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The Alien Quadrilogy is a nine-disc boxed set devoted to the four Alien films. Although previously available on DVD as the Alien Legacy, here they have been repackaged with vastly more extras and with upgraded sound and picture. For anyone who hasn't been in hypersleep for the last 25 years, this series needs no introduction, though for the first time each film now comes in both original and "special edition" form. Alien (1979) was so perfect it didn't need fixing, and Ridley Scott's 2003 director's cut is fiddling for the sake of fiddling. Watch it once, then return to the majestic, perfectly paced original. Conversely, the special edition of James Cameron's Aliens (1986) is the definitive version, though it's nice to finally have the theatrical cut on DVD for comparison. Most interesting is the alternative Alien 3 (1992). This isn't a "director's cut"--David Fincher refused to have any involvement with this release--but a 1991 work-print that runs 29 minutes longer than the theatrical version, and has now been restored, remastered, and finished off with (unfortunately) cheap new CGI. Still, it's truly fascinating, offering a different insight into a flawed masterpiece. The expanded opening is visually breathtaking, the central firestorm is much longer, and a subplot involving Paul McGann's character adds considerable depth to story. The ending is also subtly but significantly different. Alien: Resurrection (1997) always was a mess with a handful of brilliant scenes, and the special edition just makes it eight minutes longer. The Alien Quadrilogy offers the first and fourth films with DTS soundtracks, the others having still fine Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. All four films sound fantastic, with much low-level detail revealed for the first time. Each is anamorphically enhanced at the correct original aspect ratio, and the prints and transfers are superlative. Every film offers a commentary track that lends insight into the creative process--though the Scott-only commentary and isolated music score from the first Alien DVD release are missing here. Each movie is complemented by a separate disc packed with hours of seriously detailed documentaries (all presented in full-screen with clips letterboxed), thousands of photos, production stills, and storyboards, giving a level of inside information for the dedicated buff only surpassed by the Lord of the Rings extended DVD sets. A ninth DVD compiles miscellaneous material, including an hourlong documentary and even all the extras from the old Alien laserdisc. "Exhaustive" hardly beings to describe the Alien Quadrilogy, a set that establishes the new DVD benchmark for retrospective releases and looks unlikely to be surpassed for some time.

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Special Features * Discs 1-2: Alien (1979) * Theatrical version (117 min.) * 2003 director's cut (137 min.) * Commentary by Ridley Scott and technical crew * 1.85 anamorphic, English 5.1 DTS, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Surround, THX Certified * Preproduction: Star Beast (developing the story), First Draft of Screenplay by Dan O'Bannon, The Visualists (direction and design), Ridleygrams (original thumbnails & notes), storyboard archive, Art of Alien (Cobb, Foss, Giger, Moebius), Truckers in Space (casting), Sigourney Weaver's screen test with optional commentary by Ridley Scott, cast portrait gallery * Production: Fear of the Unknown (Shepperton Studios, 1978), production gallery, The Darkest Reaches (Nostromo and alien planet), The Sets of Alien, The Eighth Passenger (creature design), The Chestburster (creature design) * Post-Production: Future Tense (music and editing), 8 deleted scenes, visual effects gallery (photo archive), A Nightmare Fulfilled (reaction to the film), poster explorations, special shoot, premiere * Discs 3-4: Aliens (1986) * Theatrical version (137 min.) * 1991 special edition (154 min.) * Commentary by Michael Biehn, Jenette Goldstein, Carrie Henn, Terry Henn, Lance Henriksen, Gale Anne Hurd, Pat McClung, Bill Paxton, Dennis Skotak, Robert Skotak and Stan Winston * 2.35 anamorphic, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Surround, THX Certified * Pre-Production: 57 Years Later (continuing the story), Original Treatment: by James Cameron, Building Better Worlds (from concept to construction), The Art of Aliens (conceptual art portfolio), Pre-Vis Anamatics * Preparing for Battle (casting & characterization), Cast Portait (still gallery) * Production: This Time It's War (Pinewood Studios, 1985) * Production Gallery (photo archive), Continuity Polaroids, The Risk Always Lives (weapons and action), Weapons and Vehicles (photo archive), Bug Hunt (creature design), Beauty and the Bitch (Power Loader vs. Queen Alien), Stan Winston's Workshop (photo archive), Two Orphans (Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn) * Post-Production: The Final Countdown (music, editing and sound), The Power of Real Tech (visual effects), Visual Effects Gallery (photo archive), Aliens Unleashed (reaction to the film), Film Finish & Release, Easter egg (A Boy and His Power Loader) * Discs 5-6: Alien 3 (1992) * Theatrical version (114 min.) * 2003 special edition (restored work print version) (155 min.) * Commentary by Terry Rawlings and crew * Pre-Production: Development (concluding the story), Tales of the Wooden Planet (Vincent Ward's vision), The Art of Aceron (conceptual art portfolio), pre-production part III featurette, storyboards, Art of Fiorina, Xeno-Erotic (H.R. Giger's redesign featurette) * Production: Production part I featurette, Production Gallery (photo archive), Furnace Construction (time-lapse sequence), Adaptive Organism (creature design), ADI Workshop, E.E.V. Scan Multi-Angle Vignette, Production part II * Post-Production: Post-Production part I, Optical Fury (visual effects), Music, Editing and Sound, Visual Effects (photo archive), Post-Mortem (reaction to the film), Special Shoot * Discs 7-8: Alien Resurrection (1997) * Theatrical version (109 min.) * 2003 special edition (119 min.) * Commentary by Jean Pierre Junet and crew * Intro (extended cut only) * 2.35 anamorphic, English 5.1 DTS, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Surround, THX Certified * Pre-Production: From the Ashes (reviving the story), First Draft Screenplay by Joss Whedon, French Twist (direction and design), Under the Skin (casting and characterization), Test Footage #1 (hair/makeup), ADI Effects, Mark Carro Photo Gallery, The Art of Resurrection (conceptual art gallery), storyboards, Pre-Visualizations (multi-angle rehearsals) * Production: Death from Below (underwater photography), In the Zone (the basketball scene), production gallery (photo archive), Unnatural Mutation (creature design), ADI Workshop, ADI Test Footage * Post-Production: Genetic Composition (music), Virtual Aliens (computer generated imagery), A Matter of Scale (miniature photography), Visual Effects Gallery (photo archive), Critical Juncture (reaction to the film), Special Shoot (promotional photo archive), Easter egg (Alien extra) * Disc 9: Bonus disc * ALIEN: * Alien Legacy , Alien Evolution, Experience in Terror (promotional featurette '79), Ridley Scott Q&A * Alien Laser Disc Archive: Part I (pre-production), Part II (production), Part III (post-production), theatrical trailer A, theatrical trailer B, TV spot (Egg), TV spot (Now Playing) * ALIENS: * Aliens Laser Disc Archive: Part I (pre-production), Part II (production), Part III (post-production), theatrical trailer A, teaser trailer, domestic trailer, international trailer, TV spot (Now Playing) * ALIEN 3: * 6 trailers, 7 TV spots * ALIEN RESURRECTION: * Theatrical teaser, 2 theatrical trailers, 4 TV spots, Bob Burns Alien Collection * Dark Horse Still Gallery * DVD-ROM (script to screen comparison)

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FX2009848 Alien Quadrilogy DVD (Alien/ Aliens /Alien 3 /Alien Resurrection) $59.98 $49.99