Thursday, August 23, 2007

Exposition with Pat, Part 1

Hey guys,

Below is the first article in a 3-part series on expostion from our very good and very talented friend,
Pat (GimmeaBreak), using James Cameron films. Today, she explores Aliens, and I love it.

As always, thanks so much, Pat.



This is one of my favorite action films.

From Aliens (James Cameron early draft – 1985)


Burke explains some stuff to Ripley that happened while she was gone. Since the daughter wasn’t a part of the previous story, explaining why she wasn’t here either is ridiculous. I don’t think anyone ever thought about Ripley being married or having children. Neither was it necessary as a setup for the future encounter with Newt. Anyone with a heart would have reacted to the child the same way Ripley did.

Ripley seems healthier now, but still a bit brittle.

Have they located my daughter

Well, I was going to wait
until after the inquest...

He opens his briefcase, removing a sheet of printer
hard copy, including a telestat photo.

Is she...?

Amanda Ripley-McClaren. Married
name, I guess. Age: sixty-six time of death. Two years
(looks at her)
I'm sorry.

Ripley studies the PHOTOGRAPH, stunned.

The face of a woman in her mid-sixties. It could be
anybody. She tries to reconcile the face with the
little girl she once knew.


Cancer. Hmmmm. They still haven't
licked that one. Cremated. Interred
Parkside Repository, Little Chute,
Wisconsin. No children.


Ripley just awakened from an extended hypersleep. She doesn’t know how long she’s been out of it. Neither does the audience. It also gives us some clues about Ripley’s mental state and tells us how close to being “lost in space” she truly was.

How long was I out there? They
won't tell me anything.

Well, maybe you shouldn't worry
about that just yet.

Ripley grabs his arm, surprising him.

How long?

Burke gazes at her, thoughtful.

All right. My instinct says
you're strong enough to handle
this...Fifty-seven years.

Ripley is stunned. She seems to deflate, her expression
passing through amazement and shock to realization of
all she has lost. Friends. Family. Her world.

Fifty-seven...oh, Christ...

You'd drifted right through the
core systems. It's blind luck that
deep-salvage team caught you when
they...are you all right?


This one paragraph description of Ripley’s living quarters tells us what has become of her life. This is not the organized, efficient, strong Ripley who blew the alien out into space after having been the only one to survive the massacre.


Silence. Ripley, looking haggard, sits at a table in
the dining alcove contemplating the smoke rising from
her cigarette. The place is modest, to be charitable,
and there are few personal touches. Though it's late
in the day Ripley is still wearing a robe. The bed is
unmade. Dishes in the sink. Jones prowls across the
counter. The WALLSCREEN is on, blaring vapidly.


crossword said...

Excellent choice; an all time fav. of mine also.

Mim said...

I didn't think there was any character I would dislike more than Ash and then Burke came along.

If you look up "smarmy" in the dictionary, there's his picture.

Mystery Man said...

Pat, you did such a great job.

Guys, this series from Pat is going to be SO much fun. I'll post her next article on Monday.

Thanks, Pat.