To do the video appreciation of Sigourney Weaver justice you need a wall of screens — stacked so that the stretch of her magnificent length is visible in every square. Was ever an actress so strappingly vertical? I never understood what Virginia Woolf meant when she described her friend Vita Sackville-West?s legs as beech trees, but Weaver?s glorious gams come to mind.
Back as Lieut. Ellen Ripley in “Alien Resurrection,” the 48-year-old action heroine battles monsters with a command enhanced by middle age. This time, Ripley, a reconstructed mix of human and alien DNA, gives birth to a monster, wears metallic nail polish, and knocks out a man with a single blow. Watch the camera close in on her toned arms and pull back as Ripley faces down a bully on her basketball court for a catalog of the dame?s assets.
In the category of Serious Drama (including 1988?s “Gorillas in the Mist,” which won her an Oscar nomination, and 1994?s “Death and the Maiden”), she?s electric in “The Year of Living Dangerously,” Peter Weir?s 1983 political drama set in Indonesia in the mid-1960s. It helps that Weaver?s costar is a young, sexy Mel Gibson, one of the few men whose virility thrives in her presence. But Gibson alone can’t account for Weaver?s intensity as a British attaché juggling government duties with sexual passion.
Nowhere, however, is she more at home than in comedy. Parodying her patrician tendencies and “Alien”-centric self in 1984?s “Ghostbusters,” Weaver charms as a woman possessed. Indulging her satirical skills, she does a dead-on imitation of a Marianne Williamson-style guru in 1995?s “Jeffrey.” But there?s no greater distillation of Weaver’s talents than “Working Girl,” Mike Nichols? 1988 romantic comedy about a secretary (Melanie Griffith) who trusts her instincts and tones down her eye shadow. As Griffith’s yuppie-boss -?sisterly and competitive, armored and vulnerable as she clomps around with crutches after a ski injury -? Weaver pulled in the laughs and took home an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Alien Resurrection: B+ The Year of Living Dangerously: A? Working Girl: A?