Aliens: Special Edition (1 disc) (1986)
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-James Cameron Interview (12:05)
Featurette-Aliens: Behind The Scenes (7:59 in total)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer-1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
|Year Of Production||1986|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (61:34)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||James Cameron|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, sound at the end of the credits|
Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is in hypersleep after escaping from the Nostromo at the end of Alien, but apparently misses her mark and drifts for 57 years until her escape pod is picked up by a scavenger ship. She ends up under the company's auspices, but it seems as if the company does not fully believe her story, particularly since colonists have been on the planet LV-426 for the last 20 years without incident. She is subjected to an inquest and banned from further flight duties, relegated to earning a living handling cargo, a skill which becomes useful in the latter part of this movie.
The company, in the form of Burke (Paul Reiser) quickly change their tune when they suddenly lose contact with the colonists on LV-426, and manage to convince Ripley to return to LV-426 in an advisory capacity, along with a bunch of seriously bad-ass marines who are there to kick some serious Alien butt. This time, however, as the blurb says, it's war. The first instalment served up a single Alien. This one serves up a whole army of them, in addition to showing considerably more of the Alien life-cycle.
James Cameron has managed to keep the franchise going in this instalment by re-inventing the premise. Instead of the horror of the dark and the silence, James Cameron delivers up a non-stop, action-packed thrill-ride from the moment of the first encounter with the Aliens to the final climactic battle.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The image is beautifully sharp and clear, particularly after we get past the first 10 minutes or so, which seem marginally on the dark side. Shadow detail, particularly in the latter half of the movie, is impeccable for a movie of this vintage, with copious amounts of detail able to be resolved in the darkest and deepest of shadows. No low level noise disrupts the viewing experience.
James Cameron's trademark blue colouration is heavily in evidence during the early part of the movie, but it eventually settles down to a more evenly drab appearance, albeit considerably brighter than the colouration of Alien. A number of sequences involving conversations between Ripley and Newt tended to be on the oversaturated side, but I suspect that this was how James Cameron intended for these scenes to look, with a deliberately warm feel about them. Other than these minor quibbles, the colouration was immaculate.
There were no MPEG artefacts noted in this transfer. Aliasing was at very worst a trivial problem, with the worst aliasing being exhibited by the marines' spaceship en-route to the planet LV-426. I noted no film artefacts interfering with the image at all.
This is an RSDL disc with the layer change coming during Chapter 13, at 61:34. The layer change took quite some time to be negotiated by my Toshiba 2109, making it quite noticeable, despite its more than satisfactory placement.
There is only one audio track on this DVD, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times. It had some slight distortion at times, and sounded a little dated at times, much in the same way as the soundtrack for Alien did, but this was far less of an issue for this transfer than it was for Alien.
Audio sync was not a problem at any stage.
The score by James Horner aptly suited the on-screen action, especially during the heavy action sequences, and is typical of his work.
The surround channels were used a little variably by this soundtrack. The action sequences were extremely immersive with aggressive audio cues spread throughout the soundfield which made them immensely satisfying. Many of the quieter scenes were also blessed with subtle surround sound cues, but there were times when the soundfield collapsed into mono dialogue. As is typical with a James Cameron movie, anything that can make a sound, does make a sound, often hyper-realistically.
The subwoofer was aggressively used by this soundtrack during each and every action sequence. All manner of noise emanated from this channel, and it provided a very satisfying bottom end to much of the soundtrack.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video transfer is excellent.
The audio transfer is pretty good.
The extras are passable.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe 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 Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 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|
|Speakers||Philips 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|