Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 15+
Alien sequel is bigger, faster, scarier.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the relentless, ravenous clawed monsters iin Aliens, the sequel to Alien, are likely to give small kids (and others) nightmares. It's even more violent than the original. Besides the rerun of the grisly moment when embryonic aliens burst out of people (in reality and in dream scenes), we also see quick cuts of victims seared with acid, getting set on fire, and blowing themselves up with a grenade. Gunfire, bombs, and flamethrowers are directed at the aliens. Most disturbing of all -- or, at least, the most nakedly manipulative -- is the perpetual threat of ghastly violence/death/contamination directed at a frightened, screaming little girl. There's also a plethora of swearing and lots of adoring fondling of guns and high-powered weapons.
- Families can talk about the military metaphor in the film; it's said James Cameron had Vietnam on his mind when he depicted a group of gung-ho Marines charging into tunnels only to get shredded to pieces by hordes of an enemy that keeps on coming. What could the characters have done differently?
- What do you think of the showdown between the bereaved mother Ripley and the monstrous mother alien queen?
- How do think this sequel compares with the original Alien?
The good stuff
Positive messages: A mothering instinct/motherly love drives both Ripley and the queen alien. Technology doesn't always guarantee sueriority in combat, as shown by gung-ho Marines charging into tunnels with high-powered guns only to get shredded to pieces by hordes of an enemy that keeps on coming -- director James Cameron's metaphor for the Vietnam War.
Positive role models: Ripley turns from the fear-paralyzed victim of the original Alien film into a tough, idealized action-heroine. She even forssakes body armor and takes a combination gun-flame thrower and charges alone into the alien nest. A corporate executive character who claims to be "an OK guy" is really murderous and treacherous in his greed. What little we see of the world of the future seems dominated by evil businessmen and bullying soldiers. The multiracial Colonial Marines are overconfident, swaggering braggarts.
What to watch for
Violence: Mostly in quick flashes, but still severe, as human characters are splashed with acid, torched with fire, or have little aliens bursting out of them. One man is literally torn in half, with the qualifier that "he" is an android, not human, with beige-colored blood and viscera. Gunfire, bombs, and flamethrowers are directed at the aliens. Much of the violence and lethal danger is threatened against a small child.
Sexy stuff: Indistinct glimpses of pin-up pictures in a locker room. Some mildly suggestive banter between co-ed Marines.
Language: "F--k" and "a--hole" in soldierly banter and anger.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking by the adults.