Jungle
Alien Anthology (BLU-RAY)

Holy cow. 20th Century Fox have outdone themselves with this release. This is one of my favorite film series and it’s been an incredible experience to dive into this set. Each movie is represented here in two difference versions apiece, along with hours of special features. It’s not a stretch or hyperbole to say that you could spend days pouring over this box set. If you’re somehow unfamiliar with this series, it is one of the best sci-fi/horror/thriller stories ever created. It’s stark, gothic, dark, and desperate in nature...and utterly compelling cinema.

QUALITY:
The Blu-Ray editions of these films are absolutely phenomenal. They look stunning, across the board. The colors, such as they are for such a dark series, look terrific and small details stand out as great nuances throughout the series. For instance, I never noticed before that Ripley is rocking a sweet pair of Reeboks in Aliens. Perhaps a goofy thing to point out, but little details like that all of sudden stand out with a new clarity on this set.

BONUS FEATURES:
This is where the Anthology earns its keep. I could write an entire set of reviews just based around the extras. They’re practically encyclopedic in scope. Here’s the total run-down (with thanks to Amazon for having the whole list).

Disc 1: ALIEN

**Audio Commentary by Director Ridley Scott, Writer Dan O’Bannon, Executive Producer Ronald Shusett, Editor Terry Rawlings, Actors Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton and John Hurt
**Audio Commentary (for Theatrical Cut only) by Ridley Scott
**Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith
**Composer’s Original Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith
**Deleted and Extended Scenes
**MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream

Disc 2: ALIENS

**Audio Commentary by Director James Cameron, Producer Gale Anne Hurd, Alien Effects Creator Stan Winston, Visual Effects Supervisors Robert Skotak and Dennis Skotak, Miniature Effects Supervisor Pat McClung, Actors Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Carrie Henn and Christopher Henn
**Final Theatrical Isolated Score by James Horner
**Composer’s Original Isolated Score by James Horner
**Deleted and Extended Scenes
**MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream

Disc 3: ALIEN 3

**Audio Commentary by Cinematographer Alex Thomson, B.S.C., Editor Terry Rawlings, Alien Effects Designers Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., Visual Effects Producer Richard Edlund, A.S.C., Actors Paul McGann and Lance Henriksen
**Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Elliot Goldenthal
**Deleted and Extended Scenes
**MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream

Disc 4: ALIEN Resurrection

**Audio Commentary by Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Editor Hervé Schneid, A.C.E., Alien Effects Creators Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., Visual Effects Supervisor Pitof, Conceptual Artist Sylvain Despretz, Actors Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon and Leland Orser
**Final Theatrical Isolated Score by John Frizzell
**Deleted and Extended Scenes
**MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream

Disc 5: Making the Anthology

The Beast Within: Making ALIEN

**Star Beast: Developing the Story
**The Visualists: Direction and Design
**Truckers in Space: Casting
**Fear of the Unknown: Shepperton Studios, 1978
**The Darkest Reaches: Nostromo and Alien Planet
**The Eighth Passenger: Creature Design
**Future Tense: Editing and Music
**Outward Bound: Visual Effects
**A Nightmare Fulfilled: Reaction to the Film
**Enhancement Pods

Superior Firepower: Making ALIENS

**57 Years Later: Continuing the Story
**Building Better Worlds: From Concept to Construction
**Preparing for Battle: Casting and Characterization
**This Time It’s War: Pinewood Studios, 1985
**The Risk Always Lives: Weapons and Action
**Bug Hunt: Creature Design
**Beauty and the Bitch: Power Loader vs. Queen Alien
**Two Orphans: Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn
**The Final Countdown: Music, Editing and Sound
**The Power of Real Tech: Visual Effects
**Aliens Unleashed: Reaction to the Film
**Enhancement Pods

Wreckage and Rage: Making ALIEN3

**Development Hell: Concluding the Story
**Tales of the Wooden Planet: Vincent Ward’s Vision
**Stasis Interrupted: David Fincher’s Vision
**Xeno-Erotic: H.R. Giger’s Redesign
**The Color of Blood: Pinewood Studios, 1991
**Adaptive Organism: Creature Design
**The Downward Spiral: Creative Differences
**Where the Sun Burns Cold: Fox Studios, L.A. 1992
**Optical Fury: Visual Effects
**Requiem for a Scream: Music, Editing and Sound
**Post-Mortem: Reaction to the Film
**Enhancement Pods

One Step Beyond: Making ALIEN RESURRECTION

**From the Ashes: Reviving the Story
**French Twist: Direction and Design
**Under the Skin: Casting and Characterization
**Death from Below: Fox Studios, Los Angeles, 1996
**In the Zone: The Basketball Scene
**Unnatural Mutation: Creature Design
**Genetic Composition: Music
**Virtual Aliens: Computer Generated Imagery
**A Matter of Scale: Miniature Photography
**Critical Juncture: Reaction to the Film
**Enhancement Pods

**MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience to Access and Control Enhancement Pods

Disc 6: The Anthology Archives

ALIEN

Pre-Production

**First Draft Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon
**Ridleygrams: Original Thumbnails and Notes
**Storyboard Archive
**The Art of Alien: Conceptual Art Portfolio
**Sigourney Weaver Screen Tests with Select Director Commentary
**Cast Portrait Gallery

Production

**The Chestbuster: Multi-Angle Sequence with Commentary
**Video Graphics Gallery
**Production Image Galleries
**Continuity Polaroids
**The Sets of Alien
**H.R. Giger’s Workshop Gallery

Post-Production and Aftermath

**Additional Deleted Scenes
**Image & Poster Galleries
**Experience in Terror
**Special Collector’s Edition LaserDisc Archive
**The Alien Legacy
**American Cinematheque: Ridley Scott Q&A
**Trailers & TV Spots

ALIENS

Pre-Production

**Original Treatment by James Cameron
**Pre-Visualizations: Multi-Angle Videomatics with Commentary
**Storyboard Archive
**The Art of Aliens: Image Galleries
**Cast Portrait Gallery

Production

**Production Image Galleries
**Continuity Polaroids
**Weapons and Vehicles
**Stan Winston’s Workshop
**Colonial Marine Helmet Cameras
**Video Graphics Gallery
**Weyland-Yutani Inquest: Nostromo Dossiers

Post-Production and Aftermath

**Deleted Scene: Burke Cocooned
**Deleted Scene Montage
**Image Galleries
**Special Collector’s Edition LaserDisc Archive
**Main Title Exploration
**Aliens: Ride at the Speed of Fright
**Trailers & TV Spots

ALIEN 3

Pre-Production

**Storyboard Archive
**The Art of Arceon
**The Art of Fiorina

Production

**Furnace Construction: Time-Lapse Sequence
**EEV Bioscan: Multi-Angle Vignette with Commentary
**Production Image Galleries
**A.D.I.’s Workshop

Post-Production and Aftermath

**Visual Effects Gallery
**Special Shoot: Promotional Photo Archive
**Alien 3 Advance Featurette
**The Making of Alien 3 Promotional Featurette
**Trailers & TV Spots

ALIEN RESURRECTION

Pre-Production

**First Draft Screenplay by Joss Whedon
**Test Footage: A.D.I. Creature Shop with Commentary
**Test Footage: Costumes, Hair and Makeup
**Pre-Visualizations: Multi-Angle Rehearsals
**Storyboard Archive
**The Marc Caro Portfolio: Character Designs
**The Art of Resurrection: Image Galleries

Production

**Production Image Galleries
**A.D.I.’s Workshop

Post-Production and Aftermath

**Visual Effects Gallery
**Special Shoot: Promotional Photo Archive
**HBO First Look: The Making of Alien Resurrection
**Alien Resurrection Promotional Featurette
**Trailers & TV Spots

ANTHOLOGY

**Two Versions of Alien Evolution
**The Alien Saga
**Patches and Logos Gallery
**Aliens3D Attraction Scripts and Gallery
**Aliens in the Basement: The Bob Burns Collection
**Parodies
**Dark Horse Cover Gallery
**Patches and Logos Gallery
**MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience

Unbelievable right? You’re looking at hours upon hours of extra features and behind the scenes footage. It’s incredible. Perhaps the most compelling feature is the uncensored documentary about the making of Alien³. I’m a big David Fincher fan and I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of studio interference behind the making of Alien³. For the record, I actually enjoy all four of the Alien films, with the acknowledgement that 3 and 4 are the weaker links in the chain.

But the Alien³ documentary, entitled “Wreckage and Rage,” is incredibly enlightening. It’s telling that David Fincher doesn’t actually show up in the documentary until a third of the way through. The development process on Alien³ was well underway with a completely different director (Vincent Ward) before the studio decided to take the film in a different direction. In retrospect, it’s a case of what could have been, as Ward’s vision of a sequel was quite ambitious and very artistic. All in all, it’s an insightful look at how complicated and difficult the filmmaking process can be.

As for the set as a whole, this is the definitive edition of the Alien series. I can’t imagine how there could be anything left for the studios to release, unless a future set somehow came packaged with an artifact from the films themselves. This is one of the best Blu-Ray sets I’ve seen this year. Highly, highly recommended.

Jeremy Hunt
Review by Jeremy Hunt
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