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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Horror > Thriller > Compilation > Alien Quadrilogy (Fox DVD-Video Bonus Disc + links)

Alien Quadrilogy Boxed Set - Bonus Disc


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Content: A-



As an incentive to pick up the entire Alien Quadrilogy box, Fox has added this ninth DVD with extras.  The argument, especially if you do not like and/or want all four films is whether it is worth getting the whole set for this ninth DVD.  Give or take complaints about the packaging, which is a hoot in itself, folding out, and out, and out, and out in what is a new DVD Digipak record, the Bonus Disc is great.


Just by offering the extras from the big, legendary 12” LaserDisc boxed sets from back in the day is enough to have it, but two more films have been made since and there is more information.  It is no surprise that the amount of supplemental materials here in the whole box is less and less for each film, but the drop-off in the latter two films is not as much a reflection of any quality the features have, as much as it is the less aggressive approach studios like Fox need to take to sell a film.  With cable, satellite and the internet joining TV and radio, the demographic/scientific approach has replaced the good old fashioned (and much more fun) rolling out of a new film. It has even backfired in many cases, killing good films that the studios need to back better. 


… A brand new Question & Answer session with Ridley Scott, taking place after a recent audience screening of his re-released classic, and Dennis Bartok of the American Cinemateque.
… Experience in Terror -­ This is a promotional featurette from 1979 that features rare behind-the-scenes footage from the first film, including interviews of the time.
… Alien Evolution (2001) -­ Channel 4 U.K. exclusive documentary on Alien that only offers some overlap with similar programming from Disc Two of the first film (and boxed set), but is also rumored to be a shorter version than the final program.
… A complete LaserDisc archive of Alien and Aliens, which will give the vast majority of DVD viewers their first-hand experience (give or take the now out-of-print DTS-sound Terminator 2 set) at what it was like to explore and enjoy the basic interactive capacities of the analog 12” format.  They were at the very top of the best that the format ever saw, with items never repeated on those films since.
… Original theatrical teasers, trailers and TV spots from all four films, including promotional featurettes among other things.
… Aliens In The Basement –­ An inside the Bob Burns’ Alien franchise collection, which has been the home of so many of the great props and groundbreaking model work that made the series a legend.  Mr. Burns is an exceptionally good host and a hero to film preservation and restoration by default.
… Dark Horse Comics cover gallery with­ an Anthology of 11 issues of the Alien comics and several dozen covers in all, the kind that made the company one of the most important comic companies since Marvel and DC.
… DVD-ROM feature -­ Script to screen comparisons


The picture quality varies most severely on this DVD, but its diversity more than makes up for it.  In many cases, to increase the picture quality, the picture is available anamorphically enhanced, then shrunk down to its original 1.33 X 1 image (even if it is a trailer or some other pan and scan piece) so it is not stretched out.  That works well enough.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound ranges from Pro Logic type surrounds to old Mono, but all are clear enough for this type of material.  Some footage is silent.  All nine DVDs are THX approved and certified, which does not automatically mean the best DVDs, but does mean that they are better than what you should usually expect.


The four sets of the feature films that comprise the Alien Quadrilogy outside of this DVD includes reviews for those segments elsewhere on this site and are available at the links that follow their names below:









Alien 3



Alien Resurrection




So what is next for the franchise?  Director Paul W.S. Anderson (Event Horizon, Soldier, Resident Evil) seems like the right choice to helm 2004’s Alien vs. Predator.  Based on a few mini-series of some of those Dark Horse Comics and the other Fox franchise, Fox spent so much money in advance on the idea that the film had to be made either way.  Though he has become more and more commercial, Anderson has a knack for handling overblown material and that is why the film might actually work!  The hype ad of whoever wins, humans lose (paraphrasing) is a good one.


As for Sigourney Weaver, she is talking to Ridley Scott about a fifth outing as Ripley, with James Cameron producing.  That would be a great way to wrap-up the Ripley character, if not the franchise.  Now with Ripley heading back to earth, if the battle in Anderson’s film has already happened, then that could alter what she faces.  If the result of the monster battle is that a queen face hugger succeeded in using a skillful, superior Predator fighter as a host, that will be interesting indeed.  Either way, the deadly killer has plenty of life left and as long as Fox is willing to put out the money and hire unique and top-of-the-line talent, let the saga roll on!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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