Alien3 (1992)

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Released 25-May-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Theatrical Trailer-1.85:1 non 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Trailer-Aliens
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-The Making Of Alien3 (22:28)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 110:12
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By David Fincher
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Sigourney Weaver
Charles Dutton
Charles Dance
Paul McGann
Brian Glover
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI Box Music Elliot Goldenthal


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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 Czech
Danish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Finnish
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    IN SHORT: Entertaining? Yes. Classic? No.

    Alien3 is held by many to be the weakest of the Alien movies. Many others bestow that dubious honour on Alien Resurrection. Having just viewed Alien3 for the first time, it seems the weakest of the series to me. Alien3 sees us pick up where Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) left off - in cryosleep and heading for Earth. Unfortunately, an Alien is along for the ride as well, which sees the ship jettison the crew capsule, Alien and all, landing on a semi-defunct maximum security prison planet. There are very few inhabitants of this maximum security prison; a few hardened criminals, a medical officer with a past and an imperious warden who presides over the whole tin pot affair. Predictably, the setting is confined and dark, with lots of places for an Alien to hide.

    Herein lies the fundamental problem with this instalment of the Alien franchise - you simply don't care about any of the inhabitants of this prison, mainly due to some very sloppy screenwriting. None of them are fleshed out particularly, and you know that the majority of them are going to bite the dust at the hands of the Alien, so they simply become cannon fodder, and the movie a drab and dank trudge towards its reasonably telegraphed conclusion. Another problem is the sloppy writing where a lot of things simply happen for no good reason other than to move the plot from one set piece to another. A perfect example of this is the perfunctory way in which the number of characters is significantly reduced at one particular point in the movie. As well as this, one particular glaring factual error mars the script: Cholera is not a virus as is referred to in the script, it is a bacterium.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Whilst I didn't think all that much of the movie, the transfer is superlative and I have nothing but praise for it. Whenever I sit down and watch a DVD for review, I keep a piece of paper on a clipboard handy for jotting down problems with the transfer. The bit of paper for Alien3 had two comments on it, both pertaining to plot issues. There was simply nothing wrong with this transfer technically.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. It is of reference quality.

    The image is razor sharp and crystal clear throughout. Director David Fincher clearly wanted you to see certain things by the style of the cinematography and by golly you see the things he wants you to see and don't see the things he doesn't want you to see. There is a tremendous amount of detail revealed in this transfer, when the Director intends for you to see it. The first scenes of the surface of the prison planet were a little concerning, and I was worried that I was seeing copious grain or film artefact, but it quickly became obvious that we were looking at a simulation of debris flying about in the wind on the planet's surface. Shadow detail was superlative, with just sufficient detail revealed in the shadows to be ominous without it being insufficiently detailed. Clearly, an enormous amount of effort went into the lighting of this production, and this is reflected in the very stylish cinematography. Having said that, this transfer would be best viewed under strictly controlled lighting conditions, as it is predominantly shot in a very dark and very drab style. There is no low level noise marring the transfer at any point.

    The colours are rendered perfectly. Even though the colour palette is not very large, what colours were shown were all accurately portrayed and never seemed unnatural. Greens, browns, greys and reds predominate this movie and it almost comes as a bit of a shock towards the end of the movie to see some brighter white colours.

    There were no MPEG artefacts detected in the transfer. Aliasing was not an issue, and neither were film artefacts. This is an extremely clean presentation of this movie, and a credit to whomever transferred this movie from celluloid.

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change coming at 56:00. This is placed in an appropriate position and is not disruptive to the flow of the movie.

Audio

    This is a really good, enveloping 5.1 audio mix which is of reference quality.

    There is only one audio track on this DVD, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand other than a few shouted words here and there. There were no audio sync problems.

    The score by Elliot Goldenthal was a percussive and strident score which left little impression on me.

    The surround channels are used to great effect by this soundtrack. Sounds are frequently placed in all corners of the soundfield, and the rear channels are frequently called upon to provide a suitably claustrophobic atmosphere to the movie. At all times, you feel as if you are part of the proceedings, rather than an observer on the outside.

    The subwoofer was nearly continuously used to tremendous effect, with lots and lots of very low frequency information being pumped to it almost continuously, lending a very ominous air to much of the movie.

Extras

    There is a reasonable set of extras on this DVD.

Menu

    This carries some nice animation and audio which acts as an excellent entrée to the movie. It is 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette - The Making of Alien3

    This is a reasonably interesting and reasonably lengthy look at the making of Alien3. It appears to be the same extra as included in the laserdisc presentation of this movie. Its quality is poor, with lots of low level noise and chroma noise marring the image, but it is certainly watchable, even if just to see the elusive James Cameron say his bit about Aliens. Tacked on to the end of the featurette is the theatrical trailer for Alien3.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is actually the theatrical trailer for Aliens.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 and Region 1 versions of this DVD are identically-featured.

Summary

    Alien3 is, in my opinion, the weakest of the series. Nonetheless, it remains watchable at least once.

    The video transfer is superlative and is of reference quality.

    The audio transfer is extremely good, and is also of reference quality.

    The extras are reasonable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Friday, April 07, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Amplification2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer

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