How Aliens Ruined A Franchise

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Yea, no. Aliens did not ruin the franchise. If anything Alien 3 was the beginning of the downward spiral and Alien Resurrection was the horrific crash.

This is more or less what I was going to post:

Scars Unseen:
The type of horror you get in Alien is kind of a one trick pony. Sequels that tried to duplicate its success would only have ended up as B-grade slasher flicks like every other serialized horror franchise that came out in the 80s. Aliens is memorable specifically because it isn't just Alien in a different setting.

If they had tried to make another Alien strictly as a horror film, it would never have the same effect as the first. It might still be a good movie, but it'd lose much of the tension and feel that they'd be striving for. By going to an action/horror they were able to bring something new to the table with a monster that audiences have already seen without it being a cheesy rehash.

And while Aliens had plenty of action, it also had plenty of horror. The marines were on the defensive and on the run pretty much the whole time. It wasn't just running around, guns blazing. They were constantly retreating and trying to fortify a position while trying to find a way to escape. Sure during the more action-heavy scenes the aliens were cannon fodder, but many of the marines were taken out just as easily with the rest just scraping by.

By taking the sequel in a slightly different direction, they made a magnificent movie that still stands up today. If they'd tried to make a clone of the first the series would end up like the Halloween or Friday the thirteenth franchises.

I agree 100% with this article, i loved Alien and felt Cameron's handling of the sequel set entirely the wrong tone. Ive always grimaced when anyone says Aliens was the best film in the franchise and disregards Alien as just a prequel to the real action.

Nice to know im not the only one

If you ask me, though, the Alien suffers from the exact same problem that the Predator suffers from: De-Mystification. By that, I mean all the mystery is taken away from the monster after the first movie. Everything that made the first Alien movie great was summed up in this article: the dark corridors, the slow pacing, the fact that you only ever get little glimpses of the Alien as it makes each kill throughout the movie. But by the end of the movie, the cat's out of the bag. We see the alien for what it is. It was the same problem with the Predator movies. Most fans agree that the first Predator is, to this day, the best. Why? Because the pacing was fantastic. The Predator doesn't even do anything for the first half of the movie, it just stalk's it's prey, giving us glimpses of the heroes through thermal vision every now and then. But by the end of the movie we see the Predator for what it is and all the mystery is gone. This leads to the "overexposure" that I've heard a lot of people accuse Predator 2 for having.

Well of course the Predator's going to be over exposed as they go for more of an "actiony" movie rather than a scary movie...there's no point in trying to be scary anymore. We all already know what the Predator is and what it does. You have to try something new with it. Same goes for the Aliens in this case. Do you honestly believe that just having another single alien hunting down a bunch of marines this time would have made for a better sequel? Or would people have felt it was kinda the same as the first movie? You'd basically just be making Halloween, Friday the 13th, or Nightmare on Elm Street only replacing Michael, Jason, and Freddy with a Xenomorph. How many sequels did those movies have? How many of them were the exact same movie just with different kill scenes? Personally that's why I've never really been a fan of slasher-flick series. The first installment might be fun to watch, but after that we already know all there is to know.

So yeah, while I can definitely see some merit in the argument that going from a superbly suspenseful horror film to a balls-to-the-walls action film was a pretty abrupt change, I'd argue that such a change helped keep the franchise fresh and introduced some very enjoyable (and infinitely quoteable :P) characters in the marines. I think you judge them a bit harshly. They might not be as well developed as the characters in the first movie, but each one had a distinct personality that made the movie incredibly entertaining. Bill Paxton as Private Hudson, anyone? :P

Is poppycock still a thing that people say? I'm feeling a poppycock coming on, but it just doesn't feel quite right. You know, I'm just going to play it safe and go with ridiculous.

That's ridiculous! The Alien franchise owes both its existence and its popularity to Aliens. This article feels more like a rambling post on an IMDB board. Who screens this stuff? Doesn't this site have an editor or two? This one must have just slipped through the cracks.

Also, how can anyone blame Aliens for single-handedly "dumbing down" movie audiences? In fact, this whole assertion that film audiences are getting dumber by the minute is absurd. I hear it everywhere. It's Michael Bay's fault, it's Cameron's fault, it's Ratner's fault, movies are getting stupid and making people stupid and it's my stupid fault for liking explosions. As if, up until the year 2000 or so, all movies were flawless examples of cinematic excellence and everything created after is mind-numbingly stupid and panders to the lowest common denominator.

Get a grip and watch a few movies from the 40's, 50's, 60's. Not the classics, no not them. Pick them at random from say the top ten grossing movies from a given year in each decade. Odds are you're going to wind up watching some pretty stupid shit.

A well-stated argument, though I disagree. The idea that there's only one right way to tell a xenomorph story seems suspect, as well as a little presumptuous. Alien was a horror movie... in space, with a xenomorph. Aliens was a platoon-level war movie... in space, with lots of xenomorphs. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. I thought Aliens was great. I certainly enjoyed it a lot more than Alien (or Alien 3 or Alien Resurrection or AVP or Prometheus...).

In my opinion, a movie franchise like the Alien one (as opposed to a movie series, like the Lord of the Rings) is stronger when it can showcase different kinds of stories with its recognizable elements, rather than just telling the same type of story over and over again in new locations with different characters.

--Morology!

PS: I thought The Terminator was a better movie than Terminator 2, though T2 was a heck of a lot more fun.

Fappy:

Scrumpmonkey:

There is also the problem that James Cameron lacks a human soul.

Say what you will about him, but James Cameron directed Terminator 2, which is the best action movie ever made XD

*ring, ring, click*

Yes? Yeah... yeah... sure, I'll tell him. *click* Die Hard called; he wants an apology!

On Topic: I don't believe that Aliens ruined a franchise, simply because there wasn't really a franchise to ruin at that point. Think about it, we call it the "Aliens franchise". Not "Alien", "Aliens". Without the sequel, there never would have been a franchise to begin with.

Don't misunderstand, I believe that the original is a better film, but it's sequel is the one that established the Xenomorphs as "the" things that go bump in the night... aboard spacecraft, anyway.

Off Topic: Does anyone else remember Event Horizon? That one was creepy...

James Cameron didn't ruin a franchise. He created one.

Alien wasn't a franchise, it was a movie. The seven years between Alien and Aliens saw the occasional mention of Alien in comic books but very little else. Aliens, on the other hand, inspired video games, comic titles, toys, and everything else that makes a franchise.

Casual Shinji:

Sir Thomas Sean Connery:
I'm not failing to see anything, I just disagree with your reasoning.

I think the idea that they were in denial is a thin justification at best.

If the xenomorph had simply appeared on the ship, or if they had been transporting it in a shipping container or something and it got loose, you might have something, but between discovering it on an alien spaceship and the thing blowing out of a man's chest, then growing to full size in an extremely short time, it makes absolutely no sense that they would have that level of denial that it wasn't a common pest.

It's not that they're blissfully ignorant, it's that their sense of logic and their primal instincts are clashing. That moment Brett picks up the Chestburster's shedded skin you can tell there's a chill going down his spine, but he figures 'How bad could it be?' After all, people have been killed by animals before. And apart from the shocking fashion in which it happened, there's no real reason to treat Kane's death as anything else but that.

Again, they've never encountered anything like this before, so initially they equate it to something they are familiar with. But already when the crew is discussing the plan to drive it out of the vents into the airlock, you can see the fear and helplesness on everyone's face. But they still try and hope for the best that it won't be as bad as all that. It's in our nature to act this way when confronted with something all powerful that we can't understand.

Well, all right.

I still think it's incredibly weak at best.

Maybe it has to with the fact that I'm such a huge Sci-Fi fan that if I was on a spaceship with some murderous alien creature I didn't understand, I would be doing that scene from Community where they stand back to back in the center of a locked room holding knives.

Sometimes I just can't get into the headspace of normal people.

Jaximus Decimus:
I'm feeling a poppycock coming on

I think there's a cream for that.

Eamar:

Ariseishirou:
Well, if Prometheus was any indication, the series was headed for ruin even if Scott remained at the helm.

This. Ridley Scott, I love you. Alien and Blade Runner are two of my top three movies ever. But... seriously, what the fuck, man?!

Ironically it's thanks to Ridley Scott that movie has any quality whatsoever. The script was a mess, but dear God did that movie look amazing. And I don't mean 'amazing' as in 'expensive', I mean a true visual treat. I'd have to say it's one of the best looking sci-fi movies since Blade Runner.

But yeah, that script... Eesh!

Mangod:

Fappy:

Scrumpmonkey:

There is also the problem that James Cameron lacks a human soul.

Say what you will about him, but James Cameron directed Terminator 2, which is the best action movie ever made XD

*ring, ring, click*

Yes? Yeah... yeah... sure, I'll tell him. *click* Die Hard called; he wants an apology!

On Topic: I don't believe that Aliens ruined a franchise, simply because there wasn't really a franchise to ruin at that point. Think about it, we call it the "Aliens franchise". Not "Alien", "Aliens". Without the sequel, there never would have been a franchise to begin with.

Don't misunderstand, I believe that the original is a better film, but it's sequel is the one that established the Xenomorphs as "the" things that go bump in the night... aboard spacecraft, anyway.

Off Topic: Does anyone else remember Event Horizon? That one was creepy...

I remember Event Horizon, I didn't think it was creepy, I thought it was bloody horrible! I have never liked horror movies and that was was just nasty! I don't want to be in a pain dimension. :(

My main critique would be that the content of the article doesn't appear to match up with, or support, the premise/title. This is more a discussion of why the author liked Alien (and that type of movie) more than Aliens (and that type of movie). There is no actual discussion of the Alien franchise as a whole - no mention of the last two Alien movies, the AvPs, or the really terrible Prometheus (to say nothing of videogames or anything else that could be considered a part of the Franchise) and the influence that the second movie may have had on them (e.g. just about all of the subsequent properties except for Alien 3 and Prometheus were more like Aliens than Alien, for better or for worse).

If the article was titled "Alien Was A Better Movie Than Aliens" or something along those lines, it wouldn't have tripped my cognitive dissonance and prompted me to comment. As it is, from my reading it states that it's going one place and then runs off in a different direction. Not an inherently bad direction, but I wind up feeling like I was victim of a bait-and-switch.

I've made this argument before, usually with less than enthusiastic response.

It's true though, Aliens, while being a good movie in it's own right became the template that most of the other films tried to follow and the series suffered for it.

Less creeping horror, less tense and claustrophobic environments, more big flashy set pieces and cartoonish archetypes instead of actual characters.

There's an argument to be made that once Alien revealed what the Xenomorph looked like that there was little to no reason to keep it in the shadows. Which to me speaks of a narrow minded approach to horror.

Casual Shinji:
Ironically it's thanks to Ridley Scott that movie has any quality whatsoever. The script was a mess, but dear God did that movie look amazing. And I don't mean 'amazing' as in 'expensive', I mean a true visual treat. I'd have to say it's one of the best looking sci-fi movies since Blade Runner.

But yeah, that script... Eesh!

Oh I completely agree it looked great, but there's no way I can forgive that script. To be fair, I did have such ridiculously high hopes for it. Read loads of articles about it, bought into the hype... I honestly thought it was a safe bet and that there was no way it wasn't going to be amazing.

I can still taste the betrayal T.T

I actually have a friend who still gets genuinely sad every time someone says the word "Prometheus" :P

Eamar:
Oh I completely agree it looked great, but there's no way I can forgive that script. To be fair, I did have such ridiculously high hopes for it. Read loads of articles about it, bought into the hype... I honestly thought it was a safe bet and that there was no way it wasn't going to be amazing.

I can still taste the betrayal T.T

I actually have a friend who still gets genuinely sad every time someone says the word "Prometheus" :P

And the way it was channeling Alien in those awesome trailers was hard to ignore, too.

So much potential wasted. :(

Res Plus:

I remember Event Horizon, I didn't think it was creepy, I thought it was bloody horrible! I have never liked horror movies and that was was just nasty! I don't want to be in a pain dimension. :(

I will admit, I enjoy Event Horizon more for the ideas it had rather than their execution. There's something... delightfully disturbing... about a character being stuck in a place that seems to both be self aware, and actively resents your existence. The Shining, Event Horizon, The Haunting (1963 verion! No others exist!), Poltergeist... there's just something that I find profoundly more disturbing about these movies than Alien. The complete absence of something to fight against in a conventional sense.

Eamar:

I can still taste the betrayal T.T

I want to bring up the Spoony Betrayal song, but I'm not sure it'd fit...

Doing multiple sequels of Alien where a single monster was hunting a group of weak (comparatively), unequipped people doesn't sound interesting. It would be like a simple change of setting. With Aliens they wanted to do more with the same world, the larger setting. It's best that the single-monster scary movies were their own original creations, like The Thing.

I don't usually comment on articles but feel the need to here as the subject matter is a dear one. This is the most poorly thought-out, argued and written piece I've ever read on The Escapist. I can't fathom how the author would possibly be proud of this, both as a piece of professional writing and as an agrument, unless its sole purpose was to drive traffic. Also - none of the marines have nicknames and the script, besides that of The Big Lebowski, is one of the most quotable of all time.

Nah. Alien has the 'first' thing going for it. It was the first movie. People always love the first thing.

The first movie, the first game, the first whatever. People don't like change. Sequels threaten their beloved idolization of something silly.

If Aliens had been horror focused, it would still have only been the SECOND movie.

Personally... I don't agree with this logic, but THAT'S SIMPLY HOW THINGS ARE.

Good day.

Call me cynical, but this reads like someone trying to justify their hype for Alien Isolation by arguing the first film should have been the only direction it went in, and scrubbing out the awful memory of Colonial Marines through the proxy of Cameron's Aliens.

I don't think it was a bad direction to take, especially because you were never going to recreate the tension of the first film. The bad direction was not running with William Gibson's awesome script for Aliens 3. Followed by the crossover with the Predator universel

Jace1709:

Actually the only truly effective weapons against the Xeno's were the Pulse Rifles and Smart Guns (and the Sentry Guns if we're including the Directors Cut), and Gorman described thier ammo as 'Explosive Tip... Light Armor Piercing', the only Xeno that was killed with a Pistol was when Vasquez emptied an entire clip into its head at point blank range, when Gorman tried to kill the Xeno that was blocking him and Vaquez off from getting back to the others, the Xeno was only a few meters away, all the bullets just bounced off its face.

Oh I did not even mean that it was like I said in the movie itself, I probably was not very clear, sorry, it was 4am when i wrote that response ^^;
It is more the heritage of the movie, or what the franchise became, which I was considering. Yes, of course you are right about the Vasquez and Gorman scenes, where handguns where actually used. My point is more the effect on the general gaming and movie watching public: that these are monsters that can be killed and whose strength lies in its numbers.

Sarge034:

I take issue with this. If you have a queen you can just mass produce the fuckers and overwhelm any defenses you come across. They are zombies but smarter, faster, stronger, stealthier, and more formidable.

I do kind off disagree. Yes, with a Queen you get lots of eggs, but you still need to capture humans and only have a one-to-one return in drones. But I will take the worthless back, and just say they aren't the ultimate weapon that Ash was seeming to see in them. Now, I understand that this was not necessarily meant literally, and obviously was just Ash's and Weyland Yutani's view at them. But it made them a much more interesting creazure for horror movies, imo.

Look at us all nerding out in a (mostly) positive discussion^^ if nothing else, at least the article resulted in this, so it could be worse ;)

Ganrao:

VonBrewskie:
Nice. I appreciate your lucid and valid arguments. That article was beautifully written.

At first I thought this poster was being sarcastic. This article is garbage as many others have pointed out. You want to talk about ruining franchises, look to Aliens vs. Predator where you get two great sci-fi properties destroyed utterly at once.

Aliens and the original Predator are very similar movies, turning the action genre on its head a bit. You have a group of hardened badasses that seem like nothing could take them down, getting ripped to shreds by an opponent they were completely unprepared for. You were supposed to think the Marines in Aliens were generic action heroes that would win, the big twist of the movie was how easily they went from hunters to prey, just like in Predator. I seriously doubt you'd rip the original Predator apart, and Aliens doesn't deserve it either.

I was tempted to say you should stick to community management, but you won't get better without practice, so keep trying if you really want to be a writer. Maybe pick an easier target next time, like AvP.

His argument was lucid and valid. It wasn't "garbage". Dude is free to have his opinion. It was well written. I don't agree his opinion. You clearly don't agree either. That doesn't take away from the validity of the man's argument. He proposed it in well thought out manner and defended his reasoning well. I tried to propose my own opinion while respecting the man's effort to write something about a movie I hold very dear to my heart. It wasn't "garbage". It was his opinion. That title was unnecessary and was probably only included to stir the pot up and drive up page views anyway. I happen to agree with you, by the way. If he wanted to look at mindless BS that "ruined" the franchise he should definitely look to the AvP movies. Those things were absolutely shameless cash-ins that I feel have no reason to exist and do nothing but cheapen both franchises.

Alarien:

Lono Shrugged:
snip

I really would just echo what Lono said. They are all good and bad in their own ways. To say that Aliens somehow damaged, much less ruined, the franchise is silly. Any further attempts to remake Alien as it stood would have been written off as copy and paste cash in, and that would have been true. Alien as a concept really only worked that one time. The fact that each of the remaining movies took a completely different approach to the concept of aliens vs. humans, with the aliens being the clearly dominant predator (let's not talk about the travesty that is AvP, however) is actually a strength of the series, and one of the reasons it has lasted in the popular psyche.

Honestly, saying that Aliens ruined a franchise comes off as backlash attention seeking. The same "look at me, please, I'm being controversial" commentary that you regularly get from people who popularly decide to hate generally well liked and regarded things such as Final Fantasy VII (though sometimes that's just the Kefka fanboys who can't possibly allow that another FF game or villain are in the same class as theirs, even if only slightly inferior to most), Bioshock Infinite, Demon's/Dark Souls, and countless other media.

It's one thing to say "I didn't enjoy something because <objective complaint about technicals> and [subjective complaint of "didn't identify with"]" but it's something completely different to announce that it was the downfall of an entire series that actually profited because of the subject, and went on to make two more films.

Hell, I think Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions ruined that franchise, but then I remember that, despite those The Matrix still exists and it's still awesome.

Out of everything in your post, the only thing I have to really comment on is the bit about aliens being the dominate predator. Because they really aren't. In the AvP universe each race gets their time on top and their time on the bottom.

Xenos get out of control, The Company does a hive extermination; Humans get too amazing, Yujta comes and challenge heroes and make us look like garbage; Predators get to cocky, a xeno outbreak happens and they can't handle it alone, even with nukes. Then the cycle starts over again.

erbi79:
Look at us all nerding out in a (mostly) positive discussion^^ if nothing else, at least the article resulted in this, so it could be worse ;)

I know that feel bro. All of this civility about such a historically heated topic is mind blowing. And Jim Sterling even did a counter video(edit) article to this article, lol.

Yes, with a Queen you get lots of eggs, but you still need to capture humans and only have a one-to-one return in drones.

See, I always figured the plan was to use them as terror weapons to subdue whole planets. Either the planets obey or pods of xenos are dropped and called a day. Kindda like the head crabs in HL...

Disclaimer: The following comments only apply to a very few people in this thread.

Can we PLEASE dispense with the personal attacks on people whose opinion you disagree with?

For example: I disagreed with Mr. Dievendorf's premise, and wrote a reply to that effect earlier. That being said, I see no reason to belittle his writing skills (as opposed to leveling constructive criticism) or his work in on behalf of The Escapist.

I would argue that someone NEEDED to take Aliens in a different direction, if a sequel needed to be made, which would be better, someone taking this whole new spin on it and making it really well, or trying to capture the same feeling of the first and failing? I submit to you Alien 3 just in case you're wondering what my opinion is.

Plus I think this movie captures what a horribly efficient killing machine the Xenomorph is just as well, if not better than the first. The heroes of Aliens aren't the helpless crew of a tug boat who've probably never held a weapon in their lives, have them available. They're the Colonial Marines, a large squad of Colonial Marines whom the movie spends like an hour nailing into your brain are the premiere badasses of this universe, nobody will ever be badder then these motherfuckers is the message of this hour. And the moment they meet the Xenomorphs they go from about 15 or so, to 4 in SECONDS. If that doesn't tell you how fucked you are running into these things, nothing will.

Well, I have to say, would the sequel to Alien be as good as the original if it was the same premise? If you have the cast of characters being picked off in the darkness by a creature that you already know what it can do, the movie would come off as more a rehash or an imitation of the original. Aliens was a good movie because it took the ideas of the first one and expanded them in a different light. Personally, I think that the change in direction was good for the series so that you didn't end up with the same story. It probably would have been better to change the third sequel from what it was to something that was very different from the other two. Or maybe just end the series after Aliens.

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