YMMV / Aliens

  • Award Snub: Subverted in that Sigourney Weaver did get nominated for Best Actress, in an industry that even by 2016 doesn't reward science fiction movies outside of the technical categories like Visual Effects.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Newt. She's either The Scrappy (to the point where the fandom supports the third film for killing her off) or she's The Woobie.
  • Better on DVD: The extended cut restores Newt's backstory, where her father was the first colonist who was infected, and Ripley's subplot of her heartbreak over losing her daughter during hypersleep, thereby adding a much deeper dimension to her relationship with Newt. These additions do interfere with the film's pacing, however; it's up to the individual viewer's opinion as to whether or not the trade-off is worth it.
  • Broken Base: This movie is either considered to be a worthy followup to the original or the inferior to the original, but critically it is considered better than anything after it. This is especially prominent on IMDB, where the user reviews range from the majority of very positive to the Vocal Minority of outright hate.
  • Discredited Meme: Carrie Henn, who played Newt, has said that she hates the line "They mostly come at night. Mostly." Possibly because people spin it into the worst pickup line ever.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Hudson, having so many memorable lines.
    • Bishop, to the point that he's basically the second main character of the Alien franchise after Ripley.
    • Vasquez as well thanks to Jeanette Goldstein's iconic performance, to the point that she got a trope named after her.
    • Sergeant Apone, who influenced several other sergeant characters of his type such as Johnson of Halo fame. This is especially impressive considering he was one of the first people to die, which demonstrates just how much of an impact he left on viewers.
    • And there is also Pvt Wierzbowski, who despite not having a single line in the movie has his own website.
  • Even Better Sequel: While the original Alien is a great movie - interesting characters, creepy and horrifying designs for the alien, it introduced the xenomorph life cycle to an unsuspecting populace, and so on - the second movie is widely (though not universally) regarded as a better film. It also benefited from a Genre Shift from straight up Horror to Action Horror, which meant that instead of suffering from Sequelitis, Aliens was able to do things its own way. In general, which film any individual viewer considers the better one usually comes down to which genre they prefer.
  • Genre Turning Point:
    • In American futuristic SF, the role of women was changed forever because of this film. Afterward, there was no room for any Neutral Female or Damsel in Distress in the future for any major female character; now they are expected to grab a weapon and join the fighting as much as any man.
    • This was also the movie that made it stylish to have your future soldiers use high-tech kinetic firearms instead of "ray guns".
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In-universe, there's the early scene where Ripley has a nightmare about having a chestburster inside her, which actually happens in Alien³.
    • The dropship crash, after the film's composer James Horner's death crashing his plane in June 2015.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Vasquez asks Ferro about Ripley "Who's Snow White?" Ten years later Sigourney Weaver plays Snow White's stepmother in Snow White: A Tale of Terror. The line was also meant to use Snow White as a metaphor for 'weak female'. Then comes Snow White's Xenafication in the film Snow White and the Huntsman and the TV show Once Upon a Time.
  • Idiot Plot: Invoked Trope, as Cameron was making a Vietnam war allegory, and 'Nam was known for its lax, confusing, and downright chaotic approach to military protocol. The marines are bored, overconfident jocks led by an incompetent commander who think they're on a routine mission but find themselves wildly out of their depth.
    • They were overconfident and failed to set up appropriate backup plans before being stranded on LV-426. Justified in that Burke was pulling strings to place an inexperienced lieutenant in command that he could boss around and wanted someone to get infected so he could sneak Alien embryos back to Earth.
    • Why a massive spaceship is sent out with two dropships and for some reason nobody stays behind (is there no Navy in charge of running the ship?), not even a second platoon in case of emergency, is never explained. Maybe that's Burke manipulations again?
    • The survivors plan their escape once they learn the facility will self-destruct in about four hours. The plan is to send Bishop to the relay transmitter to remote-pilot the remaining dropship to the top of the facility, with only a little bit of time to spare. However, their planning stops there, as there appear to be no discussions about how to reach the dropship once it's down and being prepared to leave to reach it in time. As a result, the survivors separate themselves all around the complex and Ripley & Newt take naps, allowing for Burke's scheme to infect the two with alien embryos. When the aliens attack, the survivors actually weld the doors shut, trapping them inside the facility that is about to explode. If it wasn't for Newt pointing out a surprise route to the relay transmitter using the ventilation shafts, the survivors would have all been blown to pieces even had they managed to hold off the Xenomorphs.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The phrase, "Nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure," is often used. A minor alteration is to simply tag "It's the only way to be sure" to any drastic suggestion.
    • Imitating Hudson's line, "Game over, man! Game over!" Or just about anything Hudson says really.
    • Keeping something handy "for close encounters."
    • "Stay Frosty"
    • "They mostly come at night. Mostly."
    • "Get away from her, you bitch!" along with the concept of the Power Loader/Alien Queen fight.
    • Bishop's knife trick predates this film by hundreds of years, but is likely only well-known today as a result of it.
    • Honestly, it would be easier to just call this movie a massive Fountain of Memes and be done with it. Almost every line of dialogue, every story beat, and every character name has entered pop culture.
  • Misaimed Fandom: It's remarkable that, given this movie is the launchpad for the modern Space Marine trope, the Colonial Marines depicted fare pretty badly despite their boastful bravado... since according to Word of God, that is the point. Cameron has related at length that the film is an allegory of The Vietnam War, and all of the military failures and senseless loss that conflict entailed. Unfortunately, audiences decided instead that it was awesome. He even had to go back and do the whole thing over again from the aliens' side to get the message across... Which also kinda backfired.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Burke locking Ripley and Newt in a soundproof room with two facehuggers so he can smuggle the alien embryos back to Earth.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Fans who dislike Newt usually point to her extremely, almost inhumanly high-pitched squeal, which sounds more like a tailpipe whistle than a screaming child.
  • Most Wonderful Sound Fans love the high pitched shrieks and squeals the aliens make so much that there was outrage that it wasn't included in Aliens: Colonial Marines, even though they have been the preferred vocalisations used in all previous Aliens videogames. The same goes with the sounds the Pulse Rifles and Smartguns make when they fire.
  • Sci Fi Ghetto. Averted. Sigourney Weaver received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress as Ripley.
  • Sequelitis: The film avoided this by using a completely different genre. While Alien was more horror/suspense, Aliens was a pretty straightforward sci-fi action film with a few moments of suspense/horror. Everything after the first two movies tries to copy one of those two formulas.
  • Signature Scene: Ripley, via the Power Loader, vs the Alien Queen.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • Towards the end of the movie, when "torn-in-half" Bishop stretches to stop Newt from being sucked out an airlock, the hole in the floor he's actually standing in and his lower body are clearly visible. The guys doing the technical commentary actually point it out on the DVD (one says he'd seen the film several times before he ever noticed it). This was fixed in the Blu-Ray release of the film.
    • More of an editing failure, but prior to the Blu-ray release there's a scene where Ripley takes a Pulse Rifle and Flamethrower off the rack and tapes them together over 4 shots. The failure is in the weapons swapping when she places them down. (She grabs a flamethrower and puts down a rifle, then vice versa).
      • There's another small goof when she's putting together the weapon. When she first slaps in a magazine, the count on the rifle reads 95, but when she's on the elevator a moment later it reads 42 (like the rifle she was training with earlier).
    • The dropship suffers from some very obvious green screen matting at some points.
    • When Ripley and Newt are standing on the landing platform at the end, just before the Alien Queen exits the elevator, the rear-projection backdrop of the atmosphere processor is just awful, and the pieces of debris clearly being thrown by stagehands just off-screen make it look even worse.
    • When Ripley and Newt are trapped with the facehuggers and Newt tells Ripley to break the glass of the window, the "glass" rebounds from the chair just like plastic (though this could easily be explainable by it being a futuristic material that people just call "glass" for short).
    • When Bishop does his knife trick, Apone nodding his head in the background makes it very obvious that the footage was sped up.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Halo takes a great deal of inspiration from Aliens, including the space marines, the flying dropships, kinetic weapons, battles with parasitic aliens, and Sergeant Johnson, who is basically just Apone with a different name.
    • Aliens itself is often referred to as a stealth adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers — and a far more faithful adaptation to the later officially-licensed film. And even though it was just one suit, Aliens even had more Powered Armor than the actual Starship Troopers film franchise (at least until the third, straight-to-DVD film).
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Because of the incredible time pressure that James Horner was under when he composed the Aliens score, he borrows from his own Klingon theme from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, as well as Khachaturian's Gayane Adagio. Horner could get away with using Khatchaturian's work (originally published in 1942) since at that time, Western nations only recognized copyrights in the Soviet Union dating from 1973.
  • Values Dissonance: A deleted scene of pre-infestation Hadley's Hope has Newt's mother get her to settle down by threatening to spank her, something that would raise eyebrows today. More bizarrely enough, the novel claims smoking is okay due to lacking nicotine, whereas smoking in general has become frowned upon regardless of content.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The Alien Queen designed by Stan Winston helped him win his first Special Effects Oscar. The same goes with the other Power Loader that fought it, which caused many companies to demand a real-life one.
    • The same goes with the Xenomorphs. Only a few full suits were built and yet every trick in the book was used to give the illusion of multiple aliens fighting the marines.
    • The best thing about it ? They did all this on a 17 million dollars budget.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Dropship pilot and gunner leave the loading ramp open and unguarded during their stand-by. They may have wanted to save time and fuel by landing close by instead of returning to ship or staying in the air but open ramp puts this into Too Dumb to Live territory.
    • Ripley and Burke for not speaking up to explain to the Marines why they had to switch from pulse rifles to flame throwers. Well, that might have been Burke following his own agenda, but it's less justified with Ripley.
    • Having no backup on the Sulaco is inexcusable.
    • A light example with Ripley in the xenomorph nest where she manages to get Newt out relatively unmolested from the warrior drones by threatening to burn the Queen's eggs... and just burns the eggs and destroys the Queen's egg sac, anyway. Had she just left with Newt, the entire xenomorph population would have been incinerated in the meltdown. As such, she motivates the Queen to come after her and makes her mobile to do so, to where the Queen stows aboard the ship and attacks which endangers the survivors, destroys Bishop, and allows all of the the third movie to happen.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Inverted. The film has some intentional parallels to the Vietnam War according to James Cameron.
  • The Woobie: Newt. She's been orphaned and traumatized by an alien attack and continues to be antagonized by the monsters throughout the movie. To make things worse, the happy ending with Ripley is undone by her death in the third.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Aliens