In space, no one can hear you scream, but a movie theater is a very different story. As difficult as it might be to believe, Aliens has turned 30. The beloved sci-fi terror fest from the mind of James Cameron expanded the mythos of Ridley Scott's Xenomorphs and brought the space-bound slasher franchise into the realm of full-blown visceral action. There exist innumerable explanations for what specific quality makes the movie so good, and even Cameron himself apparently has his own take on the matter.
During a recent interview with Screen Rant at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, James Cameron took a step back, looked at Aliens from the perspective of a fan, and gave his own take as to why it's such a solid film. He said:
I have to take my filmmaker hat off and look it as a fan and think, 'Well, I really like those characters. I really think those are the right actors to play those characters.' There's certain lines, moments, you remember moments. It's satisfying, it ends in a satisfying way. I always believe that movies work best when there's a planned payoff, and I believe there are several planned payoffs in that film... But I actually think it's those characters. We can all relate to Hudson running around 'What the hell are we gonna do now man? What the fuck we gonna do?' We all know that guy.
This may seem like an incredibly simple answer, but he's far from wrong in his assessment of what makes Aliens so damn good. The film features a solid story, populated by the right characters, and the production managed to find the exact right actor to portray each of these characters. After all, who can forget Bill Paxton's Hudson screaming, "Game over man!" Beyond that, the movie has one of the most tightly crafted stories in the sci-fi genre, and as such Cameron managed to set up a plethora of great plot threads that pay off perfectly by the end of the film.
Aliens represents the moment where the Alien franchise truly peaked. It's a rare example of a sequel living up to the original, but nothing that ever followed Aliens managed to match its own quality. Neill Blomkamp will return the franchise to its proper continuity when the long-awaited Alien 5 catches up with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Newt (Carrie Henn) and Hicks (Michael Biehn), and Ridley Scott will further explore the mythology of the Xenomorphs themselves in next summer's Alien: Covenant. With such immense levels of renewed interest, all eyes are on the Alien franchise to once again achieve levels of acclaim not experienced since James Cameron found himself behind the camera.
Make sure to stay tuned for more details related to the Alien franchise as they become available to us. Alien: Covenant will hit theaters on August 4, 2017, and Alien 5 does not have a confirmed release date yet.