Sunday Night Movie Aliens

ALIENSA day late because I’ve been working overtime at my day-job, but here is my Sunday Night Movies Feature.

This Sunday I watched Aliens (1986) I have the big boxed set with all four films in the Alien franchise, though I am really only a fan of two of the films. (Alien and Aliens) The Boxed set has two versions of each movie, the theatrical cut and a director’s cut.

The Director’s Cut of Aliens really does add a lot of character to the film and is my preferred version to watch. However due to time constraints I watched the original theatrical cut of the film on Sunday night. I had this strange desire to be in bed before midnight — silly me.

Aliens is the rare sequel that lives up as a worthy successor to the previous film. Alien is a masterpiece of a horror film directed with perfect style by Ridley Scott. (Can anyone explain to me what Ridley Scott is doing directing the film version of Monopoly? A movie based on a board game? A storyless board game. Never mind, that’s a rant for another day.) Aliens does not try to be a horror film, writer/Director James Cameron crafted Aliens to be an action movies so that he would not be simply re-making Scott’s film. This was the right call to make and a spot where many sequels go wrong. They fail to find a way to be their own film while honoring the first.

In this sequel, Cameron, focuses on Ripley, played pitch perfect by Sigourney Weaver, and her survivor’s guilt. Cameron takes a character that had no backstory – hell in the original screenplay Ripley had no gender – and crafted a backstory that propels the character in action over her paralyzing fear. (Most of the back story elements are presented in the Director’s cut which I recommend you view if you have not.)

Cameron plays perfectly with the form of the story in Alien as a template for his own movie, while creating interesting characters. The arc of the two films are very similar and this is no accident. The turncoat characters, big explosions, and explosive decompression are elements which have cause some to call Aliens derivative, but I think those people miss the point. It was similar because it was not a horror film. We already knew what the monster was and how it worked. The real key in a horrific story is the elements that do not follow our known rules and assumptions about the universe. Once something becomes known and understandable it loses a lot of power to horrify. Hence, Cameron’s call to make this an action film.

Truly I did not regret the two hours plus watching the film Sunday night and wished I could have spent the time to watch the longer version.

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A Good Day (Part 6)

No photographs this entry. We ended the tour with the Warner Brothers Museum. Sadly it was a no camera zone so I have no pictures of any of the items in the Museum. I did see many costumes and props and artifacts from the long history of WB films.

I saw the original prop for the film The Maltese Falcon. And I was shocked to learn that the prop Falcon weighs 43 whopping pounds. The tail feathers are bent from where it was dropped between takes.

There were also costumes from a number of recent films like Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and The Watchmen. For The Watchmen costume all they had was Rorschach and the blue light suit worn to help create the character of Dr. Manhattan. (The rest of the main characters had their costumes on display in the guest center where the tour started.)

The second floor of the museum is dedicated to Harry Potter artifacts, including a sorting hat. An attendant holds the hat over your head and a random house is mentioned. Strangely for the second time this sort of thing has placed me in house Slytherin.

After this were returned to the Guest center and the tour was over.

If you love films and have the $200 to blow and a free day this tour is well worth it.

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A Good Day (Part 4)

In the afternoon we were taken to the vehicle room. Here they had on display ‘hero’ vehicles used in WB productions. By hero vehicles they mean the car and such that were used in normal shots, not in stunt photography. These vehicles were the actual ones. not reproductions.

Cars From AI Here is a car and a flying vehicle used in the movie A.I. I’m a genre fan but it is a film I have never seen.

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Burton BatmobleHere is the Batmobile used in the two Tim Burton Batman movies.

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Get SmartThe Sunbeam convertible used the feature film version of Get Smart.

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Nolan BatmobileHere is the Tumbler used in Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Batman franchise, Batman Begins and again in The Dark Knight.

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BatpodAnd the Batpod also used in The Dark Knight after the Tumbler is destroyed.

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Gran TorinoHere is the Gran Torino from Clint Eastwood’s film, Gran Torino. Beyond you can the General Lee from the film version of The Dukes Of Hazzard, and beyond that a hint of the sedan from the Matrix films.

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Harry Potter Our tour guide in front of the flying car — it doesn’t really fly of course – from Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets.

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Mach 5.

The Mach 5 from Speed Racer.

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Hugo

Hugo Weaving was filming some Matrix related materials and showed up in the vehicle room. No, he didn’t – this is a Hugo Weaving dummy. They made a lot of these for the duplication scenes in the recent Matrix films, but it looked too good not to get a picture of it. ¬†There were more of these in the museum, but I discuss that and the prop and costuming departments in my next post.

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A Good Day (Part 3)

As I mentioned before there were plenty of area where no camera were allowed on the tour. Included in those area we the sound recording studios. We visited two sound recording studios.

In the first, and smaller studio, we watched a audio technicians laid tracks for an upcoming episode of the TV show, “Crash“. We stood in the back very quietly watching and listening as track upon track was melded together working towards a final mix. Of course we didn’t see more than a few minutes of the work and that represented a tiny fraction of the work that would be required.

After that we were taken to the Eastwood Sound Studio. It’s named after Clint Eastwood who championed its restoration about a dozen years ago. Beyond film scores — the room will hold a 124 piece orchestra — this studio is a favorite of the music industry. It boasts superior sound qualities and design. The studio itself goes back to the 30’s and it was there that Max Steiner recorded the music for Casablanca.

Tomorrow more on my trip and more pictures, a couple of props from the Prop department and some famous cars preserved on the lot.

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