What Fox ought to do with their new Alien franchise DVDs

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Hitchman, Dec 29, 2002.

  1. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    With studios constantly double, triple, and quadruple dipping with catalog and new titles I find that 80-90% of the time there is almost nothing of redeeming quality in these re-issues that would really warrant a re-buy.
    Most of the time the transfers are re-hashed and not improved (better compression, fully restored and/or pristine new negatives transferred at 1080p with the supervision of the filmmakers, etc.). The audio isn't improved or remastered, and the extras are a bunch of fluffy, back patting made-for-TV "featurettes" (advertisements in disguise usually) pieces that, frankly, should wind up in the garbage instead of in the collection of real movie enthusiasts who want to know about the film making process.
    A wonderful exception to this rule was New Line's recently released Fellowship of the Rings 4 and 5 disc boxed sets. They contained a spruced up director's edition (split to two discs with most supplements on discs 3 and 4... and 5 to keep the video quality of the movie up) of the movie, high fidelity, fully remixed DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 sound, and a truck load of commentaries, extras and documentaries that were not only numerous, but of interest to the casual and rabid film collector. Truly, worthy of a re-purchase if you happened to buy the theatrical cut on DVD previously.
    Here again I find myself in a real quandary over the much talked about re-issues of the equally much loved (Alien and Aliens: Director's Cut) and much despised (the latter two films) sci-fi franchise.
    Will Fox use these double dipped titles to throw the same content and video transfers as the Alien Legacy set together, slap on a DTS track, call it the "Alien Legacy 1.5" Special Edition Set and rest on their laurels, or will they actually fix problems and enhance these ground-breaking films (I'd go so far to call Alien and Aliens two of the greatest sci-fi/action movies in history)?
    Here are some examples of what they should do in my opinion:
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    Audio:
    The problem with the current Alien DVD vs. the THX Certified Dolby AC-3 RF LaserDisc put out a few years back is not only one of a lack of bass, but the fact that two different masters were used; one for the LD and one for the DVD.
    The LaserDisc's Dolby Digital track is encoded using the 70mm 6-track master. It does contain sound cue and music cue errors that Ridley Scott wanted fixed, however. It was one of those rare 6 track mixes that was the model for today's 5.1 surround (another was Apocalypse Now's 70mm track): three front channels, two stereo surround channels, and a "baby boom" channel.
    Notice I did say stereo surrounds.
    Which brings me to the DVD we have at the moment. It has the sound corrections Ridley Scott wanted. Now here comes the problem: they didn't fix the 70mm 6-track master, they mistakenly (IMHO) chose the 4 channel Dolby Stereo printmaster to correct. Meaning, no low bass "rumble" track and mono surrounds.
    I'm not the only one to notice these audio issues as they were brought up on online chats, reviews, and Widescreen Review at the time of the Alien DVD's release.
    These re-releases of all the Alien films in DTS (and hopefully much improved video transfers) are a golden opportunity for Fox to fix the audio problems and release these with new, truly phenomenal 5.1 mixes, and maybe... hopefully even full DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 (with the supervision and assistance of DTS, top audio mixers like Gary Rydstrom or Walter Murch, etc. and the very capable Mi Casa Studios for audiophile, near-field audio designs). These would be Fox's first Region 1 DVD releases using 24 bit DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, if they were to use it. These films are certainly worthy of such treatment.
    Now for the video/picture quality:
    At the very least Ridley Scott (and those at Scott Free Productions), James Cameron (hopefully), and David Fincher (and anyone else they chose to select) should be allowed to oversee full negative restorations and high definition video transferring (using the best scanners and color correctors available-- like those at Kodak's Cinesite).
    Alien 4's transfer should use the best "silver retention" negatives available from the camera negatives (since that process creates better contrast, etc. and makes whites "snap" and "glow"). David Fincher's Se7en used such negatives too in the filming process.
    The much discussed Alien 3 Director's Cut:
    I feel strongly that even though Alien 3 is (again, only stating my opinion) the start of the downfall of the Alien franchise, this time around David Fincher be given free and full latitude to restore and recut the film to what he originally envisioned (with no studio tampering this time around). If you would allow some "fixing" of special effects and opticals that would be wonderful. This is not a new phenomenon as Warner Brothers did this with Superman: The Movie (and possibly Superman 2), Paramount with Apocalypse Now and some of the Star Trek films, Sony did it with Das Boot, New Line with The Lord of the Rings, Universal and Warner Brothers with Ridley Scott's own Legend and Blade Runner, etc. etc. Please allow this for the fans, and perhaps there's an even better film waiting to emerge from its tumultuous past.
    If anyone would like to chime in here with additional opinions and suggestions for the new Alien discs (especially new supplemental material), please feel free to speak up.
    Mr. Staddon, although this is a hot button topic, I would enjoy and welcome your view points as well. Hopefully these can set new benchmarks in quality popular catalog title re-releasing.
    Dan
     
  2. Chad Ferguson

    Chad Ferguson Supporting Actor

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    I would like just a couple of things myself. Since there is a slim chance that Fincher will have nothing to do with it, couldn't Fox just take the already directors cut and just label it an extended cut of the film without Finchers approval? Also, on Alien 4 I heard that over 40 minutes was cut from the film and I would like to see those on the side or in a extended cut form. I personally do not see Foc rereleasing the whole set just so they can give a little more juice to the first two films. I do think Fox has a little more care than that personally.
    Thanks
     
  3. Scott W.

    Scott W. Second Unit

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    As a special supplement in Aliens... let's have the Carter Burke cocoon scene reinserted into the movie OR have it as an extra. Please!@!

    Scott
     
  4. RickardL

    RickardL Second Unit

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    For Aliens, a souped up 6.1 soundtrack would really come in handy!!
    And maybe, seamless branching for the different editions.
    Some of the scenes are overlapping with different dialogue,
    but that should be workable with duplicating the different
    scenes in the two branches.
     
  5. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    I think the current discs are top-notch when it comes to presentation and the first two movies are great with the extras, but DTS tracks would be really cool. And directors cuts of 3&4 would be supafly!
     
  6. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    I'd have thought Fincher would be almost guaranteed not to participate over any Alien 3 reissue, as he's gone on the record several times stating he has no intention of ever revisiting the film, not least because much of what he planned to shoot never actually was.
    As for the rest of suggestions, they're a nice idea, but I don't really see anything wrong with the current transfers of Alien or Aliens (for the record, I like the grittiness that the grain adds on the latter), and haven't seen the others.
    I'm sure Fox have things well under control (the films are among Fox's greatest properties after all), and if they pull off a Die Hard, French Connection or an All About Eve (the reissue, obviously), then I'll be very merry indeed!
     
  7. LennyP

    LennyP Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, as much as many of us would like a new cut of Alien3, Fincher stated numerous times that he hates the movie and wants nothing to do with it.
     
  8. Richard Waller

    Richard Waller Second Unit

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  9. Michael Hall

    Michael Hall Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm sure that many "Alien" fans here already know this, but about two months ago, American Movie Classics aired a two hour documentary on the making of the entire "Alien" saga, and included in it were various photos and clips of Fincher's "Alien3" that didn't make the film. Of particular interest to me (and I'm sure to many others) was the inclusion of a brief clip showing the infamous "buffalo chestburster" scene. I found this odd considering nearly everything I've read about "Alien3" indicated that Fox tossed out the unused material for that film when it didn't do so well at the box office.

    As for what I'd like to see, I've got to admit that the first film is already top notch in my eyes. If they were to include the "Alien Legacy" documentary on a reissue, I'd probably buy it as I missed out on it the first time (as I only bought the first two films). It would be nice to have both versions of the second film included on that disc, along with more information on the making of that film (and yes, the Burke cocooning sequence).

    The third film would benefit from having Fincher's original vision restored (even if he chooses not to be involved, let someone close to his side of things oversee it) as well as a great deal of information on the making of the film. The same goes for the fourth film, which I will actually admit to finding somewhat entertaining. How do Joss Whedon and Jenaut (sp?) feel about the film in retrospect?
     
  10. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    Christian Preischl
    This has been discussed in an earlier thread, and Jeff Adkins had this to say about the topic:
     
  11. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    As I stated in my opening salvo, the Alien DVD (especially) does have a problem with the audio mixing that should be taken care of... not something to sweep under the rug.

    Encoding the audio in DTS doesn't necessarily mean Fox would do anything special with the mixes, which they should take the time and care to do. If they are worried about space and what the fans might think of as "tinkering" (even though they could use fresh, quality mixes in the lines of The Fellowship of the Ring DC and Das Boot), use the DTS track for brand new DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 mixes and the Dolby Digital track for the original, theatrical mixes. Another reason to upgrade!! Have your cake and eat it too.

    The video transfers are not the best that they could be, and I take issue with those statements. What they can do now with transferring and compression technology and what they could do when the Alien Legacy was first put out are quite different now. They are dark, gritty films that could use all the lovin' they can get.

    The whole purpose of the thread I started was to do something special with these films, not just do an X-Men 1.5 and call it a day...

    I think that's one reason for the overwhelming support of New Line Home Video for what they accomplished for the fans of a very popular franchise.

    Dan
     
  12. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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  13. Matt Butler

    Matt Butler Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    I will cry with joy if the Alien 3 recut is true.
     
  14. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

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  15. Anthony_H

    Anthony_H Stunt Coordinator

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    I personally can only hope that they release the titles individually, as that heaping, steaming pile of excrement that was the fourth film (and the non-directors version of the third) so put me off...that I believe I would avoid buying the set just to not have it in my possession.
     
  16. Jonathan Perregaux

    Jonathan Perregaux Screenwriter

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    Fox has discontinued the Five-Star Collection product line, so there goes some of that "fact."
     
  17. LennyP

    LennyP Supporting Actor

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    Well it can still be 2disc SE under some sort of name, who cares if it's not 5 star anymore.
    I sure hope some new cut of Alien3 is done, with or without approval, Fincher doesn't own the movie anyway, studio does.

    So, I didn't get that 5th Alien Legacy disc, guess I gotta buy it on ebay as it won't be included...
     
  18. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

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  19. Eric Chang

    Eric Chang Stunt Coordinator

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    why would fincher change his mind on the subject? i'm all for the director's cut, but if he has just a deep hatred for alien 3 what would make him go back and re-cut if after he has constantly said that he would NEVER do so?
     
  20. Glenn_Jn

    Glenn_Jn Stunt Coordinator

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    From the booklet included with the Alien DVD "The DVD release of alien represents the most definitive home video version of the film to date. presented for the first time in anamorphic widescreen from a high definition master"

    Ridley Scott

    I really can't see how this film could look any better (until HD-DVD anyway).
    As for the sound, "lack of bass" ? you're kidding. In the scene where the shuttle lands on LV426 my house shakes so much the paintings start falling off the wall.
    I will NOT be buying these movies again (DTS or no DTS) until HD-DVD comes around
     

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