Starring: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver
Director: Ridley Scott
Edition Details: Region 2 encoding (Europe, Middle East & Japan only), Widescreen, PAL

Extras: Director's commentary, deleted scenes, isolated audio tracks, a picture gallery of production artwork, a "making of" documentary


Watching a triple bill consisting of Alien, Outland and Predator one begins to realize just how influential this 1979 movie really was. Outland ripped off Alien's vision of the future (all tough and gritty) while Predator ripped off its plot (group of humans being killed off one by one by vicious alien). These are only two movies that would copy the Alien recipe in the more than two decades that followed.

Obviously enough, Alien also gets the best DVD treatment of the bunch. This is how you put together a disk: the movie itself is in brilliant condition, the images sharp and the soundtrack clear. There is very little (if any) grain or blemishes for a movie this old. A great wide screen transfer!

In the extra features department there are lots, despite this being a single disk set. Despite some "making of" featurettes, there are quite a few deleted scenes. Of particular interest is the one in which Ripley kills her missing cocooned crewmates with a flamethrower. While the scene itself isn't very well done to be honest, it explains the genesis of a lot of the scenes in the Cameron Aliens sequel. 

There's also a director's commentary by Ridley Scott - where does he find the time to do all this? In the past three years alone he directed Gladiator, Hannibal (the Silence of the Lambs sequel) and the recent Black Hawk Down. Unfortunately I didn't get around to listening to it, but would obviously want to. Besides the audio commentary one also has the option of listening to the Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack alone while the movie plays. That means there's no dialogue or sound effects to distract, and this just illustrates what an effective score it was.

Most fascinating however is some of the concept art of spaceships, costumes and the alien monster itself considered for the movie at some stage. While the rejected art concepts are very good in a Mobius-inspired Heavy Metal style, it shows just how much weirder and more effective the alien designs of Swiss Surrealist HR Giger are. (Giger rightly sued studio 20th Century Fox for an on-screen credit for the fourth Alien Resurrection movie even though he wasn't directly involved in its making. Without him, Alien would never have been the visual landmark it was.)

WORTH IT? This is an excellent disk of a movie that counts among the two genuinely landmark pics directed by Ridley Scott (the other being Blade Runner). Strangely slow moving, it is a classy act all-round.

RECOMMENDATION: Have a chat with your bank manager!



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