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In space no one can hear you beam!
on 29 December 2016
Whether you're in the camp of the original Ridley Scott thriller or more attuned to the James Cameron actioner, this series of films has always strived to give its fans something of interest in each subsequent outing (the 'AVP' movies not withstanding), all topped off with an impressive lead performance from Sigourney Weaver - this Blu-Ray boxset is a no-brainer when it comes to plunking down your hard earned...
To begin, lets go through the movies: First up, 1979's 'Alien' is a peerless classic. When the crew of the merchant starship 'Nostromo' receives an unknown transmission that they decipher as a distress call, they decide to investigate the source on a neighbouring moon... however, when one of the crew is attacked by a mysterious life form, that latches itself to his face - things take a turn for the worst. Now, with a desperate race back to earth, the alien creature begins its assault on the crew, first escaping from the hapless crew member and embarking on a life cycle both extraordinary and shocking that renders the remaining crew in a life or death struggle for survival... Next, 1986's 'Aliens' - the highly anticipated follow up which jettisons the 'Friday the 13th' in space style horror aesthetic and instead goes for all out war focusing on the remaining heroine from the first movie, Ripley (an excellent Weaver) and her return to that very same planet some 57 years later. This time, flanked by a team of hardened marines (led by Michael Biehn's Hicks) and a handy 'synthetic human' called Bishop (a great Lance Henriksen), its not long before they're knee deep in Xenomorphs and again a race for survival is number one on the cards... Again, this one is a classic and if honest, slightly better than the original with richer characters, heightened danger and impressive visuals.
Now, things start to take a slightly downward spiral with 1992's 'Alien 3' which finds Ripley operating on a prison planet called Fiorina Fury 161. Isolated by the inmates and questioned by the authorities as to her amazing story of an acid spewing alien, she's totally alone again in an extremely hostile environment. However, when a series of strange deaths occur shortly after her arrival, she soon realises that she's brought something along with her on this trip that won't stop until she and her follow counterparts are dead or impregnated... Its not a terrible film by any standards, but its bleak atmosphere and lack of a final act make it an interesting curio rather than an impressive endeavour… Finally, we arrive at ‘Alien Resurrection’ the fourth entry in the series and sadly the weakest. This time we are 200 years in the future and aboard the military ship Auriga where they’re scientific team have successfully cloned Ripley. For what purpose we are yet to discover but when a team of mercenaries, led by the enigmatic Elgyn (an excellent Michael Wincott) and a mysterious passenger called Call (Winona Ryder on Yellow Pages reading form) soon find out the hard way when a group of aliens escape and hunt our hapless heroes down. Impressive visuals and great turns from Wincott, Weaver and Leland Orser portraying a doomed crewman do help elevate proceedings, but the jokey vibe and juvenile screenplay by (a since dismissed) Joss Whedon fail to take this one into new territory. Again, not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, but if honest it is a case of same old, same old…
Fox’s UK Blu-Ray Anthology edition is a marvel. Collecting the series into a nicely designed package offering both theatrical and directors editions of all 4 films makes for a highly rewarding experience. Throw in a number of exhaustive documentaries, featurettes and extras ensuring this is one of the better boxsets on the market. Highly recommended.