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Old 04-23-2011, 06:29 PM   #142
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Re: Last movie impressions

Alien Anthology [Blu ray]

Picked up the UK version for a song on Amazon UK, comes in a nice sturdy plastic box, containing 6 discs. 4 films + alternate cuts, a bonus disc with interviews regarding the making of each film (script, effects, design, costumes, etc) and another disc with sketches and scripts and other assorted design materials.

Picture-wise, I felt Aliens gets the biggest upgrade, only because I remember so many fuzzy and blurry copies of it floating around on VHS and DVD. It never featured a strong color or contrast palette, so it's nice to see crisp detail for a change- and the miniatures are quite excellently detailed in that film.

Alien looks terrific, btw, and I mean- its a Ridley Scott film, even looking bad it still looks better than most films out there. The contrasts in it are still amazing.

GRIPE: Alien:director's cut. RIDLEY, PLEASE. ***spoiler alert*** sortof****Completely unnecessary addition of extra footage that lengthens some scenes to no particular effect (including in the dinner scene, throwing off the whole timing of the seizure sequence), adding in the discovery of the cocooned Captain Dallas scene, which slows down and kills the tension of the last 15 minutes, and most grievous: multiple omissions of Ash's off-reactions to various things. To me that's one of the great things in that film is Iam Holm's subtle and uncomfortable facial ticks that denote somethings wrong with him. It's a shame to take them out! Another scene shows you the Alien hanging upside down in the landing gear before the famous reveal when it drops down behind Harry Dean Stanton ('Here, kitty, kitty) - again, a scene breaking add-in

Anyway- Alien Dir Cut, bad.
Aliens Dir Cut, GOOD.
Alien3: extended version
... eh. Its just a messy work cut that contained pieces of scenes that never got completed.
Alien Resurrection: extended version, crap. (funny: Jean-Pierre Jeunet prefaces the edition by saying 'I do not understand, you already saw the directors cut of my film, its the one I put out!) lol

High def-wise, Alien3 and Resurrection are a mixed bag. Some really nice resolutions and detail, and sometimes not so much. Still the best theyve ever looked, though.

Special features, documentaries are all in standard def- but wonderful and interesting. Basically they took every making-of feature from the 1999 and 2003 re-releases of these films and put them all together in one package.

Why cant they do that with every bluray release?

Overall: highly recommended.

****Soapbox: Listen, directors, you guys direct and editors, you guys edit, ok? There's a reason the jobs are separate. There are rare instances where there is a big important difference between a directors version and whats released (most notably in Aliens, which is a much more deliberate & serious film with the removed footage put back in- or years later in Cameron's The Abyss.. theatrical cut: awful. Directors cut: brilliant humanist anti-war film) but this new business of re-releasing a film again and badgering a director to make changes for marketing reasons- its obnoxious.

And another thing:

Putting footage in to 'complete' a scene better that had a stilted tone, in a horror movie? Why? If you're trying to build tension, stilted endings to scenes are a great tool- the force the audience to fill in the gaps with their imagination, and that serves a scary story better than any effect or trick or expository dialogue, or weak secondary footage put back in. (good example: John Carpenter's The Thing- there are MANY scenes in that film that simply end before an asked question is answered, or before something happens that would denote the scene was ending, and every time it happens, you get more un-nerved about what's going on behind the scenes. It always works in horror films, horror films do not need the narrative balance that other stories need. The less, the better!)

ok, rant over.
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