Now of course there are many fantastic moments in Aliens, but for me one of the best is where Ripley explains about the Xenomorph to the crew of the Sulaco, so that they might know what they are facing. It demonstrates how Ripley is still feeling, her unease and reservations about coming along on this mission, whether or not she is escorted by a group of battle-hardened marines armed with sharp sticks etc. We can all relate to this; we have all been in situations where we have agreed to do something, and despite knowing it could be the right thing to do, that feeling of apprehension is ever-present: It really shows Ripley’s natural human side before her strong maternal instincts kick in and she becomes a real bad ass by the end of the film.
The other great part of this scene is the banter between all the marines. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the films real strengths is this rag-tag group of marines, they are written and acted so well that we can’t help but become invested in their fate. It is during this scene that the over-the-top fake bravado once again comes to the fore:
Vasquez: Look, man. I only need to know one thing: where they are.
Drake: Go, Vasquez. Kick ass.
Vasquez: Anytime, anywhere, man!
Hudson: Right, right. Somebody said "alien" she thought they said "illegal alien" and signed up!
Vasquez: Fuck you, man!
Hudson: Anytime, anywhere.
Not only is it a razor sharp script, but it instantly shows us the dynamic of the group, and as a result makes them all the more human. This is before it all hits the fan of course.
Following this exchange and Gorman’s orders, one of the best characters has my favourite line in the whole film:
Apone: All right, sweethearts, you heard the man and you know the drill! Assholes and elbows!
Great scene, great film.