Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo Alien Resurrection: CE
English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
English: DTS 5.1 Surround
Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
Alien: CE Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish Aliens: CE English - Hearing Impaired, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Commentary - English Alien 3: CE English - Hearing Impaired, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish Alien Resurrection: CE Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
7 Deleted scenes - Fully restored
9 Featurette - Various
Production notes - Ridleygrams
13 Photo gallery - Well over 500 pics
Behind the scenes footage
Storyboards - Over 300 images
Multiple angle - 'Birth' sequence
THX Optimiser Aliens: CE
7 Photo gallery
Storyboards - Videomatic
THX Optimiser Alien 3: CE
7 Photo gallery - + art and storyboards
Multiple angle - 6 streams Alien Resurrection: CE
6 Photo gallery
20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 0 mins .
M15+ . PAL
First came the Legacy box set. Now, we have this swollen hybrid of films and special editions, extraordinary transfers and without doubt the most comprehensive series of featurettes and documentaries of any film franchise to date.
There’s no true fan of the Alien films who could live without this set. It has everything you ever knew, everything you thought you knew, and a bunch of shit you had no idea even existed within its chest-bursting contents. Nine discs (count ‘em, nine!) bring us two versions of each of the four films and over 40 hours of additional footage thereby making this the collector’s edition. Extended versions of each film introduced by the directors (the exception being David Fincher, unfortunately) and audio commentaries over the existing theatrical or special versions mean there is no stone unturned in your education of the scariest Quadrilogy ever devised. Yes, some of the stuff is familiar to us already from the Alien Legacy set, but here we get that plus a pantload of other extraordinary stuff.
Anyone reading this will be one of two types of people: those who have the set already and are reading to see if what they think is mirrored here, or those contemplating the purchase to see if it’s worth it. To these last I say, an emphatic YES. But maybe, just maybe, you’re one of the unmentioned third group of people; you are the curious. You are the ones who saw the film(s) and thought, ‘well, it’s good, but it’s not great’ and to you I offer only this: This set will make you a believer.
The quality is just superb for all but the second film of the series, Aliens. While it’s alright, there are some moments of mid-grain that are a real disappointment, particularly as they are occurring just as the film is really ramping up. It’s also the only one delivered in the rather weak (comparatively) aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with 16:9 enhancement (sources tell me Cameron deliberately shot in this ratio for a more documentary feel to the film). James Cameron’s introduction is phoned in over accompanying photographs and resembles the introduction to the original special edition DVD release. Not that the film is entirely crappy. In fact, a lot of it is just great with a good clean picture, but the instances of grain are a real letdown, and I guess we just have to live with the ratio, unfortunately. However, in Alien³ we get too good a picture which betrays some of the shoddier blue-screen transfers of the alien at work. Regardless of these failings however, the overall picture quality is superb and transfers itself to the extras in the same fashion.
Sound is delivered in magnificent DTS 5.1 half the time with Dolby Surround 5.1 filling the gaps in the rest, so the sound quality is never in doubt. It’s bloody awesome. Plenty of great stuff without any horrid squeaking or squawking (other than the intended) and brilliant silences between. Superb stuff without a major fault among it.
Extras-wise, need I bother to say anything? The set contains around 40 hours worth of stuff to keep any fan buckled in for days! I can’t think of any other franchise or box set that has anywhere near that kind of attention. Recently researched and created, there are numerous featurettes and documentaries detailing even the most pedestrian of events within the Alien hivemind of four films. Extraordinary entertainment! Not to mention the nicely themed picture discs and the excellent themed menus. Impressive attention to detail from Fox that doesn’t disappoint.
On top of that there’s the ninth and final disc which has remained unreviewed to this point. I shall rectify that little issue for you right now...
Original concept art
Everything they couldn’t fit onto the corresponding bonus discs for each film has been crammed in here. And there’s still a remarkably huge gathering, although most lies in trailers and TV spots. Under each film title as a subheader we go into their relative separate menu with our first header being, of course, Alien. In here we get the best ‘extra’ extras (read all about it!) with our first one being an incredibly comprehensive documentary shot a few years back now about the film and its impact on the cinema world. This runs for 1:04:35 and while repeating itself a little with similar interviews and such, this is still pretty good. Following this comes the Experience in Terrorpromotional featurette running for 7:12. Being made in 1979 to promote the film makes this very soft edged and in serious decay, but a worthy inclusion nonetheless.
Ridley Scott Q&A is next, featuring Ridley screening the film for an audience before being asked dumbarse questions by geeky fanboys. Shot on September 14, 2001 this again manages to repeat itself a little from stuff we’ve already watched. Oh well.
Then the shock inclusion of the Laser Disc Archive. This has everything that was on the 1992 laser disc release and has some concept art we missed earlier. Well over 300 pages of information and pics here with interspersed deleted scenes and such. Incredible, isn’t it? Everything here originally fit on a disc the size of a vinyl record, yet here it fits on but a fraction of a much smaller DVD. The future is here, people! Anyhow, we then have two trailers and two TV spots for the film that started it all.
Spin off sequel: Aliens Vs Planet of the Apes
Aliens has another laser disc archive in the same fashion as above, plus four different trailers and a TV spot. (Teaser, theatrical, domestic and international, if you’re wondering about the ‘different’ thing).
Alien³ has an advance featurette which runs for a teensy 2:51 plus a collection of five trailers of varying length and seven TV spots all in 1.78:1 sans enhancement.
Alien Resurrection features a theatrical teaser, theatrical trailer and four TV spots for both pay-per-view and Internet, which seems well advanced for its time. Nice work!
Spin off Special: A Very Alien Christmas
Finally, (thank God!) there are but two remaining articles. The Bob Burns Alien Collection is a 16:55 featurette about the guy who owns the Alien museum and there's some serious collector’s stuff here folks. Still, he’s a genuine and passionate guy and I couldn’t help but like the dude. And last of all, there’s a massive gallery of the Aliens comic book covers from Dark Horse Comics. While not all art pages, there are nevertheless well over 200 pages here with enough full colour cover art to keep anyone happy and drooling.
So, why are you still sitting here? Haven’t you read enough by now to know you can’t live without this box set? My heartfelt recommendation to anyone who loves any one of these films is to get out there and get their grimy little mitts on this set as soon as they possibly can. No self-respecting fan will wish to be without it.