Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Includes theatrical cut and director's
cut. Directors introduction to 2004 version of the film.
Ridley Scott and crew commentary on theatrical version. 2 pre-production
featurettes. First draft screenplay. 2 pre-production galleries.
Art of Alien screentest footage Weavers screentest
with optional Scott commentary. Art of Alien featurette
Truckers in Space. 4 Art of Alien galleries (approx. 160 pages).
2 Art of Alien portrait galleries. Production documentary
Fear of the Unknown: Shepperton Studios, 1978. Production gallery
featurette The Darkest Reaches: Nostromo and Alien Planet.
15 production galleries (approx 326 pages). Documentary
The Eighth Passenger: Creature Design. 6 sets of Alien galleries
(approx 158 pages). Chestburster gallery H.R. Geigers
eorkshop photo archive (approx. 23 pages). Multi-angle
segment chestburster scene Post-production documentary
Future Tense: Music and Editing. 7 deleted scenes. Featurette
Outward Bound: Visual Effects. Featurette A Nightmare
Fulfilled: Reaction to the Film. 5 galleries (approx. 126 pages).
IT'S been 24 years since audiences were first warned that, 'in
space, no one can hear you scream', yet while many have tried
to imitate and advance the genre, few have come close to matching
the sheer brilliance of Alien, Ridley Scott's peerless slice of
science fiction horror.
And while James Cameron took the story into more gung-ho, pumped-up
territory, Scott's claustophobic potboiler remains a masterclass
in sustained suspense, which is as beautiful to behold as it is,
at times, gut-wrenching.
The director's cut, while actually about 17 seconds shorter than
the original, has been tweaked, tightened, cleaned up and enhanced,
with a few new scenes to keep the purists happy.
But while they are reason enough to see it, few should deny themselves
the opportunity of seeing the film on the Big Screen, either for
the first time, or as a reminder of how awe-inspiring it was first
Make no mistake, this is a classic and it is back where it belongs,
where the epic scale of the sets and the overall look of the movie
can fully be appreciated.
The story, of course, is the stuff of cinema legend. The rescue
crew of the Nostromo are awoken from hyper-sleep after receiving
a distress call from a remote planet.
The crew in question is comprised of Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto,
Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Veronica Cartwright and,
oh yes, the little-known Sigourney Weaver.
Upon investigation, they unwittingly bring an alien back to the
Nostomo with them, which, after bursting from Hurt's chest over
breakfast, begins efficiently picking off the rest of them, one
It's a simple enough premise, but in Scott's capable hands, it
became an expertly-crafted descent into terror; and one which,
two years after Star Wars, made people fear the mysteries of the
universe once more.
Of the new scenes, Ripley's discovery of her cocooned captain
and former ship mates, as she tries to escape, is especially effective,
but the rest are probably too small to be noticed.
The real reason for seeing it again is the chance to enjoy the
sheer scale of the movie, while also relishing the old-fashioned
approach to tension building.
For, while most modern movies revel in their ability to show-it-all
and leave nothing to the imagination, Scott's feels all the more
terrifying for its decision to take things slow, and never reveal
In fact, we're not afforded a proper look at HR Giger's creation
until the end, by which time our imaginations have gone into overdrive.
Sure, some of it looks a little dated, particularly during scenes
of the crew using onboard computers, but I defy you not to be
impressed by the space-ships and planets, or to raise a guilty
smile, as Hurt's Officer Kane requests that pre-sleep breakfast,
or Skerritt's captain goes hunting the beast in the ventilation
In just about every department, Alien proves itself to be a director's
cut above the rest - screaming is fun, once again!