Running Time: 116 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Format: Widescreen, 16x9 enhanced
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Region: 1
MSRP: $29.98

Own It!
Alien 20th Anniversary Edition (1979)

The movie that started it all! Alien is the dark and claustrophobic tale of a deep space mining crew on their way home from work whose ship, the Nostromo, and its computer control system, Mother, unexpectedly wakes them early from hypersleep. Mother, it seems, has received a distress beacon from an uninhabited planet. Ordered by the company and duty-bound to investigate the signal our disgruntled crew arrives on the planet to find a crashed spaceship unlike anything they've ever seen. Investigating its unusual cargo of egg-like pods, crew member Kane finds himself attacked by a face-hugger. The unsuspecting crew returns to the ship and attempts to remove the creature. Now an Alien is aboard the Nostromo and the battle for survival is about to begin.

Alien launched Sigourney Weaver's career and was one of the first such movies to really introduce a strong female hero. It was also director Ridley Scott's second film and a real proving ground for him as well. Alien vaulted both of them to new levels in the industry.

This is a beautiful dvd. I never saw Alien on the big screen so I really enjoyed the crispness of the picture and the soundtrack in Dolby sounds great. The blacks are near perfect and since this movie is so dark to begin with, this is really important. Most of the time I couldn't tell there was a letter box on screen at all. Chris tells me that to say that widescreen is the best way to see a movie isn't necessary these days, since most people agree that that's the case. However, one thing I will say is that so much of this movie was shot so tightly to produce a sense of claustrophobia, that you'd just miss so much on a pan and scan.

Also, this is a fun movie to use your zoom feature on, although the zoom gets pretty grainy at 2X magnification.

Lots of extras here, one cool thing I'd never seen before was the isolated soundtrack. It's pretty impressive to watch a movie with music only, no dialogue. Really gives you a feel for how brilliant the composer is (in this case, the prolific Jerry Goldsmith). Events just rise and fall with this score like clockwork, a perfect blend.

Director's commentary with Ridley Scott was only marginally interesting and Ridley kept smoking or eating or chewing his cheeks or something through the whole thing. "Take it out of your mouth, then talk!" If you're a big Alien fan and have read the book and scoured the articles in sci-fi mags, etc., then Scott doesn't really have anything to say here that we don't already know. If you're new to the movie then it's probably a lot more revelatory.

Also stills which are interesting enough and an outtakes section that is really lame. Not funny stuff, just dumb clips that were replaced with better shots.

Deleted scenes section (different from outtakes) was pretty cool, again, all stuff that was in the novel for the most part.

The menus were a 3D ship's control center affair that were nice and easy to navigate.

On the whole, Alien is a worthy investment, even at full price.

Amy Morrison