1 a : existing in an extreme degree b : having or showing a characteristic in extreme degree
2 : marked by or expressive of great zeal, energy, determination, or concentration
3 a : exhibiting strong feeling or earnestness of purpose b : deeply feltA film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction.- Stanley Kubrick
Near as I can tell, it’s the combination of rhythm, texture and sheer energy that makes this film. To explain, step by step:
Aliens is a masterpiece of the under looked art of sound design. It’s is a true symphony of diagetic and non-diagetic sounds, and it is telling that I could listen to the motion trackers or the Power Loaders as easily as I could Mozart. The dialogue is spoken in an alternatively languid and frenetic pace — half screamed, half muttered, that emulates the argument/counter-argument set-up of most classical music. Each actor is an instrument, providing a distinct cadence and pitch that blend together to form an almost musical script.
Furthermore, every scene (nearly every shot) moves — whether it’s the scrolling green text during Ripley’s hearing, the gyroscopes on the Sulaco’s mess hall table, the whirling fan in Newt’s hideout, or even something as simple as perforated ceilings or video static. This film doesn’t amble towards its climax, it bounces to it.