Aliens ★★★

Whereas I feel an extensive need to qualify my ranking of Alien as less than a masterpiece, I certainly don't feel the same obligation here. Cameron knows how to make a fun movie, and this definitely is one, but it simply isn't on the same level as its predecessor. The characters are adequate at best, throwaway far more often. It suffers from a clear sense of sequelitis, most notably in the way of "Well the last film had one alien, let's now have one hundred". I had my qualms about Scott's villain, and in multiplying that Cameron also multiplies those problems. Not to mention that the sense of threat is far far less when each individual creature becomes—necessarily to the plot, I concede—so easily dispatched. Still, the good things outweigh the bad, and Cameron does a fine job of following up a popular film by doing something entirely different. The action is a lot of fun, the production design is again rather wonderful, the creatures themselves are gloriously odd. I thought the Queen looked a little silly in her movements at times, hardly a surprise when it depends on a team of 16 or so to conduct it. It could stand to lose half an hour at least, maybe more so in the beginning. The buildup works reasonably well, but with the relentless action to follow it might have been a better idea to just jump right in and even further distance the tone from Scott's.