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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
AVP: Alien vs. Predator: 2 Disc Extreme Edition (2004)

AVP: Alien vs. Predator: 2 Disc Extreme Edition (2004)

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Released 22-Aug-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-Paul W.S. Anderson, Lance Henriksen And Sanaa Lathan
Audio Commentary-Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff Jr. And John Bruno
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Director's Commentary
Gallery-Darkhorse AVP Comic Covers
Featurette-Pre-Production: Conception, ADI Workshop
Gallery-Storyboard, Concept Art
Featurette-Conception Enhanced Viewing Mode
Featurette-Making Of-With Enhanced Viewing Mode
Featurette-Miniature Whaling Station
Featurette-Facehuggers And Eggs
Featurette-Trouble At The Mouth Of The Tunnel
Featurette-Visual Effects Breakdown
Featurette-Alien Vs Predator - The Comic Book
Featurette-Monsters In Miniature By Todd McFarlane
Featurette-HBO Special
More…-Teaser Trailer, Theatrical Trailer, Easter Egg
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 97:58 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:22)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Paul W.S. Anderson

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Sanaa Lathan
Raoul Bova
Lance Henriksen
Ewen Bremner
Colin Salmon
Tommy Flanagan
Joseph Rye
Agathe De La Boulaye
Carsten Norgaard
Sam Troughton
Petr Jákl
Pavel Bezdek
Kieran Bew
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music James Seymour Brett
Harald Kloser
Thomas Schobel

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

    "Alien v Predator - Whoever wins, we lose!" Ahhh, finally some truth in advertising. With characters and a story as subtle as an episode of WWE Smackdown, Fox makes one trip to the well too many. Okay, so this is a blatant exploitation of two popular franchises, but there is still much to enjoy here. Indeed, I found that I enjoyed this film at home a lot more than I had at the cinemas. Perhaps because I knew what to expect? This DVD also features an extended version of the film, and a very comprehensive collection of genuine extras. This movie certainly isn't for everyone, but then again, even without seeing it, you probably already know if you're going to like this film or not by the title alone.

   In 1979, Twentieth Century Fox released Director Ridley Scott’s seminal science fiction film, Alien, which went on to become a great critical and commercial success. Indeed, the unexpected success of Alien led to three sequels of varying quality: James Cameron’s excellent action-romp, Aliens, David Fincher’s visually stunning, but vacuous Alien3, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s confusing and completely unnecessary Alien Resurrection.

    Almost ten years after the release of Alien, Fox introduced us to another nasty creature from outer space, 1987's Predator. Directed by action film specialist John McTiernan, the film was to star two future US Governors, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. The commercial success of Predator led to a disappointing sequel three years later, (without the Governors), where a Predator makes a nuisance of himself in Los Angeles.

    However, it seems that what I saw as a visual in-joke - an Alien skull mounted in the trophy cabinet of the Predator's spaceship in Predator 2 - others took far more seriously. The idea of Predators and Aliens in a biff launched a successful comic book series by Dark Horse, and a reasonably successful PC game. Considering previous 'cinematic merging', such as the recent Freddy v Jason, or the much earlier Godzilla v Mothra, and King Kong v Godzilla, perhaps it was only a matter of time before contracts were signed, and Alien v Predator got the green light.

   The man Fox chose to helm the project was Paul W.S. Anderson. As I noted in my review of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, director Paul W.S. Anderson has made a career of bringing computer games to the big screen. Anderson directed Mortal Kombat, and wrote and directed Resident Evil and Alien v Predator. He is currently producing the third instalment of Resident Evil, titled Resident Evil: Afterlife, and Driver (yet another video game adaptation).

    Here, Anderson, who personally is a big fan of both franchises, helped craft a story that provides a vehicle for our otherworldly friends to duke it out on Earth. Set today (between the Predator and Alien storylines), an international team of archaeologists and various experts lead by billionaire Industrialist, Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen), venture into Antarctica to investigate an inexplicable "hot zone" that has been detected by satellites.

    Indeed, 2,000 feet below the surface of the ice, satellite imaging reveals the outline of an undiscovered pyramid. The sickly Weyland sees this discovery as the key to his fame and immortality. Weyland is joined on the adventure to find the pyramid by Eco-Tour Guide Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan), Archaeologist Sebastian De Rosa (Raoul Bova), Chemical Engineer Graeme Miller (Ewen Bremner), and a requisite number of human fodder for the creatures to feast on.

    Once on site, Weyland's team discover an opening to the sizeable underground pyramid. The team enter, and soon chaos ensues when the bumbling expedition wake up the sleeping Alien Queen. This results in plenty of alien eggs being hatched, which in turn leads to face-hugging Aliens, which in turn provide chest-bursting scenes aplenty. This process - from face hugging to chest bursting - seems to have been sped up incredibly from the first Alien film.

    However, it's not just these sticky, mucous dripping Aliens that the team have to worry about. A few gung-ho Predators have also dropped in to do ritual battle with the Aliens. And, to make matters much, much worse, Weyland's team are now not only caught in the middle of this acid blood splattering brawl, but they also find themselves trapped within the ever-shifting, labyrinth-like pyramid.

   The fact that Anderson is such a fan of both franchises shows in his attention to detail. For example, he created the character of Charles Bishop Weyland for actor Lance Henriksen, who appeared in both Aliens and Alien3. The character's surname “Weyland” is used in the Alien films, as the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, the multi-national corporate conglomerate that sends the Nostromo on its ill-fated mission to retrieve the Alien originally. The character's middle name, “Bishop” is the name of the android played by Henriksen in Aliens and Alien3. The clever implication is that over a hundred years later, the android has obviously been named after, and made in the image of, the company founder.

    Another nice touch is that about 70% of AVP's effects are physical, and not CGI. I understand that Anderson opted to keep the computer-generated effects to a minimum, and relied, wherever possible, on using the 'real' creations of H.R. Giger’s Alien and Stan Winston’s Predator. "Creature Creators and Designers" Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., who also worked on Aliens, Alien3, and Alien Resurrection, as well as Visual Effects Supervisor John Bruno of Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Titanic fame, all do a brilliant job in realising the effects, and staying true to the original look and feel of these nasty ETs. Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr's work here included creating new suits, sophisticated puppets, and a hydraulic-based animatronic Alien Queen, which has been described as "the most advanced animatronic" created for film. AVP also features some very lavish and impressive physical sets, and the costuming, art direction, and set design are all superb.

    However, while this is a very attractive film to watch, ultimately it's also rather empty, a little silly, and not scary at all. After all, unlike its R-Rated parents, AVP was produced to be a child-friendly PG-13 film. Thus, the movie not only lacks gore, it also lacks suspense and any real chills.

    Director Paul W.S. Anderson is not nearly as talented as Directors, Ridley Scott, James Cameron or John McTiernan, who each managed to turn simple monster movies into nail-biting cinematic milestones, which entered popular culture and our movie-going psyche. Anderson merely delivers a monster movie. That said, there are plenty of cool action sequences, and when the ETs start duking it out, the action is frantic and fast.

    The extended version of the film adds just 80 seconds to the running time via seamless branching, and the most notable difference is the extra scene at the beginning of the movie, as the story now opens in 1904, and not 2004. In other words, the first disc in this edition is the same as the previous release.

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

Transfer Quality


    AVP has a great transfer, and the DVD looked fantastic both on my widescreen television and when viewed with a DLP. Indeed, I urge you to watch this film with a projector if you can. The times below refer to the Extended Version of the film.

    The widescreen transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness is excellent throughout. Consider for example the detail in the intricate stone wall carvings at 55:41. The black level is excellent, as is the shadow detail, as can be seen in the well defined images during the exterior night shot at 21:04.

    The colour is also excellent throughout, and the film uses coloured lens extensively to help create the various moods. For example, many scenes are intentionally bleak. The skin tones are accurate.

    While the image is a little grainy at times, there are no problems with MPEG, film-to-video or film artefacts. Some minor edge enhancement is noticeable occasionally, but I never found it distracting.

    English for the Hearing Impaired, English Audio Commentary 1, and English Audio Commentary 2 subtitles are present. They are accurate.

    Disc One, which contains the film, is a dual-layered disc with the layer change at 57:22. The feature is divided into 29 chapters.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio is wonderful, and a real treat for home theatre buffs.

    The film has an awesome sound design and the DVD offers the options of: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s), English Audio Commentary 1 Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and English Audio Commentary 2 Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). I listened to both the Dolby Digital and dts tracks, and while both audio options make great use of your home theatre speakers, the dts track demonstrates a greater range with a lot more presence in the bottom end. So use the dts track, and your subwoofer will love you for it.

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent on both the Dolby Digital and dts 5.1 audio tracks.

    The musical score is credited to James Seymour Brett, Harald Kloser and Thomas Schobel. The dramatic orchestral score suits the film well, helping set the tone and underscoring the emotion. The score also borrows from, and pays homage to, the scores from the earlier Alien and Predator films.

    Prepare yourself for one of the most aggressive and immersive surround sound experiences that you will enjoy in 2005! The surround activity is as unrelenting as the ET action, and the rear speakers are used effectively to help carry the score, such as at 7:52, and to provide ambience, such as the snow storm at 25:11. There is also a great deal of panning between the speakers, which helps create a very immersive listening experience. For example, the passing space craft at 25:35, or the flare dropped down the shaft at 21:11.

    The film boasts a powerful LFE track, and the subwoofer is absolutely hammered throughout, such as during the deep ice cracking at 10:55, or the rumble of the spaceship at 25:26.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    As a two-disc package, there are plenty of genuine extras, including two great audio commentaries.

Disc One


    There are a series of themed, animated menus with audio.

Anti-Piracy Trailer

    Disc One opens with a forced anti-piracy commercial.

Audio Commentary 1 - Paul W.S. AndersonLance Henriksen and Sanaa Lathan

    A screen-specific and chatty commentary provided by Writer/Director Paul W.S. Anderson and actors Lance Henriksen and Sanaa Lathan. The commentary is only available on the theatrical version of the film, and as Anderson is such a big fan of both franchises, it's a treat for fans of the Alien and Predator movies, as he provides a lot of trivia and anecdotes. For example, Anderson identifies some of the props taken from the other films, and some of AVP's many homages and references. The audio commentary is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and is surround encoded.

Audio Commentary 2 - Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff Jr. and John Bruno

    Another screen-specific commentary, although this time provided by "Creature Creators and Designers" Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff Jr. and Visual Effects Supervisor John Bruno. As with Audio Commentary 1, the commentary is only available on the theatrical version of the film. While there are some long gaps, the SFX team identify a lot of the VFX, CGI, and green screen work done in the film. Interestingly, they also point out some stock footage that was used here and there. This Audio Commentary is also presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and is surround encoded.

Featurette - Making Of AVP (23:12)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio, this featurette includes some behind-the-scenes footage, interview snippets from Writer/Director Paul W.S. Anderson, a look at Dark Horse's AVP Comics, with some clips taken from the earlier Alien and Predator films.

Deleted Scenes With Optional Director's Commentary (1:57)

    There are three deleted scenes, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio

Gallery - Darkhorse AVP Comic Covers

    A collection of stills of the comic book covers

Disc Two

    Unless stated otherwise, all extras are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

Featurette - Pre-Production

Featurette - Production

Featurette - Post-Production

Featurette - Licensing the Franchise


Easter Egg


    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.

    AVP was released on DVD in R1 and R2 in a similar two-disc edition.

    Compared with the R1, the Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

    As a package, I would say the R1 nudges ahead by a nose. However, in terms of the feature itself, I would favour our PAL version.


    Apparently, uncharacteristically, Fox refused to screen AVP in the US to film critics prior to its release, which I think says something. In summary, I would say that AVP is not as good as Alien, Aliens, or Predator, but a lot more fun than Alien3, Alien Resurrection, and Predator 2.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is also excellent.

    The extras are plentiful and genuine.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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