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Aliens (1986)

James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith (uncredited) 

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Not That Great
Shawn Watson (February 7, 2004)
I really don't think that this CD is worthy of an upgrade if you have the original release already. Okay, so you can argue that it's 'digitally remastered'. But so what? All the best music was on the first release. The new 'un contains a lot of deleted material, extensive liner notes and bonus 'percussion only' tracks. But it's still not good enough.

Much of this CD is empty 'lurking around' music that excites in no way. The 'Alien Trilogy' release by Cliff Eidelman had the good sense to cut out of this and get straight to the action. The best example of this is 'Futile Escape'. We have to wait thru 3 minutes of NOTHING before the action kicks in. It's great stuff but skipping thru the beginning of the track is an awful chore.

If you know much about James Horner you know that he rips himself off way too much. Commando was a rip-off of his own 48 Hours and Aliens sounds way too much like his score for Star Trek III. Hard to believe this was nominated for 'Best ORIGINAL Score'. Though it is still the best score of the whole Alien Quadrilogy (I guess that's the word for it now). It's better than what Goldsmith offered in the first and superior to anything Goldenthal and Frizzell created for 3 and 4.

But if you have the first release then just stick with it. You may think you're getting more but it has just been bloated up with boring stuff. Plus, what's the deal with these 'percussion only' tracks? How on earth are these supposed to be entertaining? A 'Brass Only' track would have made sense but percussion only? The tracks selected for this treatment were boring before being stripped of all the other instruments.

I do wish Varese Sarabande would do a Deluxe Edition of something more worthy, like the scores to Predator 1 and 2 or the aforementioned Commando (which has never been released to CD yet).

Note: If you think you recognize the track 'Revolution and Hyperspace' but you know it's not from Aliens then you are not alone. The track was used by John McTiernan as temp music score for Die Hard. Michael Kamen thought that it fit so well that he actually used it because the cues were ditched from the Aliens score.

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