Questions I Have About the Movie Aliens That I Didn't Have the First Time Around


Did you ever watch a program or film and think, "Yowza! That was great!"...

(Or perhaps without the "yowza"-- your choice, really)...

And then years later, you see that same film or program again and you think, "Was I suffering from the after-effects of some some sort of head impact at the time? Was this when I had my wisdom teeth out and I was on serious meds? What was wrong with me?"

I had this kind of experience in re-watching "Aliens," with Sigourney Weaver last week.

Now, don't get me wrong-- it's still exciting. It's still tense. It's still funny in the right spots. And yes, it does involve more Bill Paxton in whiny toddler mode than I needed-- but that's not so much the issue.

It's just, there are some critical questions I wonder why I never asked the first time around. It'd be like meeting RuPaul at a party, not knowing who RuPaul was, and thinking, "Wow, that lady really knows how to apply make-up," and then moving on to the spinach dip.

(Not that RuPaul doesn't really know how to apply make-up-- well, I mean, maybe RuPaul has a make-up artist now, I don't know. But that's not the point and...)

Where was I? Oh right. Here:

Questions I Now Have About Aliens That I Didn't Have the First Time Around:

  • Why do the Aliens have a lifecycle even more complex than the path through your average IKEA store?
Indulge me on this-- The queen lays eggs. So the eggs can become face-hugging lobsters. So the face-hugging lobsters can make themselves comfy in the upper GI tracts of the entire army. So the army can gestate small alien lizard-things which, if they eat their spinach-- or, you know, Paul Reiser-- they grow up to become well-adjusted adult aliens.

See, the problem I have with this is, any part of this chain of events is destined to fail. Especially in space. On starships. With limited People Num-nums for when they get the munchies.

I mean, if the eggs become face-hugging lobsters and there's no army to nest in-- Well, where are ya? Or, say, the army bursts open with lizard-things and there's no Paul Reiser to nosh on? Again-- there goes the race.

It's too convoluted. I've seen people get health insurance reimbursements that take fewer steps than this. We're talking a race of beings that have supposedly survived hundreds of thousands of years. How'd they ever make it to Alien Resurrection, is what I want to know? Luck! Pure luck.


  • How can acidic blood-- which eats through metal floors and armor-- not at least give the Aliens a serious case of acid reflux?
Alien blood is so acidic, it can eat through steel floors, metal doors, space suits and even the food at Old Country Buffet. But this apparently does nothing to the Aliens themselves. Wouldn't they belch fire occasionally? Wouldn't they be carrying around some family size Malox? And, you know, dentists are all about tooth erosion these days. How are those double-set of jaws not eroded down to little stubs?

Okay, so we allow the idea that the Aliens' bodies shield them somehow from the effects of their own acid. Well, then why aren't we taking the exoskeletons of every dead Alien we can find and making them into protective gear? Why aren't we sewing ourselves some nifty new Alien duds? Ripley, take some tips here. Exoskeleton ponchos are all the rage in intergalactic fashion. You need one.

  • How can an entire space colony be out of contact for 20 years and no one get worried about their Aunt Alice?
The government doesn't seem to be overly worried that a space colony hasn't been heard from for, like, 20 years. Ripley mentions this, and everyone pooh-poohs her concerns. Then, Ripley walks around in her Hanes Her Way some more for a scene or so, and suddenly, it's of ultimate importance she and a Rag-Tag Team of Properly Gender- and Racially-Balanced Troops go check on these folks. So my question is-- where was the concern 20 years ago? No one thought, "Hey, you know, I haven't heard from Aunt Alice on the colony in a while. Maybe I should call and ask how she's doing with those orchids from Betlegeuse I'd sent her."

Just sayin'.

  • What do the Aliens do in-between eating the various army troops and colonies? Do they have any hobbies?
It's been 20 years between the colony of humans getting wiped out, and the new batch of Soldier Munchies arrives. So what have the Aliens been doing all this time to occupy themselves? Snacking is, apparently, out. How do Aliens entertain themselves? Do they have all-night discos? Do the face-huggers just work out a lot, trying to keep limber with push-ups and tail curls? Do they put on plays, like "Little Ship of Horrors" or "Ripley Get Your Gun"? Do they tell stories around the steam grates? I'd like to know.

Otherwise it's got to be a case of, "In space, no one can hear you snore."


Well, folks, those are my big questions about the film Aliens. As always, I'd be happy to hear any of your wisdom, theories, questions, and general chit-chat. Was there a movie YOU saw once, enjoyed immensely and then questioned the second time around? Do tell!

Otherwise, until next time-- in the wise words of Mr. Paxton: "Game over, man."

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46 comments:

Claire said...

After watching some of the first film with one eye partially open, I then spent all night pretending to be asleep as the big alien from the film lay next to me. I even felt his/its breath on me. How could poor Claire's over active imagination make this worse? It! was on the other side.

Reason for this ramble: Didn't watch the film long enough, or pay enough attention to it! :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- Poor little Claire. I bet its breath didn't smell like Mentos, either. :)

Claire said...

It was last week....................

(not really)

heh! I don't remember what the breath smelt like, i just felt it on my neck and knew that I couldn't move or death would be upon me.

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- Ah, yes-- that dream "knowledge" where there's no reason you know, you just KNOW that something is evil and is going to get you under certain conditions.

I have had that in dreams about sharks and vampires.

Simon said...

Harley Davidson & The Malboro Man.
A road / heist movie starring Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke. When I first saw it I was in love with the road / motorcycle way of life... then watching it again some few years later, apart from the opening sequence, I had the distinct feeling.. "this is bobbins".
Just stumbled on your blog. Howdy.

Jenn Thorson said...

Simon- Howdy to you, too, and glad you stumbled on by! I've heard that film title before, but have never seen the film.

It's so easy to get caught up in the atmosphere and forget to ask those big questions. Questions, apparently like, "How did I once like something that was bobbins?" :)

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

About the 20 years thing. Earth lost touch with the colony during the unspecified length of time Ripley was working in the cargo docks. The colony (Hadley's Hope) had been there for "Decades", but only fairly recently had a prospector found the derelict spaceship.
Though we don't get to know how long it takes to organise the mission, or long the trip to LV-426 takes Ripley and the marines. Hicks says their rescue will take 17 days from the time they're declared overdue, so maybe that's a rough guide.

Jenn Thorson said...

Anonymous- Cool-- that helps me a bit. :) I am now less worried that Aunt Alice and the rest of the colony folks were just suffering from terrible neglect. ;)

Anonymous said...

The acid blood? In Alien Vs Predator (the first one), one of the preds takes advantage of the aliens' resistance to its own acid. He makes a shield out of the skull canopy of one.
There's also mention in the movies of the acid neutralising shortly after being spilled.
Are snakes immune to their own venom? Maybe on the aliens' world, everything has acidic blood, that might be the norm there.

Jenn Thorson said...

Anonymous- You know, I appreciate the history. And I know there's a lot of it, but it kind of leaves me thinking-- should a viewer have to watch every film in a series in order to have some fairly major plot-points explained in an individual film?

Heh- I'm starting to see this is now an open can of worms, and I'm staring at the can-opener in my hand and wondering, "hey, how did THAT get there?"

Anonymous said...

The alien lifecycle's not that far-fetched, insects & parasites do similar things.
The facehuggers only hatch from the eggs when there's a potential host nearby. These eggs can survive for a long time, but we've no real clue as to how long. The 'Space Pilot' in the derelict ship was described as fossilised, but Kane could've been wrong or the pilot's alien body just aged that way. The ship could've been there for half a million years or a hundred, we don't know.
The new alien carries characteristics of the host, it's not fussy about what species it jumps onto.
As for food, that's not made clear in the movies. They seem to grow very rapidly, which would require alot of energy, but there's no obvious source of fuel. But they're alien, so who knows?
In-between active phases, they just seem to wait in the queen's proximity. Guard duty till she expires and stops laying eggs, which then wait till activated.

Anonymous said...

The idea's definitely to watch the films again to take in the details. It's a good thing, if you enjoy a film enough to start analysing it, then it's worth buying and examining.

Jenn Thorson said...

Anonymous- If you have a chance, tell us about a film that you saw a second time and were suddenly confused about, or wondered what you were thinking the first time around? That'd be fun for discussion.

Anonymous said...

actually lots of organisms on earth have far more convoluted and seemingly-unlikely-to-be-successful lifecycles (like these critters).

many organisms also have extremely caustic/toxic fluids in their bodies: snake venom, hydrochloric stomach acid in mammals, etc. maybe spitting cobras were the inspiration for that aspect of 'aliens'.

Jenn Thorson said...

Spitting cobras, or possibly my Aunt Eunice. She sure could spit acid for distance-- though, usually at family reunions. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, I had to watch Jacob's Ladder a second time, as the ending changed the whole film. I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it, so I can't go into detail.
Kind of related to what you're saying, I watched 28 Days Later and enjoyed it, thought it was outstanding. But when it was on TV fairly recently, I just couldn't get into it. The memory of it seems so much better than the film itself, somehow.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I'm a different Anonymous from the one who mentioned spitting cobras.

Jenn Thorson said...

Anonymous The Second- Oh my! I have Anonymii... Anonymouses? :)

It's been a long time since I saw Jacob's Ladder... I can't say I remember it very well.

And regarding the TV version of 28 Days Later, sometimes seeing something on TV isn't the same. Things get cut, or you just don't have that whole bigger-than-life surround sound rumbling going on. It ends up lacking something.

Kdawg68 said...

Some context is in order here, Jen.

Regarding the colony- they only lose touch with Earth (and hence require the marine mission) after Ripley gives her story of encountering the Aliens on LV426 and subsequent destruction of the Nostromo.

Burke (Reiser) then sends them to investigate the area she claimed to have found the "derilict" craft containing the Alien nest - and whammo - the rest is history.

Regarding the lifecycle - I've thought about this as well. One thing to remember is that in the original film, the alien nest was found aboard what fans call the "derelict" spacecraft (the one that sort of resembles portions of the female reproductive "tubes"). The dead "pilot" they found appeared to have been dead "for quite a while" in Dallas' words. The "nest" appears to have been simply waiting for something to come close - which triggers the egg hatching.

It could be that they can remain dormant for years on end - rather like a tick waiting on a blade of grass for something to pass bye.

As far as the acid for blood thing goes - that's always been the biggest stretch. I've always looked at it as being acid-like - but not necessarily acid itself.

There's a lot of debate about whether the aliens themselves were ever supposed to be a naturally occurring species, or if they had been some sort of militarily engineered species - created by the alien race the dead pilot of the "derelict" craft belonged to.

Hopefully that helps. I know - i'm a super geek.

For some real fun - go back and watch the director's cut of the original Alien - the whole idea of the aliens abducting folks, keeping them semi-alive and strapping them with goo to the walls was first visited there and then removed from the film. There's actually a very haunting scene where Ripley finds Dallas and Bret barely alive strung to the wall.

Dallas sounds almost retarded - like he's half brain dead. Bret is completely unconscious and appears to be turning into some sort of egg like contraption.

It's actually one of the MOST visually disturbing scenes of the entire catalog of Alien films - but was removed as it was thought to make the film too long. Ripley ends up using the flame thrower on Dallas and Bret to end their suffering as Dallas screams "Ripley...kill me!"

Cameraon knew of this scene and that's why he portrayed the colonists as he did in the sequel.

Jenn Thorson said...

Kdawg- Great googly-moogly, this is growing more elaborate by the minute!!--

Then this film really needs to bear a big sticker on the front that reads "WARNING! THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT A STAND-ALONE FILM! WATCH EVERY FILM RELATED TO IT 12 TIMES AND DIGEST BEFORE DISCUSSION! -The management"

(It would be kind of a large, unwieldy sticker, yes, but it would be really helpful.) :)

Anonymous said...

Agreed. You should've picked a film with a smaller fanbase, one without any geek-appeal, and one that wasn't part of a series. The comics, models, toys, games, websites, books and references in other films should've been a clue!

Jeunelle Foster said...

This post is hilarious.

Yes I too have wondered the about the same questions you have asked above.

Especially about the Acid, or acid reflux.
I mean how come the aliens never got burned, especially when they fought amongst themselves?

They did fight amongst themselves and were territorial.

The Queen Alien must spit out some huge Acid and how come she(the Queen)somehow forgot to use her skills and spit her acid all over Ripley?

Of course it leaves you wondering
but I suppose this isn't the 1st movie to have many flaws and didn't bother to fill in the gaps.

It also insults our intelligence as a mind does wander, think and ask questions every now and then.

However there are some funny scenes in that movie that I enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Spitting acid's an ability that only makes an appearance in Alien 3, the creature's still small at the time, and hiding near an air vent. In Alien Resurrection, the adults fight and kill one of their number to burn their way out of the cell.
Seems as if it's something only the recently-hatched aliens can do.

Claire said...

I love the anonmyii! I want some on my blog! I have tentacles, well not me, but doodles do.

Claire said...

I also love the word anonmyii :)

Da Old Man said...

I'm out of my element. Couldn't make it through the movie despite the promise of Sigouney Weaver in her Haines. (Haineses?)

Jenn Thorson said...

Anonymous- Aw, now, no real need for acid-spitting over a tongue-in-cheel humor post, my friend. I'm aware of the Aliens effluvia. And you seem like a bright person so I'm sure you realize it's all meant in good fun.

Heya, Jeunelle- thanks for stopping. Regarding the alien queen forgetting to spit acid on Ripley, well, hey, the queen had to be a bit of an old broad. The memory is always one of the first things to go. :) Yep, I still really enjoyed the film, too.

Jeunelle Foster said...

That's only according to what we know and are told from the movie stand point however, I am sure them nasty aliens evolved and were already spitting acid before we came to discover their talent.

Them Aliens do seem to have a brain if they can figure out that killing one of their own and using the acid can produce freedom from a cell. Not bad for an Alien.

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- There you are, showing your tentacles again to every guy you meet. Good gad, girl, have you no pride? :)

DaOldMan- Sorry-- I promise, I will try to include a Richard Simmons reference at some point going forward to make things a little less stressful. :)

Jeunelle- The casting call must have been messy. :)

chyna said...

This really doesn't include just Aliens but you did mention running around in your Hanes.

Just how do they keep their underwear in such good condition for so long? Don't know about the rest of you but the life span of mine is just a couple years at best.

Now this is how my brain works. The totally weird ponderings. LOL

Jenn Thorson said...

Chyna- It's true. My elastic would be totally shot by the time I came out of the sleep pods. But since new fabrics are being invented all the time, I guess we should assume they've got some sort of uber-cotton and mega-elastic technology, as well. :)

Da Old Man said...

Space age underwear technology. Now that is something great that the future holds.

Claire said...

I just want some anonymii, they would make a great doodle.

"The curse of the anonymii"

Or

"The wrath of the anonymii"

:)

ThriftShopRomantic said...

DaOldMan- Of course we might have to see those Fruit of the Loom guys in space suits... I don't know if I'm ready for that.

Claire- I think you'd better get doodling! :) Or else DaOldMan and I could come visit your site undercover. You'll never know it's us!

kdawg68 said...

Here's my dilema with the aspect of the "colonial marines."

They wear U.S. flags to denote they are Americans. Are we to think that our already terrestrially spread out military now has to deploy squad sized combat teams to the far reaches of the universe?

I also wonder about the colonists. We're told it was only 50 or 60 families. If they are left out there for generations on LV426 - wouldn't they slowly but surely become like country "hill folk" over time?

:)

ThriftShopRomantic said...

:) Quite possibly.... Or medieval royalty. :)

But remember, the Aliens aren't picky. They probably all taste like chicken.

kdawg68 said...

Crap - meant to toss this in as well.

I hit on one major problem with the film as a youth. During discussions of the alien lifecycle - the android "Bishop" talks about how the eggs hatch, they impregnate a colonist, and then a worker/hunter alien is born.

We know there are only a couple hundred colonists - wouldn't it seem logical to deduce there could only be that many aliens in all as well?

The Marines should've been able to fall back on defensive fire power and inflict unsustainable casualties on the aliens.

ALso, using tactics like full frontal assaults at mounted machine guns (another reference to a deleted scene - this time from Aliens - but available on youtube) would seem to be counter-productive and indeed detrimental to their survival.

It just seems like the Marines kill off a good deal of Aliens in their two protracted battles - the deleted mounted machine gun scene - and of course with Ripley's Rambo-esque insertion into the Queen's lair.

I just thank god they had duct tape available for her to make that pulse rifle and flame thrower more manageable. :)

For what it's worth - here's the deleted mounted machine gun scene:

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/77536/aliens_bad_ass_deleted_scene/

The Dallas/Bret cocoon scenes available on the net ALL appear to have been removed though.

Jenn Thorson said...

Kdawg- I just like knowing that duct tape is still an important household tool in space. :) It makes me feel all happy and secure.

chyna said...

I bet the aliens are actually mutated colonists. They are inbreeding out there in space and if nothing else we've all learned that there are rogue electrons and radioactive doohickies floating around. this is the Stan Lee version of a nuclear meltdown. ;)

Jenn Thorson said...

Chyna- So inbred colonists equals aliens-- interesting theory! When do you pitch the script to Hollywood? :)

Rene Moller said...

There's a lot of debate about whether the aliens themselves were ever supposed to be a naturally occurring species, or if they had been some sort of militarily engineered species - created by the alien race the dead pilot of the "derelict" craft belonged to.

Anonymous said...

If the colonists were attacked 20 years ago, how could a 7 year old girl be there when the marines arrive? You got your facts wrong on the 20 year theory. And as far as what the aliens do between attacking people, they lay dormant. If you remember, when the marines went to the processing station in response to the PDT's emanating from the colonists, the aliens were laying still within the secreted resin of the walls. They were awakened by the presence of the marines.

Jenn Thorson said...

Renee- Yes, folks had mentioned the naturally-occurring or created concept. I really was just basing it on the cues given in Aliens itself, which doesn't deal with that aspect.

Anonymous- Aw, heck-- you mean they're not out there singing Karaoke, having Gin Rummy night, or doing basket weaving? Now I'm all disappointed. :) (I'm kidding you-- and good call on the timeframe issue.)

Lucy from Hoeno said...

What is wrong with you? The aliens have an alkaline mucous membrane in their space-gizzards. Sheesh! Pay attention! It's in the comic book version! Volume 293, look it up.

Jenn Thorson said...

Lucy- AH! So THAT's what it is! If only I were more educated about these things, this sort of obvious blasphemy would never have had to happen. :)

casey said...

Haha all very valid questions!