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20th Anniversary ed.
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Unbeknownst to the crew of a space ship, it has taken on an alien stowaway that incubates in some humans and hunts the rest. In space, no one can hear you scream.
A landmark of science fiction and horror, Alien arrived in 1979 between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back as a stylishly malevolent alternative to George Lucas's space fantasy. Partially inspired by 1958's It! The Terror from Beyond Space, this instant classic set a tone of its own, offering richly detailed sets, ominous atmosphere, relentless suspense, and a flawless ensemble cast as the crew of the space freighter Nostromo, who fall prey to a vicious creature (designed by Swiss artist H.R. Giger) that had gestated inside one of the ill-fated crew members. In a star-making role, Sigourney Weaver excels as sole survivor Ripley, becoming the screen's most popular heroine in a lucrative movie franchise. To measure the film's success, one need only recall the many images that have been burned into our collective psyche, including the "facehugger," the "chestburster," and Ripley's climactic encounter with the full-grown monster. Impeccably directed by Ridley Scott, Alien is one of the cinema's most unforgettable nightmares. --Jeff Shannon
- Alternate music and production sound track
- Deleted scenes
- Artwork and photo galleries
- Web links
- Booklet with production notes
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The widescreen anamorphic format lets you see director Ridley Scott's expert compositions, which are often packed edge-to-edge. Pay close attention to the secondary characters in the master shots (especially Ian Holm as Ash) and you'll see a wealth of subtle character development. I had never thought of "Alien" as particularly well-acted, but being able to see how the ensemble works across a wide, unbroken frame has given me a new appreciation for the whole cast.
Included is a collection of deleted scenes that expand on the "Alien" mythology, as well as the film itself. Some of them are rambling and unfocused, which allows you to see the actors working out their characters as they try find the right pace.
Director Scott's commentary track is full of wonderful trivia, and provides some insight into his superlative visual imagination.
And, of course, Jerry Goldsmith fans should be ecstatic since an alternate audio track contains his complete original score (much of which was never used), undiluted by dialogue or sound effects. Owners of CDs containing parts of the unused soundtrack can finally see how the music was supposed to sync-up with the picture.
"Alien" may not be a masterpiece on par with serious films by the likes of Kubick, Kurosawa, or Welles, but to dismiss it as just another brainless horror flick is to sell it way short. It's beautiful, disturbing, hypnotic, and ground-breaking.
And after twenty-plus years, we're still talking about it.
The real reason to double dip and re-purchase this DVD: the incredible, just incredible documentary. Deep, detailed and always interesting, it alone is worth the cost of this DVD, no matter how many times you have purchased this movie in the past (at least 2 in my case). The most interesting part of the documentary for me was the story of the alien's design by HR Geiger, to learn how afraid he was of his own nightmares and even of the rumors that the skeleton in his home is actually that of his suicidal girlfriend.You can't make this stuff up !
It is good.
Watching this film I was really taken aback by how well it's aged. You know how sometimes you can watch a movie, and it doesn't matter when it takes place, you can still peg roughly when it was made? that's not the case here. This is a movie that's only slightly younger than I am, and yet it looks and feels as fresh as something that could've been made in the last few years by die-hards who have no interest in CGI.
The only thing that to me seemed at all out of place was the smoking. Otherwise, it looked like something recent, rather than something from 1979. It's certainly aged far better than Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition) or even the first Star Wars movie.
I'm not sure what to attribute this to. Clearly the excellent performances, exceptional writing and incredible directing are a part of it. The sets seem very modern without slipping over into "ultra-modern" and that helps.
Also in watching this I became ever more depressed by what the franchise has become. This was a thoughtful, intelligent horror movie. Aliens (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) was a thoughtful, intelligent action movie. Alien 3 (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) and "Alien: Resurection" were... well, movies. The less said about AVP - Alien Vs. Predator (Widescreen Edition) the better.
This first film, however, was as flawless of a science fiction film as any you'll ever see. Heck, it even makes me want to go back and watch "Blade Runner" again, which I did not care for when I saw it the first time.
Roger Ebert has included this movie in his collection of "Great Movies" essays. He puts it into the same areas of greatness as films like Citizen Kane,Rashomon - Criterion Collection and All About Eve, a judgement I entirely agree with.
In short, don't do what I did. Don't watch the other films in the series and miss out on this one. If you haven't watched it, do so. If you have, then go back and see it again. It's worth your time.