So after waiting a more than a week to see James Cameron's latest budget-busting movie spectacular and still ending up with a sold-out showing, we walked out with the feeling we usually get with James Cameron movies: Not so good with characters, a simple and familiar story line, amazing visuals and technology.
What stuck in my mind the most was the familiarity of the characters. The copter pilot who flies our heros into the aliens' territory? A lot like Private Vasquez from Aliens, no? And Giovanni Ribissi's Parker Selvridge character was certainly a lot like Paul Reiser's Carter Burke in Aliens, yes? The walking mecha that are used for heavy lifting and occasional combat ... also remind you of something in Aliens? The flying attack ships used by the company are reminiscent of the machines' flying attack craft in Terminator 2.
Sigourney Weaver's a great actor, but you wouldn't guess it from this movie. Cameron's a great filmmaker (especially see The Abyss, his best, IMHO), and it might take you a while to wade through all of the 3-D visual effects here to realize that you wouldn't guess it, either, from this movie.