Aliens

  • Review Date: July 15, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 154 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Alien sequel is bigger, faster, scarier.
  • Review Date: July 15, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 154 minutes

Age

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A mothering instinct/motherly love drives both Ripley and the queen alien. Technology doesn't always guarantee sueriority in combat, as shown by gung-ho Marines charging into tunnels with high-powered guns only to get shredded to pieces by hordes of an enemy that keeps on coming -- director James Cameron's metaphor for the Vietnam War. 

Positive role models

Ripley turns from the fear-paralyzed victim of the original Alien film into a tough, idealized action-heroine. She even forssakes body armor and takes a combination gun-flame thrower and charges alone into the alien nest. A corporate executive character who claims to be "an OK guy" is really murderous and treacherous in his greed. What little we see of the world of the future seems dominated by evil businessmen and bullying soldiers. The multiracial Colonial Marines are overconfident, swaggering braggarts. 

Violence

Mostly in quick flashes, but still severe, as human characters are splashed with acid, torched with fire, or have little aliens bursting out of them. One man is literally torn in half, with the qualifier that "he" is an android, not human, with beige-colored blood and viscera. Gunfire, bombs, and flamethrowers are directed at the aliens. Much of the violence and lethal danger is threatened against a small child.

Sex

Indistinct glimpses of pin-up pictures in a locker room. Some mildly suggestive banter between co-ed Marines.

Language

"F--k" and "a--hole" in soldierly banter and anger.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking by the adults.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the relentless, ravenous clawed monsters iin Aliens, the sequel to Alien, are likely to give small kids (and others) nightmares. It's even more violent than the original. Besides the rerun of the grisly moment when embryonic aliens burst out of people (in reality and in dream scenes), we also see quick cuts of victims seared with acid, getting set on fire, and blowing themselves up with a grenade. Gunfire, bombs, and flamethrowers are directed at the aliens. Most disturbing of all -- or, at least, the most nakedly manipulative -- is the perpetual threat of ghastly violence/death/contamination directed at a frightened, screaming little girl. There's also a plethora of swearing and lots of adoring fondling of guns and high-powered weapons. 

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Revived from a coma-like state 50 years after aliens massacred her crew, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is forced to take on menial spaceport jobs. When communications with the new colony are lost, a slimy Company executive (Paul Reiser) convinces her to go back to the planet where the massive battle took place. Ripley sets out with a heavily armed squad of interplanetary Marines, all itching for action. At first, the colony seems deserted, except for a cowering girl named Newt (Carrie Henn). But a little more searching -- and nightfall -- brings out the aliens; hundreds of jaw-snapping, fanged, acid-bleeding horrors, unafraid of guns, who cut through the panicked Marines. It's Ripley who has to take charge of the mission (and uncover yet more Company treachery) if any of them are going to get away alive.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This sequel to Alien is bigger, faster, and way more amped-up than the moody, gothic-style interplanetary chills of the original. If it errs, it does so when director James Cameron insists on squeezing every last cliffhanger out of a nightmare scenario about being stranded in a remote place with a bunch of vicious, clawed creatures out to get you. Cameron conjures up a strong Vietnam metaphor (or U.S. military misadventure of your choice) in the proud, gung-ho warriors charging into battle with their fancy hardware, only to get shredded to pieces by hordes of a primitive enemy that keeps on coming. And the film is more than a little hard to take seriously when Ripley, forsaking even body armor, slaps together a gun-flamethrower combo and charges alone into the alien nest.

The director really seems to go over the line with the manipulation, putting the screaming little (orphan) girl in hideous peril every time the opportunity arises, and conniving to make sure that opportunity always does. Commentators love to point out, though, that both Ripley and the queen alien are essentially driven by mothering instincts -- Ripley to find a replacement for the child she lost while is suspended animation -- and they serve as mirror images of each other.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the military metaphor in the film; it's said James Cameron had Vietnam on his mind when he depicted a group of gung-ho Marines charging into tunnels only to get shredded to pieces by hordes of an enemy that keeps on coming. What could the characters have done differently? 

  • What do you think of the showdown between the bereaved mother Ripley and the monstrous mother alien queen?

  • How do think this sequel compares with the original Alien

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 16, 1986
DVD release date:June 1, 1999
Cast:Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser, Sigourney Weaver
Director:James Cameron
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Adventures, Great girl role models, Space and aliens
Run time:154 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:monster violence, and for language.

This review of Aliens was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byJuggernaut93 May 4, 2011
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Not for kids.

Aliens is one of my favorite movies ever, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone but older kids and adults. It is a cinema masterpiece, but not a kid friendly one. First off, violence. Though not as bad as modern horror movies like Saw and all that other crap (which I will never watch or review) in terms of gore, it can still get a bit intense. To fully grasp this, you need to know something about the monsters in this film. They are insect-like hive creatures. The queen lays an egg, which hatches into a spider-like creature. This creature searches for humans, and leaps onto their faces, forcing an alien embryo down their throats, knocking them unconscious in the process. Later the person wakes up, and feels fine. However, the embryo grows gradually inside the victim, until it eats it's way out of their chest in a shower of gore. This is shown in great detail in one scene. Also, the creatures spurt green blood when shot, which is acidic, and eats into human flesh. The creatures also bite, stab, claw, and impale humans, though with little blood. Aside from all that, there is the issue of language. F*** and other words are used liberally and often in this film. As for sexual content, there really isn't much, aside from some jokes told by the soldiers. In short, this is strictly a teens-and-adults-only film. Make sure the kids are in bed before you watch this one.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byzazmopepperz February 18, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Not that violent and barely any strong language

This film is actually not that scary or violent, and theirs not much bad language either. This film nowhere near deserves and 18+ the new alien vs predator movies are more gory and they are 15+. The film in my opinion may have been able to pass as a 12+. Anywho enough about age ratings; the film is amazing. James Cameron himself said he couldn't top alien but he did. I congratulate him for this film and hope him the best.
Teen, 16 years old Written byjohnwi312 December 27, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Intense and amazing. OK for all teens.

Aliens has intense violence and some profane language, but is totally fine for any young teens or even mature older kids. Awesome movie, the tension never lets up - I slightly prefer Alien, but Aliens is also one of the best sci-fi movies out there.

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