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James Cameron is often credited with turning science fiction from a cult or B-movie genre into a one that earned not just big money but critical success too. The breakthrough film was Aliens and the year was 1986. Aliens theatrical release and special edition Blu-ray disc set Aliens on Blu-ray: Two films for the price of one …

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No making-of docu?!

Dunno about the full set, but I got the Aliens DVD (not Blu-Ray) a couple of years back, and it had some great "making-of" stuff on there. Essential viewing in these days of green-screen and CGI, when the powerlifter-vs-queen fight is *really* being staged between 10-foot-tall constructions, with Sigourney Weaver inside, and all controlled by a couple of dozen experts with hydraulics, control lines and sheer brute force. Also for the sets, particularly the loading bay, which again these days would be inserted in CGI but back then were actually built. The actors' training segment was also pretty fun, talking about the guy playing Apone (an ex-sergeant) basically putting them through boot camp so they'd look and behave like actual soldiers.

If they've deleted that from the Blu-Ray, I recommend not buying it.

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Re: No making-of docu?!

Clearly that version will be along in time for Christmas when they've finished drip feeding the basic versions of all the movies on blu-ray. After that will be the box set with all the films in it. Then the 3D version in time for the 40th Anniversary in 2019. Which is when Blade Runner is set if I recall correctly - I look forward to collecting it in my flying car.

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WTF?

Re: No making-of docu?!

FFS, you can buy the four films and more extras than you can ever watch for £17.49. Available since October 2010.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alien-Anthology-Blu-ray-Sigourney-Weaver/dp/B003AQBYUG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333634499&sr=8-1

There's a newer re-issue with less extras for £10.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alien-Anthology-Blu-ray-Sigourney-Weaver/dp/B006MGB31Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1333634535&sr=8-2

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Silver badge

Indeed you can! I have it on my shelf just a few metres away. I'm a bit puzzled by this review as I got Aliens on Blu-ray last year. Yes - you buy it as part of the Quadrilogy, but as it's under £20 for all four, then it doesn't make much sense to buy the single. Maybe they charge you extra for not giving you the third one - har har!

But the extras on the Quadrilogy are endless. Six discs! Good film, made better with Blu-ray (reviewer is right to single out the soundtrack. With good speaker set up, it adds a lot). Don't know why you'd buy the single rather than the full set with all the extras for about a fiver more.

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JDX
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I love Aliens

Waits for "Alien was the classic, Aliens was popular mass-market crap"...

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Re: I love Aliens

Aliens was the cl....damn.

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Re: I love Aliens

Me, I just love 'em both 'cos they're very different movies, and both great in their own ways.

Thanks Reg for quoting the one bad part of Aliens though - NEWT! :-D

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Alien

Close ...

I'd put it to you that Close Encounters of the Third Kind was a commercial and critical success of a sci-fi film. And so was ET.

Or are you limiting the list of "breakthrough" films to sci-fi action movies?

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Re: Close ...

Except that neither of them were SF films.

Close Encounters was a meandering, turgid pile of poo with added flashing lights and ET was a Lassie film with a cuddly alien replacing the cuddly dog.

I have never understood the "commercial and critical success" of CE. Best I've ever been able to get out of it is the feeling of Herculean triumph generated by managing to stay awake 'til the end.

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Alien

Re: Close ...

In my times, UFOs were still of interest and infused with a sense of wonder and revelation.

These days, people are so used to flashing signs everywhere, not to mention bleeping noises, levitating cats and similar ADHD shit that they would not recognize a honest-to-god ufological spectacle if their sanity depended on it and would probably not even look up from their PSP if it transformed the golden retriever in their manicured suburban garden into microwaved steak, its pitiful cries muted by the sound of the latest ultraviolent, amphetamine-fueled TV serial.

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FAIL

Re: Close ...

By the same (utterly facile) token, Aliens is just Zulu with aliens replacing the zulus. And Alien is Jaws with an alien replacing the shark.

Next you'll be valiantly arguing that the Magnificent Seven isn't a cowboy film because herp derp kurosawa derpity derp samurai derp.

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Re: Close ...

Spielberg... sneer

The guy who makes you watch the same freaking scene from 5 different angles to stretch 'suspense'.

How much more annoying does it get?

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Re: How much more annoying does it get?

How about putting yourself in your own movies?

M Night Shyamalan, you're fired. (although all the more amusing because he gave himself a front role in his crappest movie, The Last Careerbender)

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Re: Close ...

Close Encounters was pretty good. One of the rare Stephen Spielberg films I can actually watch without insulin. But Alien and Aliens are in a different class when it comes to depth - of characters, of motif, of subtext.There is an excellent essay by the late academic Janice Hocker Rushing about male-female subtexts in science fiction films (focusing on the first two Aliens films). The aliens are suggestively female in numerous ways and the fact that Ripley is usually the sole strong female lead in an environment of men adds a counter-point to that. The motherhood themes in the second film are very strong and tie into this. Sigourney Weaver was apparently very annoyed that they cut the part about her having lost her daughter (grew old and died) whilst she was in hypersleep after the first film's end. I'm not doing the essay justice here. It's available in a book called Screening the Sacred, about relgious ideology and imagery in popular film. It's a very interesting book for anyone who wants to delve a wee bit deeper into American film:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Screening-Sacred-Religion-Ideology-American/dp/0813388309/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333786603&sr=8-1

Though you don't need to be Freud to think about those Alien's secondary mouths or all those "secreted resin" tunnels.

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Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

This movie has provided more usuable quotes with a direct application to my day job than is healthy.

"Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away? ".

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Pint

"disappint"

Freudian slip. Nearly the weekend.

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Pint

Re: "disappint"

What happens to pints left in the presence of Reg commentards for any length of time. "What happened to your drink?" "Oh, it disappint. Best get another then!"

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Mushroom

Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

Other applicable day-to-day quotes...

"I say we take off and nuke the entire database from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

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Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

Game over, man! Game over!

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Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

"Marines! WE...ARE...LEAVING!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

What do you expect us to use man, harsh language?

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

That's a great one. Hopefully won't have to say it when I get back to work on Tuesday after a holiday. But I *did* have to repeatedly use "How do I get out of this chickensh*t outfit" repeatedly before and after being outsourced to HP some years ago...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

Apone: Any questions?

Hicks: How do I get out of this chickensh*t outfit

(I've actually used that one on a "team building" day at work)

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Mushroom

Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

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Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

Bzzt!

Actually Hudson...

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Still my favourite film ever

It's been my favourite film since I saw it on VHS back in the '80s. I'm not sure how old I was, but I definitely wasn't 18!

I'm really looking forward to Prometheus, the only thing that could get me more excited than Ridley Scott making a new Aliens film is James Cameron making a new Aliens film.

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So, this is a lot like the DVD I already own,

but HD shows up the flaws in the filmstock, makes the visual effects look a bit ropey? Blu-ray players sound like a great investment.

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Pint

Alien was a great film for it's time

I guess it's always going to be hard work trying to make a sequel any good and I think this lot is pretty crap tbh!

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FAIL

£12!!!

You can buy the box set for that! Or is this some super version?

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I got the Special Edition DVD from CEX for £1 and its bloody awesome, especailly as I'm currently building a model of the Dropship and APC!

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=234913827

The 3 hour "Making of Aliens" doc is on YouTube and is also great - James Cameron getting pissed off at British workmen taking tea breaks haha

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WTF?

Errrmmmm....

Can't you get the Alien Anthology Blu Ray box set for a similar price to this? IIRC it includes the special Edition of Aliens, which let's face it, is only slightly better than the theatrical release... If you don't like the extra 20 mins just FFWD FFS!

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Mushroom

Re: Errrmmmm....

The extra footage included (IIRC):

- the family going out to investigate the co-ordinates Burke provided (and the resulting chaos)

- more on the autopsies done on the face-huggers

- moar splosions & gunfire from the robot sentries

A bloody brilliant top 10 film, particularly the director's cut!

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Re: Errrmmmm....

Yep, and a scene set in a holodeck-style rest area where Ripley is told her daughter has died of old age.

Also, speculation with Bishop that something must being laying the eggs, explaining why Ripley wasn't as shocked as you'd expect at meeting the queen bitch alien.

*************************

I watched the extended 'Assembely' cut of Alien3 (not a director's cut, but the next best thing) recently, and though still flawed, at least hangs together more coherently than the theatrical release, and is well worth a watch IMHO. Refreshing not to see CGI sets and the actors are good. Still, an object lesson in how a studio can molest a franchise and leave it damaged for life.

Still pining for what could have been - google 'William Gibson Alien 3 Script' and you'll see what I mean!

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Re: Errrmmmm....

"Still pining for what could have been - google 'William Gibson Alien 3 Script' and you'll see what I mean!"

this is what I tell people - Alien 3 could/should have been just as scary as Alien and just as actiony as Aliens

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as said..

the full BR box set it around £15 and features all theatrical and directors versions.

im redoing my home cinema at the minute and cant wait to watch them as i got them for xmas.

so, vhs, dvd and now BR versions :)

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Freesat the forgotten bigger brother of Freeview

Or wait until it is on Freesat HD and get 5.1 digital audio

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Boffin

Re: Freesat the forgotten bigger brother of Freeview

Freeview HD supports 5.1 audio too. However neither of them support lossless "HD" audio like Blu-ray does. On Freeview Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3) and HE-AAC are the supported codecs which are more efficient than old Dolby Digital which is commonly used on Freesat (from memory).

As to bigger brother, well it is older than Freeview HD although it still doesn't have any extra HD content compared to Freeview HD. You do get more trashy SD channels but the picture used to be terrible along with almost of the content when you got past BBC, ITV, Channel 4 & Five offerings. I don't feel that I miss anything have Freeview HD rather than Freesat.

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Hmm... apart from the sound (and I'm partially deaf) I can't think of any particular reason to buy this.

So... moving on, is it just me or does the special edition suck? (as in "adds nothing, takes away a lot")

The main crimes:

1. The scenes with the colonists

2. Boring shooting gallery scene with the automatic guns in the corridor

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Almost all special editions suck. There's generally a good reason that scenes are deleted or shortened. If you have the misfortune to watch the 'repaired' version of Metropolis, you essentially get an extra twenty minutes of proles running away from a big wave screaming and waving their arms. Whoohoo.

(cue exploding Bladerunner fans)

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Anonymous Coward

Boring gun scene?!

What!? wash your mouth out with soap, thats a gun nuts wet dream! :) and apart from some trully terrible acting the colonists scenes did add a tiny bit of background, i think having that one pulled was the right thing, there were too many inconsistancies and stupid moments for it to make a final cut

however the extras do explain a big one for people that take notice, her Daughter which was never explained,

Actually whilst im on that subject, can anyone remember years ago a scene on the first film where you actually see her daughter and it was her birthday or something, possibly some video message, i have this vague memory of this taking place on a version i watched, probably on TV but havent seen it since,,,,,,

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Re: Boring gun scene?!

I think you'll find that was in 2001 a space odyssey.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Boring gun scene?!

ha, that'll explain it! thanks!

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Anonymous Coward

"How could they cut the power, man? They're animals!"

I fully agree with Tom Melly. The 'shooting gallery' scene turned the Aliens into dumb cannon fodder, whereas in the original cut they appeared intelligent (e.g. by-passing the marines barricades by coming through the ceiling space, and cutting the base power).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "How could they cut the power, man? They're animals!"

i disagree, it showed that the aliens had a much better ability to learn and adapt then animals today, it also added to the "numbers game" there was hundreds of the things but we only ever saw 5 i think, having them lap up against the wall of lead showed the relentless side to them the never ending side. after that they learnt to find another way.

now i dare say, thats better then most AI you get in cutting edge games today :)

Infact the whole ceiling space thing is a bit of an oops error in my opinion, Hudson was asked to find all access points including ceiling space and floor spaces, bit of a large frigging oversight that one me thinks!

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Yeah, just you.

Colonists part wasn't strictly necessary, but it was good scene-setting. We got to see a base which *wasn't* just bullet-scarred dark tunnels, which made how it looked when the marines got there more significant.

More time with Ripley after she's revived, adjusting to a world where her daughter has grown old and died without her, and where everything she knows (she's a pilot and a techie, remember?) is obsolete.

The automatic guns scene worked for me. Always wondered why the aliens didn't just come in the front door. Now I know.

Significantly extended final battle with the alien queen. The part where the two break apart and circle round each other looking for weaknesses is superb. It shows the alien *is* smart, not just a shark with legs. And that makes it a duel, not just a brawl.

More chat with the marines and Ripley, hence more character. The marines had a lot of shooting and dying to do, but precious little character. Even the most vocal ones (Hicks, Hudson, Vasquez) were fairly 2D.

Newt isn't just an annoying little kid, she's clearly traumatised *and* she's a survivor with important intel for the marines. She gets more to do than just run away and scream. And she's important for Ripley, who's only recently "lost" her actual daughter.

And Bishop gets more time too. The original didn't make much out of Bishop's android-ness. The extended version does.

So yeah, fraid it's probably you. ;)

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termionmatror

well I never knew Cameron did Terminator!

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Re: termionmatror

Yep:

The Terminator

Aliens

The Abyss

Terminator 2 Judgement Day

And all with no CGI (except for fluids; water or liquid metal, done on an Amiga Video Toaster)

nuff said

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Anonymous Coward

Re: termionmatror

"Terminator 2 Judgement Day

And all with no CGI (except for fluids; water or liquid metal, done on an Amiga Video Toaster)"

Ok, I'll bite. Terminator 2 used an incredible amount of CGI for its time. Around 25 man years of effort went into the CGI in ILM, and they used SGIs for most of the heavy lifting (not an Amiga). Admittedly there were only 5 minutes of CGI footage in the theatrical release.

My Masters project was in Computer Graphics in 94/95, and I remember a lot of the early CG films like T2 and Jurassic Park, not least of which because I used some of the models in my research.

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Alert

Please consider not promoting Amazon in the future, for many reasons but most recently this:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/04/amazon-british-operation-corporation-tax

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