Ellen Ripley: Greatest Female Sci-fi Character of All-Time?

Finally . . . it’s here. The long-anticipated (by sci-fi geeks such as myself, at least) “prequel” to the Alien franchise. Let me tell you, I am obsessed with the Alien movies. If any of them are on TV, I’m there watching
it . . . yes, even Alien3 and Alien Resurrection.

I know that these movies aren’t for everyone. They are definitely gory, but I remember seeing Alien as a kid and loving the suspense . . . the idea of being chased by something scared the living tar out me, but I had to watch it over and over again.

But even if you don’t like horror and gore, what you can’t ignore is what a positive message was passed on to young women: Lieutenant Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) kicked some serious butt.  How many male characters survived on Ripley’s ship, the Nostromo? None. Ripley single-handedly defeated the face-sucking, chest-bursting, acid-bleeding alien — and even saved the cat. In the sequel, Aliens, she did it again: despite her intense fear of dying at the hands of this alien who killed her friends in the most horrifying way, she battled back the terror and walked right into the alien’s nest to rescue a little girl, Newt. This act — and the relationship that Ripley forms with Newt (which you gain more insight into if you watch the director’s cut of the movie) — shows the softer side of Ripley without taking away from her intelligence and fierce determination to survive.  And then the movie ends in an estrogen-rich (well, assuming female aliens have estrogen) fight as Ripley and Big Momma Alien battle it out.

I’m looking forward to seeing Prometheus this weekend. And judging by the trailers (which I’m addicted to . . . bloody viral marketing), it looks as though we have some more strong female characters, namely Charlize Theron’s portrayal of Meredith Vickers. But in my opinion, no female character can ever match the strength and brains of Lieutenant Ellen Ripley.


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