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Alien Anthology Blu Ray Set

The cover of the 2010 Alien Anthology set.

The Alien Anthology is a 2010 six-disc Blu-ray box set which, for the first time, brought Alien, Aliens, Alien3 and Alien Resurrection to high-definition home video. As with the Alien Quadrilogy DVD set before it, the Anthology was designed to be the definitive collection of the films in the Alien franchise, also including a wealth of bonus materials.

The set contains remastered high-definition transfers of not only each of the four theatrical films in the Alien franchise, but also their respective alternate versions (the Alien Director's Cut, the Aliens Special Edition, the Alien3 Special Edition and the Alien Resurrection Special Edition). The set also brings together, for the first time, virtually all of the bonus material from every home video release of the Alien movies up to that point, including the 1991/1992 LaserDisc releases, the 1993 Alien Trilogy VHS set, the 1999 Alien Legacy VHS and DVD releases and the 2003 Alien Quadrilogy DVD set, along with new never-before-seen bonus material exclusive to this set.

Overview

The Alien Anthology set features six Blu-ray discs, the first four of which contain high-definition transfers of the four films in the series in both their original theatrical and alternate versions. As well as the new HD transfers, Aliens director James Cameron took the opportunity to digitally correct certain mistakes in his film for its Blu-ray debut, while the extended Special Edition of Alien3 also underwent additional post-production work specially for the set — specifically, some of the original cast were brought back to re-record dialogue in some of the added and extended scenes so that the occasionally poor sound quality present in previous DVD releases could be corrected.[1]

Disc 5 contains the extensive 2003 making-of documentaries for each of the films, originally created by Charles de Lauzirika for the Alien Quadrilogy DVD set, newly rebuilt in a widescreen 16×9 aspect ratio (having originally been filmed in 4×3) and featuring newly created title graphics.[2] The documentary on Alien3, Wreckage and Rage, is additionally presented in its entirety for the first time — the version included in the Alien Quadrilogy was cut by over 20 minutes at 20th Century Fox's behest, to remove negative comments about the studio made by the cast and crew.[2] Also included on the disc are numerous "Enhancement Pods", essentially deleted scenes taken from the documentaries, which provide additional depth and detail on the making of the movies.

Disc 6 contains a wealth of additional bonus material, including all the remaining documentaries on the Alien series that have been produced — including The Alien Legacy, The Alien Saga and both versions of Alien Evolution — plus additional videos, still images and script drafts. Virtually all of the special features and supplements from previous releases of the Alien movies (including an archive of the special edition LaserDisc box sets, with all their image galleries and other unique content) are included, as well as new exclusive bonus material. Owing to the increased storage capacity of Blu-ray, the previous five discs of special features from the Quadrilogy set have been condensed to just two Blu-ray discs, which hold approximately 60 hours of bonus video content and over 12,000 still images.[3]

The Blu-ray discs from the Alien Anthology have since been reused for several other releases, including the Prometheus to Alien: The Evolution box set and the individual single-disc Blu-ray releases of each of the films in the Alien series.

MU-TH-UR Mode

Owing to the hugely extensive nature of the bonus material, the set also includes a special interactive "MU-TH-UR Mode" (named after the MU/TH/UR computer aboard the Nostromo in Alien) to help users navigate this bonus content. When active, MU-TH-UR Mode overlays an interface on the screen during the film that can be used to quickly switch between audio track options, or bring up a special "Weyland-Yutani Datastream" text track that provides trivia and behind the scenes anecdotes. MU-TH-UR Mode also grants access to bonus video and image content directly relating to the scene currently being played — instead of being viewed immediately, this content can be "tagged" and saved to a list so that the viewer may quickly access the relevant material, found on discs 5 and 6, after they have finished watching the movie; tags are retained when switching Blu-ray discs, and a complete list of currently saved tags can be viewed and revised on the main menu of any of the set's discs. This list additionally informs the user which of the two bonus discs contains each piece of content.

As well as each of the four films, the MU-TH-UR Mode interface is also available during the documentaries on disc 5, linking to additional behind the scenes content and also providing a search index allowing the viewer to seek out any and all material linked to a particular topic or member of cast and crew. Unlike the main films, some of the supplemental material accessed through MU-TH-UR Mode can be viewed immediately. Some of the bonus video content accessed in this way is exclusive to MU-TH-UR Mode.

Omissions

Several new bonus features intended for the set ultimately had to be left out. Notably, a single Enhancement Pod from Superior Firepower: Making Aliens, titled "Dailies: James Remar as Hicks", was removed at the request of Lightstorm Entertainment (James Cameron's production company).[2] Had it been included, this would have been the first time footage of Remar playing Hicks was released to the public. It was also planned to have Sigourney Weaver record new audio commentaries for each of the four films in the set, but scheduling conflicts with her work promoting Avatar meant there was no time to record them.[2]

Despite the set's exhaustive nature, several pre-existing bonus items were likewise omitted. These include the Alternate Music & Production Sound audio track for Alien previously included in the Alien Legacy box set, omitted from the Blu-ray due to space concerns. Additionally, four short production featurettes for Aliens ("Grunts in Space", "Behind the Scenes" and profile pieces on Cameron and Weaver) and some unedited Weaver screen test footage was also left out, all of which had previously appeared as bonus material on the DVD release of The Alien Saga.[2]

2012 UK release

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The cover of the 2012 Alien Anthology set.

In 2012, the Alien Anthology set was re-released in the United Kingdom only as a budget version. This second set is essentially a stripped-down version of the 2010 release, featuring the first four discs from that set (containing both versions of each of the four films, as well as commentaries and isolated scores), but omitting the two bonus discs of documentaries and additional features. Unlike the 2010 set, all discs are contained in their own separate Blu-ray cases (which are essentially the same as those used for the individual UK Blu-ray releases of the films), held together in an exclusive slipcase.

Contents

Disc 1: Alien

Disc 2: Aliens

Disc 3: Alien3

Disc 4: Alien Resurrection

Disc 5: Making the Anthology

Disc 6: The Anthology Archives

  • Alien
    • First draft screenplay by Dan O'Bannon
    • Original Ridley Scott storyboards and notes
    • Storyboard archive
    • Sigourney Weaver screen tests
    • Multi-angle Chestburster sequence
    • Video graphics gallery
    • 7 additional deleted scenes
    • The Alien Legacy documentary
    • Experience in Terror documentary
    • American Cinematheque Ridley Scott Q&A session
    • LaserDisc archive
    • Trailers and TV spots
    • Production and promotional image galleries
  • Aliens
    • Original treatment by James Cameron
    • Storyboard archive
    • Previsualizations
    • Colonial Marine helmet camera footage
    • Video graphics gallery
    • Nostromo inquest crew dossiers
    • Deleted scene: Burke cocooned
    • Deleted scene montage
    • Main title concepts
    • Aliens: Ride at the Speed of Fright introductory movie and on-ride footage
    • LaserDisc archive
    • Trailers and TV spots
    • Production and promotional image galleries
  • Alien3
    • Storyboard archive
    • Arceon concept art from Vincent Ward's Alien III
    • Furnace set construction time-lapse video
    • Multi-angle EEV bioscan footage
    • Alien3 promotional featurette
    • The Making of Alien3 documentary
    • Trailers and TV spots
    • Production and promotional image galleries
  • Alien Resurrection
  • Anthology
    • Alien Evolution documentary (2001 original TV version)
    • Alien Evolution documentary (2003 Alien re-edit)
    • The Alien Saga documentary
    • Aliens in the Basement: The Bob Burns Collection documentary
    • Aliens 3D attraction script and concept art
    • Family Guy and Spaceballs parody clips
    • Dark Horse Comics cover gallery
    • Patches and logos gallery
  • MU-TH-UR Mode interactive experience

Other contents

  • MU-TH-UR Mode Viewer's Guide

Trivia

  • As well as the advertised content, all of the secret Easter eggs included on previous Alien franchise DVD releases are included on the Alien Anthology set. They are now accessed from the Anthology Archives disc.
  • Among the material released for the first time on the Anthology set, perhaps the most notable is a deleted scene from Aliens where Ripley discovers Burke inside the Atmosphere Processing Plant, cocooned and impregnated with a Chestburster, whilst searching for Newt. For years, still images of the scene had been in circulation, but the Alien Anthology set represents the first time this footage has been available for fans to view.
  • Reception to the Alien Anthology set has been overwhelmingly positive, with many reviews praising its treatment of the films themselves and the huge volume of in-depth special features it contains.[4] Some have even cited it as the Blu-ray set by which all others should be judged.
  • The plastic trays inside which the discs are housed feature egg-shaped recesses for the discs, instead of the usual circular recesses.

External Links

References

  1. Alien Anthology Hits Blu-ray, Dark Realm Fox
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "The Digital Bits - Blu-ray Review: Alien Anthology". Retrieved on 2016-01-11.
  3. Tribbey, Chris. "'Alien Anthology' Boasts 60 Hours of Bonus Content".
  4. "Blu-ray.com - Alien Anthology Blu-ray Review". Retrieved on 2014-01-10.