Customer Review

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent presentation of the best sci-fi ever, 4 July 2004
This review is from: Alien Quadrilogy (9 Disc Complete Box Set) [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
The Alien Quadrilogy [2003] is perhaps the best illustration of how DVD technology has consigned VHS to the dustbin of home entertainment history. This beautifully packaged boxed set is a splendid illustration of the capabilities of the DVD medium and certainly contains everything you ever wanted to know about Alien - and then some.
The 9 DVDs comprise both the original theatrical releases and extended director's cuts of all 4 movies. Audio and visuals have been tweaked to a noticeable degree to optimise home enjoyment. If you don't already possess a surround-sound system - buy one now!
The documentary disks accompanying each movie are crammed full of fascinating material - storyboards, backstage candid shots and tons of insightful and amusing interviews with the directors, producers, actors etc. One of the highlights for me being the Aliens 3 supplemental disk, which recounts the amazing story of the abortive "wooden monastery" first draft and the huge problems that beset the third installment. I wonder if one of the proposed taglines for another draft of Alien 3 - "On Earth *everyone* can hear you scream" may yet be used for a 5th movie? Also, seeing the legendary H.R. Giger at work in his bone-filled mausoleum of a studio was truly captivating.
Everyone is familiar with the movies themselves, so just a few brief words will suffice on each;
Alien: a sublime and seminal blend of intelligent sci-fi and gothic horror. Totally blew me away when I first saw it in '78 and it can still shock and grab you by the guts today. I prefer the theatrical release, as the extended version lacks a little pace in the denouement due to superfluous scenes - 10/10.
Aliens: Not quite the stunning claustrophobic impact of the first movie, but the breathless action easily compensates. Go for the special edition here for the more meaningful intro and the poignant scene where Ripley finds out about her daughter - 10/10.
Alien 3: Director's cut is *FAR* superior here - why the abbatoir scene and the nascent "bambi" alien were cut from the theatrical version is truly baffling. The strongest characterisation and human interest of the entire series, although the ending appears somewhat rushed and is not entirely satisfactory - 8/10.
Alien Resurrection: Generally held to be the weakest of the series (I agree), Jeunet dilutes the alien impact with some whimsical direction and downright annoying characterisation. In places Alien 4 descends, disappointingly, into black comedy. Cult actor Ron Perlman is great though and the alien effects are excellent. Stick with the slicker theatrical version - 6/10.
So, whilst I am not a great fan of the 4th installment, this collection, especially now at this bargain price, undeniably represents excellent value for money and is an indispensible purchase for the serious sci-fi fan. The Alien Quadrilogy is what DVD systems were made for!
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Jan 2011 16:21:08 GMT
D. Laidlaw says:
I totally agree.Did you see thar wannabe on AVP 2 reviewr saying the problem with Alien....fact is Alien is the best ever Sci-fi thrill ride and has nothing to worry about from these cheap rehash rip offs!I really Loved Alien and Aliens-3 was a bit depressing and Resurrection was not as good as it could have been(and a bit splattery) but this collection is a must!

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2011 17:32:23 BDT
Cartimand says:
Glad you liked my review! I've subsequently upgraded to the Blu-Ray version - check out my (mostly copied) review!

Posted on 13 Nov 2012 15:27:17 GMT
This review is for the nine disc set. The one advertised on this page is actually the 5 disc set!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 13:28:03 GMT
flyinghyphen says:
Yes, in July 2004 the box set needed 9 discs to contain the films. Since then technology has enabled more data to be crammed onto each disc, so the number of discs has reduced to 5.
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