The "Alien" trilogy is composed of "Alien" (1979), "Aliens" (1986) and "Alien 3" (1992). There was a fourth film in the franchise, 1997's "Alien: Resurrection." Ridley Scott, James Cameron and David Fincher directed the "Alien" films, respectively. All of the films feature the recurring central character of Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver. The films depict various human encounters in outer space with a deadly extraterrestrial life form.
The original "Alien" depicts a crew in outer space who land on a remote planet. Members of the crew sent out to scout find a large assortment of alien eggs aboard a spaceship. The eggs hatch and an entity attaches itself to the face of a crew member, Kane, played by John Hurt. The alien subsequently leaves his face and dies. In one of the most famous scenes in film history, the entire crew sits around eating dinner. Kane breaks into violent convulsions, and an alien bursts through his chest. "Alien" chronicles the exploits of the crew as they battle the lethal alien that is loose aboard their ship. Ripley, the hero and lone survivor of the crew, has a classic encounter with the alien at the end of the film.
"Aliens" differs from the original film in one major way. Whereas the first movie was a horror film set in outer space, "Aliens" is much more of an action film. The second installment follows Ripley as she returns to the planet where she first met the alien. Along for the ride are a group of Marines and a corporate executive played by Paul Reiser pre-"Mad About You." The film, as indicated by the plural title, involves a great number of the aliens hunting Ripley and the Marines. The final scene of the film is legendary, featuring Ripley battling the mother alien while strapped into a robotic device used for moving heavy objects.
"Alien 3" is notable for being the first film directed by David Fincher, of "Seven," "Fight Club" and "The Social Network" fame. The film picks up where the previous one left off with Ripley crashing onto a planet that houses a prison occupied by violent convicts. Unbeknownst to Ripley, the mother alien had left an egg on the spacecraft at the climax of "Aliens." The egg hatches on the prison planet, releasing the alien. "Alien 3" depicts the struggle to survive between the alien and Ripley and the prisoners. The film features many action sequences but also features a return to the Gothic style of the original.
Acid For Blood
One striking feature of the alien creature itself is its blood. We learn of this in the first film and it used more as a plot device in the second. When this life form is injured, it bleeds an acid-like substance. This adds to the horrifically predatory nature of the creature: Even when it is hurt, it can hurt you. There is a scene in the second film where an alien has bled, and the blood creates holes in several levels of the complex as it drips downward.
Female Action Hero
The 1980s were the age of the male action hero. The Ripley character perhaps stands as one of the only major female lead heroes from the action genre during that era. This has much to do with James Cameron, who also cast a woman as the hero in "The Terminator" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."
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