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Bryn Mawr Film Institute
824 W Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 19010
20th Century Fox initially had no interest in making a sequel to its lauded and lucrative science fiction/horror hybrid, ALIEN (1979), and being sued by some of the film’s producers didn’t help. Enter James Cameron, a brash, Canadian writer/director who was finishing production on his own bold, new entry in the science fiction genre: THE TERMINATOR. When that film became an enormous success, James Cameron and his producing partner, Gale Ann Hurd, were given creative control over what would become ALIENS (1986).
Cameron aimed to attract new audiences, along with skeptical fans of the original, by giving the sequel its own distinct feel, while maintaining a clear connection to the source material. Awakened after decades in stasis, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is haunted by her encounter with the alien and the losses that ensued. Manipulated into returning to its planet, she now finds herself in the role of a matriarch fiercely protective of her charges, which include a platoon of soldiers and an orphaned girl.
This scenario allows ALIENS to expand upon the original film’s exploration of feminine strength confronting tremendous odds. Yet, while Cameron makes the sequel more intimate emotionally, he also enlarges it in a visual and kinetic sense, converting the terrifying claustrophobia of ALIEN's ship into the looming, open expanses of ALIENS’ terraforming colony. He manages to inspire the same heart-racing trepidation as the original, while giving his subjects more literal and figurative space to roam.
During this brief study of this remarkable science fiction/action film, we will contrast ALIENS with its predecessor while discovering the unique elements that set the film apart as not only as one of Hollywood’s greatest sequels, but as an exemplar of genre craftsmanship in its own right.
Meets at BMFI:
Wednesday, August 23
6:30 pm to 10:00 pm
$25 for BMFI members, $30 for non-members; includes admission to the film
Taught by Andrew M. Karasik, Film Producer, 30th Street Entertainment
Register for this course at brynmawrfilm.org/education/class.php?id=2058
or by calling (610) 527-4008 x108.