"Aliens" Is Released

Aliens is a 1986 science fiction/action film directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and Bill Paxton.

A sequel to the 1979 film Alien, Aliens is set fifty-seven years after the first film and is regarded by many film critics as a benchmark for the action and science fiction genres. In Aliens, Weaver's character Ellen Ripley returns to the moon LV-426 where she first encountered the hostile Alien. This time she is accompanied by a unit of Colonial Marines.

Aliens' action/adventure tone was in stark contrast to the science fiction/horror motifs of the original Alien. Following the success of The Terminator (1984), which helped establish Cameron as a major action director, 20th Century Fox greenlit Aliens with a budget of approximately $18 million. It was filmed in England at Pinewood Studios, and at a decommissioned power plant.

Aliens earned $86 million in the United States box office during its 1986 theatrical release and $131 million internationally. The movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including a Best Actress nomination for Sigourney Weaver. It won in the categories of Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects.

Big-budget special effects, swiftly paced action, and a distinct feminist subtext from writer/director James Cameron turned what should have been a by-the-numbers sci-fi sequel into both a blockbuster and a seven-time Oscar nominee. Sigourney Weaver returns as Ellen Ripley, the last surviving crew member of a corporate spaceship destroyed after an attack by a vicious, virtually unbeatable alien life form. Adrift in space for half a century, Ripley grapples with depression until she's informed by her company's representative, Carter Burke (Paul Reiser) that the planet where her crew discovered the alien has since been settled by colonists. Contact with the colony has suddenly been lost, and a detachment of colonial marines is being sent to investigate. Invited along as an advisor, Ripley predicts disaster, and sure enough, the aliens have infested the colony, leaving a sole survivor, the young girl Newt (Carrie Henn). With the soldiers picked off one by one, a final all-female showdown brews between the alien queen and Ripley, who's become a surrogate mother to Newt. Several future stars made early career appearances in Aliens (1986), including Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Reiser. ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide