Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt
Director: Ridley Scott
Release Date: May 10, 2011
MPAA Rating: R
I’ve always been a fan of horror. Even as a child, I enjoyed being scared out of my wits by any number of goblins, ghosts, serial killers, or things from outer space that resemble someone’s thrown-up seafood. My taste in movies tends to shift back and forth on occasion, but one genre I’m always game for is a good scary movie. And Alien is one of my perennial favorites. And so, when the movie was released on Blu-ray awhile back, I picked it up. My DVD copy wasn’t in bad shape, but I had a few extra birthday bucks to spare and I thought my collection could use a little updating. So, I went with the Alien Anthology, an impressive grouping of all four canon films in the Alien series with some special behind-the-scene extras.
My expectations for the Blu-ray of the original movie were pretty tame. The film’s extras in this set were the same as the DVD, and for a classic film I’ve seen more times than the amount of people who have unfriended me on Facebook, I wasn’t exactly expecting any surprises.
When the movie started playing, though, I don’t think I could have been any more surprised if that chestburster itself had exploded out of me.
The movies I’d seen in high-definition had, for the most part, all been fairly recent ones, and while the clarity of the picture has been consistently impressive, I hadn’t seen many older films brought into the HDTV era. At least, not with much oomph. The transfer here blew me out the airlock (full disclosure: that didn’t actually happen), and made me drool on myself a little (full disclosure: that actually did). For a movie set against the backdrop of space, the deepness of blacks is an important visual element, and here the richness of the void of space felt formidable. Even in scenes on the ship, dark, shadowy corners looked like they could hide anything. Honestly, the increased sharpness and color saturation made watching the movie an engrossing experience, even though I’d seen it before. In full HD, I could pick out details from the film that I’d never noticed before. I could see wear and tear along the ship’s pipes and all the unsettling H.R. Giger design elements from the walls of the alien ship.
The sound was impressive, too, as Ridley Scott’s director’s cut on the Blu-ray has a modified, optimized soundtrack with 5.1 Surround Sound. If you’ve got a home theater setup, the little ambient noises of the ship and the desolate planet will make your skin crawl.
The standalone Blu-ray doesn’t come with any different special features than the recent DVD releases of the film. Besides the director’s cut (which reintroduces some interesting footage cut from the theatrical version) there are a couple of commentary tracks that are worth a listen if that kind of thing piques your interest. If you pick up the Anthology box set, you get some making-of features and a spiffy book that holds the discs.
Honestly, there’s probably not much that I can say about a movie that’s been around for thirty years that hasn’t been said before. That’s especially true for one as esteemed as Alien. But, if you haven’t seen this movie on Blu-ray, it’s worth seeing, and in my opinion, definitely worth owning. With the increase in visuals, it’s a no-brainer. And if that’s not enough for you hardened horror buffs, the movie’s iconic tagline might be “In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream,” but with the Alien Blu-ray, those screams come in even louder and more spine-tinglingly clear.
Contact your local Slackers to see if they have a copy, or if they can order one for you!