A Birthday Ode to Ellen Ripley

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Weaver Dallas

Hard to believe that Sigourney Weaver is 65 today. But don’t go thinkin’ Ellen Ripley is any less of a badass than she’s always been. Have you had a gander at those guns she’s sportin’? Makes Michelle Obama look like Calista Flockhart.

If I recall correctly, the line is…

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That’s right. She’ll whip your ass.

Bottom line, Weaver’s Ripley is, was and ever shall be the John McLane of the horror / sci-fi genre. Much like Mr. Cowboy, Ripley had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the right time (down one on the yippee kay yay scoreboard if you’re keeping score at home), but also recognized that when one represents the last line of defense, it’s time to nut up or shut up.

Weaver’s Ripley nutted up. And crushed xenomorphs every step of the way.

When discussion turns to strong female characters in cinema, Ellen Ripley has to be at or near the top of the list or it’s simply null and void. Topic over. Weaver’s no-nonsense approach to Ripley was characterized by strength, courage and intelligence –a gender-irrelevant hero — undaunted by the horrifying scenarios she’d been thrust into, yet maintained her humanity. No easy task considering how easily Weaver could have veered into a caricature of Ripley. Thirty-five years on, the last survivor of the Nostromo holds up as the epitome of what a capable, unyielding female lead can and should be.

So celebrate Sigourney’s 65th and pay homage to her portrayal of Ellen Ripley by busting out your Alien DVDs (or gear up with Alien: Isolation) for a little pre-Halloween marathon.

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