The first of the films, Ridley Scott's Alien, is now twenty years old (oy!), and as such receives the platinum treatment from Fox. This is great news, because Alien is a true classic in the horror film genre.
Directors: Ridley Scott
Producers: Gordon Carroll, David Giler, & Walter Hill
Writers: Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett
Features: Interactive Menus, Theatrical Trailers, Scene Selection, Audio Commentary By Rip Scott, Deleted Scenes, Artwork And Photo Galleries, Original Storyboards, Isolated Original Score, Alternate Music Track, DVD-ROM Enhancements: Screensaver, Web Links, Widescreen 2.35:1, ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC], ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround [CC], FRENCH: Dolby Digital Surround, SUBTITLES English, Spanish
Dallas - Tom Skerritt
Ripley - Sigourney Weaver
Lambert - Veronica Cartwright
Brett - Harry Dean Stanton
Well, Twentieth Century Fox has finally shown it is fully and truly committed to DVD. The Alien films have been released.
The first of the films, Ridley Scott's Alien, is now twenty years old (oy!), and as such receives the platinum treatment from Fox. This is great news, because Alien is a true classic in the horror film genre. Most twenty year old horror films suffer from slow pacing and decidedly forced scares. Alien suffers from neither. Its chills are presented completely intact aboard this DVD, and the movie holds up as well (if not better) today as it did twenty years ago when it was released.
To give you a better idea of how scary this movie really is, I first tried to watch it by myself back in the eighties in my parents' basement, by myself. I made it as far as the point where they enter the spaceship and the eggs are all over the ground. After the face hugger burst out, I had to turn it off. It was several years before I finished watching it. Talking to other fans of the film, it turns out I wasn't alone. Another friend relayed a story to me of how he sneaked into a theatre to see this movie back in 1979, and had nightmares for weeks afterward.
The film tells the story of a motley crew of laborers who are hauling a load of ore from some remote location back to Earth. While making their very routine journey, their ship comes across a signal from an alien spacecraft on a nearby planet. One thing leads to another, and the crew ends up bringing what is easily the scariest creature in all of film history aboard.
The movie is a must-see, and a true classic of the genre. If you haven't seen it, the only thing I can say is run out and buy it right now.
The picture and sound quality are unsurpassed. Alien has never looked and sounded as good as it does now. The detail in the image is amazing, and the sound effects do a more than ample job of scaring the hell out of you when necessary.
The disc itself is loaded with extras, and represents a new high mark in DVD production. Everything about this disc oozes quality, from the shear number of extras down to the design of the animated menus.
The features include an audio commentary with director Ridley Scott (who has some very interesting comments on the escalating costs of film production), several deleted scenes (including the famous "cocooning" sequence), production photos, and original theatrical trailers. And that's not all, the film also contains an isolated music score, AND the alternate score which wasn't used along with the production audio (as opposed to "looped" audio used in the movie). The alternate music score is especially interesting, as you can see where the two composers differed on their feeling toward the cues. The alternate score spends a lot of time making you think something is going to happen when it really isn't. It makes for a very unnerving experience, even if you've seen the movie several times. This DVD really shows how much can be done! I also have to add that the quality of these supplements is unsurpassed. We've all seen DVDs with deleted scenes which are interesting, but look like hell (see Lost In Space for a great example). The deleted scenes on this disc look almost as good as the movie itself (which looks amazing!).
As a bonus, those people who purchase the Alien Legacy package (with all four Alien movies in it) can mail in a card for a copy of a fifth DVD containing a documentary from Sharpline Arts (who also produced a lot of the supplementary materials for the Alien discs). I've seen a lot of people griping about having to mail away for the documentary, but I personally have no problem with it. It would've been nice to have it in the package, but from what I understand, the original plan was to include it on the Alien DVD, and there's just so much stuff on there already that it wouldn't fit. Fair enough.
The Alien DVD is currently the benchmark by which all other DVDs will be measured. It's a great job by Fox (and various outside companies, of course) and really shows that the studio is committed to DVD in a big way. If they keep this up, they're going to be wiping the floor with the other studios in no time.
Contributing Editor: www.dvdfuture.com