The Alien Quadrilogy
is a nine-disc box set devoted to the four Alien
films. Although previously available on DVD as the Alien Legacy
, here the films have been repackaged with vastly more extras and with upgraded sound and vision. For anyone who hasn't been in hypersleep for the last 25 years this series needs no introduction, though for the first time each film now comes in both original and "Special Edition" form.
Alien (1979) was so perfect it didn't need fixing, and Ridley Scott's 2003 Director's Cut is fiddling for the sake of it. Watch once then return to the majestic, perfectly paced original. Conversely the Special Edition of James Cameron's Aliens (1986) is the definitive version, though it's nice finally to have the theatrical cut on DVD for comparison. Most interesting is the alternative Alien3 (1992). This isn't a "director's cut"--David Fincher refused to have any involvement with this release--but a 1991 work-print that runs 29 minutes longer than the theatrical version, and has now been restored, remastered and finished-off with (unfortunately) cheap new CGI. Still, it's truly fascinating, offering a different insight into a flawed masterpiece. The expanded opening is visually breathtaking, the central firestorm is much longer, and a subplot involving Paul McGann's character adds considerable depth to the story. The ending is also subtly but significantly different. Alien Resurrection (1997) was always a mess with a handful of brilliant scenes, and the Special Edition just makes it eight minutes longer.
On the DVD: Alien Quadrilogy offers all films except Alien3 with DTS soundtracks, the latter having still fine Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. All four films sound fantastic, with much low-level detail revealed for the first time. Each is anamorphically enhanced at the correct original aspect ratio, and the prints and transfers are superlative. Every film offers a commentary that lends insight into the creative process--though the Scott-only commentary and isolated music score from the first Alien DVD release are missing here--and there are subtitles for hard of hearing both for the films and the commentaries.
Each movie is complemented by a separate disc packed with hours of seriously detailed documentaries (all presented at 4:3 with clips letterboxed), thousands of photos, production stills and storyboards, giving a level of inside information for the dedicated buff only surpassed by the Lord of the Rings extended DVD sets. A ninth DVD compiles miscellaneous material, including a Channel 4 hour-long documentary and even all the extras from the old Alien laserdisc. Exhaustive hardly begins to describe the Alien Quadrilogy, a set which establishes the new DVD benchmark for retrospective releases and which looks unlikely to be surpassed for some time. --Gary S Dalkin
In the first chapter of the terrifying Alien
saga, the crew of the spaceship Nostromo answers a distress signal from a desolate planet, only to discover a deadly life form that breeds within human hosts. Now the crew members must fight not only for their own survival, but for the survival of all mankind. Aliens
The terror continues as Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) returns to Earth after drifting through space in hypersleep for 57 years. Although her story about the alien encounter is met with skepticism, she agrees to accompany a team of high-tech marines back to LV-246... and this time it’s war. Alien 3
In the third chapter of the terrifying sci-fi saga, Ripley’s crippled spaceship crash-lands on Fiorina 161, a bleak wasteland inhabited by former inmates of the planet’s maximum security prison. But an alien was aboard her craft... and soon the body count begins to mount. Alien Resurrection
Terror is reborn in the stunning conclusion to the Alien
sci-fi saga. Two hundred years have passed since Ripley made the ultimate sacrifice on Fiorina 161, but now a group of scientists has cloned her--along with the Alien queen inside her--hoping to breed the ultimate weapon.Special Features:
- Audio commentaries by directors Ridley Scott, James Cameron and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, various cast and crew members
- Introduction by Ridley Scott (Alien - Director's Cut only) and James Cameron (Aliens - Special Edition only)
- Final theatrical isolated scores: Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Elliot Golenthal and John Frizzell
- Composer's original isolated scores: Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner
- Deleted and extended scenes