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Old 07-05-2011, 07:05 PM
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Ethan Ethan is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Seattle, apparently
Posts: 3,271

Originally Posted by ArugulaZ View Post
the special effects are ace for the time. Ridley kept the alien in the shadows to ratchet up the suspense and hide the limitations of 1970s movie technology, but Cameron goes balls out with everything he can muster, and the results are incredibly satisfying.
I don't think this is quite true, on two counts. First I don't think Aliens needs a "for the time" qualifier in terms of special effects. With the exception of a few slightly rough-looking composite miniature shots of the drop ship, I can't think of a movie from any era with more convincing effects than Aliens.

And second, while you do see more of the creatures in Aliens, you actually see-see a lot less of them than you think you do. The queen notwithstanding, there are almost no parts of that movie where you just get a full view of an alien in decent light. They're always seen partially in shadow, or in extremely brief shots, or drenched in red light, or something else that masks them. That's why you never realize that the suits are actually less complete in that movie than in the first. Cameron used an appliances-on-spandex design that was lighter and more segmented so the actors would have a fuller range of motion, so there were a lot of seams and such. But when he takes those suits and shows them in a dark corner with strategically placed specular reflections and fucking incredible sound design, and has the guys make those smooth, reptilian movements, you just think, "oh, I see they saved their bodysuit budget and just hired xenomorph actors". So I think "balls-out" fails to describe just how tactful it was.

On the queen, though, he went balls-out.
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