MovieChat Forums > Aliens (1986) Discussion > Why so few Marine Corps troops?

Why so few Marine Corps troops?


I know that Marines are elite troops and that this great film mimics the failings of the Vietnam War, but wouldn't a real offworld danger involving dangerous alien organisms need a far larger body of soldiers?

In this film there were only about 10 Marines that entered the hive? No reserves or casualty replacements?

In the famous 1980 SAS rescue of the Iranian hostages in London, there were 80 elite troopers and in the 90's the US used 'copters carrying Delta troops, with large ground support from the Rangers to capture the Somalian warlord, Adid?

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Because 'they' thought it was another bug hunt.

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Yep. Underestimated what they were getting into. Classic human failing. Also, I imagine space travel is extremely expensive.

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The company (rumours in that meeting with Van Lewin and also what Burke vowed to Ripley), or whoever sent the Marines, didn't? That was only told to them by their Lt on the ship.

The Terraformers knew different, so did the ''bosses''.

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It's hard to know who knew what, so speculation is our only avenue.
It seems Burke somehow got permission from his superiors to have the marines visit LV426. Bearing in mind what he says to Ripley about exclusive rights to the alien, he must have underplayed the situation but still felt the few marines he took would be enough to execute his plan.

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Possibly, and the fact that he wanted the alien ''smuggled'' through quarantine, suggests that he knew about the adult aliens and made sure that it failed, with ''too few'' troops?

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They sent a squad to investigate the beacon failure.. it was only Ripley's theory that LV426 was infested.

However the real reason, as we find out, was to send a joke squad headed by a rookie Lieutenant and bring back alien samples to the Company. The Marines weren't meant for anything apart from being used as test subjects.

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No one at the Company except Burke even considered the possibility that there might really be aliens, and even he was just curious enough to go check on the off chance it might be true. Clearly, if the company really thought that there might be aliens they would have sent a team of company scientists and security people.

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Burke works for the company. He sent Newt's parents to check out the location of the ship after Ripley's description.

He sent them there and knew of the infestation.. the radio contact with LV426 is lost because of him.
A deleted scene shows the parents finding the ship.

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All Burke knows is that he sent some colonists to investigate the area and then he lost contact with the colony. He even explicitly says "Hey, I didn't even know if that ship really existed!" when talking to Ripley about why he came on the mission.

My point is that Burke didn't really have much of a plan other than to go along on the mission and see if the aliens were real and if there was some way he could benefit if it turned out they really existed. He didn't have any sort of big scheme to use the marines as test subjects, he was just making it all up as he went.

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I don't think Burke was in on this alone. He was just a on the ground floor middle man for the company. He was not an executive. The company knew for a fact there was alien life form. Remember in Alien Ash was given specific company orders to bring back the alien lifeform at all costs. They knew it was real. Alien 3 confirms this when the company shows up to collect it again. The fact that in Aliens the company had already build labs and were studying the face huggers is pretty telling for this. The 'debriefing' scene in which the executives claim to not know anything about the aliens they are probably lying to save face and push the blame onto one of their employees.

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I think part of the problem is that the Sulaco is clearly a huge ship with a lot of extra room, an enormous cargo area you could play football in, enough crates that it looks like they must have enough equipment for a battalion, etc. (not to mention a whole extra drop ship that they apparently didn't bring another flight crew for?), which makes it seem weird that they have such a tiny number of people.

It would have worked better if they had made the Sulaco some kind of small fast-reaction scout ship that was cramped inside and only had room for a few marines (and no extra dropship).

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All they knew was that they were investigating a downed transmitter, and a potentially dangerous hostile organism that was mostly conjecture might have been involved. It was basically meant to be a routine reconnaissance mission, so it would make sense to send only one squad.

It probably would have made more sense for the Sulaco to have a ship’s crew manning it, such as an engineer, petty officer, or ensign, but that was probably due to lack of budget. In the original script, Bishop was supposed to stay on board the Sulaco for the whole movie and deny the survivors any rescue for fear of contaminating the ship.

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Step 1: trash some stupid little colony's transmitter
Step 2: wait for 10 marines to show up in a huge warship to investigate
Step 3: steal unattended ship

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Yeah, that is the one real problem with this movie.
No way they risk a trillion dollar or hugely expensive battlecruiser and crew it like 20 people ... or even just give it 2 landers. Good call.

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I think in order to facilitate the main target, to get some Aliens to Earth in order to analyze and domesticate them.

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I know that Marines are elite troops and that this great film mimics the failings of the Vietnam War, but wouldn't a real offworld danger involving dangerous alien organisms need a far larger body of soldiers?

And there in lies your answer...

You have to realise that Mr Cameron, in his intent make a Vietnam style movie, used his sequel to that end, and in doing so pretty much ignored most of the facts about the Xenomorph we found out about in the original..

Why were they terraforming LV426 anyway? In the original movie it was made clear that Weyland-Yutani already knew what was on that moon by Ash's 'Crew Expendable' massage, in this movie it seems that they think that they had simply lost contact.. Ripley convinced them it was more than that.

Where did the queen come from? In introducing the Queen Cameron pretty much destroyed the Alien, turning it from 'the perfect' organism into giant space insect... While it was virtually 'unstoppable' in the original to being killed with a shotgunin this sequel.

And introducing the Queen, Cameron also destroyed the unique life cycle of the Alien, From 'egg', to facehugger to chestburster to adult. originally the Alien propagated itself by selecting not to use all of it's victims as food, and instead injecting a few with an enzyme that metamorphosises the unfortunate victim into an Ovomorph (egg), no Queen required.

And, as the alien can only produce one alien using one victim, how come there were so many Xenomorphs on LV426 anyhow? There were only a limited number terraformers to use, of which most were still alive when Ripley and co. arrived.

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As for why they were terraforming lv426, remember that the events of Alien were 50 years in the past at that point. Everyone from W-Y who knew anything about it was probably dead from old age, or at least long-since retired. There might have been some secret files hidden away somewhere, but it's also very possible that 50 years ago they just covered it up, destroyed the evidence, and never talked about it again.

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That is very true, and the storyline of Aliens does support that, as it seems to be Ripley's testimony into the destruction of the Nostromo that caused W-Y to send the colonists to investigate the derelict ship.

Though I still find it strange that, with all the possible worlds out there to try and terraform, W-Y chose a 1,200km wide rock 39 light-years from Earth.

My theory is that W-Y were still interested in the Xenomorph, but had lost it's location. Hadley's Hope was created, officially as a terraforming colony, but with the underlying objective of re-acquiring the derelicts' location. Finding Ripley and her testimony pointed them to the location, which set off the events in Alien.

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