Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
 
In Stores Now
 
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Horror > Thriller > Action > Alien Anthology (1979 – 1997/Fox Blu-ray Set)

Alien Anthology (1979 – 1997/Fox Blu-ray Set)

 

Picture: B (Alien: B+)     Sound: B+ (Resurrection: B)     Extras: A     Films:

 

 

Each link covering the film from the Alien Quadrilogy is after the title, followed by my updated coverage in how the Blu-ray versions performed.  Refer to the older reviews for basic information on all the films and their technical aspects, including DVD performance.

 

Alien (1979) A

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/670/Alien+(DTS+DVD+set)

 

When the film was restored for DVD on the Quadrilogy, I felt it was one of the best commercial wide-release DVD transfers I had ever seen and to some extent, I still feel that way. The image held up as compared to the best Criterion and import DVDs in the PAL format we have covered since, but there are some aspects that have aged after seeing so much High Definition quality images on Blu-ray and the now-defunct HD-DVD format.  The two 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 25 MBPS digital high definition transfers for the two cuts here are an improvement over the previous DVD editions, but with a few unexpected limits, yet also some great demo shots throughout.  They include some motion blur, some new grain and minor detail issues a DVD would gloss over and some points where the whites are not as ivory and blacks as jet as they should be.  There also seems to be slivers of the image missing from the scope frame on the sides, but the plusses outdo the minuses for the most part.

 

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on both are slightly different, but are still very impressive for their age.  The standard DTS on the Quadrilogy DVD still sound great, but this mix has a little more range, warmth and detail, yet also shows flaws and limits from the older audio.  However, they are great sound mixes that have aged very well and will impress and shock those less familiar with the film than big fans like yours truly.

 

 

Aliens (1986) A-

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/671/Aliens+(remastered+DVD-Video+set)

 

The big news here is that Director James Cameron decided to go back and clean up every frame of this film because he was unhappy with the grain content of the film stocks used at the time.  It was a stock about to be discontinued and they used this stock due to their low budget.  The result is cleaner, clearer scenes with more detail, nuance and contrast, but this comes with a price and a few problems.  The two 1080p 1.85 X 1 AVC @ 26 MBPS digital high definition transfers suddenly increase the color blue more than expected and changes the whole color spectrum of the film, making it a whole new film.  By removing the grain and some of the character (especially the muddy look that added suspense), the Horror genre aspect of the film has been lost too much (I hope Cameron was not trying to compete with Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers (1997) by doing this) and it becomes more like watching The Abyss, more of a Science Fiction film and almost puts the film in an alternate universe of some sort.  The good news is that is a refreshing alternative for fans who have seen the film over and over again.  The bad news is that the older, muddier edition will have to get the Quadrilogy DVD to enjoy the film as it has been seen (give or take good 35mm and 16mm prints) for 24 years, though they all only had Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes.

 

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on both cuts is a big improvement from the previous editions and though there are sonic limits, these mixes are the best the film has likely sounded since the 70mm Dolby magnetic 4.1 blow-ups were issued back in 1986, though the age of some audio elements are apparent.  Diehard fans know DTS DVDs were issued overseas of the film, but they were reportedly not too impressive.  I still would have liked to experience these mixes with the muddier, older transfers, but then you could try syncing the Blu-ray DTS with the respective Quadrilogy DVD cut if you want to see how that works.

 

 

Alien 3 (1992) B

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/672/Alien+3+(Expanded+Work+Cut+DVD-Vi

 

It is amazing how well this film has not only aged, but appreciated in value (especially in its longer version) and importance in both the franchise and the genre overall, even though David Fincher took it over at the last minute.  The two 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 20 MBPS digital high definition transfers may hold the same rating as their DVD counterparts, but they are noticeably better narrowly, but enough to note as such, even if it is not enough to give it a higher letter grade.  Some of the footage added to the longer version is only so good to begin with, so you can understand why it would be the same HD master as the older DVD.  The final footage could look better at times, but there are some good demo shots and this was shot to look big, great and to last.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on both cuts sound good (save the damaged, limited audio in the longer version which they did try to fix and re-loop, but that can only do so much) offering detail and depth the Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on the DVD missed, but some problems and limits from the soundmaster used for that DVD are here on the Blu-ray.  The biggest issue remains the flourish of music in the opening when the when the EEV unit flies by the Fiorina 161 prison colony planet heading for a hard landing there.  There is a peak of the music early on by Elliott Goldenthal before the planet is identified and that is again lost to other sounds and music when it originally was not.  Otherwise, it is the best sounding of the four films here.

 

 

Alien Resurrection (1997) B

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/673/Alien+Resurrection+(DTS+DVD-Video+s

 

The film that many feel killed the franchise on some level, Sigourney Weaver recently noted that on one wanted to see the title creature(s) on earth and the Predator cross-over films (see below) have played that out all the way.  The two 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 30 MBPS digital high definition transfers are unusual in that it had prints issued in a silver retention format (Deluxe Labs’ CCE/Color Contrast Enhancement) to make it look extra dark and odd, so the print is going to look somewhat desaturated and dark, so there was no need to upgrade the HD master since it is supposed to look unusual, as the silver darkens the edges and overall image.  The Video Black handles this better on the Blu-ray than the DVD, but a slight naturalness is not here, yet this is much better than the tired, played out, digital equivalent where the color is simply gutted mindlessly and digitally.  I can’t imagine a brand new pricey transfer looking much better, but since we first posted this review before this set streeted, Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet disowned these transfers.  Now I am curious to see what he would have done to make them better and what changes he would have made.  Hopefully, it would extend to fixing the sound.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on both cuts of the film disappoint, with the sound too much towards the front channels and dialogue sounding lower than it should.  The Quadrilogy DVD had DTS and it sounds like they took the older DTS and just tried to trade it up to lossless.  The result is messing up the soundfield and introducing compression and audio imbalance not on the DTS DVD, though the old DTS DVD mix had its problems (though it was impressive for its time otherwise) and it might just be problems Jeunet may have allowed to slip by him, so some of this might be beyond fixing.  The lossless DTS-MA simply shows more flaws, even when it is itself problematic.  The sound is a draw versus the DTS DVD, but image is slightly better than that DVD, so this barely surpasses its lower-definition predecessor.

 

 

Extras include repeating the previous extras from all the individual films in their home video form, plus all the extras from the bonus DVD from the Alien Quadrilogy, which you can read more about at this link:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/674/Alien+Quadrilogy+(DVD-Video+Bonus+D

 

 

The extras brand new to this set include everything from the Quadrilogy (you can refer to each link above for the respective film to see what extras from that set are repeated in this one).older DVD editions, the old 12” LaserDisc editions and new items in one of the most elaborate releases in home video history.  Here is the extensive listing derived from the press release, which has to be one of the most extensive in home video history…

 

Blu-ray One: ALIEN

 

   * 1979 Theatrical Version

   * 2003 Director’s Cut with Ridley Scott Introduction

   * Audio Commentary by Director Ridley Scott, Writer Dan O’Bannon, Executive Producer Ronald Shusett, Editor Terry Rawlings, Actors Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton and John Hurt

   * Audio Commentary (for Theatrical Cut only) by Ridley Scott

   * Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith (Dolby Digital 5.1 only)

   * Composer’s Original Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith (Dolby Digital 5.1 only)

   * Deleted and Extended Scenes

   * MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream

 

Blu-ray Two: ALIENS

 

   * 1986 Theatrical Version

   * 1991 Special Edition with James Cameron Introduction

   * Audio Commentary by Director James Cameron, Producer Gale Anne Hurd, Alien Effects Creator Stan Winston, Visual Effects Supervisors Robert Skotak and Dennis Skotak, Miniature Effects Supervisor Pat McClung, Actors Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Carrie Henn and Christopher Henn

   * Final Theatrical Isolated Score by James Horner

   * Composer’s Original Isolated Score by James Horner

   * Deleted and Extended Scenes

   * MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream

 

Blu-ray Three: ALIEN 3

 

   * 1992 Theatrical Version

   * 2003 Special Edition (Restored Workprint Version)

   * Audio Commentary by Cinematographer Alex Thomson, B.S.C., Editor Terry Rawlings, Alien Effects Designers Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., Visual Effects Producer Richard Edlund, A.S.C., Actors Paul McGann and Lance Henriksen

   * Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Elliot Goldenthal

   * Deleted and Extended Scenes

   * MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream

 

Blu-ray Four: ALIEN RESURRECTION

 

   * 1997 Theatrical Version

   * 2003 Special Edition with Jean-Pierre Jeunet Introduction

   * Audio Commentary by Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Editor Hervé Schneid, A.C.E., Alien Effects Creators Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., Visual Effects Supervisor  Pitof, Conceptual Artist Sylvain Despretz, Actors Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon and Leland Orser

   * Final Theatrical Isolated Score by John Frizzell

   * Deleted and Extended Scenes

   * MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream

 

Blu-ray Five: MAKING THE ANTHOLOGY - the 12+ hours of content include…

 

The Beast Within: Making ALIEN

 

         o Star Beast: Developing the Story

         o The Visualists: Direction and Design

         o Truckers in Space: Casting

         o Fear of the Unknown: Shepperton Studios, 1978

         o The Darkest Reaches: Nostromo and Alien Planet

         o The Eighth Passenger: Creature Design

         o Future Tense: Editing and Music

         o Outward Bound: Visual Effects

         o A Nightmare Fulfilled: Reaction to the Film

   * Enhancement Pods

 

Superior Firepower: Making ALIENS

 

         o 57 Years Later: Continuing the Story

         o Building Better Worlds: From Concept to Construction

         o Preparing for Battle: Casting and Characterization

         o This Time It’s War: Pinewood Studios, 1985

         o The Risk Always Lives: Weapons and Action

         o Bug Hunt: Creature Design

         o Beauty and the Bitch: Power Loader vs. Queen Alien

         o Two Orphans: Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn

         o The Final Countdown: Music, Editing and Sound

         o The Power of Real Tech: Visual Effects

         o Aliens Unleashed: Reaction to the Film

   * Enhancement Pods

 

Wreckage and Rage: Making ALIEN 3

 

         o Development Hell: Concluding the Story

         o Tales of the Wooden Planet: Vincent Ward’s Vision

         o Stasis Interrupted: David Fincher’s Vision

         o Xeno-Erotic: H.R. Giger’s Redesign

         o The Color of Blood: Pinewood Studios, 1991

         o Adaptive Organism: Creature Design

         o The Downward Spiral: Creative Differences

         o Where the Sun Burns Cold: Fox Studios, L.A. 1992

         o Optical Fury: Visual Effects

         o Requiem for a Scream: Music, Editing and Sound

         o Post-Mortem: Reaction to the Film

   * Enhancement Pods

 

One Step Beyond: Making ALIEN RESURRECTION

 

         o From the Ashes: Reviving the Story

         o French Twist: Direction and Design

         o Under the Skin: Casting and Characterization

         o Death from Below: Fox Studios, Los Angeles, 1996

         o In the Zone: The Basketball Scene

         o Unnatural Mutation: Creature Design

         o Genetic Composition: Music

         o Virtual Aliens: Computer Generated Imagery

         o A Matter of Scale: Miniature Photography

         o Critical Juncture: Reaction to the Film

   * Enhancement Pods

   * MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience to Access and Control Enhancement Pods

 

Blu-ray Six: THE ANTHOLOGY ARCHIVES

 

ALIEN

 

   * Pre-Production

         o First Draft Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon

         o Ridleygrams: Original Thumbnails and Notes

         o Storyboard Archive

         o The Art of Alien: Conceptual Art Portfolio

         o Sigourney Weaver Screen Tests with Select Director Commentary

         o Cast Portrait Gallery

   * Production

         o The Chestbuster: Multi-Angle Sequence with Commentary

         o Video Graphics Gallery

         o Production Image Galleries

         o Continuity Polaroids

         o The Sets of Alien

         o H.R. Giger’s Workshop Gallery

   * Post-Production and Aftermath

         o Additional Deleted Scenes

         o Image & Poster Galleries

   * Experience in Terror

   * Special Collector’s Edition LaserDisc Archive

   * The Alien Legacy

   * American Cinematheque: Ridley Scott Q&A

   * Trailers & TV Spots

 

ALIENS

 

   * Pre-Production

         o Original Treatment by James Cameron

         o Pre-Visualizations: Multi-Angle Videomatics with Commentary

         o Storyboard Archive

         o The Art of Aliens: Image Galleries

         o Cast Portrait Gallery

   * Production

         o Production Image Galleries

         o Continuity Polaroids

         o Weapons and Vehicles

         o Stan Winston’s Workshop

         o Colonial Marine Helmet Cameras

         o Video Graphics Gallery

         o Weyland-Yutani Inquest: Nostromo Dossiers

   * Post-Production and Aftermath

         o Deleted Scene: Burke Cocooned

         o Deleted Scene Montage

         o Image Galleries

         o Special Collector’s Edition LaserDisc Archive

         o Main Title Exploration

         o Aliens: Ride at the Speed of Fright

         o Trailers & TV Spots

 

ALIEN 3

 

   * Pre-Production

         o Storyboard Archive

         o The Art of Arceon

         o The Art of Fiorina

   * Production

         o Furnace Construction: Time-Lapse Sequence

         o EEV Bioscan: Multi-Angle Vignette with Commentary

         o Production Image Galleries

         o A.D.I.’s Workshop

   * Post-Production and Aftermath

         o Visual Effects Gallery

         o Special Shoot: Promotional Photo Archive

   * Alien 3 Advance Featurette

   * The Making of Alien 3 Promotional Featurette

   * Trailers & TV Spots

 

ALIEN RESURRECTION

 

   * Pre-Production

         o First Draft Screenplay by Joss Whedon

         o Test Footage: A.D.I. Creature Shop with Commentary

         o Test Footage: Costumes, Hair and Makeup

         o Pre-Visualizations: Multi-Angle Rehearsals

         o Storyboard Archive

         o The Marc Caro Portfolio: Character Designs

         o The Art of Resurrection: Image Galleries

   * Production

         o Production Image Galleries

         o A.D.I.’s Workshop

   * Post-Production and Aftermath

         o Visual Effects Gallery

         o Special Shoot: Promotional Photo Archive

   * HBO First Look: The Making of Alien Resurrection

   * Alien Resurrection Promotional Featurette

   * Trailers & TV Spots

 

ANTHOLOGY

 

   * Two Versions of Alien Evolution

   * The Alien Saga

   * Patches and Logos Gallery

   * Aliens 3D Attraction Scripts and Gallery

   * Aliens in the Basement: The Bob Burns Collection

   * Parodies

   * Dark Horse Cover Gallery

   * Patches and Logos Gallery

   * MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience

 

 

For more from the franchise, try the two Alien Vs. Predator films on Blu-ray at the following links:

 

Alien Vs. Predator

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4964/Alien+Vs.+Predator+(Blu-ray/Unrated

 

Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/6876/Aliens+Vs.+Predator:+Requiem+%E2

 

 

Now we wait for the next installment of the Alien franchise.  Until then, the Alien Anthology will keep us busy and thoroughly entertained for a very long time.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


Marketplace

 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com