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Empire's 50 Greatest Movie Sequels | The follow-ups that achieve greatness in their own right

The 50 Greatest Movie Sequels | Previous Character
Aliens
DIRECTED BY JAMES CAMERON
RELEASED: 1986

Why's it so good? Cameron's genius here lies in manipulating the tension, beautifully structuring the switches from build-up, to carnage, to unbearable waiting, to action. The Colonial Marines who accompany an understandably reluctant Ellen Ripley are each fleshed out as individuals, and the plot brilliantly conceived to showcase every character and then kill most of them off horribly. Why does it beat the Godfather Part II? Because that doesn't have a single acid-veined xenomorph in it, that's why!

Aliens Aliens
How does it stack up to the original? Entirely changing genre, from haunted-house-in-space to balls-to-the-wall action, proved the masterstroke here. This is a defiantly different film, one that's as good as (or arguably, better than) Ridley Scott's original, but not directly comparable because it remains true to the spirit of its predecessor without ever threatening to retread its steps.

Glaring error: The Special Edition adds two brilliant scenes - the sequence about Ripley's daughter and the Sentry Guns - but also includes far too much tension-deflating filler with the early Newt stuff and an unnecessary hamster.


GAP BETWEEN SEQUEL AND ORIGINAL: 86 MONTHS


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