No one wants to admit it, but one of the most difficult tasks any filmmaker is likely to have in their career is making a sequel befitting of the original film. Most sequels deem themselves comfortable to just re-mold themselves into a pale, often lifeless, imitation of their predecessor and call it a day. No need to expand on the stunning, potential-laden world and characters you’ve been handed. Luckily, this isn’t true for all sequels, and there exists a handful of them that do just that. Look no further than Aliens
(1986), which has just recently celebrated its 35th anniversary.
’s epic follow-up to Ridley Scott
(1979) has been lauded since its release for laying the groundwork for what marketable sequels should do with the budget they’ve been afforded. Compared to the original film, which identifies itself not even as a science fiction piece, but more as one of stalking horror within an altogether unconventional haunted house known as the spaceship Nostromo
, Cameron’s continuation of the story is longer, contains legitimate action sequences that were revolutionary in their time, and, as the title would suggest, offers up an even deadlier adversary that has multiplied in numbers.
In no way does Cameron ever seek to tell the same story that Scott developed with screenwriter Dan O’Bannon
. Just as many believe this is precisely what makes it arguably the greatest sequel ever made, so too has it invited its fair share of detractors who tend to argue that Cameron’s ambition in honoring the original film with his own originality ultimately leads to the film’s undoing. In their eyes, this largely comes down to how the protagonist, Ellen Ripley, as portrayed by Sigourney Weaver
in both films, is portrayed in