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CinemaDome: Fury Road vs Aliens

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18 Oct 2016 00:05 #236371 by Wetworks
Colonial Marines > War Boys
The Perfect Organism > Rictus Erectus
The Queen > Immortan Joe
Ripley > Furiosa
Space Ships > Cars
Horror, Mystery, Suspense, Action > 1 Long High Octane Car Chase

Winner: Aliens

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18 Oct 2016 00:55 #236372 by Vlad

Msample wrote:

Vlad wrote: No, I'm not offended by the racism, it's not the PC police speaking. The term "illegal alien" applied to a Latin American person on a fucking spaceship, light years away from Earth, US and it's immigration department (if it still exists) is worse than offensive, it's just stupid.

And I agree, Ripley definitely outranks Furiosa in bad-assery. Which is another point for Aliens, I guess.


Here's a fun piece of trivia:

"Hudson's "illegal aliens" line to Vasquez is an inside joke referencing the fact that, at her first audition, Goldstein had assumed Aliens was actually a movie about illegal immigrants in the United States (where such people are commonly referred to as "aliens" or "illegal aliens"), and had dressed accordingly"


Honest to God, Mr. Swearengen, I had no clue!

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18 Oct 2016 10:25 #236387 by san il defanso
If I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die historic on the Fury Road.
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18 Oct 2016 10:56 #236391 by Msample
I don't get the sense that Fury Road quotes will become part of the American lexicon like Aliens will. But this one is probably closest.

I had to use subtitles to figure out what they were saying, but after the war boy sacrifices himself by jumping onto the Buzzards car with two stick bombs, the other war boys essentially grade his efforts, shouting " Mediocre Morsov !"

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18 Oct 2016 16:38 - 18 Oct 2016 16:39 #236419 by Feelitmon
Movie that has and will have the greater influence on the genre: Aliens
Movie that I prefer to watch again right now: Fury Road
Winner for now: It's close, but Aliens. That said, even that small gap between them closes with each viewing of either movie.

My love for Aliens has faded over time, and part of the reason is that I have more experience with James Cameron's schticks now. For example, where I used to see Burke and Gorman as somewhat interesting if two-dimensional characters, now I recognize them as the standard Cameron villains that he throws in for cheap heat. Incompetent blowhard and probable misogynist: check. Yuppy piece of shit: check.

But more than that, what changes with each viewing of the movie is that I like Ripley less and less. Man, I used to fucking love Ripley: so badass and competent! But there are two things that I don't like about her character now. First from a meta perspective, I don't like that she goes from a competent, confident, strong-willed team member in Alien to a raging, Type A, unrestrained asshole in Aliens. I understand that she had a traumatic experience (to say the least!) in the first movie, but the Ripley that we see at the beginning of Aliens is much more what I would expect for her character. Haunted, afflicted with PTSD, supremely cynical about the Company, sure, and pretty much over having to deal with bullshit of any kind if she can help it. But then she changes, and what she changes into is the second beef I have with her.

Ripley almost certainly gets almost all of those marines killed, and for no reason beyond ego. When Gorman first introduces her to the squad he's neutral and even a bit dismissive, but not as a personal slam against her but more because she's a civilian. But Ripley is on his ass from the get go: picking on him, interrupting him, and undermining his authority seemingly every chance she gets. And why, because he's with the Company? No--he isn't. It's because the New Ripley has to have the biggest swinging dick in the room. The sequence that I find completely unforgivable is when Ripley undercuts Gorman on the dropship. Does she do it purely for her own amusement, to satisfy her cynicism, to cut him down to size... who knows? But by undermining his command and belittling him in front of his men she practically signs their death warrants. That's because later, when her input really would be valuable (i.e., to get the marines the hell out of the reactor facility), by that time Gorman has become stubborn. She's attacked him and now he digs in his heels. Of course that's on him too: a competent leader wouldn't let something like that get to him too much. But her pattern of behavior definitely did influence him, and I think it's why he ignored her advice.

There is so much else to love about the movie that it's still one of my absolute favorites. But whereas the Ripley in Alien is someone I like and admire, the Ripley in Aliens becomes less likable every time I see her.
Last edit: 18 Oct 2016 16:39 by Feelitmon. Reason: typos, of course
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18 Oct 2016 17:22 #236420 by Shellhead
Ripley undercuts Gorman because his unquestioning adherence to to a poorly-conceived mission is dangerous, and he is too dismissive of her actual experience. It definitely isn't Ripley's fault that Gorman freezes up under pressure during that first deadly encounter with the xenomorphs, that's all on him. Gorman may be based on a classic stereotype, but not the one you identified. He is the stereotypical second lieutenant in Vietnam, the academy grad with no combat experience and no common sense. America was very obsessed with analyzing Vietnam through the entire '80s, and Cameron was no different in that regard.
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18 Oct 2016 17:33 #236422 by Feelitmon
Good point about the inexperienced Lieutenant stereotype. Why does she quiz him about his combat experience on the dropship though? Clearly she has already picked up on the fact that he's green and is exposing him. How does that help the mission in any way?
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18 Oct 2016 17:51 #236424 by Shellhead

Feelitmon wrote: Good point about the inexperienced Lieutenant stereotype. Why does she quiz him about his combat experience on the dropship though? Clearly she has already picked up on the fact that he's green and is exposing him. How does that help the mission in any way?


Ripley has trouble with authority after the events of the first movie, when she eventually discovered that the Company deliberately sent them into danger to acquire an alien specimen. To make matters worse, the medic on that ship was actually an android who was willing to murder everybody to protect the specimen. I don't think that she distrusted Gorman, but she found him disinterested in her first-hand experience with the xenomorph. She wrote him off as worse than useless, and possibly hoped that his team might take her more seriously. As a civilian, she didn't understand the emphasis that any serious military puts on discipline and obedience to orders.
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19 Oct 2016 07:19 #236452 by Black Barney
The Ripley of Alien would not have survived Aliens. It took her becoming a super strong Alpha to deal with that situation.

The Ripley that interrupts Gorman on the Sulaco is the same one that got disrespected in the lower decks of the Nostromo when they were landed on LV426, where Parker and Brett were being insubordinate with their Lieutenant.

She grows as a person and character and the Ripley of Aliens is very much the result of what happened to her aboard the Nostromo and since that time. Remember when her quarantine order got disrespected by Dallas, Lambert and especially Ash? That's not gonna happen again.

It's not easy for a woman, even in the future. If a male had disrespected Gorman, he'd be seen as tough and tells it as it is.
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19 Oct 2016 08:13 #236460 by Mr. White
This is all great analysis on Ripley's character. Cheers, all!

My kids are no where near being ready for Alien or Aliens, unless I want them sleeping in our bed the next 6 months. However, I can't wait to sit through these with them, but I'm always torn on which order to show them. Clearly Alien first makes the most sense, but I like Aliens more and I wonder if the impact of that first engagement, and general fear in the colony' will have more impact if they've never seen the xenos in action. I dunno.

Regarding the films in this 'Dome....yeah...tough. Aliens is an incredible movie that was still able to make in impact in a decade that also saw Terminator, Predator, Conan, Mad Max, etc. So many fantastic films in this era, and I think it's to Aliens credit that it wasn't drowned out by the rest.

Fury Road on the other hand, for me, was the first time I was genuinely excited, and rewarded, for going out to the theaters since the LotR trilogy over a decade prior. I had pretty much written off modern genre films, but Fury Road came out of nowhere restoring my faith a little.

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19 Oct 2016 08:20 - 19 Oct 2016 08:21 #236464 by san il defanso
It's fair to say that Aliens is going to be the more influential of the two films. We see its influence in games like Space Hulk, video games like Starcraft, and all of the different permutations of space marines vs. aliens. You could probably point it back to Starship Troopers, but the culture at large will think of Aliens first. Fury Road's setup is also super elemental, but it was a setup established by the earlier Mad Max movies. That said I wouldn't be at all surprised if Fury Road defines how action movies look in the next 20 years. It's made a splash like nothing else since The Matrix.

I've seen Fury Road probably ten times at this point, so I'm definitely biased here. That said, I do think there's an artistic quality to Fury Road that isn't there to quite the same extent in Aliens. (In fairness I've not seen Aliens in years.) The dialog in Fury Road is used so sparingly, and the Warboys have their own syntax and dialect, which is something that speculative movies rarely attempt. Having seen it several times now, its approach to character is very impressive. It is resolutely show-don't-tell, which is absolutely miraculous for a movie with its own world to establish. It's interesting to me that I've talked with several people who actually find the lack of dialog to be a liability, but I think that's one thing that has made the movie hold up over so many viewings for me. Characters are built silently and through actions.

Aliens is a terrific movie, but it's definitely the more crowd-pleasing one, which is entirely befitting James Cameron.
Last edit: 19 Oct 2016 08:21 by san il defanso.
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19 Oct 2016 09:11 - 19 Oct 2016 09:52 #236467 by Jackwraith
I think San is right in terms of influence that will last, since Alien, Blade Runner, Aliens, and other films of that period were the ones attempting to show science fiction, even of the outer space variety, that didn't have the flash and laser beams of Star Wars. Those films were very appropriate for the time and it was interesting to see the cyberpunk era of SF literature grow up right alongside them. They were essentially saying that SF could be about story, rather than blasters and laser swords. The funny thing is that Fury Road is also a product of its time. It's presenting a world that has its own lingo and doesn't apologize for it (in other words, you just have to pick up the expressions that they're using, because they don't stop to explain them; similar to A Clockwork Orange.) It's presenting a world that is about both survival and a resource struggle that's a part of every day life in many regions of the world (witness the struggles over the Jordan River) and will continue to be so in even more. It's taking a very minimalist approach to its presentation as a contrast to the high complexity of storylines in its genre in other popular films and TV (Game of Thrones, the Marvel movies, etc.)

All of that said, I think Aliens is still the better film, not for its cultural impact, but for its execution. Fury Road presents a picture and characters that can have appeal, if you're willing to engage at the level that Miller wants you to. Aliens simply has appeal. Its characters are more natural and well-rounded and instantly make an impact, whereas Fury Road's take some time for you to see their shades. Cameron was at the peak of his directing powers at the time (before he decided, as Ridley Scott also would, that bigger is better) and the level of tension that he slowly built through Aliens is what makes it a great film. The fact that said tension could hit several peaks and then be reined in only to be released again is what keeps people coming back to the film. Whether Fury Road can do that in the same way is an open question, since it's a far more linear story and a very different approach from what most people are used to seeing when you're telling them a story. That's appealing to many (including me), but not so much for many more.

In all honesty, I don't think Fury Road is a great film. I think it's a really interesting departure from the norm and I appreciate that it was done and will gladly see it again. I think Aliens is close to being a great film. But Alien is better than either of them...
Last edit: 19 Oct 2016 09:52 by Jackwraith.
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19 Oct 2016 09:39 #236468 by san il defanso
Jackwraith, I also prefer Alien to Aliens.

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19 Oct 2016 13:25 #236489 by mutagen

Why does she quiz him about his combat experience on the dropship though? Clearly she has already picked up on the fact that he's green and is exposing him. How does that help the mission in any way?


Interesting that it never occurred to me how despicable Ripley is in that scene. It works in the movie because we have already established that Gorman is the inexperienced 2nd Lt. that gets everybody killed, and Ripley is the alpha that has to clean up his mess, and for those few in the audience that haven't caught on to the doomed nature of this mission, this scene puts that dynamic into play. Of course, in real life, calling out the commanding officer in front of his soldiers on the way to a mission is a colossally bad idea. Even so, it isn't really fair to blame Ripley for the failure of this mission. The mission failed the moment Gorman decided to send his soldiers into the den of the beast unarmed. I guess it could be argued that Gorman was spurred on to this action by his need to retain control of the mission in his dick thumping contest with Ripley, but that still feeds into the stereotype of Gorman as the inexperienced jr. officer who loses control of the mission and gets his team killed.

Oh, I almost forgot: Aliens. The only movie here with characters complete enough to argue over. Fury Road is a fine movie, but at least part of its charm is that it reaches back to an era when every action movie wasn't CGI generated nonsense base upon a comic book. An era in which Aliens figures prominently.
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19 Oct 2016 15:26 - 19 Oct 2016 15:27 #236496 by Black Barney
In fairness to Gorman, they have never encountered an enemy like this before. They were expecting to fight little animals. I do think Ripley is at fault for not warning the Marines what they were up against. Obviously Burke is most at fault for sending Newts parents to check out the derelict, but Ripley should have warned those Marines more.


White, this is important....you have to watch Alien first. If you watch Aliens first you ruin a bunch in both movies. If you watch Aliens first, then the impact of running into many of these things is totally removed because you aren't scared to death yet at the thought of ONE of them. Alien makes you fear even the thought of letting even one of those bastards in here. As well, watching Alien second doesn't make the alien scary enough or threatening enough cuz there's just one of them and Aliens shows that they are easy enough to kill with proper equipment. So when Ash tells Ripley you can't kill them, they are the perfect organism... that will have zero impact

Plus you want to identify with Ripley on why she distrusts Bishop so much.

Don't screw up the order. These aren't Friday the 13th movies, or Star Wars trilogies, these are great movies
Last edit: 19 Oct 2016 15:27 by Black Barney.
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