Overall | Alien: 20th Anniversary Edition (1979) | Aliens: Special Edition (1 disc) (1986) | Alien3 (1992) | Alien Resurrection (1997) | The Alien Legacy (1999)

Alien: Legacy (Box Set) (2000)

Alien: Legacy (Box Set) (2000)

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Released 25-May-2000

Cover Art

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Overall Package

    The Alien Legacy Box Set is a compilation of 5 DVDs; the four Alien movies (Alien: 20th Anniversary Edition, Aliens, Alien3, and Alien Resurrection) and a documentary on Alien, entitled The Alien Legacy. The 5 DVDs are packaged within 4 Transparent Amaray cases, one of which is a dual DVD case. The DVD cases themselves are packaged inside of a very attractive, embossed cardboard slip case. Overall, this is a superb package that most every Alien aficionado will want to own.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Thursday, May 18, 2000
Other Reviews
Web Wombat - James A
The Fourth Region - Roger T. Ward (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)

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New box set for the alien series is coming -

Overall | Alien: 20th Anniversary Edition (1979) | Aliens: Special Edition (1 disc) (1986) | Alien3 (1992) | Alien Resurrection (1997) | The Alien Legacy (1999)

Alien: 20th Anniversary Edition (1979)

Alien: 20th Anniversary Edition (1979)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Menu Animation & Audio
THX Trailer
Audio Commentary-Ridley Scott (Director)
Deleted Scenes-10
Theatrical Trailer-4
Gallery-Concept Art/Storyboards/Photo/Poster
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Isolated Musical Score
Alternate Music/Sound Score
Outtakes-2
Easter Egg-2
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 111:52
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (60:54) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ridley Scott
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Tom Skerritt
Sigourney Weaver
Veronica Cartwright
Harry Dean Stanton
John Hurt
Ian Holm
Yaphet Kotto
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Alternate Music/Sound 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 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

    "Don't go there!". "Don't touch that!". "Don't look in there!". You really feel like screaming at the screen when you are watching this movie, especially knowing what is about to happen. Unfortunately, they do go there, they do touch that, and they do look in there.

    Alien is a classic horror movie set within a science fiction setting. Unlike the drivel that is served up as horror these days which is reliant on special effects and loud noises for its scares, Alien relies on tapping in to the darkest inner recesses of your mind for its horror. Your imagination conjures up far worse images and generates far more dread than can the best graphics designers, and by golly it does during this movie. The director, Ridley Scott, sums it up nicely by pointing out that nothing happens for over 30 minutes. All the while, the tension is quietly building. Menace is in the shadows and in the subtle noises you can just barely discern. In some cases, there is more menace in the eerie silence.

    The Nostromo is a space freighter, returning from an unspecified mining mission. Its crew of seven is awoken from their hypersleep when a signal of unknown origin is received by the ship's computer. They trace this signal to a large asteroid, and land to investigate. They discover, much to their detriment, an alien life-form that breeds by infesting other living hosts. The rest is classic movie history.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This movie was filmed over 20 years ago, in 1978 and released in 1979. Considering the age of the movie, it looks very impressive indeed, with only minor flaws giving away its age.

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

    The image is generally very sharp, clear and clean. A small number of scenes are less well defined. In particular, any scene involving computer graphics was quite indistinct, a problem that can be fairly and squarely put down to limitations in the way these scenes were filmed. Shadow detail is good for a movie shot in 1978. It cannot be compared to a top-notch contemporary transfer, but nonetheless it is remarkably good, with a reasonable amount of detail present in the image. Given the very dark nature of this movie, the quality of the shadow detail is critical in making it the frightening experience that it is. Non-deliberate low level noise is absent from the transfer, which is also critical in making this movie all the more frightening. Blacks are well and truly black.

    The colours are nicely rendered, despite the quite limited colour palette in use. Drab blues, greens and grays predominate, though other hues make an appearance from time to time. The only minor criticism I will make of the colour is that the colours have a certain dated appearance about them at times, giving away the film's 20 year vintage.

    There were no MPEG artefacts noted in this transfer. Aliasing was mildly problematic at times, with aliasing apparent on the sharp edges of some of the spacecraft models and on many of the computer displays. Having said that, I felt that the correct balance was struck with this transfer between sharpness and aliasing. Film artefacts are pleasantly few and far between, but are certainly present more frequently than in a contemporary transfer.

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change coming between Chapter 11 and 12, at 60:54. The layer change is minimally disruptive.

Audio

    This is as good a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix as we should expect for a movie which was originally created in stereo.

    There are four audio tracks on this DVD, all Dolby Digital; the default English 5.1 soundtrack, an English Audio Commentary 2.0 surround-encoded, an Isolated Music Score in 2.0, and an alternate Music/Sound Effects track in 2.0. I listened to the 5.1 soundtrack and to the audio commentary whilst briefly sampling the other two soundtracks.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand for most of the time, though it did get a little distorted and frequency-limited at times. Some scenes sounded very dated in their audio, and others sounded excellent. This was probably the low point of the transfer, as the aural quality of the dialogue was the most noticeable giveaway to the film's 20-year old vintage, and contrasted with the excellent quality of the music and the foley effects.

    The audio was never definitely out of sync, but did border on it on a number of occasions.

    The score by Jerry Goldsmith was simply brilliant, more by what it didn't do than by what it did. Silence, in particular, was nicely utilized by this score to add to the on-screen tension.

    The surround channels were used somewhat variably by this soundtrack. Early on, there was a lot of surround presence, with nicely-placed ambient sounds spread throughout the soundfield, but at other times the soundtrack collapsed into mono. The special audio effects are worth a mention here - they are downright eerie and nicely rendered in this soundtrack. Subtle hums, wails, creaks and groans are all nicely rendered in the soundtrack, and all make the eerieness of this movie all the more palpable.

    The subwoofer was not often called upon other than to add a small amount of bottom end onto some of the sound effects.

Extras

    There is an excellent set of extras on this DVD.

Menu

    This has extensive and complex audio and animation which sets the tone for the entire movie.

THX Trailer

Audio Commentary - Ridley Scott (Director)

    Ridley Scott knows how to engage his audience, and this is an excellent commentary track filled with a great number of insights into the making of this movie. A nifty feature of this audio commentary is that there are chapter selections of sorts.

Deleted Scenes (10)

    There is a lot of aliasing present in these scenes, but nonetheless these are an excellent inclusion.

Theatrical Trailer

    Two theatrical trailers and two TV spots make up this extra.

Art & Photo Gallery

    This rather innocuous entry leads to a huge number of still photos of Concept Art, Storyboards, Production Photos, Promotional Art & Cast/Crew Biographies. It is a pity that they don't automatically advance, since you need to press the right arrow key many many times to get through this lot.

Isolated Music Score

Alternate Music & Production Sound

Outtakes (2)

    It is not clear why these scenes were not simply included under the deleted scenes above.

Easter Eggs (2)

    Nostromo Crew Biographies: From the Main Menu, go Left at Special Features and select the highlighted screen.

    Alien Lifecycle Transmission: From the Special Features Menu, go Down until the acid pool is highlighted and select it.

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 version of this DVD misses out on;     There is nothing compelling here which would lead me to favour one version over the other.

Summary

    Alien is a brilliant, classic science fiction horror film that holds up very well indeed today, and still managed to scare me silly even though I knew what was coming.

    The video transfer is generally very good.

    The audio transfer is reasonable, varying from excellent to average.

    The extras are very good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Saturday, May 13, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109/Start SD-2010VNK, 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

Other Reviews
Michael D's Region 4 DVD Info Page - Dean M (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
The Fourth Region - Roger T. Ward (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
Dark Horizons - Garth F
The DVD Bits - David E

Comments (Add)
Alien Quadrilogy - Paul Lee (Bio this way)

Overall | Alien: 20th Anniversary Edition (1979) | Aliens: Special Edition (1 disc) (1986) | Alien3 (1992) | Alien Resurrection (1997) | The Alien Legacy (1999)

Aliens: Special Edition (1 disc) (1986)

Aliens: Special Edition (1 disc) (1986)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Menu Animation & Audio
THX Trailer
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
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 148:07
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (61:34) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By James Cameron
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Sigourney Weaver
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music James Horner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 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 Yes, sound at the end of the credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Aliens picks up the story where Alien left off, excepting a number of very large plot holes which I personally hadn't noticed before, but which don't really matter in the grand scheme of things. It is worth noting that this is an extended cut of Aliens, with some 17 minutes worth of added footage. If you want a run-down of the differences between the theatrical release of this movie and this extended cut, The Big Picture review of the Region 1 version of this DVD provides a complete listing, just under the image of the "Best Supporting Alien". Personally, I quite liked the additional footage, as it provided a great deal of background information that deepened and explained a number of plot points that hitherto had gone unexplained.

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer belies the age of the movie, and looks immaculate with only trivial problems denying it reference status.

    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.

Audio

    This is a good Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Note that the packaging claims that it is a 5.0 mix. This is incorrect. It most definitely is a 5.1 mix.

    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.

Extras

    There is a passable set of extras on this DVD.

Menu

    This has extensive and complex audio and animation which sets the tone for the entire movie. As for the Alien menu animation, it is highly themed and specific for this movie.

THX Trailer

Featurette - James Cameron Interview

    This is not all that great, and is only worth a single watch.

Featurette - Aliens: Behind The Scenes

    This leads to a menu of 8 additional selections, which play back small fragments of video. Some are silent, and some have poor quality monaural audio behind them. The interest level of these extras is variable, from totally uninteresting (the two Miniature featurettes), to fascinating (Testing The Queen).

Theatrical Trailer

Photo Gallery

    Once again, like the Alien DVD preceding, this is a huge extra, with lots and lots of photos to look through. There is some annotation at times, which makes this mildly interesting. These photos automatically advance, saving you from pressing the right arrow key too often. Cast & Crew biographies are included within this section.

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

    Aliens is a rare beast indeed - a sequel that is in a different genre to its predecessor, and successfully measures up to the original, albeit in a different way.

    The video transfer is excellent.

    The audio transfer is pretty good.

    The extras are passable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Monday, May 15, 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

Other Reviews
Michael D's Region 4 DVD Info Page - Dean M (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
The Fourth Region - Roger T. Ward (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
Dark Horizons - Garth F
DVD Net - Robert M

Comments (Add)
transfer not that good - lordg (Biography Tag) REPLY POSTED
Grainy Aliens - capone (they're some fine antibiotics you got there..)

Overall | Alien: 20th Anniversary Edition (1979) | Aliens: Special Edition (1 disc) (1986) | Alien3 (1992) | Alien Resurrection (1997) | The Alien Legacy (1999)

Alien3 (1992)

Alien3 (1992)

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Released 25-May-2001

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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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.

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

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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Alien: 20th Anniversary Edition (1979) | Aliens: Special Edition (1 disc) (1986) | Alien3 (1992) | Alien Resurrection (1997) | The Alien Legacy (1999)

Alien Resurrection (1997)

Alien Resurrection (1997)

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
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Theatrical Trailer-1.85:1 non 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(3:53)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 104:21 (Case: 109)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:52) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Sigourney Weaver
Winona Ryder
Ron Perlman
Dan Hedaya
J.E. Freeman
Brad Dourif
Michael Wincott
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI Box Music John Frizzell


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

    It is interesting to ponder the progression of Sigourney Weaver through the credit sequences of the Alien movies. In Alien, she took second-billing to Tom Skerritt. By the time she made Aliens, she was a big enough star to get top billing. In Alien Resurrection, she is listed before the name of the movie.

    A lot of people didn't like Alien Resurrection, criticizing it for deviating from the Alien concept. I beg to differ. I enjoyed it theatrically, and I enjoyed it on DVD. This is a very different Alien movie. It is very sensual. The lines between good and bad are blurred. There are the two aspects of this movie that I really enjoyed. Sure, there are some impossibly large plot holes. Sure, there is some cheesy dialogue and action at times, but for me, the positives outweighed the negatives by a long way.

    Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) has been genetically reconstructed from what remained of her after Alien3. Unfortunately, during the genetic reconstruction, parts of Ripley's and the Alien's DNA intermingled. The reconstructed Ripley is very unusual. She has superhuman strength. She has acidic blood. She is ruthless, and clearly not the same Ripley that we have come to know and love in the previous Alien movies. However, the humans responsible for resurrecting her are more interested in the gains they can obtain from breeding the Alien they resurrected along with Ripley. Accordingly, they acquire some human hosts from a rag-tag bunch of mercenary traders, including a seriously miscast Winona Ryder as Call, their mechanic. The traders stay around the research ship, when the predictable happens - the Aliens escape and wreak havoc.

    There is some spectacular and amazing action in this movie, but the highlights for me were any scene involving the genetically-recombined Ripley. Sigourney Weaver is totally convincing in her role, playing a completely ambiguous, ruthless and extremely sensual character. It is not at all clear whose side she is on, and I just loved every little nuance of her performance in this movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a very good transfer that falls just short of being reference quality.

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

    The image was generally very sharp and very clear, save for the first 5 minutes or so, which were a tad on the blurry and indistinct side, particularly during the opening credits. These early parts of the film also had some minor issues with grain being visible. Once these early problems passed, however, the transfer remained at reference quality for the remainder of the movie. Shadow detail was excellent, as is to be expected from a movie of this recent vintage, and there was no low level noise.

    The colours are presented in the typical drab Alien style, and had no specific problems or highlights.

    There were no MPEG artefacts detected in the transfer. Aliasing was never a problem, but early on in the transfer, film artefacts were present to an excessive degree. Once again, the first 5 - 10 minutes of the movie seemed noticeably inferior to the remainder of the transfer.

    This is an RSDL disc with a quite noticeable and moderately disruptive layer change at 55:52, during Chapter 15.

Audio

    This is a superb soundtrack and only one minor problem denies it reference status.

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

    The dialogue was always clear and perfectly easy to understand. There was a minor audio sync problem between 8:39 and 9:08 which was probably an ADR issue rather than a transfer issue, but Dan Hedaya's dialogue is just discernibly out of sync during these scenes.

    The score by John Frizzell combined the more traditional-sounding elements of previous Alien scores with some far more lyrical and sensual underscoring when appropriate. It was very nicely married to the on-screen action, and enhanced the on-screen action and tension marvellously.

    The surround channels are magnificently used by this soundtrack, which is certainly of reference quality in this area. There is never silence in the surrounds. There is always something going on throughout the entire soundfield, albeit subtle at times, keeping you immersed in the on-screen action. When the action sequences arrive, the level of sonic activity in the surround channels ramps up suitably to provide an enormously enveloping experience. This is the way action movie soundtrack should be mixed, to create a continuously-enveloping sound environment.

    The subwoofer was aggressively used, almost to the point of excess, by this soundtrack. It provided copious amounts of bottom end to explosions, gun-shots, music and all manner of other special effects noises.

Extras

    There is only a limited set of extras on this DVD.

Menu

    As with all the other Alien DVDs in this box set, this carries some nicely-themed movie-specific animation and audio.

Theatrical Trailer

Featurette - Behind-The-Scenes

    This is of limited interest.

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 version of this DVD misses out on;     Considering that these trailers are on the other DVDs in this series, this is no loss at all. The DVDs should be considered equally-featured.

Summary

    I liked Alien Resurrection, and still do..

    The video transfer is very good but not perfect.

    The audio transfer is superb.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Wednesday, May 17, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Alien Quadrilogy - Paul Lee (Bio this way)

Overall | Alien: 20th Anniversary Edition (1979) | Aliens: Special Edition (1 disc) (1986) | Alien3 (1992) | Alien Resurrection (1997) | The Alien Legacy (1999)

The Alien Legacy (1999)

The Alien Legacy (1999)

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Released 25-May-2000

Cover Art

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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
Studio
Distributor

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
French
German
Italian
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

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Audio

    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.

Extras

    This whole DVD is an extra!

Menu

    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.

Summary

    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)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© 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!)