by J.D. Cook
It’s been ages since I’ve reviewed a live event but I just felt compelled to spread the word about my recent trip to a local theater. It’s called the Midtown Cinema and it’s located on Riley Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As part of downtown Harrisburg’s 3rd in the Burg festival the theater showed the science fiction classic Aliens. As a huge fan of the film I could not resist seeing it on the big screen for the first time, since I hadn’t been born when it was originally released. There was one extra bonus that put the icing on this proverbial cake, the event was BYOB! So I got to toss back a six pack whilst enjoying the film.
Minor Spoilers Below
For those of you who haven’t seen Aliens there are a lot reasons it’s great. The first film, Alien, was a pure horror film set in a claustrophobic ship. In it the lone Alien stalked and killed all of the crew except Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) who managed to survive, escape and jettison the creature into space. This time around there are multiple Aliens and they have overrun a local colony. Enter some Colonial Marines, a slimy corporate type; an Android and a returning Ripley who agrees to accompany the team as a consultant. When the protagonist of a horror franchise returns in a sequel it’s almost always framed by the character facing their fear. Horror films can be reminiscent of our own childhoods in this way because as children we are often told that the only way to defeat our fear is to face it. Ripley does just that in this film as she is the most capable character. She never underestimates the threat and acts with the most awareness of her situation. She’s a stark contrast to Bill Paxton’s amazingly terrified Hudson whose most famous line is “Game Over Man! GAME OVER”.
The major theme of this film is motherhood. Ripley becomes a surrogate mother for the only survivor of the colony, a traumatized girl who calls herself Newt (Carrie Henn). They connect as they are the only two who have previously survived encounters with the Aliens. In her quest to save Newt, Ripley comes face to face with another mother, the Alien Queen. Ripley uses the threat of destroying the Queens’s eggs to allow her and Newt to escape but then attempts to obtain a little violent catharsis by destroying the eggs, the queen and any aliens that get in her way. Unfortunately this leads to the Alien Queen seeking vengeance on Ripley leading to the ultimate Mother confrontation. It’s been over 20 years since audiences first saw Ripley confront the Queen with the battle cry of, “Get Away from Her You Bitch,” but it still brought cheers!
After the film was over the crowd disbursed into the night but we had all shared a great experience as many of us saw it for the first time on the silver screen while others got to re-live an amazing film from their childhood. Hopefully Midtown Cinema’s will be doing some more science fiction or horror classics in the coming months as Friday Night’s event was packed with people. There’s nothing quite as awesome as getting a good buzz whilst watching one of your favorite films surrounded by an audience that is just as enthusiastic about it as you!