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Alien Quadrilogy (18)



Review: Jack Foley

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Alien Includes theatrical cut and director's cut. New audio commentary on director's cut by Ridley Scott. Ridley Scott introduction to director's cut. Deleted scenes. The Chest Burster multi-angle sequence. Star Beast: Developing The Story. The Visualists: Direction And Design. Truckers In Space: Casting. Fear Of The Unknown (highlights Veronica Cartwright on set during the Chestburster scene). The Eighth Passenger: Creature Design. A Nightmare Fulfilled: Reaction To The Film.
Aliens Includes theatrical cut and special edition extended cut. Audio commentary on special edition by James Cameron. James Cameron introduction. Pre-visual animatics. 57 Years Later: Continuing The Story. Building Better Worlds: From Concept To Construction. Prepairing For Battle: Casting And Characterisation.
Alien 3 Includes theatrical cut (137 mins) and special edition extended cut (157 mins). Audio commentary on theatrical cut. EEV Bioscan multi-angle vignette. Development: Concluding The Story. Tales Of The Wooden Planet: Vincent Ward's Vision. Pre-Production Feature. Xeno Erotic: H. R. Giger's Redesign. Production Featurettes Parts 1-3.
Alien Resurrection Includes theatrical cut (109 mins) and special edition cut (120 mins). Audio commentary on theatrical version by director Jean Pierre Jeunet. Introduction to extended cut by director Jean Pierre Jeunet. From The Ashes: Reviving The Story. French Twist: Direction And Design.
Bonus Disc: Aliens In the Basement: The Bob Burns Alien Collection. Stills archives. Theatrical and TV trailers. Interviews. Special effects footage.

Die-hard Alien fans may be scratching their heads with frustration and asking themselves why they ought to be buying yet another version of their favourite franchise on DVD, particularly given all four movies are currently available on DVD.

But the answer is simple. This is much less about the movies, and all about the extras.

The Quadrilogy comes in no less than nine discs and, right off the bat, presents each film in two formats - the original theatrical release, and the director's cut.

For the hardcore enthusiasts, Ridley Scott's original comes in original theatrical release, as well as recently re-released cut mode (including Tom Skerritt's cocoon sequence), while Aliens has the cinematically-short version, and the far, far, far better director's cut, which introduced audiences to the sentinel machine gun posts.

Alien 3, while remaining the least popular of the franchise, comes in an extended version, which explains Paul McGann's alien worship, as well as supplying a different host animal seen from the dog in the theatrical release; while the Resurrection comes complete with half-finished, but intriguing opening and closing sequences - one of which explores the possibility of the alien's arrival on Earth.

Coupled with this, are the extras, which come the form of dozens of documentaries, all featuring some form of behind-the-scenes angles, which serve to provide a veritable feast for fans to dine on.

In terms of interest, Alien 3 probably pips the rest, for daring to properly explore why the film 'failed' in the eyes of many; including interviews with directors, Vincent Ward and Renny Harlin (who were originally attached to the project), as well as Michael Biehn, whose character, Hicks, from Aliens, never made it to the third film (to his obvious disappointment).

Conceptual drawings of Ward's highly-religious blueprint, in which Ripley would have found herself on a wooden planet, are also included, offering a fascinating insight into what could have been - had the studio, Fox, been bold enough.

Yet Aliens, too, appears to have had its fair share of troubles, as did Alien (the behind-the-scenes footage for the original features shots of actor, Jon Finch, as Kane, prior to John Hurt's arrival, when the former fell ill).

For the completists, there are also trailers and TV spots galore for each movie, as well as exhaustive explorations of the special effects process behind each movie, and, of course, interviews with all four directors, and the man behind the Alien design, HR Giger.

In terms of honouring a franchise, this Quadrilogy looks set to place new benchmarks upon future releases, while providing the absolutely definitive guide to the series on DVD.

With Christmas just around the corner it is, quite simply, a must-have for any fans of the movies.

 

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