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Customer Review

67 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect except for the packaging and some minor details, October 28, 2010
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This review is from: Alien Anthology (Alien / Aliens / Alien 3 / Alien: Resurrection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Others have said it and I will reiterate it here. The discs are packed VERY securely in book form in this set. They require more than a little effort to extract them from their nesting places. I for one would not have considered the use of a more traditional disc storage system to be in any way a lesser value in either aesthetics or quality. Truth be told, I am strongly considering buying one of those multi-disc or 6-disc cases available from online sellers and keeping my anthology Blu-ray discs in those simply for ease of repeat access.

Once you get them out, however, hold on to something because you are in for a long and exhaustive ride through the "Alien" universe. There is so much content that one could feasibly collapse from exhaustion if one tried to take it all in as rapidly as possible. And how enjoyable would that really be, eh?

Picture and sound quality for all the movies exceeds any and all previous release versions and formats, in some cases by a country mile. And if the only way you ever saw these movies was on VHS or TV, you really haven't seen them yet. Chances are that most people who bought the DVD set "Alien Quadrilogy" (the entire contents of which are reproduced here and often improved upon) back when it was released in 2003 did NOT have a high-definition TV at the time. Those TV's were still fairly new and VERY expensive back then. Nowadays, a great many of us own the hi-def TVs that are today an essential part of the new Blu-ray "Alien Anthology" viewing experience. You can now watch the same content as before except in substantially better video/audio presentation and on a TV screen that embraces and serves the newer, higher technology.

In the first film, "Alien", I did notice that while the visual detail inside the ship is much greater, certain scenes seem a bit darker and the detail is more difficult to see than in other DVD versions. In particular, Kane's descent into the cave, exterior shots of the Nostromo, and the attack on Brett are all a bit darker. I can not tell you if it matches with the original release (and later DVD versions had the brightness tweaked a bit) or if something else is to blame.

But moving on: In case you missed the memo, there is a truckload of new stuff in this anthology that was NOT included (or even yet produced) in the Quadrilogy. Even more content, better technological presentation, and (for many of us) finally on the hi-def screen we wish we had seven years earlier. You are a winner on every front.

My only other complaint is about the size of the text in some of the special features menus. It is very, very tiny. I have a 32-inch screen and the text appears so tiny on it I have to literally put my face up to the screen to read it. But that is not unique to this Blu-ray set. I've seen it on other Blu-rays too, such as "District 9". I have no idea how this micro-text trend started or why.

And not to sound petty, but in some portions of the bonus content there are pages with text describing the pictures or slideshows you can watch, and they include some minor punctuation errors and syntax issues. Not everyone will notice or care, but I did and do. It just looks a little unprofessional, IMHO. If "unprofessional" is too harsh a description, I'll offer "less than perfect" instead. Again, these are minor points and are probably of little or no consequence to most viewers. But now that I've spotted the errors, I will think of them every time I think of the product.

And in the bonus content for "Aliens" you can learn the first and middle names of the Nostromo crew in the bios generated for that movie's boardroom scene (as seen on a screen behind Ripley). Lots of detail is thrown in, including the individual crew members' birthdate, education, training, and service records. The writing style in the bios makes me cringe just a bit, but I'm a little oversensitive about that kind of thing. And the photos of the crew members look like movie studio publicity shots instead of worker I.D. photos (guess why?), but maybe I'm being too picky. You decide.

[End of nitpicky rant about an otherwise stellar product.]

Thinking about giving this as a gift this holiday season? Give it to a young person because one will need quite a bit of time to watch, read, and experience every last bit of this "working vacation in a box". The task of watching the whole thing seems so massive it makes my head hurt a little to think about it. Ridley Scott's promised prequel will probably be in the theaters before I can finish this "Alien" marathon.

Is it a good value for your money? In terms of volume of content, absolutely. I can't think of a movie or movie series that has been as extensively chronicled and augmented for home video format as this one. If the high price unnerves you a bit, consider it a very small price to pay considering how much legwork and how many man hours went into producing the set, and that you didn't have to lift a finger to help. Hee hee!

Will the price eventually drop a bit? Maybe, but probably not any time soon. You will probably be able to get a discounted used copy soon enough but it would devalue the project and product as a whole if the new copies were marked down by the studio any time in the foreseeable future. Hope for it, but don't count on it.

Wish you could just buy one or two of the movies in Blu-ray format and not have to pay for the ones that aren't your favorites? There is every reason to believe that the individual films (or more likely just the first two) will SOMEDAY be released for separate purchase. But given the way the bonus content is tied into the set as a whole I suspect you would not get this proportion of it in an individual release, though that may or may not be important to you down the road. For the set to REALLY stand up over time, the bonus content has to be enjoyable enough to merit repeat viewings, and much of it is. I suspect that the first wave of eventual single-film Blu-ray releases will have only a tiny fraction of the film-specific content available here.

For the more casual fans of the "Alien" series, you may be inclined to wait for the single-film releases anyway. There certainly would be a demand for those and no doubt the suits at Fox have anticipated it. But they also want to get the appropriate amount of shelf life and reputation out of this new multi-disc set. So once again for you patient hold-outs out there, hope for it but don't hold your breath.

One only hopes that the massive amount of content here doesn't amount to "Alien" overload and make us too weary of the saga and its elements to get excited for Ridley Scott's planned prequel (which as of this writing looks like it is tentatively moving forward but not without some stumbling blocks).

Finally, a little history and perspective on the price --- Back in the early and mid 90's, long before Special Edition DVDs were ubiquitous, a small but devoted and merry band of us videophiles owned laserdisc players and cheered about the advantages of the laserdisc's presentation quality advantage over VHS. Twentieth Century Fox released Special Edition laserdisc collector's sets of both "Alien" and "Aliens", and we collectors had to shell out about a hundred bucks per movie for those. They were chock full of bonus content and had vastly superior picture and sound for the day, but we sure paid through the nose to find out.

Just a few years later we could get on a single DVD and for about twenty bucks what we paid five times that for earlier, and that was to get 3 or 4 large discs that still couldn't offer us uninterrupted playback of the movies. This new "Alien Anthology" Blu-ray set is selling for less than we paid for the laserdisc collector's sets 15-17 years ago, offers about ten times the bonus content, looks and sounds infinitely better, and does not for ONE MINUTE make us regret the double-dip purchase (or by now, the quadruple- or quintuple-dip, considering the numerous release formats). If anyone has the right to grumble about the price, it is us. But we won't. We're definitely trading up.

The "Alien Anthology" is the new standard for content volume, value, and for the time, love, and care that went into its production. Putting this set together took years and a heck of a lot of work. It is award-worthy.

And as in life, timing is everything. I pre-ordered this set and it arrived at my house on the release date. Within a day, Amazon offered it in a combo deal with Michael Mann's "Last of the Mohicans" Blu-ray for the exact price I paid for the pre-order. Darn the luck!
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 28, 2010 7:00:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 28, 2010 7:07:51 PM PDT
mao_soup says:
That's nice. Still not paying this much. I will wait until black friday or therabouts when the price will inevitably drop faster than Lady Gaga's bra after a blurry-eyed weekend hopped up on cocaine.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2010 8:10:56 PM PDT
There's already a good deal on it at Amazon. This set plus the Blu-ray of Michael Mann's "Last of the Mohicans" for $85 total.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2010 8:21:30 PM PDT
mao_soup says:
oooh....this is juicy.....I may have to pull the trigger.....thanks for the headsup.

Posted on Oct 29, 2010 12:37:29 AM PDT
Regarding the text size complaint and whether or not you've had similar issues in the past with other titles, and assuming you are watching only fullhd content at a comfortable distance (couch - TV), then let me just say that fullhd content is too detailed to be seen on your 32" screen from more than 5 feet away. So if you are watching this movie from a distance its only logical that high-res text will appear tiny. Your complaint is justifyable to me, only if you have trouble reading the text from 5 feet away. Any more and the eye does not pick up on the 1080p.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2010 4:32:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 29, 2010 11:12:40 PM PDT
mao_soup says:
I think it's a shot to the groin for them to drop the price literally the day after the bloody release. For those of you who preordered, it says, "hey, thanks for being the most loyal of suckers...er...fans." Couldn't they wait like a month? Honestly...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2010 11:16:18 AM PDT
You hit the nail right on the head. Consider my groin "shot".

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2010 10:00:35 PM PDT
Audio says:
Send them an email they will credit your account. Sometimes they even do it automatically a few days later.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2010 10:45:21 PM PDT
I will try that. Thanks!

Posted on Oct 30, 2010 6:56:55 AM PDT
AldoFan says:
Great post! I am one of those few who owned (and still has) a laser disc player and happily shilled out over $100 bucks for each of those first two Alien movies. I still have those too, framed and hanging on the wall.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2010 11:45:56 PM PDT
I bought those too. $100 each for "Alien" and "Aliens", $120 for "Terminator 2: Judgment Day", $150 for the 1995 Signature Series of "Jaws", and a whopping $250 for the "Star Wars" collectors set. At least the "Star Wars" discs were the original versions and not the newer Special Editions.
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