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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Ridley Scott
USA 1979

 

At its most fundamental level, "Alien" is a movie about things that can jump out of the dark and kill you. It shares a kinship with the shark in "Jaws," Michael Myers in "Halloween," and assorted spiders, snakes, tarantulas and stalkers. Its most obvious influence is Howard Hawks' "The Thing" (1951), which was also about a team in an isolated outpost who discover a long-dormant alien, bring it inside, and are picked off one by one as it haunts the corridors. Look at that movie, and you see "Alien" in embryo.

In another way, Ridley Scott's 1979 movie is a great original. It builds on the seminal opening shot of "Star Wars" (1977), with its vast ship in lonely interstellar space, and sidesteps Lucas' space opera to tell a story in the genre of traditional "hard" science fiction; with its tough-talking crew members and their mercenary motives, the story would have found a home in John W. Campbell's Astounding Science Fiction during its nuts-and-bolts period in the 1940s. Campbell loved stories in which engineers and scientists, not space jockeys and ray-gun blasters, dealt with outer space in logical ways.

Certainly the character of Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, would have appealed to readers in the Golden Age of Science Fiction. She has little interest in the romance of finding the alien, and still less in her employer's orders that it be brought back home as a potential weapon. After she sees what it can do, her response to "Special Order 24" ("Return alien lifeform, all other priorities rescinded") is succinct: "How do we kill it?" Her implacable hatred for the alien is the common thread running through all three "Alien" sequels, which have gradually descended in quality but retained their motivating obsession.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 25 May, 1979 USA

Reviews       More Reviews       DVD Reviews

Comparison:

20th Fox (UK) (Old) - Region 2,4 - PAL vs. 20th Fox (Old) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. 20th Fox (CE) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. 20th Century Fox "Anthology" - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Ole Kofoed and Gregory Meshman for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) 20th Fox (UK) (Old) - Region 2,4 - PAL - LEFT

2) 20th Fox (Old) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) 20th Fox (CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox - Anthology - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

20th Fox (UK)

Region 2,4 - PAL

20th Fox
Region 1 - NTSC
20th Fox
Region 1 - NTSC
20th Century Fox - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:51:52 (4% PAL speedup) 1:56:32 1:56:28 DC: 1:56:37.614 - Theatrical 1:55:49.890
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.79 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.25 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.52 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 48,289,613,907 bytes

DC Feature Size: 32,532,436,992 bytes

Theatrical Feature:32,130,306,048 bytes

Average Bitrate: 26.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

20th Fox (UK) (Old)

 

Bitrate:

 

20th Fox (Old)

 

Bitrate:

 

20th Fox (CE)

 

Bitrate:

 

20th Fox Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1)

English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround); DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)

English (Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1), DUB: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3385 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3385 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps /
24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio German 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 4.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English for the hearing impaired, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Czech, Danish and none. English, Spanish, None English, Spanish, None English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: 20th Fox (UK)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director Ridley Scott
•  Isolated musical score
• Theatrical trailers
• Alternate music and production sound track (DD2.0)
• Deleted scenes
• Artwork and photo galleries
• Outtakes

DVD Release Date: May 15, 2000
Keep Case

Chapters 20
 

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director Ridley Scott
•  Isolated musical score on a separate audio channel
• Theatrical trailers
• Alternate music and production sound track
• Deleted scenes
• Artwork and photo galleries
• Outtakes
• Web links
• Booklet with production notes

 

DVD Release Date: June 1, 1999
Keep Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Ridley Scott and technical crew (DIFFERENT COMMENTARY THAN THE OTHER TWO)
• Theatrical version (117 min.)
• Extended cut (seamlessly branched) (137 min.)
• Preproduction: Star Beast (developing the story), First Draft of Screenplay by Dan O'Bannon
• The Visualists (direction and design), Ridleygrams (original thumbnails & notes), storyboard archive
• Production: Fear of the Unknown (Shepperton Studios, 1978), production gallery
• The Darkest Reaches (Nostromo and alien planet), The Sets of Alien
• The Eighth Passenger (creature design), The Chestburster (creature design)
• Post-Production: Future Tense (music and editing), 8 deleted scenes
• Visual effects gallery (photo archive), A Nightmare Fulfilled (reaction to the film)
• Poster explorations, special shoot, premiere
• Number of discs: 2

 

DVD Release Date: Dec. 2, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 32

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Fox

 

Disc Size: 48,289,613,907 bytes

DC Feature Size: 32,532,436,992 bytes

Theatrical Feature:32,130,306,048 bytes

Average Bitrate: 26.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC 1080P

Disc 1: ALIEN
• 1979 Theatrical Version
• 2003 Director’s Cut with Ridley Scott Introduction
• Audio Commentary by Director Ridley Scott, Writer Dan O’Bannon, Executive Producer Ronald Shusett, Editor Terry Rawlings, Actors Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton and John Hurt
• Audio Commentary (for Theatrical Cut only) by Ridley Scott
• Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith
• Composer’s Original Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream

Disc 2: ALIENS
• 1986 Theatrical Version
• 1991 Special Edition with James Cameron Introduction
• Audio Commentary by Director James Cameron, Producer Gale Anne Hurd, Alien Effects Creator Stan Winston, Visual Effects Supervisors Robert Skotak and Dennis Skotak, Miniature Effects Supervisor Pat McClung, Actors Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Carrie Henn and Christopher Henn
• Final Theatrical Isolated Score by James Horner
• Composer’s Original Isolated Score by James Horner
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream

Disc 3: ALIEN 3
• 1992 Theatrical Version
• 2003 Special Edition (Restored Workprint Version)
• Audio Commentary by Cinematographer Alex Thomson, B.S.C., Editor Terry Rawlings, Alien Effects Designers Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., Visual Effects Producer Richard Edlund, A.S.C., Actors Paul McGann and Lance Henriksen
• Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Elliot Goldenthal
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream

Disc 4: ALIEN Resurrection
• 1997 Theatrical Version
• 2003 Special Edition with Jean-Pierre Jeunet Introduction
• Audio Commentary by Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Editor Hervι Schneid, A.C.E., Alien Effects Creators Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., Visual Effects Supervisor Pitof, Conceptual Artist Sylvain Despretz, Actors Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon and Leland Orser
• Final Theatrical Isolated Score by John Frizzell
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream


Disc 5: Making the Anthology

The Beast Within: Making ALIEN

• Star Beast: Developing the Story
• The Visualists: Direction and Design
• Truckers in Space: Casting
• Fear of the Unknown: Shepperton Studios, 1978
• The Darkest Reaches: Nostromo and Alien Planet
• The Eighth Passenger: Creature Design
• Future Tense: Editing and Music
• Outward Bound: Visual Effects
• A Nightmare Fulfilled: Reaction to the Film
• Enhancement Pods

Superior Firepower: Making ALIENS

• 57 Years Later: Continuing the Story
• Building Better Worlds: From Concept to Construction
• Preparing for Battle: Casting and Characterization
• This Time It’s War: Pinewood Studios, 1985
• The Risk Always Lives: Weapons and Action
• Bug Hunt: Creature Design
• Beauty and the Bitch: Power Loader vs. Queen Alien
• Two Orphans: Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn
• The Final Countdown: Music, Editing and Sound
• The Power of Real Tech: Visual Effects
• Aliens Unleashed: Reaction to the Film
• Enhancement Pods

Wreckage and Rage: Making ALIEN3

• Development Hell: Concluding the Story
• Tales of the Wooden Planet: Vincent Ward’s Vision
• Stasis Interrupted: David Fincher’s Vision
• Xeno-Erotic: H.R. Giger’s Redesign
• The Color of Blood: Pinewood Studios, 1991
• Adaptive Organism: Creature Design
• The Downward Spiral: Creative Differences
• Where the Sun Burns Cold: Fox Studios, L.A. 1992
• Optical Fury: Visual Effects
• Requiem for a Scream: Music, Editing and Sound
• Post-Mortem: Reaction to the Film
• Enhancement Pods

One Step Beyond: Making ALIEN RESURRECTION

• From the Ashes: Reviving the Story
• French Twist: Direction and Design
• Under the Skin: Casting and Characterization
• Death from Below: Fox Studios, Los Angeles, 1996
• In the Zone: The Basketball Scene
• Unnatural Mutation: Creature Design
• Genetic Composition: Music
• Virtual Aliens: Computer Generated Imagery
• A Matter of Scale: Miniature Photography
• Critical Juncture: Reaction to the Film
• Enhancement Pods

• MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience to Access and Control Enhancement Pods

Disc 6: The Anthology Archives

ALIEN
Pre-Production
• First Draft Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon
• Ridleygrams: Original Thumbnails and Notes
• Storyboard Archive
• The Art of Alien: Conceptual Art Portfolio
• Sigourney Weaver Screen Tests with Select Director Commentary
• Cast Portrait Gallery

Production
• The Chestbuster: Multi-Angle Sequence with Commentary
• Video Graphics Gallery
• Production Image Galleries
• Continuity Polaroids
• The Sets of Alien
• H.R. Giger’s Workshop Gallery

Post-Production and Aftermath
• Additional Deleted Scenes
• Image & Poster Galleries
• Experience in Terror
• Special Collector’s Edition LaserDisc Archive
• The Alien Legacy
• American Cinematheque: Ridley Scott Q&A
• Trailers & TV Spots

ALIENS
Pre-Production
• Original Treatment by James Cameron
• Pre-Visualizations: Multi-Angle Videomatics with Commentary
• Storyboard Archive
• The Art of Aliens: Image Galleries
• Cast Portrait Gallery

Production
• Production Image Galleries
• Continuity Polaroids
• Weapons and Vehicles
• Stan Winston’s Workshop
• Colonial Marine Helmet Cameras
• Video Graphics Gallery
• Weyland-Yutani Inquest: Nostromo Dossiers

Post-Production and Aftermath
• Deleted Scene: Burke Cocooned
• Deleted Scene Montage
• Image Galleries
• Special Collector’s Edition LaserDisc Archive
• Main Title Exploration
• Aliens: Ride at the Speed of Fright
• Trailers & TV Spots

ALIEN 3
Pre-Production
• Storyboard Archive
• The Art of Arceon
• The Art of Fiorina

Production
• Furnace Construction: Time-Lapse Sequence
• EEV Bioscan: Multi-Angle Vignette with Commentary
• Production Image Galleries
• A.D.I.’s Workshop

Post-Production and Aftermath

• Visual Effects Gallery
• Special Shoot: Promotional Photo Archive
• Alien 3 Advance Featurette
• The Making of Alien 3 Promotional Featurette
• Trailers & TV Spots

ALIEN RESURRECTION
Pre-Production
• First Draft Screenplay by Joss Whedon
• Test Footage: A.D.I. Creature Shop with Commentary
• Test Footage: Costumes, Hair and Makeup
• Pre-Visualizations: Multi-Angle Rehearsals
• Storyboard Archive
• The Marc Caro Portfolio: Character Designs
• The Art of Resurrection: Image Galleries

Production

• Production Image Galleries
• A.D.I.’s Workshop

Post-Production and Aftermath

• Visual Effects Gallery
• Special Shoot: Promotional Photo Archive
• HBO First Look: The Making of Alien Resurrection
• Alien Resurrection Promotional Featurette
• Trailers & TV Spots

ANTHOLOGY

• Two Versions of Alien Evolution
• The Alien Saga
• Patches and Logos Gallery
• Aliens3D Attraction Scripts and Gallery
• Aliens in the Basement: The Bob Burns Collection
• Parodies
• Dark Horse Cover Gallery
• Patches and Logos Gallery
• MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience

Blu-ray Release Date: October 26th, 2010
Custom
Blu-ray Case
Chapters:
32

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: 20th Century Fox - Anthology - Region FREE - Blu-ray - October 2010:  Firstly, how is this film 31-years old? - goodness, how time flies. As the entire "Anthology" Blu-ray is so massive (4 films - 8 versions!) we couldn't possibly review it on one webpage. Over time we will add to our existing DVD comparison of Aliens etc. We may even do an entire separate page just for the supplements (65 hours of archival and never-before-seen content!).

The package case is impressive in its own right. It's the height of a standard Blu-ray case and the discs are housed in a very solid thick cardboard book-style case with 11 sturdy pages - all have images and some have compartments for the 6 discs (contents listed above). The back sleeve has a booklet and leaflet. With all the hokey packages I've seen of late - this is more professional in appearance and ease of disc placement.

The first disc has both the films; the 70' Theatrical and the minute longer 2003 Director's Cut seamlessly branched - meaning quality is exactly the same for the duplicate scenes. Okay, the image appearance is not overwhelming for the first film of the 'Anthology'. This doesn't surprise me as this late 70's film stock used was always problematic when transferred to digital. Saying that though it does look 'improved' - things tighten up colors are superior (richer but not artificially boosted as in the original DVDs) and some scenes even have a sense of depth. Grain looks fairly consistent - not overly blocky. Contrast is also exporting cleaner, brighter whites and richer black levels. This isn't a glossy look by any means - it's a dark film and the 1080P rendering maintains that eerie aura when in the bowels of the ship but visual detail also improves in those areas. Some segments you would have to be quite discerning or have a large enough system to notice the benefit BUT there are other parts, the brighter lit scenes - earlier in the film - when the high resolution is much more impressive. It seems the Blu-ray has slightly less information in the frame from the 2003 DVD. This is a dual-layered Blu-ray with the features taking up over 32 Gig each.

Where many will notice a bigger difference from the audio which is a lossless DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3385 kbps.  It rocks. The films is rife with important effect sounds and separations that are defined are strong/aggressive at times and subtle in other portions. It's competently mixed and adds a very strong sense of chilling atmosphere to the film experience. There are many DUB and subtitle options and my Momitsu has verified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

Aside from the seamlessly branched features we get the audio commentary by director Ridley Scott, writer Dan O’Bannon, executive producer Ronald Shusett, Editor Terry Rawlings, actors Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton and John Hurt as well as the other audio commentary (for Theatrical Cut only) by Ridley Scott. Plus you can listen to the final Theatrical Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith PLUS the composer’s original isolated score by Goldsmith (also only theatrical) as well as some seven deleted and extended scenes. I have indulged in the MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream. At present I don't even know what the heck it is. I just watched the tutorial on how to use it. It runs as you watch the film - popping up potential information that you can access via 'Audio', 'Visual' or 'Weyland-Yutani Datastream' which appears to give a running text narration/explanation of what is going on. It partially obscures the screen. For those keen they may really get into it. You can also bookmark scenes 'personalized' from all the films of the 'Anthology'.

So far my investigation confirms that people who enjoy these intense, thrilling, sci-fi epics will be overwhelmed by the package and if not so much by the video - but definitely the audio.... and have more than their hands full with the supplements which they may be able to reference for years to come. So far - a recommendation - stay tuned for further comparisons and more in-depth analysis of the 65-hour long worth of extras.       

***

ON THE DVDs: Gregory used Theatrical Cut on the Quadrilogy Boxset for Fox (CE) captures and there is quite a striking differences as you can plainly judge. The old issues look quite faded in comparison. The new DVD looks brighter with more defined colors and sharper. Although all three have the Ridley commentary, the CE release has a host of other interesting Extra Features including a seamlessly branched extended cut. The CE version also offers DTS which the other DVDs did not ( although all three have 5.1 sound ). None of the editions seem to have any cropping. So it looks like the new CE Region 1 version wins hands down.      

 - Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus

(20th Fox (UK) (Old) - Region 2,4 - PAL - LEFT vs. 20th Fox (Old) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. 20th Fox (CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

20th Century Fox - Anthology - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) 20th Fox (UK) (Old) - Region 2,4 - PAL - TOP

2) 20th Fox (Old) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) 20th Fox (CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox - Anthology - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) 20th Fox (UK) (Old) - Region 2,4 - PAL - TOP

2) 20th Fox (Old) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) 20th Fox (CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox - Anthology - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) 20th Fox (UK) (Old) - Region 2,4 - PAL - TOP

2) 20th Fox (Old) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) 20th Fox (CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox - Anthology - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) 20th Fox (UK) (Old) - Region 2,4 - PAL - TOP

2) 20th Fox (Old) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) 20th Fox (CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox - Anthology - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) 20th Fox (UK) (Old) - Region 2,4 - PAL - TOP

2) 20th Fox (Old) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) 20th Fox (CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox - Anthology - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) 20th Fox (UK) (Old) - Region 2,4 - PAL - TOP

2) 20th Fox (Old) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) 20th Fox (CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) 20th Century Fox - Anthology - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


More Blu-ray Captures
 

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

20th Fox (UK)

Region 2,4 - PAL

20th Fox
Region 1 - NTSC
20th Fox
Region 1 - NTSC
20th Century Fox - Region FREE - Blu-ray





 

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