Alien: Quadrilogy-Bonus Features (2003)

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Released 8-Dec-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Featurette-Alien Evolution
Featurette-Experience In Terror
Interviews-Crew-Ridley Scott: Q & A
Notes-Alien, Aliens Laser Disc Archive
Theatrical Trailer-Alien - 2, Aliens - 3, Alien 3 - 5, Alien Resurrection - 1
TV Spots-Alien - 2, Aliens - 1, Alien 3 - 7, Alien Resurrection - 4
Teaser Trailer-Aliens, Alien Resurrection
Featurette-Advanced Featurette
Featurette-Bob Burns Alien Collection
Gallery-Dark Horse Still Gallery
Booklet-24 pages
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time ?
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring None Given
Case ?
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio Varies
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

but wait, you also get...

    A free set of steak knives... well, not exactly.

    If you decide that you'd rather buy the Alien Quadrilogy Box Set, instead of buying one, two, three, or even four of the Alien movies separately, then you get this disc as well. It has the tempting title of Disc 9: Bonus Disc.

    With the previous Alien Legacy box set you could get a bonus disc, too. Here in Australia that bonus disc was just tucked into the box (no effort involved). If you imported the R1 Alien Legacy box set, you had to buy the set itself, open it and find the coupon, attach a cheque (in US dollars!), get a friend in the US to receive the disc for you, and then send it to you — I did that. And what did I get? A DVD in a cardboard slip with a single documentary on it, running a bit over 60 minutes.

    So I wasn't expecting too much when I slipped this bonus disc into the player. I thought it might have a few more bits and pieces on it than the previous disc, but I was not prepared. Not prepared at all. Don't expect to get through all of this content in one sitting — there is enough here to take you many hours to get through, longer if you linger over some of the stills, or if your player is slow to respond to Skip Forward.

    You may have noticed, going through the individual movies, that the trailers were not include among their extras — it was about the only hole I noticed in the extras. Wonder no more: all the trailers are on this disc. And we are not talking about one trailer per movie, either.

    Occasionally I get e-mail from a reader complaining that a DVD is lacking some of the extras that were included on the laserdisc version. Alien and Aliens were both released on laserdisc in substantial collector's editions. I don't expect any such complaints this time, however, because this bonus disc includes the complete set of extras from both laserdisc sets. As you can imagine, there is substantial overlap with the extras we have already, but that's not a problem: this is serious over-kill!

    There are three other worthwhile extras on this disc. The first is Alien Evolution, a long (64:35) documentary piece made in Britain in 2001. It concentrates almost totally on Alien, but mentions the other three movies in passing. It is a bit sensationalist, especially in the way it deals with the conflict over the script authorship, but it still makes interesting viewing. One rather interesting aspect is that the interview with Giger is in German (with subtitles). I did like the description of Alien as a cross between 2001 and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

    There's also a thoroughly entertaining question and answer session with Ridley Scott conducted in September 2001.

    And, there's an interesting piece where we finally get to see the Alien collection of Bob Burns. His name comes up repeatedly in the extras for the second, third, and fourth movies, because he was the port of last call when they were looking for props from the previous movies. He explains how he came to be the unofficial curator of Alien memorabilia — it's entertaining, and recommended.

    You'll note that the majority of the bonus content is for the first two movies — that seems appropriate, given that those are the two that have generated the greatest amount of acclaim.

    About the only thing not included on this bonus disc is the original Alien Legacy documentary! So if you have a copy, don't be throwin' it away.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Some of the material on this DVD is 16x9 enhanced, some is not — I hope you can switch between 16x9 and 4x3 on-the-fly. Some of the grabs from the various films are pan-and-scan, but many of them are shown in the correct aspect ratio, albeit not always 16x9 enhanced.

    There is no main feature on this disc, so I won't be going into too much specific detail here.

    The image quality varies, as you can imagine, with some of the earlier trailers being a little rough; some of the video footage that was included in the laserdisc extras is rather crude (perhaps shot with consumer video gear). Shadow detail is generally fine. Film grain is noticeable on some of the footage. There's very little low-level noise.

    Colour is also variable, but generally quite good. I noticed some rainbows — false-colour artefacts — on some of the stills and footage in the laserdisc extras. Other than that, there are no significant colour-related artefacts.

    There are varying levels of visible film artefacts, but most of the footage is really rather clean. The same thing applies to film-to-video artefacts — there are varying levels of aliasing, for example, but generally it is quite acceptable.

    There are subtitles on some of the pieces, with six languages of subtitles on the Alien Evolution documentary (English is included). Note that there is no menu option for invoking the subtitles — you'll need to use the Subtitle button on your remote.

    The movie disc is single sided and dual layered, but not formatted RSDL. There is no visible layer change, because the pieces have been arranged so nothing spans the layer change.

Audio

    The only audio track is English, in Dolby Digital 2.0 (not surround encoded). Most of it is actually mono.

    The dialogue is clear and comprehensible. There are no significant issues with audio sync.

    The score has been drawn from all four movies, so you know who wrote it...

    The surrounds and subwoofer are not used by this disc.

Extras

Menu

    The menu has some excellent transitions, but it's not animated, nor is there any sound. It's easy to operate, but it is lacking any control for the subtitles (which is unusual). The extras are divided into the four movies, plus two more headings for the Bob Burns piece and the Dark Horse listing.

ALIEN

Featurette: Alien Evolution (64:35)

    This is a documentary on Alien, but does mention the other three. It is interesting, because it goes into areas that weren't explored in the extras on the Alien discs. It is also interesting because it contradicts a few of the things we heard. There are interviews with quite a few of the cast and crew, many of them shot against a background of a 3D facehugger that's slowly rotating. It's also interesting to note that at least one of Veronica Cartwright's comments is shown to be inaccurate (she talks about how the alien's actor's hands reached his knees, and then we're shown the actor...)

    This piece is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

Promotional Featurette: Experience in Terror (7:12)

    This is the classic promotional featurette, nothing more than a long trailer.

Ridley Scott Question and Answer (15:42)

    This is footage shot at a session on 14 September 2001 — Ridley Scott being entertaining and answering questions about Alien to a group of film enthusiasts.

Laser Disc Archive

    This is huge. It is the entire extras content from the laserdisc Collector's Edition. It is presented as one long piece, divided into 22 chapters (emulated here as 22 titles, each split into chapters). There's a lot of static frames, but there are plenty of inserted video clips (mostly without audio). There are a lot of pages of printed text which look like photos of laser print on white paper. There's a total of 1333 chapter stops, most of them for still pages — text, photos, or artwork — but more than a few are video clips. I hope your remote's Skip Forward button is in good condition, because you will be pressing it a lot!

Trailers

TV Spots

ALIENS

Laser Disc Archive

    Another huge collection of extra material, this time from the Aliens Collector's Edition laserdiscs. This time it is divided into 31 chapters (emulated here as more than 31 titles — some of these "chapters" are multiple titles because they exceed 99 pages). Once again, there are lots of static pages, and quite a few video clips. There are 1024 chapter stops. By the way, there is a page missing at the end of Chapter 17 (53-38), where we're promised a frame from the movie, but the chapter just ends.

Trailers

TV Spots

ALIEN³

Featurette: Advance Featurette (2:51)

    This is one of those promotional pieces that is nothing more than a long trailer.

Trailers

    All these trailers appear to be 16x9 enhanced.

TV Spots

ALIEN RESURRECTION

Trailers

TV Spots

    Note that the last three spots are promoting the appearance of this movie on pay-per-view TV.

MAIN MENU

Featurette: Bob Burns Alien Collection — Aliens in the Basement (16:55)

    This is a very interesting piece about the man who has a very impressive collection of Alien props, costumes, models, and even sets. It happened somewhat by chance, and he tells the story well.

Gallery: Dark Horse Comics

    This is 234 shots of comic book covers, with two or three pages of synopsis for each title. That's an awful lot of comic books set in the Alien universe (they have not listed any cross-overs, like Alien vs Predator, either). All these stills are 16x9 enhanced.

Booklet

    Also tucked into the box, as well as this bonus disc, is a 24 page booklet. The booklet gives us all the information that would be on the back cover and inside cover of each of the movie cases, but it gives us more than that. It also lists the chapter stops, and marks with a * each chapter that includes material not in the theatrical release — not quite as nice as an on-screen indicator, but useful, nonetheless.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release of the Alien Quadrilogy has just taken place (December 2003); ours is reportedly out, too, although our official release date for the box set is 10th December. You will only be able to buy this bonus disc as part of the Alien Quadrilogy.

    As far as I can ascertain, this disc is the same for both the Region 1 and Region 4 versions of the Quadrilogy.

    Here comes another one sided comparison: comparing the Alien Quadrilogy bonus disc with the older Alien Legacy bonus disc.

    The Alien Quadrilogy bonus disc is missing:

    The Alien Legacy bonus disc is missing:

    If you are a completist, you'll want to own both the Quadrilogy and the Legacy (I know whereof I speak...). Otherwise, I'd say the choice was pretty clear.

Summary

    An impressive bonus for those who choose to buy the Alien Quadrilogy box set.

    The video quality is mixed, but that has to be expected with the source materials involved.

    The audio quality is mixed, but generally quite acceptable.

    The extras are the entire content of this disc, and very impressive.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, December 08, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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Comments (Add)
In space, no-one can hear you scream: "Arrrrrrrrrrggghhhhh! Information overload"!!! - Charlie & Tex REPLY POSTED
Honestly, how much do you need to know about these movies - Cardiff Giant (Must have the word 'bio' or 'biography' in it)
Alien Evolution is truncated... - Charlie & Tex REPLY POSTED
Carrie Henn... - Charlie & Tex
Bravo Fox - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
Sensational Reviewing effort! - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
Charlie & Tex... - Uncanny Antman
R1 vs R4 - Andrew500 REPLY POSTED
Nah, not the Alien Saga one... - Charlie & Tex
R4 Quadrilogy Easter Eggs? - Anonymous
Quadrilogy not a word? - Anonymous
Alien movies have gotten old - Damien (biotech is godzilla)