Alien Quadrilogy Box Set Review

Alien Quadrilogy Box Set Review: Disc 1 – Alien Film

The original Alien film is a masterpiece of science fiction horror and a must see film for any who spend even the slightest amount of time watching movies. This DVD contains both the original 1979 theater version and a 2003 director’s cut. The original theatrical version contains audio commentary by a large amount of the people behind the original, from actors to director.

Alien Quadrilogy Box Set Review: Disc 2 – Alien Special Features

This particular special features DVD is related only to the first alien movie, discussing elements of pre-production, production and post-production including some deleted scenes. In all, it has an incredibly large amount of footage showing how the Alien movies were made as well as discussion the reaction to them and their success. In total the bonus footage is significantly longer than the original film, which is very rarely the case.

Alien Quadrilogy Box Set Review: Disc 3 – Aliens Film

While the movie Aliens changed director from Ridley Scott to James Cameron, it still managed to keep much of the tense atmosphere of the original. As with the first Alien movie in this box set, Aliens has a special edition alongside the original theatrical version. Despite the brilliance of Aliens, in some ways it betrays the setting that is developed in the original in favor of a more standardized ‘monster’. Somehow, it just seems as though the Alien in the first movie would not be as vulnerable to flames or gunfire as the Aliens in this movie are. Regardless, the movie is just incredibly tense and in a way traumatic, another must see movie. The audio commentary that accompanies Aliens is also one of the best commentaries on a DVD with members of production, the cast and the director all joining in to discuss how things worked. Furthermore, they are even very funny at times.

Alien Quadrilogy Box Set Review: Disc 4 – Aliens Special Features

The special features of Aliens are presented in much the same manner as those for Alien, though this is not a bad thing. The sheer volume of information presented in this special features DVD is staggering really, every last detail of the movie is discussed in great detail. The set design discussions are particularly interesting as they almost give you the entire design for the movies set. The honesty of the people behind the film in discussing it is particular good, for instance Sigourney Weaver was a little upset about the amount of guns in the film. Just after Weaver discusses her anti-gun views, it cuts to Bill Paxton discussing how firing guns is one of the best parts of his job.

Alien Quadrilogy Box Set Review: Disc 5 – Alien 3

David Fincher directs Alien 3, a film that has a vaguely interesting idea that simply does not work in practice. To put it simply, the movie relies too heavily on special effects and chase sequences in order to deliver ‘thrills’. Furthermore, the mood of it differs drastically from the first two with Ripley landing on what is essentially a penal colony planet and thus having to interact with a group of convicts. While this could have worked better, the convicts seem very much to be a motley sort of crew and difficult to like. The DVD has two versions of Alien 3, a special extended edition and the original theatrical version.

Alien Quadrilogy Box Set Review: Disc 6 – Alien 3 Special Features

The Alien 3 special features play much alike the other special feature discs with a pre-production, production and post-production section. One criticism leveled at this particular disc is that footage of director David Fincher complaining about the studio forcing changes on the movie was removed, with such footage potentially explaining how Alien 3 could have been1. Despite this, some of the interviews are fairly candid discussing how the movie resulted and the time-lapse photography of set design is entertaining.

Alien Quadrilogy Box Set Review: Disc 7 – Alien Resurrection

Alien Resurrection follows much the same route as Alien 3 in that it toys with some very interesting ideas, but fails to follow through effectively on them by opting for scares rather than plot. Where it ultimately fails is in not effectively exploring the hybrid alien, which is part human and part alien, and the morality of killing it. This particular DVD has a lengthened special edition and the original theatrical edition.

Alien Quadrilogy Box Set Review: Disc 8 – Alien Resurrection Special Features

While interesting, the Alien Resurrection special features are a little disappointing in that they lack any real controversial opinions on the film. Basically, it has the technical aspects of the previous special features DVDs, but lacks the candid and interesting opinions that were previously expressed.

Alien Quadrilogy Box Set Review: Disc 9 – Bonus Features

The Bonus Features disc contains basically a whole bunch of theatrical trailers, which to me are a bit boring. However, there are some particularly interesting things on it, primarily Bob Burn’s Alien Collection. Basically, Bob has collected a whole range of set pieces from the Alien movies and discusses his collection, pointing out a whole range of interesting things about them. In all, this is probably the best bonus feature of the whole DVD collection as Bob’s enthusiasm shines through with the sheer volume of knowledge he has.

Alien Quadrilogy Box Set Review: Overall

Ultimately, the Alien Quadrilogy Box Set is for people who are really into the Alien series or people who are particularly interested in the film making process. Casual viewers will probably not be able to make the most of it and can probably get the different movies separately and cheaper. Furthermore, the last two films in the series simply do not live up to the first two.

Reference:

1. Hunt, Blue 2002. The Digital Bits. http://www.thedigitalbits.com/reviews3/alienquad06.html

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