Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Aliens (1986) as Political Metaphor

If you haven't seen it recently, Aliens (1986) is worth a look.

I mean, a corporate shill seeking profits at all costs. A former warrant officer who's been through hell, trying to make her way back to the world is called to a suicide mission under false pretenses. She's accompanied by a contingent of (Colonial) Marines slated to do the corporation's heavy lifting under false pretenses of their own: a pittance with the promise of greater glory and national duty. Only to be sacrificed as expendable in the face of an apocolyptic menace. The baddest among the heroes' ranks, two women and a little girl, all of whom are the embodiment of survival. And to top it all off, a faceless corporation acting as puppet master.

All I'm saying is when the hell did Wall Street and CEO's become the nation's heros? After this movie, I couldn't even watch "Mad About You", I hated Paul Reiser's character in "Aliens" (Burke) so much. I could hardly feel warm and fuzzy about a CEO, post-Union Carbide and in the midst of savings and loan bailouts. And in the balance, we have Ellen Ripley, Vasquez, and Newt. The working class mother, the soldier, and the future. Battered and bloodied but unbowed. There go you heroes! And in a final ballet of mecha-Tai-Chi who should arise as humanity's salvation? Ripley. Even when she's down, you can never count her out! We may not have Ripley yet, damned if we need another Burke.

And as the creepy skittering noises post-credits prove, even with Ripley on our team, we might not be able to "sleep all the way home", but at least we've got Hope.

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