So far this year I have seen two fast-paced action films where there is a leading lady and not a leading man who lets their fists do the talking – my reviews for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Haywire will be up next week.
For today’s edition of Favourites Friday I thought I’d carry on this action leading lady theme with a look at Aliens, starring Sigourney Weaver as the fantastic Ellen Ripley. Weaver portrayed Ripley in 1979’s Alien before reprising her role in all of the Alien sequels: Aliens (1986), Alien 2 (1992) and Alien Resurrection (1997).
I’ve decided to focus on Aliens as, while Ripley does kick ass in each one of the films, it’s Aliens where I think she is particularly fiesty.
Directed by James Cameron
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn and Carrie Henn
IMDb: “The planet from Alien has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?”
WHO IS RIPLEY?
- Ranked No 9 on Empire magazine’s ‘The 100 Greatest Movie Characters‘, Ripley is the main protagonist of the Alien series.
- A human, in Alien she is a warrant officer aboard the Nostromo, a spaceship from planet Thedus returning to Earth.
- In Aliens she is the only survivor of Nostromo, and is rescued and revived after drifting for 57 years in stasis.
- She had a daughter, Amanda Ripley McClaren, who died sometime between Alien and Aliens.
WHY SHOULD YOU WATCH ALIENS?
In my opinion, Ripley is the ultimate action heroine, and Aliens shows her off at her best. Weaver did a great job in Alien and an even better job in Aliens, which she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, in fact.
The main protagonist of the film, Ripley joins a group of marines as they investigate why contact has been lost with LV-426, the now colonized planet from Alien. Hesitant and anxious about revisiting the dangerous creatures that she had encountered 57 years earlier, Ripley only joins the marines after being promised that the group is going to destroy the creatures, not study them.
Bearing in mind that she is with a group of marines, it is Ripley who is the real warrior of the group. She has knowledge of the creatures from her previous encounter with them, and she uses this to great effect. She knows how these creatures work and what to do to defeat them. That isn’t to say that the mission goes smoothly, far from it, in fact.
The only surviving colonist is a young girl who goes by the nickname ‘Newt’. Highly traumatized, Newt stays close to Ripley. Because of Newt, Ripley’s maternal instincts really come into their own and she becomes an incredibly tough, protective surrogate mother towards Newt. It is about Newt that she says to the Queen Alien: “Get away from her, you bitch!”
If you want to watch a movie with a truly kick ass female lead, the Alien series is a fantastic place to start.