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"By the way, it's not in the goddamed cat and it's not in Newt, either. I would never be that cruel."
April 2, 2012 8:55 PM   Subscribe

James Cameron's responses to Aliens critics.
posted by Artw (127 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
ALIENS is perfect!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:58 PM on April 2, 2012 [14 favorites]


These scenes, as well as four or five others, which would certainly be of interest to fans, will be restored for the ABC airings of the film and, if all goes well, in a "special edition" videocassette, running roughly 12 minutes longer than the release of 137 minutes. No confirmed release date is set for either of these, but stay tuned.
A) Whatever happened to that? And B) Aliens was broadcast on TV!?
posted by delmoi at 9:07 PM on April 2, 2012


Yeah, but the extra scenes from the colony and the colonists going to the ship were rightfully cut. I watched the "special addition" by mistake and what a drag those scenes were. Didn't add a thing.
posted by BinGregory at 9:09 PM on April 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


After failing to preview, the movie with those scenes added in is out there in torrentland, delmoi, but don't bother.
posted by BinGregory at 9:10 PM on April 2, 2012


I watched the "special addition" by mistake and what a drag those scenes were. Didn't add a thing.

However, the extra bit in the drop ship with Hudson going on about what badasses the Marines are was great. Can't get enough Hudson.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:11 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


If ADF left it in, it's canon*.

* does not apply to cocoon scene.
posted by Artw at 9:14 PM on April 2, 2012


"By the way, it's not in the goddamed cat and it's not in Newt, either. I would never be that cruel."
posted by chronkite at 9:14 PM on April 2, 2012 [21 favorites]


I can really only be responsible to those elements which actually appeared in the first film and not to its "intentions." ALIEN screenwriter Dan O'Bannon's proposed life cycle, as completed in the unseen scene, would have been too restricting for me as a storyteller
What was the change? Did he add the queen or something?
posted by delmoi at 9:15 PM on April 2, 2012


By the way, it's not in the goddamed cat and it's not in Newt, either. I would never be that cruel.

As much as I like Fincher and Whedon, this is why I prefer to believe that there are only two Alien movies.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:18 PM on April 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


What was the change? Did he add the queen or something?

The Cocoon Sequence
posted by Artw at 9:21 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I posted this on a Prometheus thread but it's worth posting here...

ALIENS - 25th Anniversary Cast Q&A: 1 2 3 4

1) They would all take a bullet for Cameron.
2) Vasquez heard they said resident alien and signed up.
posted by Artw at 9:24 PM on April 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


delmoi: "A) Whatever happened to that? And B) Aliens was broadcast on TV!?"

Somewhere in one of my boxes of childhood VHS tapes I have the recording of the "Network Premier!" of Aliens. I really loved the added sentry gun sequence.
posted by the_artificer at 9:27 PM on April 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Alien 3 always gets such hate. The extended "director's" (in quotes because it's not really) cut of that is really good, plus it incubates in one of the cattle, rather than the dog (which always made me sad, although it's sad about the cow too).
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:28 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


A) Whatever happened to that?

Wikipedia: Aliens (film): Special edition

There's an allusion to The Shining in them scenes, too.
posted by stebulus at 9:31 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually liked the special edition scenes. Being able to see what the colony looked like before it was trashed gives you a better sense of just how bad the colonists' last stand had been. And of course the sentry gun sequence is straight up gun porn, something that the particular flavor of Sci-Fi Action flick that Aliens is can never have enough of.

The same goes for the special editions of The Abyss and Terminator 2. The theatrical version of the ending for The Abyss is a lightshow with too many unanswered questions, where as the special edition gives some motivation to the trenchdwellers. As for Terminator 2, the special edition adds a crucial scene that has defining character growth moments for John, Sarah, and even the T-800, gives an explanation for how a T-800 could defeat the more advanced T-1000 even though they both started with the same programming, and contains one of the most astonishing single-cut, in-camera, practical effects shots ever filmed. It's downright criminal that the scene was cut from the theatrical release because the execs were afraid that the movie was running too long.

Cameron's sweet spot seems to be about 3 hours, it's a shame that it wasn't until Titanic that Hollywood was able to accpet that fact (and the only reason they let him get away with it then was that he had assumed the financial risk himself at that point, the studio had already washed its hands of what they were expecting to become a flop bigger than Waterworld).
posted by radwolf76 at 9:35 PM on April 2, 2012 [14 favorites]


I'm with radwolf76. If you ain't seen the special editions of Aliens and T2 (I haven't seen the SE of Abyss because I don't much like the film at all - Deep Star Six is my go-to underwater movie) then you ain't seen Aliens or T2.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:43 PM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


The extended "director's" (in quotes because it's not really) cut of that is really good...

Agreed, viewed in it's full cut that movie obviates at least 50% of the criticisms leveled against it: the inmates actually have lines, the scenery shots on the beach are epic, the host choice is more appropriate and it introduced the interesting possibility of xenomorph psychic control (or Golic is just plain crazy).
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:47 PM on April 2, 2012


Yeah, you feel me. We tight.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:49 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I find interesting about so many of these "director's" / "extended" cuts is the introductions that often accompany the films. Ridley Scott and James Cameron both introduce these cuts in the Alien Quadrilogy DVD Box Set and they clearly look pissed. I imagine there's a producer off camera with a gun pointed at them. They look very upset and they seem to not want to have to explain these cuts. The films were released the way they were originally released and it seems like these cuts are only there to satisfy a very small minority of fanboys and producers who want to cash in on home-release special editions sets.

All that said. More Hudson = More Awesome!
posted by Fizz at 9:51 PM on April 2, 2012


Man I fucking love Aliens. I wish Artw wasn't posting about Aliens all the time, because when he does I gotta go back and rewatch the first three. God-damn.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:52 PM on April 2, 2012


Oh and Alan Dead Foster's novelizations of the proper trilogy are pretty great too. Good sciffy even if you haven't seen the flicks.
posted by tumid dahlia at 10:03 PM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thank Dog for the special edition home releases. The Aliens laser disc is still one of the greatest examples of this. It was where I first got to see the Alien queen cardboard and garbage bag test footage. I'm afraid to admit I didn't care for the Hudson drop ship scene, but I did like the depth added by the colonists discovery of the derelict, and yeah the sentry guns were about as good as guns can get.
posted by calamari kid at 10:04 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tumid dahlia, I totally agree. I've never ever seen the movies, but when I was in high school, I borrowed a kid's giant tome that had the three stories in it. I was rapt. They really are great reading.
posted by Night_owl at 10:08 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nobody has ever agreed with me this much ever in any context, this is great!
posted by tumid dahlia at 10:11 PM on April 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


Before I even came to MetaFilter tonight, I had a sense that artw had posted about Aliens. And I knelt down and thanked the gods.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:22 PM on April 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


As much as I like Fincher and Whedon, this is why I prefer to believe that there are only two Alien movies.

But it was never in the cat or in Newt in those movies.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:27 PM on April 2, 2012


How long before they do a theatrical re-release of it in 3D?
posted by GavinR at 10:28 PM on April 2, 2012


Yeah, but the extra scenes from the colony and the colonists going to the ship were rightfully cut. I watched the "special addition" by mistake and what a drag those scenes were. Didn't add a thing.

The scenes giving Ripleys backstory regarding her relationship with Newt (Ripley waking up to find her newt-age daughter dead of old age) added a lot, as did the sentry guns in amping up the both the marine's and alien's ferociousness. There were quite a few extra scenes that absolutely should be in any definitive cut. But you're right about the part showing Newt's family discovering the wreck. That shit belongs on the cutting room floor.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:30 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


SPOILER: In Alien 3, a crash kills Newt and the cat.

NON-SPOILER: In Alien Resurrection, they discussed having Newt as the protagonist, which would have made her part alien. I guess that's sort of a spoiler.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:30 PM on April 2, 2012


How long before they do a theatrical re-release of it in 3D?

Under the Big Top! On ice!
posted by -harlequin- at 10:31 PM on April 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


But you're right about the part showing Newt's family discovering the wreck. That shit belongs on the cutting room floor.

Naw, you can't ever get enough of Carrie Henn screaming.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:38 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I recently watched the extended cuts of all 4 Alien films on Blu-Ray.

The extra footage in Cameron's cut of Aliens isn't strictly necessary, but having seen the film so many times, the longer opening and introduction to Newt's family before the attack added to the tension and dramatic irony for me, and I enjoyed it.

Alien 3 and Resurrection felt like they were set in a different cinematic universe. After the steadicam (even the guns are on steadicams!) and video verite of Aliens, Alien 3 felt wierdly arty and a little too-carefully composed for my tastes. And then, because I guess Jean-Pierre Jeunet decided that Alien 3 didn't look enough like a perfume commercial, the space feels even more disjointed, and you can see the dots of a ring light in the actresses pupils in half of the shots (maybe this is only in the directors cut). Sigourney Weaver also seems to be playing a significantly different of Ripley in these films as well.

So, I kind of regard Alien and Aliens as the real Alien films, and 3 and Resurrection as kind of interesting fan fiction.

Oh! If you're interested in Alien 3, the blu-ray has a pretty great making-of called "Wreckage and Rage" (I assume the torrents have this as well)... its significantly longer than the movie itself, but very entertaining if you love the Alien films, or are interested in how movie sausages are made.
posted by rustyiron at 10:39 PM on April 2, 2012


I think the bigger problem with the films 3 and onwards is that by the end of the second movie, we know pretty much everything we want to know about the alien and its lifecycle, it's just not a mysterious ominous threat any more, it's a zombie movie where the rules are known and the question is how dumb will the protagonists be in figuring out what we already know. I'm a huge fan and all, but if I was a director asked to make another aliens movie, I'd probably pass it up - I just don't see that much good would come of it.

Compare that to the Predator arm of the franchise. The Predators are still quite mysterious. We know they have some technologically-super-advanced-yet-barbaric-yet-honour-bound civilisation, but... we've never seen it. There's still meat on that bone. But... the moment a Predator movie fills in those blanks in a satisfying way, the predators will be as tired as the aliens.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:40 PM on April 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh and Alan Dead Foster's novelizations of the proper trilogy are pretty great too. Good sciffy even if you haven't seen the flicks.

I've got the paragraph where he introduces Jones in the first novel quoted here in this previous thread.

That same novel also inspired some 11-year-old-at-the-time kid who hadn't seen the movie yet to draw this.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:42 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Compare that to the Predator arm of the franchise.

If only they could've made a decent Aliens vs Predator movie even half as good as the original comic.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:45 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Four what it's worth, I also agree with you tumid Dahlia
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 10:49 PM on April 2, 2012


If only they could've made a decent Aliens vs Predator movie even half as good as the original comic.

The first AvP is a perfectly acceptable bug hunt that looks better than any b-movie ought to. There. I said it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:59 PM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just don't see that much good would come of it.

Amp up the crazy sex terror and explore more body horror!
posted by The Whelk at 11:02 PM on April 2, 2012


Dumb question: Why Aliens vs Predator?

Is there some particular reason these two settings came together, or was it just a random "what-if" that struck a chord?
posted by dumbland at 11:03 PM on April 2, 2012


I think the bigger problem with the films 3 and onwards is that by the end of the second movie, we know pretty much everything we want to know about the alien and its lifecycle

Naw, the ensemble cut of A3 adds to the story nicely. Not about the alien, but about what happens when you think you've won and wake up and it's all been stolen from you.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:03 PM on April 2, 2012


Is there some particular reason these two settings came together

At the end of Predator 2, there's a display wall in the predator ship that has skulls of kills. One of them is a xenomorph. I think it was just a gag to start with, like the ET's and spinners in the SW prequels.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:05 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Dark Horse Comics kicked it off first in a comic book series (AvP)...OK I did cheat and look on Wikipedia, but I was pretty sure it was their product. They had rights to the comic books for Aliens and Predator, and did the whole "what if Batman fought superman" kinda thing and made some mad skill (yo).
posted by aydeejones at 11:08 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mad skrill that is. Faux'm-boi fail
posted by aydeejones at 11:08 PM on April 2, 2012


here's how James Cameron reacted to snarking about an astronomy error in Titanic.

what would George Lucas do??
posted by Bwithh at 11:12 PM on April 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


The first AvP is a perfectly acceptable bug hunt that looks better than any b-movie ought to.

MPAA Ratings:
Alien (1979) - Rated R
Aliens (1986) - Rated R
Predator (1987) - Rated R
Predator 2 (1990) - Rated R
Alien^3 (1992) - Rated R
Alien: Resurrection (1997) - Rated R
AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) - Rated PG-13

Perfectly accpetable? 'R-dly.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:19 PM on April 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


calamari kid: "Thank Dog for the special edition home releases. The Aliens laser disc is still one of the greatest examples of this. It was where I first got to see the Alien queen cardboard and garbage bag test footage . I'm afraid to admit I didn't care for the Hudson drop ship scene, but I did like the depth added by the colonists discovery of the derelict, and yeah the sentry guns were about as good as guns can get."

Not to sound psycho or anything, but the pulse rifle sound is still THE gun sound for me. Almost gives me shivers of AWESOMENESS!
posted by Samizdata at 11:21 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


-harlequin-: "How long before they do a theatrical re-release of it in 3D?

Under the Big Top! On ice!
"

On Sunday! SUNday! sUNDay! sunDAY!

With monster trucks.
posted by Samizdata at 11:22 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just saw Aliens at IFC on Saturday night so this is perfect timing! Especially since I watched the blu-ray features for Alien and Aliens last night.

I was lucky I got to take a bandmate who had never seen it, and experience it through the eyes of a first timer. When the empty facehugger Canisters are revealed when Ripley wakes up, my friend moaned "oh Noooo" without even realizing it.

How could Cameron plot, write, and develop such a great story that early in his career and then go on to do the ferngully-ness of Avatar?

P.s. The AvP comic is so good. Characters you care about, an interesting story.unpredictable and light years beyond the movie. Actually, all of the Aliens comics at that point are amazing..although Sam Keith was a weird choice for earthwar..especially after the genius that is Denis Beauvais
posted by Brainy at 11:24 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Dark Horse Comics kicked it off first in a comic book series.

Correct. That one came about because Dark Horse held both licenses and some bright spark was inspired by the old monster v monster movies. They did a miniseries about a small human colony that turned out to have been founded on an ancient Predator hunting ground, where young predators get their rite of passage by hunting aliens...

It was well done and well recieved by the Predator 2 movie people too, which is why there's that Alien head in the ship's trophy chamber at the end.

AvP II otoh was some Claremontian nonsense just after he had gotten kicked off the X-Men and is not so good...
posted by MartinWisse at 11:27 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


The sentry guns are necessary to the plot, and never should have been cut. There were nearly two hundred colonists, which makes for a ton of aliens. The sentry guns kill enough of the aliens to prevent the marines from being entirely overwhelmed in the command center. Twenty or so xenos dropping through the ceiling nearly killed them all. A hundred would have wiped them out instantly.

That, and Big Dental Patient? How did we ever adopt Space Jockey over that?
posted by Ghidorah at 11:32 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


dumbland: "Dumb question: Why Aliens vs Predator?

Is there some particular reason these two settings came together, or was it just a random "what-if" that struck a chord?
"

From a geeky fanboy perspective, I think the dichotomous nature of the two made the pairing of the two inevitable.
                     Aliens          Predators
======================================================
Numerous             Yes               No
Intelligent          No (arguably)     Yes
High Tech            No                Yes
Brutally Savage      Yes               No (arguably)
Killed Jesse Ventura No                Yes
Killed Bill Paxton   Yes               No
As one can see they are perfectly balanced opposites. And we all know, from popular entertainment that opposites attract...

In fact, there is only one place they match up...
                     Aliens          Predators
======================================================
Ugly Motherfuckers   Yes*            Yes

*Unless you are Brad Dourif, in which case you are a nutbar anyway...

Whew! That was a PAIN! Thank the Mathowie for the live preview...
posted by Samizdata at 11:35 PM on April 2, 2012 [38 favorites]


Wait, doesn't a predator kill Bill Paxton in Predator II?
posted by BinGregory at 11:48 PM on April 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ah but the AvP comics predate that, never mind.
posted by BinGregory at 11:50 PM on April 2, 2012


Objection withdrawn.
posted by BinGregory at 11:51 PM on April 2, 2012


Poor old Sam Kieth - my first two exposures to him were Aliens: Earth War and the first few issues of Sandman, which left the entirely wrong impression that he was a terrible artist. On the right project, of course, he's actually AMAZING.
posted by Artw at 11:55 PM on April 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


radwolf76: "AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) - Rated PG-13

Perfectly accpetable? 'R-dly.
"

Whereas AvP: Requiem is very gleefully R-rated. I enjoyed it quite a bit more than the first AvP.
posted by brundlefly at 11:56 PM on April 2, 2012


Right there with you Artw, Sam's work on the Maxx is quite good and his work on Adolescent Radioactive Black-Belt Hampsters is awesome too.
posted by Brainy at 12:08 AM on April 3, 2012


introduction to Newt's family before the attack added to the tension and dramatic irony for me

The biggest reason I thing newt's family scenes shouldn't be in the movie is that it tells you what happened to the colony before the protagonists even get there. There is much more suspense when they investigating the colony and you don't really know anything more than they do - that we lost contact with the colony, and 60 years ago Ripley encountered an alien on that world, and we're along for the ride as they figure it out, instead of being told in advance and watching the marines try to catch up with us.

It's interesting material for the fan, good for a DVD bonus-feature, but shouldn't be part of a first-time viewing of the movie.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:29 AM on April 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


Whereas AvP: Requiem is very gleefully R-rated.

There's a reason the first teaser poster for the film was just "AvP: R" with the R the blood red the same hue that the MPAA requires prior to a "Restricted Audiences" trailer.

They made their mistake, got called out on it by the fans, and made the needed correction.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:52 AM on April 3, 2012


Wait, doesn't a predator kill Bill Paxton in Predator II?

Yep but I think only Lance Henriksen has been killed by Aliens, Predators and Terminators
posted by MrCynical at 1:05 AM on April 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yep but I think only Lance Henriksen has been killed by Aliens, Predators and Terminators

But not Reapers.

Thanks for the AvP responses folks.
posted by dumbland at 1:40 AM on April 3, 2012


"Cameron's other filmmaking credits include Rambo: First Blood II (as co-writer), Battle Beyond the Stars (as art director), Escape from New York (as special FX co-supervisor)"

Battle Beyond the Stars! wow. I never knew this. God Bless Roger Corman.
posted by marienbad at 1:46 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is where I remind everyone to change their profile's "Status" field to an Aliens quote.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:57 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The scenes giving Ripleys backstory regarding her relationship with Newt (Ripley waking up to find her newt-age daughter dead of old age) added a lot, as did the sentry guns in amping up the both the marine's and alien's ferociousness.

The scene where Ripley finds out that her daughter is dead is absolutely essential, IMO, and Cameron should have fought tooth and nail to keep it in. It deepens Ripley's relationship with Newt, as well as the efforts she makes to rescue Newt and fight the Alien Queen at the end. It's not just about self-preservation and rescuing the little girl she's just found. Cameron's piece describes the end scene as a "cat-fight between the moms", but it has much more resonance when you know that Ripley is a real mother, and not just a virtual one.

The main theme of the movie is mother love.
posted by daveje at 2:29 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


The sentry guns are necessary to the plot, and never should have been cut.

I'm sure I've said this in a previous Aliens thread, but I hate the sentry gun scene. Without it, the aliens are cunning, vicious stealth hunters. With it they are stupid herd animals willing to throw themselves by the dozen at an obviously lethal device which they cannot possibly understand to have limited ammunition. Sometimes the studio is right.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:42 AM on April 3, 2012


Metafilter: If you're with 10 armed police officers, it's a different story.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:43 AM on April 3, 2012


stupid herd animals willing to throw themselves by the dozen at an obviously lethal device which they cannot possibly understand to have limited ammunition.

Can't they? The colonists held them off with small arms fire presumably until their ammo ran out.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:53 AM on April 3, 2012


With it they are stupid herd animals

Is this a problem?

I kind of like that the warrior drones act like... warrior drones, while the queen shows eerie intelligence and command.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:54 AM on April 3, 2012


Stupid herd animals is wrong anyway. A cat is a cunning predator. It would run into a gun. Other cats would scatter until the gun stopped making a noise, and then eventually get themselves killed the same way. Cats are suicidal. When you're used to being top of the food chain, it often doesn't occur to you (until you're in trouble) that it's time to retreat. Exhibit A: Humans. :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 2:57 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually, Bill Paxton was also killed by a Predator, an Alien and a Terminator.
posted by wolfewarrior at 3:03 AM on April 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


The main theme of the movie is mother love.

I've probably mentioned this elsewhere, but I managed to sucker my high school comp teacher into letting me write my final essay on this. Something like 17 pages detailing the mother vs. mother conflict in the director's cut of Aliens. Honestly, I'd have been surprised if my teacher had seen the theatrical release of any of the films. Lord, I was a jerk in high school.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:21 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bill Paxton was also killed by a Predator, an Alien and a Terminator.

I re-watched the scene from Terminator before posting, as far as I can see from that one the Terminator only kills the Alien bountyhunter from the X-files and doesn't kill Paxton
posted by MrCynical at 3:32 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked that his arguments are essentially "Well all these points obviously will make sense it you take into account all these scenes that were cut from Aliens... well this point obviously won't make sense if you are going to take into account that scene that was cut from Alien"

And yeah, there's a couple of bits that are superfluous but I tend to watch the special ed version of Aliens now... the special ed of Alien is an utter waste of time / cash grab by Fox and I've only watched it the once. It's cool as an Aliens nerd to see those extra scenes but they should have just stayed extras as they add nothing (or in the cast of the insert shot of the Alien just before Brett gets offed, ruin it)

Oh and if Promethus really is going to be a PG13 and it's not just huckterism then I'm boycotting the fucker... well at least not seeing it in the cinema
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:52 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sure I've said this in a previous Aliens thread, but I hate the sentry gun scene. Without it, the aliens are cunning, vicious stealth hunters. With it they are stupid herd animals willing to throw themselves by the dozen at an obviously lethal device which they cannot possibly understand to have limited ammunition. Sometimes the studio is right.

But the aliens charge into gunfire anyway after the part where they crawl through the vents and burst out of the ceiling*. Their tactic (whether they know it conciously or not) of overwhelming the enemy with numbers is successful in both situations (depletes sentry ammo or overwhelms the marines with too many targets), so it doesn't matter if it's cunning or not. Evolution favours the survivor, whether the survivor is cunning or just numerous.

*also this is not necessarily "cunning" - if ants find their way into your kitchen through a tiny hole in the wall, are they cunning because they cleverly found an alternative route, or just mindlessly following the sent of food through the only access available?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:57 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


If we're being picky about it Henriksen isn't killed by an alien either, even if we accept that his character in Aliens is alive to start (which I have no problem with) his character is still functional when it goes into the pod after being sliced up by the alien queen. Bishop only stops working after a crash and being junked.

I am so tempted to go down to the library and watch that terminator pazxton scene right now.
posted by biffa at 4:01 AM on April 3, 2012


I only really like Metafilter when we're talking about Aliens.
posted by Jofus at 4:47 AM on April 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Aliens was broadcast on TV!?

Sure, why not? Most movies got played on network TV back then.
posted by octothorpe at 5:11 AM on April 3, 2012


Waiting for AvHC (Aliens vs Human Centipede).
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:30 AM on April 3, 2012


Their tactic (whether they know it conciously or not) of overwhelming the enemy with numbers is successful in both situations

Zerg rush.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:33 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


The extended cut of Aliens is far superior to the theatrical cut. It adds back in a lot of the tension and horror-y elements from the first film (not that Aliens is horror, of course). This is a good thing.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:38 AM on April 3, 2012


I'm with radwolf76. If you ain't seen the special editions of Aliens and T2 (I haven't seen the SE of Abyss because I don't much like the film at all - Deep Star Six is my go-to underwater movie) then you ain't seen Aliens or T2.

tumid dahlia, the same definitely goes for The Abyss -- maybe even more so. I loved Aliens and T2, and the special editions enhanced my appreciation for them. Abyss, I saw in the theater and felt extremely "meh" about, but when I saw the director's cut, I was blown away.

The additions don't just enhance the story, but fill it out in a way that not only makes it more comprehensible (the whole alien thing felt pointless in the original -- they could have just cut all of that out and made it just about the Navy SEAL going crazy from decompression sickness) but adds a good deal more depth to the characters' relationships and the overall story. It feels like a finished film in a way the theatrical cut didn't.

I haven't experienced such a radical turnaround from hate to love between a theatrical and director's cut, except maybe for Cinema Paradiso (where, unfortunately, I loved the original and hated the director's cut).
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 5:49 AM on April 3, 2012


Yeah, the director's cut of The Abyss is up there with Kingdom of Heaven as far as taking an aggressively mediocre film and turning it into an mindblowing epic.
posted by Jairus at 6:12 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Under the Big Top! On ice!"

This happened in Austin last year.
posted by hanoixan at 6:30 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Zerg rush.

Xenomorphs do not "Zerg rush", Zergs "Xenomorph rush".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:56 AM on April 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Aliens was broadcast on TV!?

I have very hazy memories of it, and it was definitely the first time I saw it. When I finally saw it later on video, I was pretty pissed because I wanted to know where the scene with the sentry guns went.

As far as I've ever been able to tell, even though there's a lot of material, a good amount had to be edited out for content and language (like, say, Hudson's entire scene), so that the scene with the guns had to be added in to fill out the two hour slot. That's just a theory, because I would have been in elementary school when it came out, and I've got nothing to base that on.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:20 AM on April 3, 2012


Dumb question: Why Aliens vs Predator?

Alien and Predator are basically the same movie, in different settings. Alienhad an alien that was very good at hiding itself killing the crew, one by one, in a big spaceship where they couldn't call for outside help; Predator had an alien that was very good at hiding itself killing the squad, one by one, in a big jungle where they couldn't call for outside help. You even had a team member in both with a hidden agenda. Aside from the setting, the main difference is that the alien has the futuristic weapons in one and the humans in the other (for all the good it does most of them).

And while we're on the subject, since no one else has mentioned it, let me say how disappointing Predator 2 was. There was so much that they could have done with that movie, and the sad thing is that there are the vestiges of a good movie there, but it's mostly one wasted opportunity after another. Danny Glover and Bill Paxton are mugging furiously for most of their time on-screen, there's an egregiously stereotyped Jamaican voodoo crime lord (yes, I said Jamaican), and even though there is a spaceship with the aforementioned trophy wall, and several other Predators, you don't get to see them until the last few minutes of the film. Gary Busey (who stepped in after Arnold decided, wisely, not to appear in the sequel) and Adam Baldwin are supposed to be the human bad guys, the heads of a super-secret men-in-black-type government agency trying to capture the Predator alive, but I kind of wish that the movie had spent more time on them.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:28 AM on April 3, 2012


Oh, and fun fact re: the Predator and James Cameron: the reason that they have mandibles is that Cameron was on an airplane with Stan Winston, who he'd worked with on Terminator, and when Winston showed him the preliminary sketches for the alien design, Cameron said that he'd always wanted to see an extraterrestrial with mandibles.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:30 AM on April 3, 2012


Yeah, the director's cut of The Abyss is up there with Kingdom of Heaven as far as taking an aggressively mediocre film and turning it into an mindblowing epic.

This discussion made me wonder if there's a site somewhere that rates director's cuts. There doesn't seem to be, but quite a few film sites have done lists of the best:

10 Best director's cuts
1. Blade Runner (1982/1992/2007)
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002/2003)
3. Until the End of the World (1991/2000)
4. Betty Blue (1986/1994)
5. Aliens (1986/1992)
6. Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973/1988)
7. Almost Famous (2000/2002)
8. Touch of Evil (1958/1998)
9. The Big Red One (1980/2004)
10. Das Boot (1981/1997)

Top 10 Director's Cuts
1. Blade Runner
2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
3. Kingdom of Heaven
4. Leon
5. Sin City
6. Once Upon a Time in America
7. The Wild Bunch
8. Apocalypse Now Redux
9. Natural Born Killers
10. Superman II (The Richard Donner Cut)

5 Directors Cut Movies Better Than the Original
Blade Runner (Final Cut)
JFK
Aliens
Watchmen (Director's Cut, Not Ultimate, Cut)
Daredevil

Director’s Cuts: The Good, The Bad and The Unnecessary [good ones shown here]
Alexander Revisited (2007)
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006)
Kingdom of Heaven Director’s Cut (2005)
Aliens Special Edition (1992)
Blade Runner 25th Anniversary Edition (2007)

Best Extended/Director's Cuts? [discussion thread, many suggestions]

Theatrical Cuts vs Director's Cuts [good and bad]

Is a 'director's cut' ever a good idea?
posted by rory at 7:31 AM on April 3, 2012 [14 favorites]


The thing about Almost Famous is that the theatrical one is the director's cut-- there's a longer version, also cut by Cameron Crowe, but he calls it the 'Untitled' cut, and admits that it isn't as good as the theatrical one. He made it because he wanted to include a lot of character moments and development that had to be axed from the film because they made it all lopsided and poorly-shaped and he'd never endorse seeing Untitled as the definitive version of the film, he just wanted it to exist.

/knows way too much about Almost Famous
posted by shakespeherian at 7:36 AM on April 3, 2012


Yeah, the director's cut of The Abyss is up there with Kingdom of Heaven as far as taking an aggressively mediocre film and turning it into an mindblowing epic.

Kingdom of Heaven, as it appeared in theatres, was just a mess. I've always been a HUGE Ridley Scott fan, and was pretty disappointed walking out of the theatre.
Then I started hearing rumblings about the Director's Cut... I seem to remember it being screened in LA for some media and being reviewed glowingly on AICN. It's a completely different movie, and easily one of my all-time favorite movies at this point.
posted by smitt at 7:43 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


radwolf76: "And of course the sentry gun sequence is straight up gun porn, something that the particular flavor of Sci-Fi Action flick that Aliens is can never have enough of."

Yes but it also explains why the aliens crawled hand-over-hand above the ceiling rather than, say, walking down the hallway.
posted by workerant at 7:50 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


there's an egregiously stereotyped Jamaican voodoo crime lord (yes, I said Jamaican)

He was awesome! In my opinion they should have blacksploitated up even more.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:54 AM on April 3, 2012


As far as I've ever been able to tell, even though there's a lot of material, a good amount had to be edited out for content and language (like, say, Hudson's entire scene),

I remember back in the day when tv channels (especially ITV - who would tend to show the blockbuster films) over here in the UK would, even late at night, show TV versions that were so heavily censored as to be unwatchable - In Hudson's dead scene they just blanked all his dialogue because they could not cut around or substitute the swearwords.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:00 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


-harlequin-: instead of being told in advance and watching the marines try to catch up with us.

Good point. It's a shame to lose the dialogue about why boss colony dude doesn't ask questions, but I guess it's not worth the storytelling problem you point out.

Maybe they should have had Ripley et al. find some colonist's home video. That way we'd get to see the colony in full life, so we'd better appreciate the loss (which is one thing people like about the extra footage). The contrast might even work better because we'd be watching the video of the happy lively past colony framed in the dead and half-ruined present colony where Ripley et al. are watching it, rather than having these two versions of the colony separated in time-of-watching.

If we saw Ripley investigating archives and such, we could discover with her that the Company sent people out to the derelict deliberately. This is one detail that the extra colony scene provides, preparing the later reveal that it was Burke specifically. (That reveal feels kind of abrupt to me in the standard edition.)
posted by stebulus at 8:09 AM on April 3, 2012


He was awesome! In my opinion they should have blacksploitated up even more.

He could have been awesome, but I agree with your second sentence. Calvin Lockhart had an impressive blaxploitation resume (made even more awesome by his alternating more lucrative movie roles with his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company), and the movie spends a fair amount of time building him up as this big crime lord... but when he finally shows up on screen all he does is throw some chicken bones, croon a few lines about demons and the spirit world, and when the Predator shows up he lasts about three seconds. Another wasted opportunity in a movie full of them.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:43 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


rory... that's what a FPP is for, man
posted by MangyCarface at 9:11 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, you may be right, MangyCarface. I'll see if I get a chance it turn it into one this evening.
posted by rory at 9:16 AM on April 3, 2012


How could Cameron plot, write, and develop such a great story that early in his career and then go on to do the ferngully-ness of Avatar?

Because he had a huge amount of money risked on Avatar and wanted the blandest story possible to be safe. Now that Avatar has made money and Avatar 2 is a guaranteed success, I predict that he will be able to have a decent storyline. It will be awesome.
posted by vogon_poet at 9:18 AM on April 3, 2012


The main theme of the movie is mother love.

Indeed, you could go further than that and say that the theme of the movie is defining femaleness or the feminine. Several things point to this:

- Note that the only human male who survives is the one who shows a caring/nurturing attitude toward others without being patronizing or condescending about it: Cpl. Hicks. He addresses Newt tenderly, he shows Ripley how to fend for herself, and you could even argue that he cares for the squad, rather than commanding them like Lt. Gorman, after Apone dies: "Marines, we are leaving!"

- Bishop points out how the entirety of his programming centers around caring for humans; he, more or less, survives.

- The "anyone ever mistake you for a man" exchange between Vasquez and Hudson.

- Newt and Ripley's discussion about the xenos impregnating humans/Ripley echoes this when she tells the others about Burke's plan.

- One thing I always found particularly interesting and rarely commented on is the fact that the xenos do not attack the Marines until the Marines kill a newly hatched xeno. They had to have known the humans were there, but they didn't do anything until the incinerated hatchling cried out as it died.

There's probably more than that. Every time I watch it, I find something new, which is why Cameron pretty much has an eternal free pass in my book.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:21 AM on April 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Calvin Lockhart had an impressive blaxploitation resume

I never realsied until I clicked on his wiki that he was the star of The Beast Must Die... if only Pred 2 had been more like that.

I've been in procrastination mode all day and now I'm a hairs-breath from writing a full-on blaxploitaiton Predator story ("It's gonna take a real soul brother to take down this space mutha!")
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:22 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Honestly, I'd have been surprised if my teacher had seen the theatrical release of any of the films.

I think high school and college kids routinely underestimate their instructors. ;-)
posted by aught at 9:28 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I managed to sucker my high school comp teacher into letting me write my final essay on this. Something like 17 pages detailing the mother vs. mother conflict in the director's cut of Aliens.

We managed to get our high school honors English teacher to screen Alien for us as an alternative to an animated version of Orwell's Animal Farm. Thank you, Mr. Houghton!
posted by TreeRooster at 9:30 AM on April 3, 2012


(It helped that we did some sleight of hand to switch the VCR tapes. Also Animal Farm is awesome, just not the animation.)
posted by TreeRooster at 9:32 AM on April 3, 2012


Here's my director's cut comment repackaged for the front page, as requested.
posted by rory at 9:49 AM on April 3, 2012


My first exposure to Aliens was the director's cut, and when I read the backstory of Ripley and her daughter wasn't included in the theatrical release, I was shocked. It totally made the movie for me, and deepens the relationship between Newt and Ripley. I mean, "Get away from her, you bitch!" is a cheesy line, but it's a cheesy line with some emotional resonance. And it kicks ass.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 10:10 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wrote a paper on the maternal issues in Aliens for a lit class. I think part of my point was that the films posit humans as having a connection that transcends direct genetic bonds, while the xenos are an allegory for the horrors of pure reproductive competition. Sort of an embodied Selfish Gene versus humanity's (and specifically Ripley's) more cyborgian (in that Donna Haraway sense) networks of attachment.

Yep.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:26 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


What year did Aliens premiere on TV? I saw it in the theater and for the longest time I've thought that was where I remembered the sentry guns from, but it must have been the TV release. There was a long time when I felt like I was crazy because nobody but me remembered the sentry guns.
posted by usonian at 10:29 AM on April 3, 2012


I think where Aliens really shines isn't just in the film itself (which is one of my all time favorites, if not my all time favorite movie), but in the spin offs.

The books are very good, the comics are hit or miss but some are very good, and the video games are fairly amazing.

The official video games (especially the first) are a lot of fun and have some innovative game play. It's really almost 3 games in one, because of how different each type of thing plays. The original also had a pretty awesome "survival" mode.

I also remember a Quake or possibly Quake 2 mod that added aliens, and was very interesting to play (you were hyperfast, with something a 260 degree field of view, which looked very strange).

Alien and Aliens helped create a universe that's gone way beyond what i think James Cameron (or anyone else) could have envisioned when they set out. The only thing it's really lacking (that I've seen) is an official pen and paper RPG, though there's lots of fan-made modules for other rpg games.
posted by dethb0y at 10:36 AM on April 3, 2012


The only thing it's really lacking (that I've seen) is an official pen and paper RPG

There was an RPG back in the day.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:50 AM on April 3, 2012


I also remember a Quake or possibly Quake 2 mod that added aliens, and was very interesting to play (you were hyperfast, with something a 260 degree field of view, which looked very strange).

Man this gets me thinking...

In the mid 90's there was a mod for Doom 2 called 'Aliens TC' (TC = Total Conversion) that basically turned Doom 2 into a completely different game. You were a member of the marine assault on the Hadley's Hope colony on LV426. All the graphics and sounds were switched out. God it was so badass and I played the sh*t out of it. It even used sounds from the actual movie..."check those corners, check those CORNERS."

Seeing as how Aliens is, to this day, one of my top 5 favorite films...that game played a very formative part in my young adulthood. Then around 1999 (?) the AvP video game came out. Holy sh*t! If only the movie was half as good as that game. The multiplayer online mode of that game was insanity. You could be a marine, an alien or a predator and their various skills and attack modalities complimented one another so elegantly.

This is all coming from someone who doesn't really play video games.

Also...count me as one who thinks the Directors Cut of Aliens is the definitive version of that film. I love the expanded footage of the colony pre-attack. It gives the scenes where they find the half-eaten doughnut that much more weight when you could see what it looked like with families living there. That contrast highlights what was lost. And dear god...the sentry gun scenes? Gunporn with FULL RELEASE.
posted by jnnla at 1:07 PM on April 3, 2012


The first Rebellion Alens Versus Predators is pretty much the highpoint of Aliens based videogaming for me, with a good balance between tension and action and weapons that are effective while leaving you vulnerable, but I'll keep trying them.
posted by Artw at 1:26 PM on April 3, 2012


The Terminator-Aliens Crossover You Haven’t Been Waiting For
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on April 3, 2012


I wrote a paper on the maternal issues in Aliens for a lit class. I think part of my point was that the films posit humans as having a connection that transcends direct genetic bonds, while the xenos are an allegory for the horrors of pure reproductive competition. Sort of an embodied Selfish Gene versus humanity's (and specifically Ripley's) more cyborgian (in that Donna Haraway sense) networks of attachment.

I like how this theme is handled in Alien, too. Ash calls the xenomorph a "perfect organism," and his admiration of the xenomorph's supreme fitness briefly illuminates just how fragile those "networks of attachment" are, and how delusional we are in believing that there is any sort of correspondence between nature and the abstractions we clothe it in. Also, by virtue of the claustrophobic hyper-focus the series maintains on a pretty small segment of the grand expanse of space, it instills a kind of background horror at the fact that the xenomorphs are probably just one of the unspeakable abominations in the universe's arsenal of things that are capable of utterly shattering our ideas about how the world does or should work.
posted by invitapriore at 2:39 PM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


lolz omg do you remember the comic Aliens vs Predator vs Terminator? That was...that was like...it...the...
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:29 PM on April 3, 2012


Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator - not a dream, not an imaginary comic...
posted by Artw at 4:38 PM on April 3, 2012


It really makes you think about how many great ideas are passing un-monetized in third grade sleepovers every single night.
posted by invitapriore at 4:49 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


There was an RPG back in the day.

Never played the RPG, but the board game listed just below it was AWESOME. The reactor room = hours of fun.
posted by BinGregory at 5:06 PM on April 3, 2012


The Terminator-Aliens Crossover You Haven’t Been Waiting For

Jesus. I should just be glad it's not the slashfic I was expecting...
posted by Amanojaku at 7:03 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing I always found particularly interesting and rarely commented on is the fact that the xenos do not attack the Marines until the Marines kill a newly hatched xeno. They had to have known the humans were there, but they didn't do anything until the incinerated hatchling cried out as it died.

I've always thought burning Lil' Guy precipitated the attack, but did not cause it. The drones' imperative is to collect bodies for incubating more xenos, and the marines conveniently gathered in the hive under nesting drones... an attack was inevitable, like dangling a string in front of a frisky cat. The only reason a cat will take an eternity winding up for a pounce is because she can.
posted by eddydamascene at 11:57 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


one of the most astonishing single-cut, in-camera, practical effects shots ever filmed.

I hadn't seen the Extended Edition of T2 before, so I'm checking it out now. I didn't really know which shot you were referring to, but is it

SPOILER-ISH ALERT

...the shot where they are unscrewing the head-plate to get at his CPU? If so, then yeah, that's pretty dang clever. Not the first time Cameron was able to exploit the use of twin siblings in that movie.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:46 AM on April 4, 2012


I think high school and college kids routinely underestimate their instructors. ;-)

Definitely. On the other hand, this was a sorority-girl-turned-teacher fresh out of college who most of the time seemed bummed that she wasn't still back at school.

This thread has turned into a list of movies to watch. I loved Until the End of the World for its ideas, but it was pretty clunky in parts. I need to track down the director's cut. Kingdom of Heaven had never appealed to me ("Legolas Turner as a crusade knight!"), but with all of this glowing praise, it sounds like a must watch.

The dc's of Lord of the Rings are a must for people disappointed that the three hour movie wasn't long enough to include their favorite parts. It's been too long to really recall the Two Towers and the differences in it, but the added parts of Return of the King really made the movie better, I thought, with the added bits with the ghost army, and Gandalf confronting the Witch-king and losing.

I've heard about the Almost Famous 'bootleg' version for years, but never gotten around to watching it. I've heard that the film is almost completely different, and Penny Lane is essentially the main character. Can anyone verify that? I love the original, but I'd like to see the extended version.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:21 AM on April 4, 2012


ShutterBun: "the shot where they are unscrewing the head-plate to get at his CPU?"

That's the one.

John gets to make the first decision in his life that could be considered worthy of the future leader of the human resistance and not just the average teenage punk, Sarah finally must force herself to deal with a fear that had been so crippling to her life that she got herself institutionalized even though she knows how vital it is that she raise John into the kind of person who can lead a resistance, and even the Terminator goes from being a piece of hardware sent out from Skynet's factory with its ability to learn new things locked down by a hardware switch, to being capable of assimilating new concepts and ideas, giving it a potential advantage over the T-1000, whose neural net had been programed with the exact same set of infiltration routines.

And while that triple dose of character growth is going on, you've got a shot where you see a "mirror reflection" of Arnie's face talking and guiding the procedure, while there's a clearly visible several inches deep hole in his cranium where they've removed the shielded plug that protects the CPU port. Given the a groundbreaking work done with other digital effects in the film, it's easy to suspect that it's just some greenscreen compositing trickery, but its not. Mirrored sets, Arnie and Linda's twin sister on one side of the "mirror" window, Linda and prop Arnie head on the other.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:36 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


All this talk of Aliens and Predators made me realize that there's a perfectly serviceable Predator emoticon, viz.,
:€
but I can't figure out a good one for the aliens. Should I just repurpose an ASCII art penis?
posted by stebulus at 1:23 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought that was cthulhu.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:23 PM on April 4, 2012


Cthulhu cannot be represented with our Euclidean letters.
posted by stebulus at 3:43 PM on April 4, 2012


Six are the ways...
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I stand corrected sixfold.

My offer of truce:
Predator :€
Cthulhu ;∈
Lorax :{
May these three noble houses forever be at peace.
posted by stebulus at 7:44 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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