jim said had already been established in the comments of the other article.

Has anyone else noticed that Schuyler, while he writes eloquently, he's not as deep in the things he writes about, as he should be?

Jimothy Sterling:

thaluikhain:
I disagree about the marines. The Aliens got really lucky, and the marines had to be incompetent. If the aliens weren't under the reactor so all the marines had their guns, things would be different. If the lieutenant was competent, and the other ranks were professional, things would be different.

Part of what I said was that the marines sucked. They lost their confidence when they didn't have their technology backing them up. So yeah, they were clearly incompetent - and their culture of overconfidence would suggest that's a fundamental flaw for the whole force.

As for whether or not the aliens got lucky, I'd argue they're clearly smart enough to understand how certain things work. The queen can operate machinery after seeing somebody use it once. While it seems to be that aliens get "dumber" the more there are (perhaps their personal instincts taking a backseat to a sweeping and simplified hive mind), it's obvious the one calling the shots for them isn't stupid, and certainly seemed to see the marines coming.

Now, their trap might not have been as good if the marines could shoot, but they had surprise and numbers, and later on, when firepower wasn't an issue, they still had their asses handed to them. Hell, the xenomorphs knew how to effectively cut off their escape by getting aboard the carrier as it was about to lift them off-planet. I think they deserve a bit more credit.

Jesus, I am a fucking nerd.

One of the biggest weaknesses the Marines had beside leadership was that they went into the colony thinking it was all a bunch of BS. A bug hunt as they say, that there wasn't really an enemy there. They blew off Ripleys advice and knowledge. When they really ran into the Xenomorph nest they were overwhelmed mentally by the truth. They were not prepared to face the enemy and they really didn't know what it was capable of. Gorman hamstrung them by being a douche but Apone should have overridden his orders and pulled back to wait for reinforcement once they discovered the magnitude of the threat they faced. I think Burke had WY pull some strings to get a squad with a weak LT deployed so that he could control him and get the Xenomorphs as a bioweapon. A smart commander doesent just throw away his men on a hopeless battle, they should have lifted off and waited in orbit until a larger force could have been dispatched. They knew that the aliens reproduced from people so they could have guessed how many there were based on the number of colonists and the lack of bodies from the fighting.

People have some hysterically inaccurate ideas of how people actually function under extreme stress, let alone whilst undergoing stark, atavistic terror.

The marines are portrayed in a pretty accurate way in the film, given that they're meant to be analagous to Vietnam war era US troops, a time when the officer corps was dimly regarded and discipline was low.

Gaming does not portray realistic situations. COD is not a simulation. Hell, Arma III isn't a simulation of anything but about 0.05% of a soldier's life. But no one wants to play a press-ups and guard duty simulator. Well, except for those that play America's Army.

As for characters, who was that memorable from Alien apart from Ripley? In Aliens, a lot of the characters may be cliche marines, but they are memorable, Hicks, Hudson and Vasquez.

I think I see where Schuyler J. Dievendorf comes from. I'm of the opinion that Aliens suffers from the same problem as Fight Club does (among others), where popular opinion fixates on superficial elements, and fail to grasp the actual point of the movie.

In this I agree with Jim, the point of Aliens was how ineffectual the macho-posturing was. Just as the point of Fight Club was how utterly wrong and repulsive Tyler Durden's worldview was, yet popular opinion seems to fixate on how "cool" the Fight Club philosophy is.

Another movie I recall was misunderstood in this sense was the first Predator. In the director's commentary, John McTiernan commented sadly how the scene where the soldiers empty their weapons into the jungle was totally misunderstood. His point was to show macho military types firing ineffectually into nothing, making a point about the futility of their excessive-violence-centric approach. It was nearly a joke, as they fire desperately into nothing. McTiernan then sadly found out that many other movies began aping that scene, but in those cases there was actually people before the wildly shooting soldiers, getting killed.

But I guess this is inevitable to a certain degree. Any sort of nuance in any medium is bound to fly over the head of a lot of people, and if those people reach a certain critical mass, their interpretation will most certainly become the standard interpretation.

Isn't this why Movie Defense Force exists, by the way? To offer an alternate viewpoint on movies that the majority have decided are irredeemable?

P.S: Its a pet peeve of mine but... You people realize that "Xenomorph" literally means "Alien", right? It's not a specific name for the creature. It was just one of the characters in Aliens trying to sound smart by using a more scientifically-sounding term. Which, ironically seeing the discussion at hand, people latched on and began using as if it actually meant something else.

Yeah, Aliens was a great action movie, no doubt about it. You're probably also right that it actually established the "franchise", I'm pretty sure we wouldn't still see Alien content if that film hadn't been there.

However, it does seem to me like game developers in particular have just looked at the second action flick far too much, instead of the horror roots.

While the creatures in Aliens were still stealthy killers, they often just become cannon fodder in the games with numbers making the difference (sort of like the zerg). Even to the point where they're morphed into other "gamey" forms like spitters or dinosaur like charging dudes etc.
That IS demystification in my opinion. It's not the fault of Aliens, but of milking the action part of the series too much.

Btw, turning people into eggs would've actually been pretty dang scary :p

SonOfVoorhees:
As for characters, who was that memorable from Alien apart from Ripley?

Everyone?

OT: Jim, your point about the originally cut 'cocoon' scene from Alien, is the same reason why I dislike how they handled the Alien in Aliens. In the first movie Brett and Dallas don't get killed, they get taken alive. And you don't know why, but you're pretty sure it ain't gonna be nice. It left their horrofic fate to the audience's imagination. By showing what happens to them it sorta kills that, as well as the pacing of the movie -- That scene was awkwardly placed, man.

And this is what happened in Aliens; It exposed the Alien, showing it to be nothing more than a giant ant. I like that Aliens choose a different direction, I just don't like the direction it choose.

Conclusion: The Director's Cut/Special Edition of both Alien and Aliens sucks.

Oskuro:

P.S: Its a pet peeve of mine but... You people realize that "Xenomorph" literally means "Alien", right? It's not a specific name for the creature. It was just one of the characters in Aliens trying to sound smart by using a more scientifically-sounding term. Which, ironically seeing the discussion at hand, people latched on and began using as if it actually meant something else.

I know what it means. However, it now means the species name when talking about Aliens. It is far from the first time a word has been appropriated for an alternate use.

Jimothy Sterling:

Oskuro:

P.S: Its a pet peeve of mine but... You people realize that "Xenomorph" literally means "Alien", right? It's not a specific name for the creature. It was just one of the characters in Aliens trying to sound smart by using a more scientifically-sounding term. Which, ironically seeing the discussion at hand, people latched on and began using as if it actually meant something else.

I know what it means. However, it now means the species name when talking about Aliens. It is far from the first time a word has been appropriated for an alternate use.

Xeno(s) means alien. Xenomorph, is specifically used within the Alien franchise and is wholly appropriate.

"Benefits of a classical education."

Well, this is odd, an in-Escapist argument and it's not No Right Answer. I think I'll just go on record by saying that I dig the Alien films.

Oskuro:

P.S: Its a pet peeve of mine but... You people realize that "Xenomorph" literally means "Alien", right? It's not a specific name for the creature.

Totally is, it got re-appropriated. It's like arguing that Predator literally means "a creature that hunts prey" and isn't the name for that specific creature. Also, Xenomorph means Alien Changer or something not just Alien, the morph part is relevant.

And I just realised I'm the third person to point this out.

OT: Aliens answers the old horror criticism "Yeah, but it'd turn out differently if the characters had a gun/the army with them" and says "Not really"

CaptainMarvelous:

OT: Aliens answers the old horror criticism "Yeah, but it'd turn out differently if the characters had a gun/the army with them" and says "Not really"

Of course, it's a film, what happens is what the writers want to happen.

Zykon TheLich:

CaptainMarvelous:

OT: Aliens answers the old horror criticism "Yeah, but it'd turn out differently if the characters had a gun/the army with them" and says "Not really"

Of course, it's a film, what happens is what the writers want to happen.

Not inaccurate, I meant that they responded to the usual criticism by showing a scenario where fully arming the protagonists still doesn't make them stronger or more powerful than the alien/monster/serial killer. And keeps it semi-believable.

When I read the first article, I did have a feeling Jim might be on the same page as me in terms of reaction. And even though Aliens is also my favourite movie (or at least the movie that makes me love movies) I didn't take exception with the subject matter. Part of loving something is recognising it's flaws and accepting them. My problem with the article is how it took the wrong approach to what could be a completely valid argument. (If framed a little less sensationally) It felt like petty, mis informed gripes that are based off the attitude of a disaffected teenager hating on his Dad's Lep Zepplin albums. I really took exception to the Cameron bashing. There was a time before Titanic when he was regarded as a master of the craft and an outlaw genius. It's akin to slating The Empire Strikes Back, because of Jar Jar Binks. And worst of all, character assassination of the cast and crew has always been the lowest form of film criticism. I would love a shot at making the argument for why Aliens is a mis-stepped movie but I would give that argument the attention it deserves and based off a knowledge of cinema and an appreciation of the time it was made. I made a big long post in the comments of the other article with my full views but I am really happy to see Jim step up and offer a intelligent rebuttal of an article that was pretty shoddily put together because (It seems to me) someone at the escapist said "We are doing an Aliens thing, want to write an article about it?" and the writer wanted click bait and for theirs to stand out so he took the tabloid approach. I think it's terrible that someone waste so wonderful an opportunity to have a public platform to criticise such a landmark film and do it so sloppily. That's what annoys me most. Very happy to see the staff not afraid to disagree with each other. Intelligent disagreements are always a good thing.

Jimothy Sterling:
snip

Sterling work, as always, Jim!

I'm interested to see that no-one has yet brought up what I thought was a commonly-accepted analysis of Aliens - that "marines-versus-xenomorphs" is an allegory for the Vietnam War...

There are numerous parallels or references throughout the movie, but the biggest is that the "superior military power" finds itself floundering against a technologically inferior, but numerically superior and very, very determined enemy.

CaptainMarvelous:
Not inaccurate, I meant that they responded to the usual criticism by showing a scenario where fully arming the protagonists still doesn't make them stronger or more powerful than the alien/monster/serial killer. And keeps it semi-believable.

Oh, yeah, I'm not saying it was some ridiculous farce or anything, one of the reasons I can actually stomach discussing Alien lore is that the films do feel very believable. I was pointing to horror films in general, although I must add superior numbers count for a lot. 20-1 odds aren't great no matter who you are or what you're facing ( Kittens vs Godzilla notwithstanding).

My general feeling on the matter is that it wasn't a foregone conclusion, the Aliens aren't unstoppable, it might have also very believably turned out differently had the Marines not made so many poor decisions. So maybe not a farce, but certainly a botched mission. The marines are human and we humans vary in the quality of our work. Different squad, different day and all that...

Tuesday Night Fever:

The only really iffy ones are Private Crowe and Private Wierzbowski. Crowe would have probably survived a bit longer, since there wouldn't have been any bag of ammunition to explode in his face. Wierzbowski, like Dietrich and Apone, also got dragged off without a fight... but it could be because he was distracted by that ammunition bag.

Really? I remember Hicks saying Wierzbowski and Crowe are down directly after Frost's ammo bag explosion, and the marines didn't include him in the old "The Sarge and Deitrich ain't dead".

[EDIT: Wasn't it Wierzbowski that Hicks went to shake after the explosion, shouting his name while he did so?]

I'd say Weirzbowski and Crowe, as well as maybe even Apone, might have come through, 2 marines instead of 4 in one go and not having just suffered a large explosion, they might well have been more able to cover each other. Hell, Drake might have survived if Apone had been around to stop him being such a kill crazy fucker. Then I suppose they might have thought they could take the aliens and got swamped by all 200 of them instead of trying to pull out. I'd say either interpretation is valid though, it's a piece of fiction.

Oskuro:
P.S: Its a pet peeve of mine but... You people realize that "Xenomorph" literally means "Alien", right? It's not a specific name for the creature.

I know the responses to this are stacking up, but...
"Xeno-" as a prefix means "strange", "foreign" or "alien" (in the context of something unknown or unfamiliar and with a small "a")
"morph" means "form" or "shape"

In the movie, it really is just Gorman trying to make himself sound clever, but the term has stuck because it's a handy label, and avoids confusion with other "aliens".

008Zulu:
Were the Marines the worst of the worst because Evil Corporation wanted to preserve the Aliens for use as a weapon?

My mum is convinced this is the case. But...it wasn't so much "the corporation" as seemingly just Burke himself. And Burke was going in there with them. Seems unwise on his part.

DocZombie:

Oskuro:
P.S: Its a pet peeve of mine but... You people realize that "Xenomorph" literally means "Alien", right? It's not a specific name for the creature.

I know the responses to this are stacking up, but...
"Xeno-" as a prefix means "strange", "foreign" or "alien" (in the context of something unknown or unfamiliar and with a small "a")
"morph" means "form" or "shape"

In the movie, it really is just Gorman trying to make himself sound clever, but the term has stuck because it's a handy label, and avoids confusion with other "aliens".

Is it? Maybe it's the official technical term for all weird looking aliens that officer types use. Was never made clear in the film.

thaluikhain:

DocZombie:

I know the responses to this are stacking up, but...
"Xeno-" as a prefix means "strange", "foreign" or "alien" (in the context of something unknown or unfamiliar and with a small "a")
"morph" means "form" or "shape"

In the movie, it really is just Gorman trying to make himself sound clever, but the term has stuck because it's a handy label, and avoids confusion with other "aliens".

Is it? Maybe it's the official technical term for all weird looking aliens that officer types use. Was never made clear in the film.

Maybe it is, but that doesn't mean Gorman isn't using it to make himself sound smarter...
.

Hudson : "Is this gonna be a stand-up fight, sir, or just another bug hunt?"

Gorman : "All we know is that we've lost contact with the colonists and that a xenomorph may be involved."

Frost : "Excuse me, sir - a... a what?"

Gorman : "A xenomorph"

Hicks : "It's a bug hunt..."

DocZombie:

Jimothy Sterling:
snip

Sterling work, as always, Jim!

I'm interested to see that no-one has yet brought up what I thought was a commonly-accepted analysis of Aliens - that "marines-versus-xenomorphs" is an allegory for the Vietnam War...

There are numerous parallels or references throughout the movie, but the biggest is that the "superior military power" finds itself floundering against a technologically inferior, but numerically superior and very, very determined enemy.

See above. Unless my posts are invisible. Which would be like, the best moderator revenge ever...

NSGrendel:

See above. Unless my posts are invisible. Which would be like, the best moderator revenge ever...

Oops - sorry!

Blame the poor eyesight on too much fapping to that video of Jim humping Aliens:Colonial Marines...

oh god, I just had to swallow back a bubble of sick...

Interesting to see two articles disagreeing with each other. This certainly isn't a bad thing as only this way all sides of the franchise can truly be examined.

Casual Shinji:

SonOfVoorhees:
As for characters, who was that memorable from Alien apart from Ripley?

Everyone?

Let me see, there was Harry Dean Stanton, who is memorable for being Harry Dean Stanton, then there's Bukkake robot, who is notable for acting like the hero at the beginning but turning out evil, the other woman (Lambert, I think) who is notable for screaming even more than everyone else, the captain who looks like he's from Dark Star and is at least mildly competent, the black guy who acts all macho but then doesn't deliver and the dude that gets killed at the start. Also cat.
I mean, while I agree that the characterisation works to make them actually appear like working class space truckers and not like the larger than life scientist/warrior heroes of most of sci-fi or the dumb teens (usually played by people in their mid-to-late twenties) from other slasher flicks, the characters seem much less distinct than the (admitted) stereotypes in Aliens.
As for your point about the mystery of the xenomorph and maybe this stems from the fact that I knew what the Xenomorph was about long before I watched the actual movies but I never got the feeling during the first film that it was much more than an extraterrestrial grizzly with some serious phallic imagery and some note of that spider that lays its eggs inside its prey. It never showed enough intelligence or otherness (like for instance, The Thing in, well, The Thing) to really suggest something more exotic than eating them or somehow replicating the beginning of the film. But I can imagine it might have been different for someone watching in '79 (similarily, while I appreciate the cinematographic mastery of The Shining, I never quite got why people thought it mattered whether or not the ghosts are real or just in Jack Torrance's mind or thought the movie was particularily scary either.)

Also - Xenos also means "guest", depending on context...

Thank You Jim, I haven't said this before but I am saying it now for your quick defense to my favorite movie of all time.. Thank God for you.

Zykon TheLich:
Really? I remember Hicks saying Wierzbowski and Crowe are down directly after Frost's ammo bag explosion, and the marines didn't include him in the old "The Sarge and Deitrich ain't dead".

[EDIT: Wasn't it Wierzbowski that Hicks went to shake after the explosion, shouting his name while he did so?]

I'd say Weirzbowski and Crowe, as well as maybe even Apone, might have come through, 2 marines instead of 4 in one go and not having just suffered a large explosion, they might well have been more able to cover each other. Hell, Drake might have survived if Apone had been around to stop him being such a kill crazy fucker. Then I suppose they might have thought they could take the aliens and got swamped by all 200 of them instead of trying to pull out. I'd say either interpretation is valid though, it's a piece of fiction.

When the ammunition bag is spotted you get a brief glimpse of Hicks trying to pull Wierzbowski away from it. The bag explodes and it flings Crowe at a wall. The camera cuts to inside the APC and Goreman asks Apone what's going on. In the background you can hear Hicks shout, "Wiezbowski and Crowe are down!" Apone calls for Dietrich and Crowe, and Hicks shouts, "Dietrich, Frost, off the boards!" The next time it cuts back to Hicks, he's rolling Crowe over to see if he's alive (he's not). Hicks hears Wierzbowski screaming, so he turns around to shout for Wierzbowski. It then cuts to a view inside the APC from Wierzbowski's helmet camera, and he's being dragged off by a Xenomorph.

The problem is that there was a (very) brief clip of film that was edited out and not restored into the Special Edition where, after the bag of ammunition explodes, Hicks props up a wounded Wierzbowski against a wall before going to check on Crowe. It's implied that Wierzbowski's legs were messed up pretty bad in the explosion, which is why Hicks includes Wierzbowski when he says "Wierzbowski and Crowe are down."

Apone was likely still going to get dragged off. He was caught off-guard trying to hear Goreman over the radio over the sounds of Vasquez and Drake opening up with their M56 Smartguns. That was with just two guns. If the whole team had been firing assault rifles, and Apone is so apparently easy to catch off-guard, he likely wasn't going to be walking away from that encounter. Xenomorphs are smart, sneaky bastards.

Also, Apone wasn't going to stop anyone from going nuts. Vasquez and Drake open fire regardless of orders, and continue to fire even after Apone directly says "Vasquez! Drake! Hold your fire, God damnit!"

And again, the Pulse Rifle fires explosive tipped ammunition and they're fighting in extreme close quarters. What happened to Drake could have been a significantly larger risk to everyone if they'd had their Pulse Rifles.

And lastly, we don't even know how many Xenomorphs were engaged by the Marines. We never really get a good view of the battle. Sure... maybe the Marines would have killed enough so that they wouldn't be up against 200 later, but for all we know they only actually encountered like ten or so. The only ones that we know for absolute certainty were killed are the five near the APC (Vasquez guns one down, Drake guns one down, the one Vasquez kills that burns Drake, "EAT THIS!", and the one that gets run over by Ripley). There's also one early that you see Hicks firing at with his shotgun from Hudson's helmet camera, and you hear the Xenomorph scream, but it's not an on-screen kill. For all the rest of the firing, we don't know if anyone actually hit anything. It could have all just been suppressing fire for all we know.

As for "Hey! Hey look! The Sarge and Dietrich aren't dead, man! Their signs are real low, but they ain't dead!" from Hudson... he's only looking at a single monitor. The camera and lifesign displays were spread across multiple monitors. It was likely just an oversight on Hudson's part. The guy was panicked, wounded, and clearly not in the most stable of mental conditions.

So yeah... those Colonial Marines were pretty much screwed either way. Crowe and Wierzbowski are still the only real iffy ones in the group.

While I will respectfully disagree I will concede a well reasoned argument.

My point of view has always been that while Aliens is a good movie and a worthy sequel to a great horror flick the tonal shift was the jumping off point for a series that grew exponentially worse as it progressed.

Now I like Alien 3, I think it does a lot of things right in trying to recapture the isolation and paranoid terror of the first film while expanding on the mythology. Virtually all the problems I have with Alien 3 boil down to the times when it tried to emulate Aliens. Specifically that a large portion of the cast are more cartoonish caricatures in lieu of actual characters and action scenes that seem a little too over choreographed.

These same issues crop up and are amplified in Alien Resurrection to the point where I have a hard time remembering the few things I did like about it.

The less said about the AvP series the better.

I got the Blu-ray editions of Alien and Aliens for my birthday last year and I finally got to see the director's cut of both films. I will say the Aliens director's cut is far superior than its predecessor. With Cameron's cut, you got more details and backstory that was left out of the theatrical release. With the Alien director's cut... not so much. -_- Best to stick with the original cut of Alien and watch the director's cut of Aliens.

As for the notion that Aliens "ruined" the franchise... no. Aliens took the concept into a new direction and executed it perfectly. It couldn't top the suspense of the first one, so it went with an action thrill ride instead. The reason why the franchise is a mess these days is due to mishandling the property after Aliens. Personally, I would have been more happy if the 3rd installment gave us a new cast of characters and let Ripley and her new family fly off into the sunset. But Hollywood, being the pack of morons they are, decided to stick with what was familiar and run it into the ground.

If the world of Alien/Aliens is going to evolved as a franchise, it needs to step out of the shadows of its more successful predecessors and take other paths aside from aping the past.

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