Aliens, the 25th anniversary

Howdy all, sorry for the lack of, and poor post subjects,,, We are moving to Wyoming and all has been crazy at the Eaves house since March!!! Regardless I’ll try n keep the posts coming and get more art and Trek stuff up soon… But today is a special day and as many of you know that it is the 25th Anniversary of James Cameron’s Aliens. July the 18th, 1986 was the day and next to ‘the Empire Strikes Back” This was my favorite part two to any sequel ever made. Aliens is as good if not better in many ways to the fabulous original directed by Ridley Scott in 1979. Cameron wrote the story for Aliens and what he did was magic, not settling for an ordinary sequel he went in a whole new direction with the emphasis on high octane action, thrills and and creating the strongest female characters to ever grace the silver screen. It’s a perfect film in it’s style,  pacing, music, directing, creature design by the late master Stan Winston, the cast, and the brilliant production design. Ron Cobb was back at it again after his incredible work on Alien his strengths were unmatched with his fabulous designs for the drop ship, the armored transport and the entire terraforming complex. As always Ron’s work shines more to me than the actors. Joining the design crew for this installment is another favorite of mine, Syd Mead, Syd’s work has been a staple of science fiction in films since his trademark design style was first seen in Bladerunner. A master and high tec designs made him the perfect artist to design the military transport ship Sulaco. The team of Cobb and Mead for Aliens is in my opinion one of the best designed films to date. As Alfred Hitchcock & Bernard Herrman were a team so are James Cameron and James Honer. Honer’s score for Aliens is nothing less than brilliant. An expanded CD of the complete score came out a few years ago and it is one to have. Aliens is one great ride and leaves you wasted by the time the end credits role. Happy Anniversary Aliens and thank Jim for the awesome adventure.


the queen

the incredible Sigourney Weaver

Lance Henriksen

Mead's Sulaco

in color

Mead's hibernation chamber

Cobb's original design for the armored transport

cobb's drop ship

top of the drop

41 Responses to “Aliens, the 25th anniversary”

  1. July 18, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    First saw this movie as a double feature with david Cronenberg’s The Fly. My little mind has been warped ever since. Although I do like Alien a whole lot more. But this movie works in an entirely different way.

    • 2 johneaves
      July 18, 2011 at 10:59 pm

      And how all those incredible warped us all in a very good way!!! I love the original and even more so the directors cut,, as a matter of fact i love the longer Aliens too.

      • July 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

        Not a big fan of the Director’s cut of Alien but yeah longer version of Aliens is really good and I think the version Cameron likes more.

      • 4 johneaves
        July 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm

        What I liked most about the extended Alien was the dialog scene between Weaver and Cartright about the violated quarantine orders and also the extra scenes of Cartwright trying to find out where they were in space. one tiny throw away scene I loved was an upshot in the dripping water room with Harry Dean Stanton and you can see the Alien swinginging in the chains,, WAY COOL second of film. All the extra scenes in Alien are to die for, the hallway cannons stopping with only a couple of rounds left and of coarse the flashback scene of the pioneers discovering the Aliens ship

      • 5 evil_genius_180
        July 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm

        I’ve seen the cut scenes on the DVD (I have the standard cut, that stuff is available through the menu) and I think it’s just fine the way it is. I love the director’s cut of Aliens though. (Director’s cuts can’t save 3 or Resurrection, though)

  2. 6 evil_genius_180
    July 18, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Poor post subjects?! You keep letting us know about these important film anniversaries. I think the only one you’ve posted that I knew about ahead of time was The Empire Strikes Back. All others have been news to me. 🙂

    Aliens is an outstanding film. I first saw it a bit more than a decade ago on VHS, then I saw it again about 5 years ago on DVD. (I, of course, now own a copy :D) Awesome, awesome film. I love James Cameron’s style. Ridley Scott gave us the most frightening alien race imaginable. James Cameron gave us hordes of them. 😀 This is definitely one of my top Sci-Fi movies of all time. I agree with your comment about this and TESB being the two best sequels in history. TESB is my favorite Star Wars Film, this is my favorite Alien film (though, I only like the first two and AVP is OK.) The designs are all awesome. The Sulaco, the drop ship, the APC, all great. The terraforming station itself is freakin’ awesome. James Cameron’s writing is brilliant. This and the first Terminator are his two best films, IMO (though, I also like the 2nd Terminator, The Abyss, True Lies and Avatar really well.) James Horner’s score is freakin’ amazing, he’s definitely one of my favorite composers. Sigourney Weaver is awesome, I’m a big fan of her. Just great stuff from start to finish in this one.

    Anywho, great post, thanks for letting us know about this important anniversary and I hope the move goes well. 8)

    • 7 johneaves
      July 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks and the move is happening right when I start on Star Trek, UGH!!!!!

      I so concur!!!! your right on with all your points buddy!!!

      • 8 evil_genius_180
        July 19, 2011 at 8:04 pm

        Wow, talk about bad timing. Deadlines plus a move. I hope it goes well (or at least as well as it can) for you.

  3. July 19, 2011 at 12:08 am

    One of my favorites as well, and it’s all the more amazing when you think about the fact that all those Aliens and the Queen were fully realized, practical creature effects. If the battle between Ripley and the Queen were to be filmed today there’s no doubt that a hefty amount of CGI would be used. It must have hell to choreograph and film that fight on-set, and match it to the miniature modelwork, but Cameron and his crew pulled it off beautifully. Hard to believe a quarter-century has gone by because Aliens is as fresh now as the day it was released.

    • 10 johneaves
      July 19, 2011 at 9:30 am

      Yeah it was brilliantly filmed and the switch between full size and puppets for that queen battle is flawless, did you notice the queens feet are shaped like high heels!!!!

  4. 11 doubleofive
    July 19, 2011 at 6:51 am

    I love “Aliens”. A triumph in every way. And the designs for the movie are still “lovingly ripped off” today! Everyone that has “space marines” have dropships that look like that (see the Halo game series for the most obvious example).

  5. 13 Tallguy
    July 19, 2011 at 7:48 am

    So John, did you see this at the Cine Capri? Or were you out of AZ at that point?

    I had never seen Alien so we rented it on VHS. We watched Alien and got into the car when the credits rolled and drove to the midnight premier at the Capri.

    So when the curtains opened (literally, curtains) on Alien it had been something like an hour and a half since I had seen Alien. I challenge anyone to top that. (One of you bozos is going to tell me about how you watched it sitting on Sigourney Weaver’s lap or something, aren’t you?)

    • 14 johneaves
      July 19, 2011 at 9:27 am

      I’m sure I did, I tried to see everything at the Capri and was in Phoenix often to visit and get my Arizona fix

      • 15 johneaves
        July 19, 2011 at 9:28 am

        I did see the original Alien there and it was one of my first R rated films and what a doozie to start with

  6. July 19, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Whoa – really, so soon? Never have seen this particular Cobb concept art – thanks! Wyoming? OMG.

    Love Aliens – they should have just stopped with that one.

    • 17 johneaves
      July 19, 2011 at 9:25 am

      AND HOW!!!!!! We were all excited to be working on the third film after how cool 1 and 2 had been and we were building space craft models and landscape miniatures and knew nothing of the script so the first time we all saw #3 was at the screening and It was just awful!!!

      • July 19, 2011 at 4:14 pm

        I really like the alternate version of Alien three. I think it’s a much better movie than the one we got. But that movie had so many fingers in it’s pie nothing good could have come out of it.

      • 19 Jay
        July 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm

        I have to agree. I remember seeing Alien 3 with a couple of my buddies from college who were huge, huge, huge Alien fans – sculpted their own facehuggers and eggs type fans. It was well before we got online, so we knew very little about the movie beyond the trailers, but we were SUPER HYPED to see a new alen movie, after waiting for 5 years for a sequel. But we walked out of that theater in a daze. We just could not believe what we had seen. Technically it was fine and very professional, but we were just gutted that all the characters we had invested ourselves in from Aliens were dispatched so casually. Even Ripley, the quintessential survivor and overcomer, was little more than a victim of fate. And having her cradle her chestburster like a baby as she took the molten plunge was, I thought, really an insult to her character, particularly after she had been established as a real surrogate mother to Newt in the previous one. And I get, in retrospect, that “Oh, Fincher’s such an artist” and “nihilism was his thing at the time”, but as a 19 or 20 year old kid walking out of that theater on a Saturday night, I don’t know that I have ever been more disappointed in a movie before or since. “As disappointed”, yes – I mean, I expected “Batman & Robin” to be crap – but not more disappointed.

  7. 20 Richard Knapp
    July 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Hi John:
    Can’t believe its been 25 years since Aliens first came out. These anniversary posts are making me feel old 😉

    Great movie, I always thought the Sulaco was a cool design for a warship. Thanks for posting.

    Take Care,

  8. 22 Scott D
    July 19, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Aliens was my favorite out of all the Alien movies, because it was the scariest and it added the Space Marines to the genre. Would love to see them again in a future Aliens or Predator movies, because playing them in the AvP games is fun.

    And John, hope you have a safe move to the new location.

    • 23 johneaves
      July 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks and I am torn on which one is a fav, the original or Aliens,, depends on what day of the week it is, LOL

  9. 24 Tallguy
    July 19, 2011 at 11:21 am

    “As Alfred Hitchcock & Bernard Herrman were a team so are James Cameron and James Horner.”

    Ha! I missed this the first time around. My understanding is that their relationship on Aliens was anything but smooth. I heard tell one time that Cameron burst on to the scoring stage shouting “If I had WANTED Jerry Goldsmith I’d’ve HIRED Jerry Goldsmith!” There’s a reason that Horner didn’t score The Abyss or True Lies. Although Cameron temp-tracked the daylights out of the Abyss with Horner’s Brainstorm.

    That said, Aliens is a great score that does the movie nothing but favors. (As long as you’re not the type that has running in the back of his head “Ah, Capricorn One. Oh, Khan’s Pets. Etc.” 😉 )

    • 25 johneaves
      July 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      I worked with Cameron once and will never do it again,, to love his movies you have to keep your distance,, I completely understand the screaming on the sound stage,,,

    • 26 Jay
      July 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      I’m the type 🙂 I’m just glad Horner scored TWOK first, so that when I watch Aliens, I hear TWOK and not the other way around, if you know what I mean!

  10. 27 Spencer
    July 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Man!! Was it that long ago that Aliens came out, eh? I saw that movie when I was in college. I took my friends to see the movie, and they were a bit hesitant to see it at first. When the movie was over, they were talking about it. I always wonder how they did the “power loader” sequence. It always amazed me. Let’s not forget that this movie had no computer graphics special effects, and this movie is still awesome! Hope all goes well with you and your family for the move to Wyoming!

  11. 28 Jay
    July 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Oh my friend, you had me at Ron Cobb and Syd Mead.

  12. 30 the bluesman
    July 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Syd Mead and Ron Cobb are a design dream team! I do prefer Alien over Aliens, but I do enjoy Aliens as well. I can watch the drop ship crash over and over and not get tired of it. I also love the pulse riel and want one!

    great post John, and hope your move goes smoothly.

  13. 32 Razorgeist
    July 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    I like Aliens but as a horror fan I prefer the more atmospheric and creepy original as opposed to the more action oriented sequel.

  14. 33 Matt Boardman
    July 20, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Oh man! I remember the first time I saw this movie. I think I was 10. It was a Sunday evening and I was waiting to watch “The Flash” on CBS. Instead, that night, they had a Sunday Night Movie playing and “Aliens” was it’s name. Well, that 10 year old could help but be curious about this movie. So, I would sneak peeks at it, fearing that my dad would catch me at any moment! That night, I had nightmares of these scary looking creatures and of Bishop crawling through that tube. :: shudder :: I love it!

    Thanks for sharing, John! Hope the move goes well! I finally made it out to LA and wish we had had an opportunity to get together with deg!

  15. July 21, 2011 at 5:48 am

    I agree that Aliens & TESB are two of the best sequels ever made.
    I love Aliens more though such a cool film and can on it own.
    Story wise I think this is Cameron’s best work to date. That not to say I don’t love his other works, but this in a class of it own. I know that AVATAR 2 will be great I hope it will be on the same level as this or better.

    It will be interesting to see what Ridely does with the Prequels. One thing for sure it good to know he’s going back to sci-fi.

  16. 35 doubleofive
    July 21, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I just remembered that Aliens has one of the only film props I’ve ever touched!


    My professor in college found out that Paul Francis lived nearby, so they ended up becoming friends and Paul let us borrow the Nostromo escape shuttle (which may be the one from Alien, now that I think about it) and one of the troop transports from Independence Day. He also helped us weather the set (after I had just finished making it bright like the TOS set!) That’s actually me flying the ship in the 2nd row left picture.

    After we made the movie, I got to go tour his collection. I got to see some in-process Terminator endoskeletons, watched him weather a replica Predator mask, and look around at all of the original props and replicas he had. Probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done.

  17. 36 MickRC
    July 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    The chest-buster scene in Alien meant that I didn’t get to see Aliens in the theater as my wife was so completely repulsed by that one bit of the film that she has never watched another Alien movie. I really prefer the extended cut myself and am positive that it is the best movie in the series.

    As I was reading this, TWOK was playing on Epix so I switched the extra monitor over to tv mode and got to enjoy that too. To me, The Wrath of Khan was the best sequel ever made. Unlike Aliens and TESB which followed blockbuster original movies, TWOK followed a disappointing movie and saved the franchise.

    For years I used sound bites from movies as my Windows Startup, New Email, and Shutdown sounds. Windows Startup was either “Shall We Play A Game?” from Wargames (home PC) or “What a filthy disgusting job. Could Be Worse. How? Could be raining” from Young Frankenstein (work PC). New Email was Kirk saying “Stand by to receive our transmission” from TWOK and Windows shutdown was “That’s it – game over – game over, Man” from Aliens. Gotta love Bill Paxton – he got attacked by the Terminator in Terminator, by an Alien in Aliens and by a Predator in Predator 2.

  18. 37 xzoleekax
    July 25, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Wow 🙂 Awesome movie… and i saw it when i was 10 years old, because in Hungary this movie was banned and has got PG-18!! 🙂 But yea if i see this nowadays again, it still frighten me sometimes :)) And just for additional info, after i first seen this, i was looking behind my bed, searching for facehuggers for several weeks.. yayx xD

  19. 38 Jacob Sones
    July 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Wyoming! Outstanding! It’s a grand place to live, I know, I work at a college here! Let me know if you need directions or good places to eat!

  20. 39 MickRC
    July 30, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Speaking of Wyoming, I don’t know if they still have vintage waterbombers left in Graybull. If they do, should be some good photo ops there.

  21. August 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Great article, I wonder if you guys’d give us a plug:

    Aliens 25th Anniversary Convention, UK, Sept 24-25.


    £13 for a weekend tickets
    £5 per go in the Alien Encounter
    £1 to attend the Cast panel (1 hour)

    All proceeds go to Medi Cinema charity.

    Hope to see you there guys!


  22. October 25, 2011 at 3:16 am

    late entry:)
    hey was the “final” APC a Mead pass? I had always assumed the APC was his design, the Drop ship was a definite work of Cobb’s hand… and the early sketch of it, also shows Cobbs design style/forms.. but the final design of the APC filmed is all “circles and split triangles” ;;) im gonna assume you know what i mean;) …

    in agreement with most all else said… 😉

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July 2011

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