a) Some appreciation for Cameron's movie
Dan O'Bannon thought that Jim Cameron's Aliens was pretty good because he did one of the few things one could have done to make a decent enough sequel, which was that he turned it on its head, and changing to a different genre turning it from a horror movie to an action adventure film, but still for Dan, this was not different enough. And once they had done that, there was really nothing left to do. Of the Alien sequels made during his life, he would think that Aliens was the best and that Cameron made good films anyway
b) Changes that he would have made
If he had been personally involved, he would have been more radical in the treatment of the alien itself. So if one watched the movie, there would be plenty of surprises and shocks again beyond finding out that there was a queen.
c) Changing it even further than that
But for Dan because of his effort to maintain high standards in terms of story, he thought it was impossible to do, and then again, if he had done it, it would have been an entirely different movie, with only a nominal link to the original, and if he was going to do that, he might as well call it something else.
- Dan O'Bannon: [James Cameron] did one of the few things one could have done to make a half-decent sequel, which is he turned it on its head and made an action adventure film. But it still wasn't different enough. If I had been involved, I would have turned the whole project upside down altogether, or I would have been much more radical in the treatment of the Alien itself. So if you saw the movie, there would be plenty of surprises and shocks again, not just finding out they have a queen. When I first thought about sequelizing Alien, when that came up, I found it a difficult task, being as concerned as I am about maintaining high standards in terms of the story, I thought it was impossible to do. If I had done it, it would have been an entirely different movie, with only a nominal link to the original. And if I'm gonna do that, I might as well call it something different. (Fangoria,#239, 2005, p38)
- Dan O'Bannon: " [Cameron] just about pulled it off. It was a separate movie in its own right. [It's] a good answer to the problem which is how to sequelize this. Plus, he was very wise not to try to handle it as a fear-evoking horror suspense tale like the first one (...) He was able to turn it to something he could work with to advantage. And you know, it was pretty good." (source unknown but found here: http://thejcoboard.forumer.com/topic/2206944/Alien-and-Alien-3-crew-comments-on-Aliens#.V4eGhY7DEgg)
- Dan O'Bannon: It was played out after the first one, as far as I’m concerned. Cameron, in the first one, did about the only thing you could do, which was that he changed to a different genre, from a horror movie to an action film. But once he had done that, there really was nothing left to do. And they just keep squeezing the thing till it’s an empty bag. But as long as it keeps bringing in money to them, they’ll keep doing it. (http://www.denofgeek.com/ The Den of Geek interview: Dan O'Bannon, 19 Dec 2007)
- FROUG: Did you see Aliens, the
sequel? What'd you think?
O'BANNON: It had its virtues.
FROUG: You thought it was as good as, or . . .
O'BANNON: Oh, I would never draw that kind of comparison in a public interview between my own work and someone else's. Not unless I want some very angry people. Aliens was a good film. But, in general
, I think it's a mistake to quickly remake somebody else's contemporary film.
FROUG: Unless it makes money for everybody involved, right?
O'BANNON: No. I think it's an even worse mistake if you're making a lot of money off the imitation. It's even a worse mistake to do it because money clouds your mind. (The new screenwriter looks at the new screenwriter)