Alien UHD Review

4 Stars

Neil Middlemiss submitted a new blog post

Alien UHD Review
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Neil Middlemiss

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26 Comments

  1. I know it's subjective, but 2/5 for extras when the disc includes 2 audio commentaries, 2 versions of the film, a deleted scenes section – albeit one with just the scenes from the DC – 2 isolated scores and the text track on the Blu-ray?

    That's a lot of bonus materials!

  2. Colin Jacobson

    I know it's subjective, but 2/5 for extras when the disc includes 2 audio commentaries, 2 versions of the film, a deleted scenes section – albeit one with just the scenes from the DC – 2 isolated scores and the text track on the Blu-ray?

    That's a lot of bonus materials!

    It should have been a three because I agree with you (The isolated scores themselves are worth 2 stars in my book).

  3. Neil Middlemiss

    It should have been a three because I agree with you (The isolated scores themselves are worth 2 stars in my book).

    I'd probably go 3.5, if just because I value audio commentaries so much. I mean, an audio commentary is 2 hours of content alone!

    I think there may be some subliminal "downgrading" of extras for a set like this because it loses so much from the "Anthology" set, too! 🙂

  4. I always find it difficult to assign a numerical value to special features when it’s primarily existing or carried over material. One the one hand, if the content is good, it’s good, but on the other hand, a reader who always owns the previous edition might feel that they’re not getting anything of value with older content that they already have.

  5. Josh Steinberg

    I always find it difficult to assign a numerical value to special features when it’s primarily existing or carried over material. One the one hand, if the content is good, it’s good, but on the other hand, a reader who always owns the previous edition might feel that they’re not getting anything of value with older content that they already have.

    I don't take that into consideration at all – I just view the bonus materials in an absolute sense.

    It's just too complicated otherwise. What am I gonna do, post one grade for new buyers and another for those who already own a prior release?

    It's already super-subjective as it is!

  6. Going slightly OT – sorry! – but I admit it drives me a little insane when another review site (ahem) gives really low extras grades for some discs with pretty good bonus materials but then gives anything Criterion slaps on a disc 4/5 stars.

    I love Criterion but they get too much of a pass too much of the time. Not every Criterion release is packed with bonus features – plenty are fairly skimpy – but some sites still give them high ratings nonetheless!

  7. Agreed, there’s no easy clean way to do it.

    I tend to give releases points more for what’s included rather than when it was made, but I’ll dock a release a point if there’s relevant material from previous releases that could have been included but wasn’t. Basically, if you have to hold on to your old disc and the new one to have the complete extras, that’s when I’m more likely to be critical about it.

  8. Josh Steinberg

    Agreed, there’s no easy clean way to do it.

    I tend to give releases points more for what’s included rather than when it was made, but I’ll dock a release a point if there’s relevant material from previous releases that could have been included but wasn’t. Basically, if you have to hold on to your old disc and the new one to have the complete extras, that’s when I’m more likely to be critical about it.

    I can see that, but I still view the contents as an absolute. Ergo, if I think "Alien" deserves a "B" for extras, it gets a "B" – I won't give it a "B-" or "C+" because it's missing old materials.

    I will mention the missing materials in my review, though – and complain about them, if warranted.

    Depends on what's missing. Lose an audio commentary? Bad bad bad!

    Lose a five-minute promotional featurette? Don't really care!

  9. From the review:

    "One of my favorite scenes in all of cinema, largely for how it affected me as a young film fan, is where Harry Dean Stanton’s Brett must go find the cat, Jonesy. Along with Parker and Ripley, Brett was tracking what they thought was the small creature through the bowels of the ship using a motion tracker (the creature had recently ‘burst’ into the world). The three characters had tracked what they thought was the creature, but it was the cat. Brett, realizing it was a feline friend, let him go. A mistake, as Parker points out, because they could find themselves mistaking the cat for the creature again. Brett is sent off to grab Jonesy while Parker and Ripley continue their tracking. The majesty of the film’s sets, lighting, attention to extraordinary detail, and advancement of the story and terror, are encapsulated in the few minutes that follow. The sets expand the terrain of the ship and add height to the world. Stanton’s nervous and slow pursuit of the cat is a quiet character study, and the culmination of the sequence, featuring a reveal of the full-grown Alien, is a moment oft-borrowed in cinema. Add in Goldsmith’s deft and discordant musical touches toward the end of the sequence, and the moment is pure perfection."

    Yes! I agree completely. Very well said. ++

  10. Number 6

    Hate to be THAT guy, but the aspect ratio is incorrectly identified as 1.33:1 in the specs.

    Sorry for the nitpick. 🙂

    You've not experienced Alien until you've experienced it in glorious full-frame 🙂

    Thanks for the catch. It was one of the drop-downs on the review template that I somehow skipped over leaving the default option. Good eye!

  11. Neil Middlemiss

    You've not experienced Alien until you've experienced it in glorious full-frame 🙂

    Thanks for the catch. It was one of the drop-downs on the review template that I somehow skipped over leaving the default option. Good eye!

    Also the audio is listed as being DTS-HD MA 2.0.

  12. Lord Dalek

    Also the audio is listed as being DTS-HD MA 2.0.

    There are several of the audio options available on this disc in that box above. The 2.0 shows up first on the template drop-down so shows up first in the box above and the 5.1 is listed right after it in the box. There isn't currently an option in the template drop-down for the 4.1 track.

  13. Hey, great review! In reading the Production section of the review, I was reminded of my first time seeing this film in the theater. I was feeling a constant sense of dread and just bracing for the next shock.

    For sure so much of the films designs were new and unexpected. The Nostromo was not a sleek ship but a Kenworth for space. And the space suits were also a non expected type of design compared to suits used in Star Trek The Motion Picture seen the same year.

    I’ve not upgraded to a 4K display yet. I’m curious if the Blu Ray included in the set is an improvement over the Quadrilogy Blu Ray? Though I’ll pick this up for sure as I’m sure I’ll be 4K capable soon.

  14. Nelson Au

    I’ve not upgraded to a 4K display yet. I’m curious if the Blu Ray included in the set is an improvement over the Quadrilogy Blu Ray? Though I’ll pick this up for sure as I’m sure I’ll be 4K capable soon.

    Thanks! The included Blu-ray disc doesn't include a new scan – it's sadly just a repeat of Disc One from the previous set.

  15. Neil Middlemiss

    There are several of the audio options available on this disc in that box above. The 2.0 shows up first on the template drop-down so shows up first in the box above and the 5.1 is listed right after it in the box. There isn't currently an option in the template drop-down for the 4.1 track.

    Speaking of the 4.1 track and the 5.1 track. What are they?
    Why should I choose one over the other?

  16. TonyD

    Speaking of the 4.1 track and the 5.1 track. What are they?
    Why should I choose one over the other?

    The 4.1 more closely approximates how it was heard during its original theatrical run. The 5.1 is the same as the film has had for the past few Blu-Ray releases. There’s not too terribly much between them, but I might give a slight edge to the 4.1 simply because it’s closer to that original experience.

  17. Nelson Au

    Hmmm, thanks Neil, that’s unfortunate the Blu Ray mastering wasn’t improved on. I have a 4K player so I could play the disc and see it down-rezzed.

    The older disc was also mastered from a 4k transfer (albeit a different one) approved by Ridley Scott. I don't think a downscale from this new transfer would improve on it that much.

  18. Nelson Au

    Hey, great review! In reading the Production section of the review, I was reminded of my first time seeing this film in the theater. I was feeling a constant sense of dread and just bracing for the next shock.

    For sure so much of the films designs were new and unexpected. The Nostromo was not a sleek ship but a Kenworth for space. And the space suits were also a non expected type of design compared to suits used in Star Trek The Motion Picture seen the same year.

    I’ve not upgraded to a 4K display yet. I’m curious if the Blu Ray included in the set is an improvement over the Quadrilogy Blu Ray? Though I’ll pick this up for sure as I’m sure I’ll be 4K capable soon.

  19. Neil Middlemiss

    You've not experienced Alien until you've experienced it in glorious full-frame 🙂

    Alien is the movie that showed me what Widescreen was. At the time I was dimly aware of what the Widescreen thing was supposed to be, something about seeing the whole picture. I knew every frame of the fill frame version from multiple VHS rentals and television recordings. Then one time the Sci-Fi channel broadcast it in Widescreen and it was nothing short of a revelation. And I’ve been an OAR devotee ever since.

  20. Neil Middlemiss

    The 4.1 more closely approximates how it was heard during its original theatrical run. The 5.1 is the same as the film has had for the past few Blu-Ray releases. There’s not too terribly much between them, but I might give a slight edge to the 4.1 simply because it’s closer to that original experience.

    Ok that makes sense.
    From what my receiver tells me the 5.1 has split surrounds and the 4.1 does not.

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