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Alien, Aliens are they worth an upgrade?

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32 replies to this topic

#1 of 33 OFFLINE   Tim Mauldin

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Posted March 16 2004 - 02:36 PM

I have the first release of both Alien and Aliens. I watched Aliens about a week ago for the first time on my new 65in. rear projection TV. I thought the transfer was ok, but not great. Is the transfer on the new release any better? I'm thinking of selling the first releases and upgrading. I guess what I'm wanting to know is, are the new versions worth spending the money for an upgrade? All opinions are welcome. Thank you, Mauldo

#2 of 33 OFFLINE   Craig Perrin

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Posted March 16 2004 - 03:22 PM

I would definitely recommend upgrading your copy of ALIEN, as the new release has a brand new transfer, which looks remarkable (compared to the previous transfer, anyway). New audio mix too, DTS, if you care about that. Not sure of how many versions of Aliens exist, or which one you have, but the boxset version of Aliens has the same transfer and audio tracks as the previous release (The Special Edition I believe it was called), so upgrading strictly for those reasons would be a waste. It does have some new bonus materials, plus, the original theatrical cut of the movie, which is available for the fist time on the new release, which is shorter and less "plotty" then the director's cut, which is what you have. So there you have it.

#3 of 33 OFFLINE   Ray H

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Posted March 16 2004 - 03:29 PM

Yup, yup. Posted Image

If you're into extras, then definitely go for it, but if you're only looking for audio and video, then I'd recommend Alien. The transfer on the Quadrilogy set is brilliant IMHO. I couldn't take my eyes off of it.

Aliens, on the other hand, is still pretty grainy and is probably the worst looking of the four films in the Quadrilogy box. But if you want to own the theatrical version, then go ahead.
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#4 of 33 OFFLINE   JasonRH


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Posted March 16 2004 - 03:35 PM

How is the commentary on Aliens? I was thinking of upgrading for the extras, with the commentary being the main draw.

#5 of 33 OFFLINE   Glen C

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Posted March 16 2004 - 03:53 PM

Alien is better as stated above plus Aliens allows you to watch the theatrical original, if you're not in the mood for the extra fluff from the SE. Get the boxset if you have interest in 3 because the remix greatly improves the flawed theatrical cut.

#6 of 33 OFFLINE   Lars_J


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Posted March 16 2004 - 03:55 PM

The Aliens commentary is great - IMO.
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#7 of 33 OFFLINE   Mike Williams

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Posted March 16 2004 - 04:05 PM

I too must add my voice. The new transfer for Alien blew me away. I put it in just to check out the quality and ended up watching the entire movie because it looked so good. It is better than you have ever seen it before. For just a dark movie, I was surprised at how much color there was, color I had never noticed before. It is remarkably stunning. Not a speck of dust or debris anywhere to be found either. It's like watching the movie for the first time. When I watched Aliens, I had heard pretty good reviews of that as well, though nothing as glowing as the new transfer for Alien. After about 10 minutes, I couldn't bare to watch anymore. The film was so incredibly grainy, it just irritated me to the point I couldn't keep watching. The excessive grain caused a fair amount of compression problems as well. I didn't get around to the commentary for Aliens either, so perhaps that is worth it, but to me, the new copy of Alien and the exhaustive amount of supplemental material made the entire Quadrilogy worth the purchase if I never watched any of the remaining three movies at all.

#8 of 33 OFFLINE   Jake Johnson

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Posted March 16 2004 - 05:22 PM

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#9 of 33 OFFLINE   Stephen Orr

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Posted March 17 2004 - 12:42 AM

I bought the Aliens Special Edition used this weekend for less than $9! I listened to the commentary and watched the documentaries all day Saturday and Sunday... One of my favorite sets!

#10 of 33 OFFLINE   Roger_R


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Posted March 17 2004 - 01:14 AM

Remember that there are different extras on the old versions of Alien and Aliens. Alien has an alternative soundtrack nad isolated soundtrack while Aliens has an interview with Cameron. Alien has also a different commentary track. There's probably more..

#11 of 33 OFFLINE   Ali B

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Posted March 17 2004 - 01:37 AM

If you liked Alien and Aliens and held off buying the other two because you thought they were awful then I'd recommend you pick up the new Alien 3 disc. I didn't think the theatrical cut of Alien 3 was too bad, but the 'original' cut featured on the new DVD is excellent - it's the best in the series as far as I'm concerned. ali

#12 of 33 OFFLINE   Bill Williams

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Posted March 17 2004 - 01:43 AM

Here's a twist to it... I picked up the Alien Quadrilogy as a great after-Christmas present, and then I decided to "downgrade" - that is, I deliberately sought out the original Alien DVD release to have the fullest Alien experience possible. Definitely get the original DVD of Alien as well as the new Alien 2-disc release, or even the 9-disc Quadrilogy set. In addition to the Ridley Scott audio commentary on the single disc and the different isolated sound tracks, there are the bonus hidden features of the Alien life cycle and the Nostromo crew manifest.
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#13 of 33 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted March 17 2004 - 01:48 AM

I guess you never watched the old special edition LD, huh? Posted Image
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#14 of 33 OFFLINE   Felix Martinez

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Posted March 17 2004 - 02:48 AM

Same transfer, *new* encoding on Aliens. There is a slight improvement, which is more visible on larger displays. I put up a few screenshots a few months ago comparing both versions and you can definitely see the difference. I've read quite a few complaints about grain, etc., but this latest version on DVD is the best it's looked on home video. The theatrical prints were mighty grainy as well. In fact, I would have preferred less noise reduction and more natural grain on the transfer.

Here's the link to the screenshots...



#15 of 33 OFFLINE   Dave H

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Posted March 17 2004 - 03:04 AM

Alien is the best looking restoration I have ever seen.

#16 of 33 OFFLINE   Bryan Tuck

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Posted March 17 2004 - 03:16 AM

I'd also say they're worth an upgrade. As everyone else has said, the new transfer on Alien is breathtaking; it really is a very fine restoration. However, I held onto the '99 DVD for the isolated score and the Scott solo commentary. Aliens does look a little better than the previous disc; however, it's always had a kind of grainy look to it, and I think that was intentional. As for it being the same transfer, I don't really know. The Special Edition cut was originally edited on video, and I thought I heard or read somewhere that for this new DVD, they had gone back and re-edited it on film. But I may just be making things up. At any rate, the commentary alone is worth the upgrade, and all the behind-the-scenes featurettes are also interesting. And it's nice that the theatrical version is there, too. I prefer the SE, but it's good to have a choice.
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#17 of 33 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H


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Posted March 17 2004 - 03:28 AM

Of course Aliens is grainy! It's the only film in the series that was shot flat, which has a tremendous effect on grain structure (you're only using slightly more than 1/2 the frame available). Add to that the fact that it's a very dark film, that film stocks in 1986 weren't as good as they are now, and the effect is compounded. This is probably as good as this film is going to look, until some knob-jockey decides to restore it by removing all the film grain, and that wouldn't exactly help. Grain is a fact of life with film;it's how film works.
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#18 of 33 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted March 17 2004 - 05:01 AM

And as I recall, Alien was a pretty low-budget affair. So it's never going to look as big and glossy as Aliens, and frankly it shouldn't.

#19 of 33 OFFLINE   Mike Williams

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Posted March 17 2004 - 05:37 AM

Well, the new print of Alien absolutely blows Aliens out of the water. As a result, it may not look BIGGER than Aliens (debatable, with Alien being a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and Aliens a 1.85:1), but it certainly looks glossier. Which is why I don't buy the whole argument about "Of course, it's grainy. It's how film works." I'm sure Aliens had a larger budget than the original Alien, and Alien looks beautiful while Aliens looks like I'm watching the entire movie through a screen door.

#20 of 33 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott


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Posted March 17 2004 - 06:05 AM

Cameron addresses the 'look' of the film in the commentary. i don't understand it when people say they 'can't bear to watch it because its so grainy'. to me thats like saying " i can't bear to eat bananas because they aren't strawberries." the movie is still one of the few that can still draw me after countless viewings. i've never found the quality of any of the presentations (even going back to the ultra noisy LD) to be such that i'm taken out of the movie because of it. as Felix said, even though the new disc uses the same transfer as the older one, better encoding, authoring and the allocation of disc space has made an improvment in the overall picture. i can notice it on a front projection set up, but ymmv. the practical difference is pretty much akin to the improvments in some disc that are released as superbits.

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