With our ALIENS screening just a day away on Wednesday December 8th, AccessReel has decided to countdown the 5 reasons we love the James Cameron movie. The Number 2 reason is the movie’s director James Cameron.
Aliens is James Cameron’s first “A picture”. In 1981 he directed PIRANHA 2: THE SPAWNING and followed this up in 1984 with the the first Terminator film. THE TERMINATOR was a block-buster and a major work, but in terms of its origina it was conceived as an exploitation pic; Killer from the future, intense electronic score, woman in danger, the title itself – all these are the hallmarks of a film created to be a hit in drive-ins and as a video rental.
The reason TERMINATOR reached beyond it’s lowly B-Picture origins and budget was Cameron’s vision. His ability to create a future where machines would rise against humans was limited by the money available, but he dreamt big and that connected with both genre fans and movie-goers in general, making the film a bona fide hit.
In 1986, THE TERMINATOR got Cameron the ALIEN sequel that he eventually called ALIENS. He is quoted as saying that ALIENS was not meant to be more scary than the original film, but more “intense and exihilarating”. He and special effects guru Stan Winston worked on a design of the mother alien that was faithful to spirit of the original work of artist HR Giger. Cameron felt confident to make changes both cosmetically and with details like the Alien reproductive cycle.
Cameron is on record as saying he wanted to take the feel of US marines in1940s or 50s war movies but give them dialogue inspired by the recent Vietnam War. He also hinted in some interviews that shooting the sequel was somewhat of a battle in itself. ALIENS was made in England using substantially the same crew as ALIEN. His implication is that the UK crew were not impressed at having to work with an American upstart rather than the original English director, Ridley Scott.
Nonetheless, none of this tension can be seen in the final film. Cameron imagined a different world than the one of orignal movie. His film owes a great debt to the originality of Scott and his designers Giger and Cobb, however, Cameron worked hard to create a sequel that would have it’s own look and flavour and would enthral audiences. As we know, he succeeded admirably.
See ALIENS at our special AccessReel Members’ Screening on Wednesday December 8th. Click here for details.