Thursday, 26 March 2015

Aliens director’s cut trivia

Aliens (written by James Cameron, David Giler and Walter Hill and directed by James Cameron) is my favourite film ever. It’s the second film in the series started by the groundbreaking Alien (written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett and directed by Ridley Scott). The film Aliens takes all the best from the first film and adds even better elements, including an alien queen and a unit of Colonial Marines. A perfect combination to me.

The theatrical version of Aliens was great on its own, but the director’s cut of Aliens is waaay better. I was blown away when I saw what great scenes were removed in the original release, just to make the film shorter. They removed 17 (SEVENTEEN) minutes of the film!!! And all of the removed scenes were perfectly fitting to the story. Some of them are actually very important, like a scene when Ellen Ripley finds out that her daughter is dead or a scene showing how (and why) colonists found alien eggs. Those scenes make the introduction part of the film longer, but better considering the rising tension. Some of the other removed scenes are very fun, like Hudson’s speech or several scenes with automatic sentry guns.

All the actors were great in this film, especially Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, Michael Biehn as Corporal Dwayne Hicks, Bill Paxton as Private William Hudson and Lance Henriksen as Bishop. Newt (the little girl) was played by Carrie Henn. James Cameron chose her, because she had no casting experience and she didn’t smile after saying her line, unlike other girls who were auditioned for the role. Aliens is the only film she has played in.

Do you know that, before the filming started, actors who played Marines together went through a military training (for two weeks), so they could play a believable well-working unit? Do you know that a picture of Ellen Ripley’s daughter (seen in the director’s cut) is actually a picture of Sigourney Weaver’s mother? Do you know that Newt’s brother (seen in the director’s cut) is actually Carrie Henn’s real brother? Do you know that one of the dropships was named “Smart Ass” and it had a slogan: “We aim by PFM” – a shortcut form “Pure Fucking Magic”?

There are tons of fun trivia about Aliens, especially about its production. This film was made in 1985-1986 in the era before digital special effects. Almost everything seen in Aliens was filmed in a real world environment and it still looks great today. James Cameron is praised for Titanic and Avatar, but to me his biggest achievement as a director (and as a screenwriter as well) is the film Aliens.

There is a great site about Aliens
where you can find almost everything about Aliens with EXAMPLES, like pictures showing scenes which were removed in the theatrical version or pictures showing scenes where a particular special effect was used. However, there are two problems – this site is not in English and some of its sub-sites are show with errors and without pictures. Fortunately a Google translation can fix those problems and everything can be seen properly. The translation itself is not perfect, but it is understandable in most cases. Of course you can learn all about Aliens somewhere else, but without all those pictures.

Below are links to Google translations of this site and all its sub-sites. They display fine on my computer. Otherwise try pressing “stop loading” at the right moment.

Please notice that in Polish the word “obcy” is both a singular form (“alien”) and a plural form (“aliens”). To distinguish the first and the second film in the series in Poland the film Aliens was titled “Alien(s) – The Decisive Battle” (“Obcy – Decydujące Starcie”). It turned out later that it was not decisive at all. :)  Apparently the Google translator “knows” about the Polish title because after translation it sometimes appear as “Aliens – Aliens”, which makes no sense otherwise.


Special effects

Director’s cut

Introduction and menu (logically this should be the first link)

Removed scenes (scenes which didn’t make it even to the director’s cut)

Evolution of screenplay (without any pictures)


Here’s another site from the same main site. There’s a unique picture at the end. 

(Monday, 22 July 2013)

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