Last night I went to the screening of James Cameron’s1986 film ALIENS that was put on by this esteemed website. The screening and ticketing was created and organised by Darran, Leith and Aaron. From the outside, it may not seem like much to arrange for a 20 year old 35mm print and screen it in a local multiplex, but there’s a lot more to it than it seems. I’m a member of the AccessReel team, but all I needed to do was write the Alien Top 5. I’d just like to acknowledge the sheer grunt work of the others before moving on.
ALIENS is one of my favourite films. Since I first saw it at the movies 23 years ago, it has never dropped out of my list. Watching the sometimes scratchy print last night, I remembered how gobsmacked I was that first time. I didn’t realise how clever the pacing was. I didn’t get all the clever stuff Cameron was doing with stereotypes and audience expectation. It was just a suspenseful, bone-jarring ride.
A generation later, and ALIENS creaks a little. There are faster, deadlier aliens and many more women on screen who kick ass and take names. But in 1986, it was a brilliant blend of ideas and filmmaking technique and most of it still stands up. The story telling is gripping, the characters are compelling and the audience really connects with the besieged marines.
Ridley Scott’s ALIEN broke ground by making space the scariest place imaginable. James Cameron’s sequel grabbed a fistful of zeitgesit-y ideas about action, war movies and gender roles and presented them in a new and exciting way.
Sitting in a cinema of ALIENS fans was a real pleasure. I could hear the occasional phrase or line of dialogue being whispered; Newt’s “mostly” was repeated by half a dozen punters; everyone poised for Hudson’s “Game Over”. These are people – dammit – we are people who have seen the film a bunch of times, but still love going back to planetoid LV-426 to see Ripley and the Colonial Marines take on the deadliest mother Alien in over 300 surveyed worlds.
It was great to see you all there – AccessReel members and ALIENS fans and we can’t thank you enough for attending and making this first screening a success.
So what now? As I left the cinema, I heard a number of you talking about how much you enjoyed this one. Is there anything you’d like to see? What classic film of yesteryear would you pay to view again on the big screen?
Let us know what you want and we will see if it’s possible. Become an AccessReel member (free) and we can organise more of screenings because that will give us some indication of your level of interest.
Thinking caps on folks, what other classic movies would you like to see?