Thursday, August 25, 2016

Aliens celebrates 30 years

The classic science fiction film Aliens turns 30 this year. It's one of the interesting examples of speculative literature used to respond to the Vietnam War, albeit abstractly, and so it always holds a special place in my heart, even as follow-up sequels were consistently underwhelming.

 For my Laotian American colleagues, of course, I would hope many see that science fiction is still WIDE open for a counter-response from our perspective on the conflicts and its aftermaths. What would it mean to tell the story of the Secret War framed through this lens, and issues such as UXO, decades later? What might happen if we saw the conflict through the lens of the "Aliens" with greater nuance? Or, even a post-war study of the xenomorphs arriving on Earth? I took a particular stab at this with my poem "Sympathy for the Xenomorph," but I know there's more that can be done on these themes.

While we mull those possibilities, a deluxe blu-ray edition is being issued for the anniversary. On a poet's budget, I don't get to watch things in blu-ray, but it certainly sounds like an interesting opportunity. But then again, the release of the Blade Runner anniversary edition was so problematic, I would recommend one wait until other reviews come in before committing to the purchase.

IO9 suggests "This 30th-anniversary edition comes with art cards and a book of art from Dark Horse Aliens comics, with new cover art made especially for this. (There’s also a new documentary titled “The Inspiration and Design of Aliens” listed among the extras such as deleted and extended scenes, art galleries, and a few others which don’t seem to be new.)"

As someone who appreciates the film, I would get a comprehensive set that features both the special edition with restored footage, and the theatrical edition. I also wish there were ways to get the foreign audio tracks, if any, to see how different international audiences were shown the film, and if there were tonal shifts, rephrasing of idiomatic expressions, etc. Both Aliens and Blade Runner would be my top two films from my generation that I'd like to see presented in a classic Criterion Collection format. But so it goes.

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