Saturday, June 2, 2012

Aliens Was Full of Strange Character Decisions

In advance of Prometheus no doubt, they're showing Aliens on Syfy right now.  I was obsessed with this thing when I was in junior high (as you can guess by my current obsession with Prometheus).  Re-watching it, I notice two things:

1) I can still recite most of the dialogue along with it (I'm almost doing it unconsciously)
2) It has problems.  Such as:

- Why didn't they give the marines any information about what they're facing ahead of time?  Yes, the little presentation Ripley gave on the ship before the drop is for our benefit, but there may be more plot-sensible ways to do it.

- Why such a small detachment of marines for a colony that's so valuable?  Or, to bring back specimens if that is (again) the company's real motivation?

- The whole drop preparation seems pretty nonchalant for walking into a whole colony on a planet with a known hostile species that's completely lost contact.

- Humans and xenomorphs are both facing an alien environment on this planet, yet not much is made of this.  What advantages do we have against them, especially once the terraforming began?

- Possible inconsistency:  LV426 always seemed cold, although one of the shots in the trailer shows "165 F".  Will be interesting to learn a little more about the planet.  (I'm looking forward to Iceland as a backdrop.)

- Why was the information about these mean critters lost after Ripley's initial landing? (Why for that matter after Prometheus?) Any responsible writer will identify these holes and have some explanation.

- In Aliens we find out that they didn't go look for the space jockey's ship until Burke's order sent them.  How long were they there before that without finding it themselves?  Not very good space colonists.  And if the whole idea of sending another small crew is so they get infected and bring some back, why would Burke be so stupid as to go along?

- Could it possibly have made sense for the whole crew to drop down the gravity well in these kinds of operations, even if a couple of them are in the drop ship.  (Which, yes, was one of the HK models from Cameron's Terminator, which also used Michael Biehn and Bill Paxton.)

Okay, I'll stop now.  And I don't care about the rest of the Alien movies.  One a scale of one to five stars I rate them somewhere between ass and ass prime.

The first Alien scared the hell out of me because I saw it on HBO when I was five years old.  This one kind of scared me too.  I've noticed a pattern where I repetitively watch and internalize things that horrify me.  This is similar to my experience with metal, which in my early teens also scared me, and believe it or not with power chords - because for some reason, the Peanuts theme (and several other childhood songs) also terrified me.  I've talked to other metalheads who have similar patterns of behavior, i.e. gravitating to things that initially terrified them when they were younger.

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