DVD ReviewsRating: 5 of 5 yaps

Alien Anthology

If you’re a fan of the “Alien” films, you own a blu ray player, and aren’t completely broke, here’s my question for you:

Why in the world don’t you have the “Alien Anthology” set?

As with the “Back to the Future” blu ray set last month, the “Alien” saga gets a similar homecoming, with an expensive, but wholly worthwhile, hi-def treatment. Again, as with Robert Zemeckis’ legendary trilogy, the sequels don’t get short shrift as the often did in DVD sets.

There are not one but two discs devoted to behind-the-scenes extras that don’t skimp on the sequels, particularly the legendary issues with David Fincher and Fox on “Alien 3,” on which we’re finally given intimate details from the producers.

Of course we’re predictably lacking Fincher’s perspective, but stand-ins discuss his position to a degree, saying he was hamstrung from the beginning, but the producers telling their side are merciless, calling him nearly impossible to work with, socially inept and arrogant.

Oddly, this isn’t the only interesting tidbit about that film, as we get a rather involved story on the film’s original plot, which centered on a “planet” made entirely of wood, inhabited by technology-shunning monks. There are concept drawings and storyboards of what would have made an entirely different second sequel.

These extras are a combination of new and archival interviews (as you can guess, much of James Cameron’s memories of “Aliens” are from older interviews, and criticisms of working with him are leveled from many sources, including Sigourney Weaver, who remains pragmatic about his demanding nature). There’s also a great line from one of the producers of the first three films who was left out of the fourth, “Alien Resurrection.”

Of course, this being a 6-disc set, the films themselves get pretty decent coverage as well. “Aliens” for one has both the theatrical and the special edition that adds footage 0f the LB426 colony (and Newt) as they encounter the xenomorphs, the footage of Ripley’s daughter, and more. There are commentary tracks copied from previous versions, featurettes, and a lot of recycled extra content.

All of this is housed in beautiful packaging; a book-like case that has photos, with each disc housed in a sleeve on a separate page.

If you’re looking for high-end entertainment, don’t let the high price tag of this set scare you off. Given the hours of entertainment the set will provide you, you’re getting more than your money’s worth in picking up the “Alien” Anthology.

Alien: 5 Yaps
Aliens: 4.5 Yaps
Alien 3: 3.5 Yaps
Alien Resurrection: 3 Yaps
Extras: 5 Yaps

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2 Responses to “Alien Anthology”

  1. oddly enough, the commentaries i’m most interested in are for movies three and four. with three, it had all the ingredients to be as much of a classic as the first two, but never came together. i’ve always been curious as to the creative vision (or blocking of said vision) that hobbled it.

    the fourth i just want to know what they were thinking. or smoking.

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