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article imageReview: Aliens score live at the Royal Albert Hall Special

By Tim Sandle     Nov 6, 2016 in Entertainment
London - To mark the thirsty years since the release of the groundbreaking science-fiction / horror move 'Aliens', the movie has been shown at London's Royal Albert Hall, scored by a live orchestra.
'Aliens Live' continues a trend in recent years where classic movies are shown in concert venues, with the soundtrack removed and the music scored by a live orchestra (see, for example, Digital Journal's review of Planet of Apes scored live; and a separate review of a live staging of Hitchock's Psycho soundtrack). Of course this staging suits some movies more than others; the soundtrack needs to have been designed for an orchestra to perform, it also needs to be essential to the movie, and play a significant part in upping the dramatic tension.
The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra ready to score the movie Aliens.
The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra ready to score the movie Aliens.
To re-watch a movie in this form needs a good venue and a competent orchestra. There are few venues more magnificent than London's Royal Albert Hall.
Royal Albert Hall October 2015. The concert hall was opened in 1871 by Queen Victoria.
Royal Albert Hall October 2015. The concert hall was opened in 1871 by Queen Victoria.
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, London. It has a capacity of up to 5,272 seats, and it was opened Queen Victoria in 1871.
A view inside the Royal Albert Hall  ahead of the screening of the 1986 move Aliens.
A view inside the Royal Albert Hall, ahead of the screening of the 1986 move Aliens.
With the live score, this was performed live by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, conducted by Ludwig Wicki. Wicki is more accustomed to conducting late Romantic, Impressionist, and Viennese classics than sci-fi epics. Nonetheless, the musical score of Aliens suits a full orchestra.
A view of the lit and magnificent ceiling at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
A view of the lit and magnificent ceiling at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The music was composed by the late James Horner. Horner's score for Titanic is the best-selling orchestral film soundtrack of all time. He also composed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Cocoon and Avatar, among dozens of others. Horner won two Academy awards.
Horner's score for Aliens was Oscar nominated and it conveys a sense of tension and drama to James Cameron's classic movie. Aliens was released in 1986 as the sequel to Ridley Scott's 1979 movie Alien.
A woman browses the concert program for the screening of movie classic Aliens  scored live in London...
A woman browses the concert program for the screening of movie classic Aliens, scored live in London.
The movie follows Sigourney Weaver's character Ellen Ripley as she returns to the planet where her crew encountered the hostile Alien creature, this time accompanied by a unit of space marines. The movie won two Oscars and made $180 million at the box office, from a budget of $17 million. Aliens stands up with The Empire Strikes Back as sequels of movies that are as good, perhaps better, than the first stagings.
Although the soundtrack is powerful and fits the drama well, Horner composed the music without being able to see the completed movie (the score was based on viewing some of the rushes and reading the script), due to fact that the movie production fell behind schedule. Played in London in fine style, the issues around the composition are not apparent and the live performance provides an added dimension to Cameron's master work.
More about Aliens, James cameron, Ridley scott, Movie, Orchestra
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