Starring Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Michael Biehn and John Hurt, The Alien Quadrilogy includes all four wild sci-fi/ horror films in both their theatrical and extended cuts. Each film, each version has a brilliant DVD picture quality with equally amazing sound.
Discs 1-2: Alien (1979) Theatrical version (117 min.) 2003 director’s cut (137 min.) Commentary by Ridley Scott and technical crew 1.85 anamorphic, English 5.1 DTS, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Surround, THX Certified Preproduction: Star Beast (developing the story), First Draft of Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon, The Visualists (direction and design), Ridleygrams (original thumbnails & notes), storyboard archive, Art of Alien (Cobb, Foss, Giger, Moebius), Truckers in Space (casting), Sigourney Weaver’s screen test with optional commentary by Ridley Scott, cast portrait gallery Production: Fear of the Unknown (Shepperton Studios, 1978), production gallery, The Darkest Reaches (Nostromo and alien planet), The Sets of Alien, The Eighth Passenger (creature design), The Chestburster (creature design) Post-Production: Future Tense (music and editing), 8 deleted scenes, visual effects gallery (photo archive), A Nightmare Fulfilled (reaction to the film), poster explorations, special shoot, premiere
Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Blade Runner) directed this legendary film that started the series. In ’79 this was one of the scariest films ever made for a lot of moviegoers. Over the years, remakes and imitations have made this film seem weak. But, overall this is still one of the most suspenseful of all the Alien series. This is the original, the start of it all. It is an essential video, a film released between Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, and a sleek and stylish thriller.
Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm and John Hurt star in this suspenseful film. A crew of miners on a spaceship are sent to investigate a distress beacon on a planet in the far reaches of the galaxy. They find a ship, which may or may not have been sitting on this weird planet for ages. They go inside, and discover something they shouldn’t have. Kane is attacked, and they bring a creature aboard that is anything but normal. While everything seems like normal business to Dallas (Skerritt), Brett (Stanton) and Lambert (Cartwright), and the rest of the crew, one person feels that there’s something really wrong with this specimen. In a shocking scene in which this creature’s other makes its appearance, everyone realizes what Ripley (Weaver) had suspected all along and they all try to stop this rapidly growing beast before it kills them all.
This great 1979 film ended in an explosive conclusion, and set the stage for its equally suspenseful and even more thrilling sequel Aliens. The director’s cut includes several scenes, including one in which Ripley finds Dallas cocooned against a wall.
Discs 3-4: Aliens (1986) Theatrical version (137 min.) 1991 special edition (154 min.) Commentary by Michael Biehn, Jenette Goldstein, Carrie Henn, Terry Henn, Lance Henriksen, Gale Anne Hurd, Pat McClung, Bill Paxton, Dennis Skotak, Robert Skotak and Stan Winston 2.35 anamorphic, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Surround, THX Certified Pre-Production: 57 Years Later (continuing the story), Original Treatment: by James Cameron, Building Better Worlds (from concept to construction), The Art of Aliens (conceptual art portfolio), Pre-Vis Anamatics Preparing for Battle (casting & characterization), Cast Portait (still gallery) Production: This Time It’s War (Pinewood Studios, 1985) Production Gallery (photo archive), Continuity Polaroids, The Risk Always Lives (weapons and action), Weapons and Vehicles (photo archive), Bug Hunt (creature design), Beauty and the Bitch (Power Loader vs. Queen Alien), Stan Winston’s Workshop (photo archive), Two Orphans (Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn) Post-Production: The Final Countdown (music, editing and sound), The Power of Real Tech (visual effects), Visual Effects Gallery (photo archive), Aliens Unleashed (reaction to the film), Film Finish & Release, Easter egg (A Boy and His Power Loader)
Aliens came out in 1986. While everyone was grinning from ear to ear, enjoying the sight of big jets shooting up into the sky or for the ladies, the sight of Tom Cruise playing volleyball with his shirt off in Top Gun, this film directed by James Cameron (Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgement Day) was scaring and thrilling audiences around the country. In my personal opinion, this could very well be one of the greatest sequels ever made. There is great debate. There are those people who protest the idea that a sequel could be just as good if not better than Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, but the ladder appreciate this film for its never-ending action, subtle drama and gripping intensity.
Survivor Lt. Ellen Ripley wakes up after 70 years. She discovers that the planet in which the alien was first discovered – a place that should’ve been declared forbidden has been colonized by many people and their families. Then they loose contact with the colony. Despite her fears, Ellen agrees to ride along with a group of Space Marines and slimy corporate man, Burke (Paul Reiser) to assertain why. What they find is a lone survivor, Newt (Carrie Henn), and a heaping horde of slobbering beasts. But the only real question is, is their firepower enough to stay alive long enough to escape? Aliens also stars Michael Biehn as Lt. Hicks, Bill Paxton as Pvt. Hudson, Lance Henriksen as Bishop, and Jenette Goldstein as Pvt. Vasquez in some of their most powerful and convincing performances.
Extended Special Edition offers a barrage of scenes that help flesh out the characters and propel the story. One in particular is where Ripley discovers what happened to her daughter while she was in hypersleep is one you just can’t miss.
Discs 5-6: Alien 3 (1992) Theatrical version (114 min.) 2003 special edition (restored work print version) (155 min.) Commentary by Terry Rawlings and crew 2.35 anamorphic, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Surround, THX Certified Pre-Production: Development (concluding the story), Tales of the Wooden Planet (Vincent Ward’s vision), The Art of Aceron (conceptual art portfolio), pre-production part III featurette, storyboards, Art of Fiorina, Xeno-Erotic (H.R. Giger’s redesign featurette) Production: Production part I featurette, Production Gallery (photo archive), Furnace Construction (time-lapse sequence), Adaptive Organism (creature design), ADI Workshop, E.E.V. Scan Multi-Angle Vignette, Production part II Post-Production: Post-Production part I, Optical Fury (visual effects), Music, Editing and Sound, Visual Effects (photo archive), Post-Mortem (reaction to the film), Special Shoot
People were hoping to see more of Pvt. Hicks, Bishop and little Newt, but that wasn’t the case in this studio blunder. While there are those who appreciate this film as much as Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, Alien (1979), some people just can’t stomach it. Alien 3 is darker, slimier, fouler, and as far from suspenseful as you can get. I remember noting people looking for the “Exit” signs after the first 20 minutes in this film’s original theatrical release. Now I’m sure you’re wondering why I would even mention a film I despise in this collection, but Alien 3 isn’t an entirely lost cause.
Just as Lt. Ellen Ripley thought she had rid herself of the alien monster from LV-426, she crash lands on a prison planet, Fiorina 161. She finds herself living among many disreputable men, and trying to survive the creature that has stalked her for less than 100 years. This planet is bleak, cold and there isn’t a gun of any kind. One unusual creature, many bald prisoners, and the possibility of another alien queen is what Ripley faces this time around. Alien 3 also stars Charles S. Dutton as Dillon, Charles Dance as Clemens, Paul McGann as Golic, and Lance Henriksen as Bishop II. This time around, the great artistry of animatronics master, Stan Winston and original alien creator, H.R. Giger is cheaply computerized.
The special director’s cut offers a few surprises that highlight the original vision of director David Fincher (Fight Club) and helps the viewer better appreciate what such a fine filmmaker as he was trying to do with limited abilities.
Discs 7-8: Alien Resurrection (1997) Theatrical version (109 min.) 2003 special edition (119 min.) Commentary by Jean Pierre Junet and crew Intro (extended cut only) 2.35 anamorphic, English 5.1 DTS, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Surround, THX Certified Pre-Production: From the Ashes (reviving the story), First Draft Screenplay by Joss Whedon, French Twist (direction and design), Under the Skin (casting and characterization), Test Footage #1 (hair/makeup), ADI Effects, Mark Carro Photo Gallery, The Art of Resurrection (conceptual art gallery), storyboards, Pre-Visualizations (multi-angle rehearsals) Production: Death from Below (underwater photography), In the Zone (the basketball scene), production gallery (photo archive), Unnatural Mutation (creature design), ADI Workshop, ADI Test Footage Post-Production: Genetic Composition (music), Virtual Aliens (computer generated imagery), A Matter of Scale (miniature photography), Visual Effects Gallery (photo archive), Critical Juncture (reaction to the film), Special Shoot (promotional photo archive), Easter egg (Alien extra)
Known as the wild card in the Alien saga, Alien: Resurrection changed the story and ended the series with some of the craziest concepts the creators could ever put into an Alien film. Sigourney reprises her role – I guess – but this time around, she’s a little different. Recreated through the process of cloning, Lt. Ellen Ripley is brought back to finds herself aboard a military space craft among many disreputable scientists and soldiers, and a crew of freelance space pirates. Many people don’t like this film, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but it offers plenty of the same elements of the beloved first and second films. Alien: Resurrection also stars Winona Ryder as Annalee Call, Dominique Pinon as Vriess, and Ron Perlman as Johner.
The director’s cut offers some fun new scenes, a new perspective on all of the characters, and some additional insight into Ellen’s misguided feelings toward the beast in the end of the film.
Disc 9: Bonus disc
Alien Legacy , Alien Evolution, Experience in Terror (promotional featurette ’79), Ridley Scott Q&A Alien Laser Disc Archive: Part I (pre-production), Part II (production), Part III (post-production), theatrical trailer A, theatrical trailer B, TV spot (Egg), TV spot (Now Playing)
Aliens Laser Disc Archive: Part I (pre-production), Part II (production), Part III (post-production), theatrical trailer A, teaser trailer, domestic trailer, international trailer, TV spot (Now Playing)
6 trailers, 7 TV spots
Theatrical teaser, 2 theatrical trailers, 4 TV spots, Bob Burns Alien Collection Dark Horse Still Gallery DVD-ROM (script to screen comparison)