Friday, May 20, 2011

Alien Anthology Blu-Ray DVD Set Review

Alien Anthology Blu-Ray DVD Set (20th Century Fox Review
I finally got a chance to view this lavishly prepared and packaged box set of all four Alien movies including the three sequels. I was recently bed-bound with a bad cold and fever so this was the perfect opportunity to view the DVDs without any major interruptions.

When the first Alien Movie was released in 1979 it scared millions of movie-goers worldwide and went on to become one of the top grossing science fiction movies of all time. I still remember the brilliant tag-line in all of their trailers and print ads " In space, no one can hear you scream", Aliens released in 1986 the follow-up sequel made by James Cameron also broke box-office records and arguably was as scary or scarier that the first but that has always been a topic of hot debate.

The chest-burstinq sequence in Alien, the First Science Officer Robot going berserk scene, the exoskeleton loader battle with Ripley in and the Mother Alien and Bishop's daring rescue of Newt (Aliens)were all visual effects firsts that broke new ground for science fiction movies. These scenes and action sequences made you believe it was actually happening with a level of detail and realism never before achieved in modern cinema

First off, if you are a Science Fiction fan, or a fan of the cinema with more than a passing interest in movie directing, producing, set design, special effects, Script writing and development, acting, then this box set merits a must view as in not only entertains but educates with a plethora of never before seen content, interviews and artwork that was incorporated into the actual production of the Alien movies. What I found most fascinating were the interviews with Ridley Scott, David Giler and Dan O'Bannon.

Ridley (or Sir Ridley) Scott is the man! To have Alien and Blade Runner to his directing credit and to have single-handedly created all of the storyboards for Alien, Mr Scott is a story-teller in the best sense of the definition as he can visualize his film project the way no one else can and has assembled teams of craftsmen who share his broad and forward thinking vision. He has worked with the very best art and production designers. Of special note, the interviews with visual artist Ron Cobb and with Visual Futurist Syd Mead were particularly enlightening. The back story of how HR Giger's artwork became an integral part of the Alien production is also quite interesting. TO say Giger's artwork is disturbing and scary is truly an understatement. This famous Swiss artist conceptualized and painted the Alien in a series of artwork he created over the years. Dan O'Bannon was introduced to Giger's artwork when he was visiting London and immediately identified Giger's renderings of a creature as the Alien. When O Bannon showed the Giger book to Ridley, he immediately concurred.

This DVD set is so rich in content that you will need several hours to view the 2 separate DVDs that have organized the content so that a viewer can easily access it by a clever menu system that mimics the MUTHR computer query mode first seen in the first Alien movie.

Ridley Scott in directing Alien as an "A" level movie paved the road for many more quality science fiction movies to be green-lighted. The list of collaborators and contributors to the Alien movies is surprising and impressive even when their contributions were discarded or un-used in the final movie. We're talking Renny Harlin, VIncent Ward, William Gibson, Joss Whedon to name a few.

I think that the Alien Anthology producers achieved their goal of rewarding the Alien fans with a rich treasure of behind-the-scenes content and interviews with the creators and cast of all of the Alien movies. The back-story of constantly fighting with the Studio Suits on going over budget resonated as a familiar one as you have heard the same story over and over again occurring with directors George Lucas and James Cameron before forming their own production movie companies.

The list price for this box set is pretty high at $200.00 but you can find used copies on eBay and for as little as $70.00 which I feel is money well spent if you are a film fan or a fan of Allien or Science Fiction/Horror.

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