James Camerons script adventurously takes up some of the slack left by the first film. The fact that the alien used its victims bodies to lay eggs in was an aspect that was cut from the final screen version of the first Alien for pacing reasons. Cameron picks that idea up here. Furthermore, at the climax, Cameron asks the logical question of who it was that laid the original eggs with remarkable results. Cameron is not above repeating some of the pieces that made the first Alien a success, notably the climax with Sigourney Weaver for sentimental reasons making another insanely reckless journey back through an about-to-explode power plant full of flashing lights, hissing steam and tannoyed warnings, to rescue not a cat but a child, and another just-when-you-thought-youd-killed-the-alien blow-it-out-the-airlock climax. Cameron has also added the paramilitary predilections that fill some of his films the characterizations of the hard-boiled marine corps are pure Joe Haldeman which has turned Aliens into a science-fiction military hardware junkies heaven, while also eliciting a great deal of praise from feminist circles for its tough, realistic portrayals of women.
However, it is when James Cameron gets down to the suspense that Aliens becomes an extremely intense film indeed. Shot in red emergency lighting amid low-gridded roofs and narrow airshafts, the film takes on a genuine sense of claustrophobia. The initial venture into the complex is a long, tightly drawn-out orchestration of tension that becomes almost unbearable before James Cameron pulls the punch. The big climax with Sigourney Weaver in clomping exo-skeletal waldo, facing off the giant mother alien on the edge of a depressurising airlock, has an entire theatre on the edge of its seats.
Aliens was one of the first films to be released with a directors cut that substantially expanded on what had been seen in the theatrical version. For this version released in 1992, James Cameron added a further 17 minutes of footage. These scenes include material that shows events on the colony prior to the massacre; a subplot concerning Ripleys discovery that her daughter grew up and has died during the time she was in cryosleep; more about Newts background; and a number of other scenes with the Marines heading through the labyrinth.
The other Alien films are:- Alien (1979), Alien3 (1992), Alien: Resurrection (1997), AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) and AVPR: Aliens vs Predator Requiem (2007), while Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017) are prequels to the original. Aliens is spoofed in other films such as Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992) and Paul (2011). The making of Aliens is discussed in The Alien Saga (2002), a documentary about the film series.
James Camerons other films are: Piranha II: Flying Killers/Piranha II: The Spawning (1981), The Terminator (1984), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), True Lies (1994), Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009). Cameron also wrote the script for the millennial Virtual Reality film Strange Days (1995), created/produced the near-future superheroine tv series Dark Angel (2000-2), produced the Steven Soderbergh remake of Solaris (2002), produced the rock diving survival film Sanctum (2011) and produced Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (2012).