The Alien Legacy (1999)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 25-May-2000

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 66:54 (Case: 68)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By None Given

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Ridley Scott
Nick Allder
Mia Bonzanigo
Bob Burns
Ron Cobb
Leslie Dilley
H.R. Giger
Brian Johnson
John Mollo
Dan O'Bannon
Ivor Powell
Ronald Shusett
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI Box Music Jerry Goldsmith

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Alien Legacy is a great companion documentary to Alien. Running for over 60 minutes, it is composed of intercut interview and movie footage, including a number of never-before-seen outtakes, some of which are fascinating in their own right. The arrangement of the documentary is roughly in chronological order, from the germination of the original concept for the movie through to design and production of the movie through to its theatrical release and its legacy today. Many key personnel involved in the production of the movie have been interviewed, and their comments have been skilfully combined with various archival materials to form a fascinating and very well constructed documentary, though I must say that by far the most entertaining comments come from H.R. Giger.

    The disc itself is packaged inside of the Alien DVD case, utilizing an insert-type mechanism which is ugly but functional. The insert mechanism is hinged along the inside spine of the Transparent Amaray case that Alien comes in, and turns like the page of a book within the case. The net result is that the Transparent Amaray case is physically the same size as an ordinary Transparent Amaray case but significantly heavier. Aesthetically, this looks good from the outside, but is quite clunky and unpleasant on the inside. Overall, this seems preferable to making the case twice as wide.

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

Transfer Quality


    This is an average transfer that is acceptable given the varying source materials used.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio that varies between 1.33:1 and 2.35:1, but is mainly framed at 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The image was acceptably sharp and clear, though a lot of the archival material is quite blurred and distorted. It never descends into the realm of unacceptable quality, however. There is a surprising amount of motion blur apparent in the recently shot footage. Fortunately, the majority of this footage comprises talking heads with very little movement, so this effect is not often noticed. The brightness level of the transfer tends to vary up and down slightly for no apparently good reason. This is, fortunately, a subtle effect. The shadow detail is variable, depending on the source of the video material, but it remains acceptable at all times. Low level noise is not a problem for the recent footage, but some archival footage is quite noisy, as is to be expected for 20 year old footage.

    The colours are also somewhat variable, with the recent footage being impeccably presented in this regard whereas some of the archival footage is variable in its presentation of colour, from quite undersaturated to quite oversaturated.

    There were no MPEG artefacts detected in the transfer. Aliasing was not a problem with this transfer, although video artefacts were somewhat problematic at times, even affecting the modern footage to an unexpectedly significant degree. There are a significant number of analogue video dropouts during this documentary, more than I would have expected given the recent nature of the majority of this footage.


    This is a serviceable soundtrack for its purpose.

    There is only one audio track on this DVD, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    The dialogue was always clear and easy to understand. There was little in the way of audio distortion, and there were no audio sync problems. The archival footage was inferior in quality aurally to the contemporary footage, but this is to be expected with this type of material.

    Jerry Goldsmith's Alien score was frequently present, underscoring much of the dialogue. This helped with the overall atmosphere of the documentary.

    The surround channels and subwoofer channel were not used.


    This whole DVD is an extra!


    The menu simply functions as a subtitle selection screen.

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 Alien Legacy box set contained a coupon which allowed you to send away for this additional DVD. Insufficient quantities of this DVD were produced to meet the demand, which resulted in many disgruntled consumers in Region 1. Sensibly, Fox have included this DVD in every Region 4 Box Set.


    The Alien Legacy is a well-presented and informative documentary on the Alien movie.

    The video transfer is acceptable.

    The audio transfer is acceptable.

    The whole disc is an extra!

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Thursday, May 18, 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/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
. - Christopher
I normally despise "double-dipping" but this is AWESOME!!! - Christopher
Re: New box set for the alien series is coming - Kaiser Soze (I'm not stupid. You're not interested. But my bio is here anyway)
Re: New box set for the alien series is coming - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
Re: New box set for the alien series is coming - Rodda (This... is my *bioom* stick!)