My Aliens memory is that my brother popped in the VHS and had me watch it. I saw Aliens before Alien, and oddly it was original film that made me sleep with my pillow over my mouth, and hear the sounds of a Facehugger crawling about (imagination). Aliens didn’t truamatize me because it felt very much more optimistic, marines (heroes) versus Aliens (monsters), whereas Alien messed with me psychologically.
Alien 3 was actually the first footage I saw as a kid, but the first full length viewing was Aliens, which my bro quoted the whole way through before iconic lines like “Nobody touch nothin”were spoken. Aliens and Predator were are bonding films, it was a rite of passage for me being seen less as little brother that I could watch films like Aliens.
Aliens I have memorized, and I love the Theatrical Version for the same reasons Voodoo said, its more mysterious, suspenseful and akin to visiting Derelict in first film only this time its the Colony. I felt the dread was reborn that we are Ripley, we know what is lurking, what threat is in the shadows, and that anticipation creates a tension that is palpable. The Director’s Cut slowed the pacing down, and the only scene I actually like from it is the Sentry Guns, because it establishes why there are fewer Xenomorphs encountered in The Hive at the climax with Ripley and Newt.
One of my favorite lines is Ripley in Loader when she emerges to face the Queen Alien, “Get away from her you bitch!”
I wanted to comment about how James Cameron was inspired by Starship Troopers and that there was a comment about how some people do some things better than others in the craft of filmmaking, a great example of this is M. Night Shamalyan’s “The Happening” and Netflix’s “Bird Box.” Both had the premise of an invisible force making people commit suicide, but Bird Box did a better job of creating tension, mystery, and world building. You can have a great idea, but its executing it in a unique way that matters in the end.