Aliens (James Cameron, 1986)

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Aliens (James Cameron, 1986)

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:27 pm

How is the main character constructed? What filmic tools are used to accentuate and highlight that construction? What are the objectives, desires and challenges s/he faces?

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Re: Aliens (James Cameron, 1986)

Post by MATTBARR96 on Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:21 am

Aliens opens with the discover of Ellen Ripley in an escape pod that she utilized in the climax of the previous installment of the Alien series, in which she is eventually established in the lead role after spending much of the first and second acts hovering in the background, seemingly occupying the part of a supporting role. By the film’s climax Ripley had become established as one of cinema’s great female action stars, surviving against incredible odds where her fellow crew mates all failed, eliminating the alien threat whilst also saving the cat.

There are multiple problems that Ripley must face within the first act of James Cameron’s sequel, including coming to terms with the loss of her daughter whilst she was in a preservative state, dealing with being a woman out of time and also suffering severe nightmares, caused by post traumatic stress following the attack on her and her crew mates by the hostile titular alien.  
Upon her revival Ripley is asked to accompany a team of highly trained space marines on a machine to an abandoned colony, in which it is believed more of the aliens she was forced to face aboard the nostramo in the first film have wiped out the workers living there. Although she initially refuses, Ripley later changes her mind, believing that facing up to her fears will allow her to move on past her ordeal.

Whilst on the mission, the group of soldiers encounter a young orphaned girl, Newt, whom Ripley comes to develop a maternal like relationship with, which may perhaps be her way of filling the void left by her now deceased daughter. Also, this relationship goes a long way towards creating almost a parallel between Ripley and the alien queen, both of whom are willing to go to extreme lengths to protect their young, with Ripley overcoming the threat in demonstrating her resourcefulness, through the use of the mechanical loader. Aliens may be deemed progressive in the way it portrays Ripley, as other lesser films may have tried to implement some form of romantic interest within the narrative, however this is never the case for Ripley, who has no need for a saviour, establishing herself as a bad ass warrior, able to survive on her own using her own intelligence and mental strength to survive through the events of the movie.   

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Re: Aliens (James Cameron, 1986)

Post by ClellAllen on Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:09 pm

In Ridley Scott's original picture Alien (1979), the character of Ellen Ripley was introduced. She was one of the first powerful and, in '79, the character was unconventional and unorthodox for the model heroine in a science fiction film. The progressive nature behind the representation of women in Alien has set the course for various other filmmakers to create other characters based around the Ripley model. In her generation, Ripley's character went against the female conventions; it reflected that women in film could be intelligent, reactionary and forthright in surviving and even fighting against the danger that is posed to her own life; (this aspect of survival is continued on into James Cameron's Aliens (1986) and to the rest of the franchise). But it is in Aliens in which the character is fully developed into an action heroine.
However, at the beginning of Aliens, Ripley is weaker; much more vulnerable than she was at the end of Alien. She has also become much more delicate, particularly seen in her tenderness and affection for Jones. Furthermore, this gentle motherly side to Ripley is also observed in the scene in which she is sitting with an employee of Weylon-Nutani or 'The Company', and he informs Ripley that during her suspended spaceflight in cryo-sleep, that her daughter died two years prior to Ripley's awakening. She cries for Amanda, and caresses the image of her as an elder. However, now that Scott has created this character of Ripley, the audience expect a woman of strength and composure; though alternatively, Cameron reshapes Ripley back into the conventional female representations of the 80's. This however is temporary.
Later on in the film we see that Ripley takes charge often and is a great leader; unusually leading a group of men via the headset. She is a woman in know, intelligent enough to inform the soldiers how to kill the Alien, which, harking back to Alien, is the use of fire, not bullets. When things go wrong towards the end of the film, it is down to Ripley to save Newt (who is not significant to the question, therefore I have left details of this character out deliberately), a single remaining soldier and herself and of course, in traditional Ripley fashion, survive. Also in true form of the hero role, she slays the 'dragon' (if one compares Ripley's killing of the Alien Queen to traditional fairytales), involving the hero defeating or resolving the source of the problem that interrupted the equilibrium in the first place, meaning ultimately that the hero or heroine has restored balance and the narrative returns to equilibrium.

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Re: Aliens (James Cameron, 1986)

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