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Alien Quadrilogy US

US Alien Quadrilogy box set cover.

The Alien Quadrilogy is a 2003 nine-disc DVD box set containing the films Alien, Aliens, Alien3 and Alien Resurrection. While there had been numerous previous home video releases in the Alien franchise, the Quadrilogy is notable in that it was the first attempt by 20th Century Fox at presenting a definitive collection of the films in the series, with a wealth of special bonus material created specially for the release.

Each of the four films is presented in two different versions — the original theatrical release and an alternate, typically extended cut. Three of these alternative cuts (the Alien Director's Cut, the Alien3 Special Edition and the Alien Resurrection Special Edition) were created especially for the Quadrilogy set, while the fourth, the Aliens Special Edition, had originally been created for home video in 1991. In addition to its inclusion in the Quadrilogy, the Alien Director's Cut received a limited theatrical release several months prior to the release of the box set, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the original release of Alien.

The box set was released on December 2, 2003 in the United States and Canada[1] and December 8, 2003 in the United Kingdom.[2] Shortly after its release, the set's discs were repackaged as the limited edition Alien Quadrilogy: Collector's Alien Head set, which featured the same media content housed inside a replica Xenomorph head.

Overview

The Alien Quadrilogy set began as a project to restore and re-release 1979's Alien as a deluxe collector's edition with a host of all-new special features.[3] 20th Century Fox placed renowned home video producer Charles de Lauzirika in charge of the release. However, as the project evolved over time, Fox eventually elected to expand the scope of the set to include all four films in the Alien franchise.[3]

Perhaps the most significant feature created for the Quadrilogy were the alternative cuts of Alien, Alien3 and Alien Resurrection, likely inspired by the pre-existing extended Special Edition of Aliens, created by James Cameron in the early 1990s. To this end, Lauzirika contacted the films' original directors with a view to having them create the alternate cuts; while Ridley Scott and Jean-Pierre Jeunet agreed, David Fincher, who has steadfastly disowned Alien3 since its release, declined to be involved. As a result, the Special Edition of Alien3 was put together by Lauzirika himself, working from Fincher's on-set notes. Interestingly, the presence of the original theatrical cut of Aliens in the Quadrilogy set marked the first time this version of the film had been made available on home video since its initial VHS release in the 1980s — all previous DVD releases had only contained the Special Edition.

The other major material developed for the Quadrilogy release were a series of extensive making-of documentaries, one for each film, written and directed by Lauzirika. These feature-length documentaries cover the development and production of the movies in exhaustive detail, from early writing and concepts through to filming and release. While they were praised for their scope and depth, The Making of Alien3 was criticized for being censored by Fox, having had around 20 minutes of footage deleted, ostensibly to remove negative comments directed at studio executives by Fincher during the troubled production. The full, uncut version of the documentary was later released as part of the Alien Anthology Blu-ray set.

A fifth documentary, an exclusive alternate cut of Alien Evolution (the original version of which had been broadcast on television in the United Kingdom in 2001), was also created for the Quadrilogy box set. Conceived as part of Fox's initial plans to create a deluxe reissue of the first film in the franchise, the documentary was re-edited from its original broadcast form (which had covered the making of all four films in the series) to focus solely on Alien, incorporating a significant amount of footage and information that had not featured in the original version. While the Quadrilogy's focus ultimately shifted to cover all four movies, the re-edited documentary was nonetheless included on an additional bonus disc. This disc also contained further supplemental materials, including archives of all the images and videos previously included exclusively on the Special Collector's Edition LaserDisc releases of Alien and Aliens.

Each of the four film discs and their corresponding bonus disc were subsequently released as separate two-disc sets. However, the Quadrilogy's ninth bonus disc remained exclusive to the full set, although the material on it was later included in the Alien Anthology Blu-ray set. The set's discs were also repackaged in the Alien Quadrilogy: Collector's Alien Head box set, which featured the same media content housed inside a large replica Xenomorph head.

When released, the Quadrilogy was praised for its depth and scope, and is today considered one of the most exhaustive home video box sets to come out of the DVD era, in terms of content and special features.

Easter eggs

Much like the earlier The Alien Legacy DVD box set, the Alien Quadrilogy contains several secret Easter eggs that allow access to otherwise hidden content. The first is accessed from the post-production menu on the Aliens disc and consists of a video entitled "A Boy and His Power Loader", about special effects artist Van Ling, who caught the attention of James Cameron by building a homemade Power Loader costume. The second Easter egg is accessed from the post-production menu on the Alien Resurrection disc, and consists of an interview with David Prior about being cast as an Alien in Alien Resurrection.

Omissions

Notably, two pre-existing documentaries on the Alien film series — 1999's The Alien Legacy and The Alien Saga from 2002 — were not included in the set. Fox had originally planned to include The Alien Legacy on the bonus disc, but ultimately the documentary had to be dropped as there was insufficient space on the DVD disc. The Alien Saga was never intended to be included in the set, as it had only just received a stand-alone DVD release from Image Entertainment.[4] Both were later included in the Alien Anthology Blu-ray set.

Region 2 differences

The contents of the box set varies slightly between region 1 (America) and region 2 (Europe). Most obviously, region 2 editions lack the deleted scenes and deleted footage marker feature found on the film discs in American versions of the set. This is due to differences in the way the alternate versions of the movies are presented — American copies of the Quadrilogy use seamless branching for the alternate cuts (in essence, the disc will play the regular version of the film, but will switch to the alternate/extended scenes at appropriate points, seamlessly inserting them into the movie), whereas European copies instead include the two versions of each film as two entirely separate, complete cuts on the disc. Thus, while the alternate scenes are still found on region 2 versions of the set, they are exclusively contained within the film and cannot be accessed separately as they can in region 1. For the same reason, the deleted footage marker option is also absent.

These differences persist with the individual two-disc DVD releases derived from the box set.

Contents (Region 1 Release)

Disc 1: Alien

Disc 2: Alien Supplemental

  • The Beast Within: The Making of Alien
  • 7 deleted scenes:
  • First draft screenplay by Dan O'Bannon
  • Original Ridley Scott storyboards and notes
  • Storyboard archive
  • Sigourney Weaver screen tests
  • Multi-angle Chestburster sequence
  • Production and promotional image galleries

Disc 3: Aliens

Disc 4: Aliens Supplemental

Disc 5: Alien3

Disc 6: Alien3 Supplemental

Disc 7: Alien Resurrection

Disc 8: Alien Resurrection Supplemental

Disc 9: Bonus Disc

Other contents

  • Alien Quadrilogy booklet


*The deleted and extended scenes found on discs one, three, five and seven are in fact merely the additional scenes added in the alternate cuts of the four Alien movies. In the case of Alien, this means some of these scenes have been edited from originally filmed version. The option to view these scenes separately is not available in region 2 box sets.

Trivia

  • The term "quadrilogy" referring to a series of four is actually a nonsense phrase. The correct term would be tetralogy (from the Greek tetra-, "four" and -logia, "discourse").
  • The four newly-created making-of documentaries are somewhat confusingly presented in the set — each is split into its individual chapters and spread across the three main sections found on the supplemental discs (Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production). In order to watch the complete documentary uninterrupted, it is necessary to access the Navigation Options section and select the "Play all featurettes" option. The presentation of these documentaries was greatly streamlined and simplified for the Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set, in which each is simply listed as a complete feature, with a sub-menu allowing access to the individual chapters.
  • Each film and the bonus disc have animated menus that are themed after a different stage of the Xenomorph's life cycle — the Ovomorph (Alien), the Facehugger (Aliens), the Chestburster (Alien3), the Drone (Alien Resurrection) and the Queen (bonus disc).

Gallery

See Also

References

  1. "Blu-ray.com - Alien Quadrilogy DVD (US)". Retrieved on 2018-02-28.
  2. "Blu-ray.com - Alien Quadrilogy DVD (UK)". Retrieved on 2018-02-28.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "IGN - AN INTERVIEW WITH CHARLES DE LAUZIRIKA". Retrieved on 2015-05-07.
  4. "The Digital Bits - The Alien Quadrilogy". Retrieved on 2015-05-08.