I don’t throw out 10/10 scores often, much less for sequels. Aliens deserves it. Cameron successfully re-engineers Scott’s sci-fi/horror into sci-fi/action/horror with amazing results. Ripley has huge character growth and kicks ass, there’s corporate scheming, action galore and the comedy is on point, not to mention an expansion of the Xenomorph species.
The horror elements are still in the mix. Surprise encounters, gore, and plenty of tense moments ensure that even though there’s plenty of action, there’s just as much horror as the original.
Still, what impresses me years on is the writing. The characters are brilliantly realised on the page, and all the main players are excellent at bringing them to life. This film cemented me as a fan of Michael Biehn. He’s so reserved amongst some huge personalities, but he totally owns everyone.
There is one annoyance: James Horner’s score. It’s littered with self-plagiarism and I cringe whenever those cues show up.
Prior to Blu-ray, Aliens on home video looked like ass. Between the film stock used and the shape of the master it was a bit of a mess. This remaster is phenomenal. Detail, especially in close-ups, is amazing. Colours are more accurate. Grain is handled well. I’d love a UHD though.
For the most part, it’s an excellent mix for an 80’s action film. The combat scenes sound great. Occasionally some of the sound effects have a bit of a boxy sound and a few lines of dialogue are less than ideal clarity-wise, but on the whole, it’s a good mix.