Sequel to: Alien (1979)
Followed by: Alien3 (1992), Alien Resurrection (1997), Alien vs. Predator (2004), Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), Prometheus (2012)
Written by: James Cameron, David Giler and Walter Hill
Directed by: James Cameron
Better than original? This writer thinks yes, but they are different types of films. Alien is more horror/suspense, while Aliens is more action.
HUDSON: Game over man, game over!
RIPLEY: Get away from her, you bitch!
(How can I choose between these two iconic quotations?!)
Taking Ripley Scott’s iconic xenomorphic terror in space (where no one can hear you scream) to its Logical continuation, James Cameron answers the question on everyone’s (well, his at the time, at least) mind of “with how scary and damaging one alien was, what would happen with one hundred?” with the action-packed Aliens. Geek heroine icon Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is discovered in suspended animation many decades after destroying her ship Nostromo. Soon she is attached to a group of badass space marines (effectively led by that staple of 80s James Cameron movies, Michael Biehn) and a smarmy corporation suit (Paul Reiser) as they go back to the fateful planet where a face hugger was first encountered, as the somewhat-recently-founded colony there has gone silent. With an effective slow build leading up to heart-pounding near-non-stop action as the acidic blood hits the fan (while still allowing for touching character development), Aliens holds up incredibly well even today. Whether or not it is the best of the Alien series is up for debate, as the original is still a very effective horror movie. It all depends on whether one likes horror or action more. But who among us doesn’t know that when in doubt, we should just nuke the site from orbit? It’s the only way to be sure.
— K. Burtt
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Cube 2: Hypercube, X-Men 2: The Last Stand, Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man’s Chest, Highlander II: The Quickening, Piranha II: The Spawning, Friday the 13th Part 2, Jaws 2, Spider-Man 2, Men in Black 2, Scream 2, Alien3, Toy Story 3 and all of the Resident Evil sequels.
Compiled by Kate Nagy