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This review is from: Alien Quadrilogy [DVD]  (DVD)
This Quadrilogy boxset gives us the four Alien films in theatrical and special edition formats, as well as some superb extras. The extras include `making of ` featurettes, photos, commentaries and much more. Each extra disc gives you another insight into the Alien films and philosophy. Then with subsequent viewings you can't help but see the extra details in the films with a fresh eye.
`Alien' is a film that has stood the test of time remarkably well.
Following a crew on a large mining space ship, we see what happens to them when they pick up a distress signal and encounter an alien life form. Despite the age of this film the special effects are still remarkably creepy and at times could still rival films of today. The sets are the parts of this film that seem the most dated, but even these add a certain kitschy charm. This film spawned a movie franchise that went on for decades, but this is the one that held the most suspense, despite later ones having more gore and violence. Re-watching it today I was surprised just how creepy and eerie it was compared to what I remembered.
This is acted and directed well and the alien effects are still impressive and coupled with a good storyline this makes for one superb sci-fi/horror film. A classic that should be watched at least once in your lifetime.
Set 57 years after the end of the first Alien film, `Aliens' sees Ripley returning to the Alien planet, now an off Earth Colony, to confront her old nemesis.
After contact is lost with the colony Marines are sent in, with Ripley as a consultant to investigate. We meet Newt, a young girl who manages to survive by hiding in the air ducts, and who brings out Ripley's maternal instincts, and Bishop, an android who Ripley finds hard to trust. There is also a team of US marines with an annoying `in your face' gung ho attitude, but who serve a purpose in the fight against the acid blooded, parasitic aliens.
This was directed by James Cameron after his success with `Terminator' and if you are familiar with this film the directional style will be very familiar, but it's a style that works very well for the sci-fi genre. This film is less atmospheric and creepy than the first film and is more action orientated, with lots of gun fights, explosions and shouting. This is also the film we see Ripley become the badass she has to be to survive the aliens.
This is an excellent sequel to the original film and whilst it is louder and with more action, it adds to the story very well indeed and compliments the original perfectly. Some say this is the best film in the series and it is definitely a very credible, exciting film, with a great plotline. You'll just have to watch them all to make up your own mind.
`Alien 3' is probably one of the weaker films in the Alien series, but saying that it is still a good sci-fi film and worth a watch at some point.
When her hypersleep is disturbed and her pod is ejected into space, Ripley awakens to find herself on a penal colony surrounded by hardened criminals. She also finds herself facing her old nemesis once again after it stowed away on her ship.
This film moves at a slower pace to `Aliens' and has none of the suspense or creepiness of `Alien', but it does move the story forwards in a credible way and introduces us to the Alien in it's four legged guise. This alien is able to run a lot faster and also scurry across ceilings in it's search for prey.
The various inmates are clichéd and rather two dimensional and the only character of note isn't in the film long enough to keep it elevated. Weaver plays Ripley well, as always, and her shaven, harrowed look shows the stresses her character has been under perfectly.
This is a decent, but not outstanding, sci-fi film and will always be the poor relation to the previous Alien films. It is well worth watching and is entertaining enough for the duration, just don't expect the suspense or high action of previous instalments.
When Ripley is cloned to gain access to the alien queen inside of her, her genetic material became bonded with that of the alien. Giving her fast healing capabilities and super-human strength the Ripley of before is now supercharged and a formidable adversary to any alien she may encounter.
`Alien Resurrection' is set 200 years after `Alien 3', but not much has changed. The company (in a new guise) wants the alien for military purposes and Ripley wants to stop that from happening, only this time she as split loyalties dues to her genetic mutation. Winona Rider is a member of a smuggling crew caught up in the melee and whilst she is ok in this film, her elfin image doesn't really sit with a hardened sci-fi action film.
The direction is pretty good and Weaver is as good as she has ever been. She has a darker streak in this film and it suits her. The alien effects are also still good and in this film we see the aliens swim, as well as meeting a new incarnation that I won't say more about here to maintain the surprise.
All in all this is a decent sequel in the series and I enjoy it at least as much as `Alien 3' but, like that film, it never matches the creepiness of `Alien' or the action of `Aliens'. Still, this is well worth watching if you have seen the rest and makes for a fairly decent sci-fi film.
So, overall this is an excellent value-for-money boxset, giving you way more than many other boxsets of a similar or greater price and it offers up some classic sci-fi films to boot.
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