The Alien films are great in and of themselves, but one thing I've just recently begun to appreciate much more is the fact that H.R. Giger never gave the titular Xenomorphs a single defined gender, instead opting to make them a "horrific blurring of both sexes". Why is this so brilliant? Simple, they're aliens. These are creatures whose biology is so unlike our very own that the conventional labels of "male" and "female" do not apply to them. It also makes the aliens far more terrifying. After all, lions, in comparison, are also scary, but at least we know they have clearly defined genders.-baronobeefdip
When I first saw Aliens as a kid, I thought the wholesale slaughter of the marines was just a Conservation of Ninjutsu thing or that the ones who died were the rookies or bottom tier. Only upon rewatching the film as a teen and adult did I really catch all the references to previous missions, the tight comaraderie within the unit, the graffiti on the equipment and realize that the marines were, in fact, the biggest badasses in the universe. Every last one of them. And it made no difference to the aliens.
I realized something really where elite soldiers and they sent in a few elites to deal with the problem. The aliens were no match for them in technology, firepower or training. In a fair fight a Marine would easily win over the xenomorph (which we see them do), but the xenomorphs took on an unfair fight. They were able to instead use stealth to always take the marines by surprise, their superior knowledge of the facility (and ability to move through ducts and the like) plus superior numbers to turn the fight to their advantage. This is EXACTLY what made the Vietcong win in Vietnam: No matter how much better trained the Americans were, the guerrilla warfare of the Vietcong was what gave them their advantage.
Another xeno-related Fridge Brilliant moment is the titular aliens own behavior. These are not your typical "Take Over the World" aliens, nor do they want to be your friend. These are, in essence, wild animals. You cannot reason with, bribe, or have a philosophical conversation about the "meaning of life" with a Xenomorph. And, they're not downright evil, but are simply just trying to survive/protect their hive and/or queen. They're acting out of instinct, which makes them somewhat sympathetic while still scary as hell.
Ripley: You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a god damned percentage.
A lot of people wondered why the Predalien looked so radically different from the human-born aliens, whereas the dog alien from the third movie looked pretty much the same aside from some cosmetic differences. Then I realized that of course the Predalien looks so different from the ones that burst from earth-bound species, a Predator would have a DNA structure that's completely different then any creature from Earth. They evolved on two different planets and a human would share more of it's DNA with a dog then with a Predator.
Even if their DNA isn't totally different, the predators clearly have vastly superior DNA to humans or dogs. It makes perfect sense that the reason human and canine xenomorphs look so different from a predator xenomorph is because the predator simply has better genes. The xenomorphs themselves have DNA, if we take the Queen as having "pure" xenomorph DNA, then the implanted young take only the very best from their hosts. If the DNA of their hosts are only better in some regards, for mammals it seems to be bone structure, then they will only take THOSE traits while keeping their own xenomorph DNA which designs their inner jaws and their colouration, acid blood, ect. If we assume the premise that xenomporphs are biological weapons, they almost seem to be evolution itself made into a weapon. Ridley grew up a religious man, meaning he might not have the best views of evolution. What better a way to make the entire premise seem absolutely horrifying than to make an organism that is a bioweapon, and its modus operandi is to use the selective variation in organisms against them? Become better in their own environments than they are?
One has to wonder why elite colonial marines were killed faster then civilians on the Nostromo. It's because the people on the Nostromo were dealing with one alien while the soldiers were dealing with dozens of fully grown Bad Ass aliens.
Plus they walked into the Aliens' hive and lit one of their newborns on fire. That ticked them off pretty bad.
They might not have actually been that elite. The company was the ones who requested them, and they wanted a live alien. You don't send utter badasses when you want survivors. They had several lines that hinted that they may not have been the best of the best. The company might have asked the marine command for some disposable grunts and a poor officer.
Still, you'd expect at least a few of them to put up a agood fight or at least escape.
They did, the initial ambush at least. And then they were severely outnumbered and extremely low on ammo, practically stranded.
The events of Prometheus provide a plausible explanation for why Mother was able to decode some of the distress signal in Alien.
A lot of the things that don't make sense about the Xenomorph make a lot of sense if you consider the possibility that they were designed as weapons- Hollywood Acid for blood: defence mechanism as well as the 'living battery' idea proposed in the comics. Ability to reproduce with almost any species: A perfect way of making more of then that demoralises the enemy in the process, as well as incorporating the abilities of other species in the Xenomorph's 'design'.
Might seem horrific, but a lot of Weyland-Yutani's actions are a lot more understandable if you look at it the right way. They want the aliens as bioweapons. Seems like a fairly typical power-hunger thing that any bunch of General Rippers would do, right? Until you think about who they might need to use them on. The galaxy has just been proven to contain other intelligent, spacefaring lifeforms, or at least it did, ones vastly superior to humanity. And they're probably still around. Even if they're not, other species probably are — indeed, given the implied connections between the two 'verses, the Yuat-ja are certainly still around. Controlling the aliens provides Earth with a guaranteed-effective weapon against any aggressors. In essence, they're looking for a trump card to insure the survival of the human race. In that context, they might still be crazy, but they're more Knight Templar types than the omnicidal maniacs that they look like otherwise.
Aliens Colonial Marines may seem like it's Retconing things when it explains that a Chestburster gestates inside a parasitic "mock-womb" that will kill the host even if the xenomorph embryo is removed, but this actually explains something: in every continuity, we almost never see facehugged victims ever be surgically cured; surely, sheer practicality would dictate that even for a Megacorp it's more profitable to surgically extract a grown Chestburster from a victim than allow it to deliver itself in the usual lethal manner, but nobody ever does so. Even the rare benevolent "xeno-farmers" use surgical clone-lumps (non-sentient masses of clone-grown human tissue and organs) and let the Chestburster grow and remove itself from them.
At the same time, Ripley 8 having her Chestburster surgically removed makes sense; Alien: Resurrection is set several centuries into the future of the timeline of the rest of the Alien franchise.
Do you remember the scene toward the end of Alien when, after hearing the sounds of Parker and Lambert being killed by the creature over the radio, Ripley rushes to the scene and sees the bloody corpses? Look more closely next time you watch it. You can clearly Parker's dead face, but it took me several rewatches to realise that the corpse in the foreground has dark skin, not Lambert's pale skin. That isn't two corpses: it's Parker torn into two pieces. That leaves one last question: Where is Lambert? Ponder all of that and the whole sequence becomes exponentially more chilling.
There was a deleted scene where Ripley found Lambert and Dallas cocooned and impregnated. Still fairly nightmarish when you consider that the original draft had the Alien rape Lambert when she was being attacked.