Aliens is one of those films that many people forget it was a sequel. There was seven years between the original Ridley Scott version to the sequel done by James Cameron. One of the aspects of the entire Alien franchise allows each new director to take it to their own wheelhouse, reimaging the film into a different type of genre. The original film was done as a horror movie and became a great film. Since then, James Cameron decided to take it into an action-adventure version of the saga.
Cameron, himself, wrote the screenplay based on his story, which was co-written with David Giler and Walter Hill. The difference with this film is that Ripley awakens years in the future. Her only daughter has been long since dead and essentially is alone in time. She has to learn new skills but when they lose contact with a terraforming station by something that she experienced in the original film. She goes back out there but is backed up by a platoon of Space Marines and a slimey company man.
Cameron is allowed to stretch his legs in the sandbox that he loves best and began to piece together the reputation that he is known for. Within the screenplay, he developed Ripley into the character of feminism that many people hold as a banner of a badass female. Prior to this film, he released the original Terminator film, which garnered him a lot of attention and within 5 years he would release Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Cameron allows the movie to breath and lets the audience become immersed in the technology of the future. With a bigger story being told, the movie still manages to keep it confined much like the original. This allows for the claustrophobic nature of the film but builds the suspense of the xenomorph picking off the members of the platoon.
As far as we, and Cameron, have come in regards to special effects, the film itself holds up. It is considered the best in many film lists, including ours. While the original film is a great horror movie, this film still has some elements of the original but allows it to take it up a notch. While the original film is a classic space-horror movie, it does not hold up as well with time. Yet the sequel does.
It takes a special kind of film to allow people to enjoy it without even realizing that there was a previous film. That explains a lot of the script that you almost don’t have to see the first film to follow it. Not to mention that it diverts so much from the original film that it feels like a different franchise altogether. It is a solid and entertaining movie that you will be depriving yourself if you never watched it.