Sunday, May 1, 2016
Aliens Watch: Aliens (1986) - Director's Cut
It's been a long, long time since I'd watched the Director's Cut of Aliens (1986). In fact, when I put in my DVD - one of the first DVD's I ever purchased back in The Gay 90's* - I was genuinely surprised to find this was the cut of the film that had been collecting dust on my shelf for... a while.
It's not that I haven't seen Aliens during that time. I know I've seen it at least once at the Paramount (with Simon), and it seems like I've seen it at The Alamo in the last decade, so the need to give my disk a spin has not been extraordinarily high, I guess. It seems like I've watched it at least in parts on cable.
Before the directors cut came out, I had a pretty good idea of what might be in it as I'd read the novelization of the movie back in middle school, and, indeed, meeting Newt's family is in there, but the domestic scene of the novel doesn't play out the same way in the movie - leaving you without that pain point of "here is who we lost".
Frankly, I think the final cut works better than the Director's Cut. That family that's lost works out better as whatever your imagination conjures rather than a fairly forgettable bunch of folks from central casting. The themes of motherhood and protecting your brood are crammed down your throat a bit less in the theatrical cut, that product feeling more organic, and the theatrical cut just feels stripped down and sleeker. Seeing the colony with the same eyes as the Colonial Marines - an unknown place that was filled with unknown people, and something awful clearly happened here - just works better for me than seeing what happened before. And makes the Aliens, in their way, all that more scary.
But, whatever, that's just my take. As per the movie, if you've seen it, you have your opinions. If you haven't seen it and you're over the age of, oh, 13... get on it.
*that's what I'm calling it. The 1890's don't get all the fun.