AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)

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Released 14-Feb-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Alternative Version-Extended Version
Audio Commentary-Director And Cast
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Director's Commentary
Gallery-Darkhorse AVP Comic Covers
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 96:39
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:02) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Paul W.S. Anderson
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Sanaa Lathan
Raoul Bova
Ewen Bremner
Colin Salmon
Lance Henriksen
Tommy Flanagan
Agathe De La Boulaye
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Harald Kloser


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     What would any major studio do if they had two fantastic franchises with a large comic book following? Create a loud, special effects laden, popcorn ride of a movie of course. The result in this case is Alien vs. Predator, an amalgamation of  those other-worldly creatures we all love from the Alien and Predator series of movies.

    The movie starts out with what appears to be a mysterious archaeological find in the Antarctic. Billionaire businessman Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) funds an expedition to the site to discover something for which mankind will remember him. Recruited to lead the team is Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan), a mountaineering expert and confident woman.

    Needless to say, what they discover is not only an archaeological site that would alter the way mankind sees the universe, but a testing ground for young Predators to earn their stripes against the deadly and acrobatic Aliens. The human expedition quickly find out that they are in the midst of a battle which they cannot win, but where they must fight for their own survival.

    The whole premise and story fits quite nicely into the story detailed in the previous movies (i.e. I guess it could happen). It also ties well into theories on how ancient human cultures created pyramids and exhibited similar traits. The ending is predictable, with Alexa in the midst of an unlikely alliance, and certainly leaves the door open for more Alien vs. Predator movies. The special effects are all very nicely done, with the Aliens appearing much more mobile than ever before. It made me wonder what James Cameron would have done with Aliens if he had today's technology back in 1986. The fights between the Aliens and the Predators are also fun to watch.

    The DVD provides both the original theatrical cut and a new extended version. Although the movie has not been well received by critics, I found it enjoyable, and the excellent DVD transfer certainly shows off the movie in the best possible way. Sit back, get some hot popcorn, and enjoy a good night in your home theatre.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality on offer is excellent, with very little to fault.

    The movie is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (the original theatrical ratio), and is of course 16x9 enhanced for a blockbuster release such as this.

    The transfer throughout is clean, sharp, and clear. Grain is almost non-existent, with the only obvious occurrence early on in the piece with a wide shot on the white satellite dishes. There was no further grain that I could see against bright white backgrounds such as the snow or ice. Of course for a movie such as this that uses the dark to increase tension, shadow detail and black levels are critical. The black levels throughout are solid, with shadow detail and delineation very well supported. Consider the early scene in Mexico at 3:38, and compare the same scene in the deleted scenes, which is of inferior quality. The black levels and the shadow detail are clearly better defined in the actual transfer. The scenes in the abandoned whaling warehouse also exhibit very nice detail in the darkness.

    Colours are for the most part fairly muted, but this is expected for a movie filmed in the environments of the movie. Colour correction and filtering is obvious in most cases, but this is done for most special effects-laden movies these days. Scenes early on in Mexico exhibit natural and bright colours, with natural skin tones and no oversaturation. I could not detect any instances of aliasing or edge enhancement. It would be expected that this print would be very clean, and it is, with no film artefacts detectable.

    This is an RSDL-formatted disc, with the layer change occurring at 56:02. It is fairly well placed at a scene change, and so does not really break the flow of the movie. There are no subtitles provided with this release.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Two soundtracks are provided: a Dolby Digital 5.1 track (384 Kb/s) and a DTS 5.1 track (768 Kb/s). Both are excellent, with the DTS track again winning out slightly (in my opinion, since this is so subjective).

    Dialogue is clear at all times, with no apparent lip synchronisation problems such as have been reported in Region 1 reviews.

    Use of the music score is typical of horror/action movies, with loud sudden flares in the music to support the on-screen scares. The music cues predictably use familiar themes from both the Predator and Alien franchises, mixed in with some original score. The music is used well across the sound stage to provide some atmospheric accompaniment, and is quite enveloping.

    In addition to the music, the surrounds are also used nicely for all other types of panning effects and ambient noise. There are some instances of localised rear effects, particularly in the pyramid scenes. Right from the very beginning shot of the satellite moving through space, the sound effects envelop the listener. Stereo separation across the front soundstage is also very good.

    The subwoofer also has its work cut out for it, with all manner of explosions to shake the floor and windows. I particularly liked the instances at 13:03 and towards the end, where the subwoofer was driven to great depths. There are better tracks out there to test your subwoofer, but this was still very good.

    I listened to the DTS track in full, and sampled some of the key scenes with the Dolby Digital track. Once scene I used was at around 13:03 when the Predator ship is creating the tunnel. The DTS track, as is common, is recorded at a slightly higher level. Comparing the tracks at this scene, the DTS track exhibits deeper bass resolution (translation - it rattled my floor and windows better!), and just sounds a little clearer in the surrounds. But all in all, the differences are fairly minor, with both being excellent tracks.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are not that many extras with this release, but what we have been offered is fairly interesting. In addition to the below, the DVD is presented with some nice animated menus, with the startup menu being random (there are two different menus that I have seen).

Extended Version

    The extended version is not actually that extended at all, running at 97:58 compared to the 96:39 of the original cut. The only difference is an additional scene at the beginning of the movie that shows a flashback to the whaling community during 1904. It does not add that much to the movie at all.

Audio Commentary - Paul Anderson, Lance Henriksen, Sanaa Lathan

    This audio commentary features the director and the stars of the movie, and is quite candid and good-natured. The participants provide in-jokes, reveal little tributes to the previous movies that litter this production, and some interesting trivia. They are fairly candid in admitting to mistakes or regrets in certain shots, but also take time to congratulate and look back with fondness on the production. They come across as all having had a great time making the movie. Note that both commentaries are only available on the original theatrical cut of the movie.

Audio Commentary - Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, John Bruno

    I found this track with the technical wizards (visual and creature effects) a little harder to listen to. That is not to say that this is a bad commentary. The participants talk in quite a lot of detail about the technical aspects of making the movie, discussing how they set up shots, and discussing the use of CGI, miniatures, and robotics/puppets.

Making of Alien vs. Predator - 23:12

    This is quite an interesting Making Of, and is presented at 1.85:1 (16x9 enhanced). It discusses many aspects of the production, from the origins and concepts through to the filming and post-production. Also highlighted is some interesting trivia regarding tributes and links back to the previous movies. The footage of the creature workshops and the use of robotics/puppets was very interesting.

Deleted Scenes

    There are three deleted scenes that are all quite short and are extensions to existing scenes in the movie. Commentary from the director is provided explaining why the scenes were deleted.

Darkhorse AvP Comic Covers

    This extra provides a series of screenshots of comic book covers from the AvP comic series. The artwork is very good.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    The only difference that I can determine between the Region 4 and Region 1 releases are a number of promotional items on the Region 1 release. This includes Fox Promos, a Superbowl XXXIX television spot, and an American Dad Promo. It also appears that the UK (Region 2) will receive both single and double disc releases. The two-disc "Extreme Edition" appears to contain a swag of extras on the extra disc. For real hard-core fans of the movie, I'd go for the Region 2 release, or wait until Region 4 gets a 2-disc release (which I'm sure we will sooner or later). For non-hardcore fans, I would recommend the Region 4 release.

Summary

    Many people have criticised Alien vs. Predator for being a cash cow that exploits the Alien and Predator franchises. I for one actually enjoyed the movie, and I don't think it takes itself too seriously. It has some quite suspenseful moments, but some similar scenes to previous movies do not carry the same weight (eg. the chest bursting scenes). All in all, the acting is adequate, and the effects - both visual and aural - are great. Sounds perfect for a night in at your home theatre.

    The video quality is excellent, with not much to fault at all.

    The audio quality matches the video quality, with the DTS track a winner.

    The extras are fairly informative, albeit brief.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Chanh-Khai Ly (My biodegradable bio)
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP500, using Component output
DisplayRK-32HDP81 HDTV. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD/DD-EX/DTS/DTS-ES matrix and discrete. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

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Comments (Add)
UK - Wilson Bros, UK ("And now on the bio channel...")
Worth a look - cztery
You liked this? - cztery
This was terrible. - J Sebastian
Go the R3 version - cztery
Excuse me? - cztery
DTS Reporting Error - cztery
Predators and the cold? - cztery
Re: Predators and the cold? - Dark Lord (Bio? We don't need no stinkin' bio!)
EasterEgg available in R3 EXTREME release might be available in R2/R4? - cztery
The easter-egg IS on the UK Extreme Edition... - cztery
Photography was shocking, the movie was too! - Pendergast (Why not take a look at my bio, you might think it stinks.)
The B**** is not back !! - cztery

Re: Predators and the cold?
- cztery
Re: The B**** is not back !! - BruceM (read my bio)
Did we ASK for popcorn? (Re: Re: The B**** is not back) - cztery
Re: Did we ASK for popcorn? - BruceM (read my bio)
gestation period - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
Anti-piracy ads at the start again - cztery REPLY POSTED
Changing soundtrack/subtitles while viewing - Neil