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ALIENS The Director's Cut aka Special Edition (Arrow Recommends)

ALIENS The Director's Cut aka Special Edition (Arrow Recommends)
05.21.2017by: The Arrow
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"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: Ripley (Weaver) is awakened from her cryo-sleep 57 years after surviving her first alien encounter. The company eventually coaxes her to return to the alien planet LV-426 but this time she’s backed up by a group of badass Marines carrying mucho firepower. Will the Marines get their asses kicked? Two words: LETS ROCK!

"Hey, maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked, pal! " –  Private Hudson

LOWDOWN: Got hit with a bad case of the flu yesterday, which forced me to stay in bed and not work (tall order for me). The only upside was that I had been craving to re-watch the ALIENS Director’s Cut aka The Special Edition (found on the QUADRILOGY SET and he BLU-RAY SET or you can WATCH IT HERE) which I had only seen once eons ago and I finally got the time to do so. And boy did it own me! There’s no denying it, ALIENS is a timeless masterpiece and quite the cinematic tour de force. It worked then and still whoops that ass now! Clocking it again today, it made me yearn for that old school type of filmmaking, specially when executed by a meticulous genius like JAMES CAMERON.

Before I get into the Director’s Cut and how it betters the theatrical cut in my useless opinion, allow me to slime all over this celluloid xenomorph. ALIENS had its shit together and then some. In a sly move, instead of competing against its groundbreaking Sci-Fi forefather RIDLEY SCOTT’S ALIEN, Cameron went his own way with the material: a combat film (he actually came up with the tagline: This time it’s War) as opposed to a spooky claustrophobic type spiel like the original. By taking that route he got his peach and ate it too. On one hand all of the elements that I loved about the first film were in the house (spooky corridors, tension, the alien's life cycle, endearing characters, stellar visuals), but on the other, the bulk of it was communicated via a breath-neck pace and a "the more the merrier" attitude.

Here we got further aliens, more gun-play (Am I alone in finding Ripley unloading that machine gun sexy as hell?), more action, more stunt work, more jaw dropping practical effects, more insight on the ins and outs of the aliens world (Hudson's ants analogy in the D. Cut was spot on), more, more and more! And the fact that all of it was put out by way of a brilliantly written script (so many great lines), an eclectic and memorable cast (Biehn, Paxton, Reiser, Weaver, Henn, Henriksen, Goldstein) and one hell of a pulse pounding score by James Horner made the ride all the more thrilling. Clocking at it in 2017, it’s easy to see how ALIENS pretty much solidified the template as to how to do a sequel right! What an incredible film on every f*cking level. Which brings me to the Director’s Cut. Ya see back then the Studio got cold feet when Cameron delivered his 148 minutes long original cut. They thought it was too damn strenuous for us simpletons. So they forced Cameron to go back in the edit bay and get to chopping, which birthed the 16 minutes short(er) theatrical cut.

Personally I worship both cuts, with the big screen version flowing quicker and the D.Cut being much meatier. And lets face it; more ALIENS in any way, shape or form is never a bad thing in my world. Thank you Sigourney Weaver (who got so pissed that the subplot involving her deceased daughter had been terminated) for letting the Studio know that if they didn’t release the D.Cut someday, she'd never do another ALIEN film again.  Cause I dug into that sucker deep and lapped up every second of it fervently. The Director’s Cut of ALIENS basically added further character development/dialogue/backstory, more action and some added gore. Ripley learning of her daughter's death upped the whole “mother” thematic of the piece and gave her more depth while the robot sentry gun sequence blessed me with more wam/bam/splat and additional build-up as to the mayhem to come. I also dug the little character touches like more Hudson talking shit ("squad of ultimate badasses") or Ripley and Hicks exchanging their first names before a pivotal moment. Good shit!

The only added footage that I could have done without was the "day in the life of colonists" on Hadley's Hope. It kind of felt out of place and removed some of the mystery that worked so well in the theatrical cut. The way the bit finished though (with Newt’s family coming across the derelict alien ship from ALIEN) was appreciated and a nice tie in to the first flick.  NOTE: I always wanted to see that slime-ball Burke suffer like he deserved to. Bummer this DELETED SCENE of a cocooned Burke "begging like a dog" never made it in either cuts. END OF NOTE.

My only true peeves with the ALIENS (both cuts) are minor. No matter how many times I see it, I always have a hard time believing that the ALIEN QUEEN was able to squeeze in that little shuttle oh so quickly and un-detected to hitch a ride. Suspension of disbelief had to be applied by this twat. And why did Ripley not close the airlock (after getting rid of the big fem bug) the same way she had opened it? It would have made more sense than having to climb all the back way up, battle the wind & potential doom to shut the upper door. Is it me? Maybe I missed something. Who cares! Microscopic blemishes on a shiny jewel.

On the whole, ALIENS is THAT film – one that refuses to age and that is top of the line every damn time I watch it. Jim Cameron and company busted their asses to do it, Cameron himself was ALL IN in terms of investment and passion and it f*cking showed. I dare you to find a more complete horror, sci-fi, action flick than ALIENS; and this D.Cut was simply a delight to sit through. We've all heard "they don't make films like this anymore" and that line applies 200% to this badboy. If you’ve never seen ALIENS - shame on you. And if the D.Cut has eluded you thus far – RECTIFY! That’s an order private!

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7:24PM on 05/19/2017

Such a great movie, either cut

I agree wholeheartedly with this assessment of this fantastic film. I am rather partial to the theatrical cut for the most part but you are correct about the lack of Ellens' daughter subplot. It would have driven the whole 'Mother' theme better for sure. It still works with the Newt relationship though. I also can't say enough good things about this flick, I'm pretty stoked to watch it again tomorrow night. My lady has never seen it so naturally an introduction is in order. Cheers!
I agree wholeheartedly with this assessment of this fantastic film. I am rather partial to the theatrical cut for the most part but you are correct about the lack of Ellens' daughter subplot. It would have driven the whole 'Mother' theme better for sure. It still works with the Newt relationship though. I also can't say enough good things about this flick, I'm pretty stoked to watch it again tomorrow night. My lady has never seen it so naturally an introduction is in order. Cheers!
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