Alien 3 / Special Edition

WSR Score3
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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115 / 145
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Not Indicated
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David Fincher
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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The action in "Alien 3" begins after Ellen Ripley (Weaver), the last human survivor from Aliens, crash lands on a dark and gloomy prison-planet, unaware that one of the aliens has joined her for the ride. The planet is occupied by an all-male group of messianic murderers and rapists with shaved heads. To make matters worse, apparently yet another alien, and embryonic queen, has ensconced itself in Ripley's stomach. Unfortunately, this fascinating premise never gets fully developed. (Gary Reber)

Housed inside the Alien Anthology Six-Disc Ultimate Collection box, and slipped part way inside a picture book, "Alien 3" is available to view either as the 1992 theatrical version (01:54:52) or the 2003 Special Edition (02:24:52). Special features include the 2003 commentary by Ridley Scott and The Cast And Crew; the final theatrical isolated score (1992 version only); a deleted scene footage marker; and MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience With Weyland-Yutani Datastream. Disc Five in the set is Making The Alien Anthology, and it features over 12 hours of documentaries, including "Wreckage And Rage: Making Alien 3" (SD 17:42) and "Enhancement Pods" (SD 01:14:03) for "Alien 3." Disc Six is "The Alien Anthology Archives," and it includes Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production And Aftermath for the film "Alien 3." Featured are screen tests, storyboard archives, portrait galleries, deleted scenes, poster galleries, trailers, and TV spots. On the "Anthology" section of Disc Six there is the Alien Evolution (2001 Original TV Version), Alien Evolution (2003 Alien Re-Edit), The Alien Saga, Aliens 3D Attraction, Aliens In The Basement: The Bob Burns Collection, Parodies, Dark Horse Still Gallery, and Patches And Logos Gallery. Also included is a MU-TH-UR Mode Viewer's Guide booklet.

Reviewed in Issue 81, the anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1-framed DVD picture for the theatrical version appeared to be virtually the same as the previous edition (Issue 33), though, alternate scenes on the Special Edition exhibited adjustments in color and contrast. As with "Aliens," there could be some inherent softness in the picture, but otherwise detail was very nicely rendered. There could be a minor edginess to some of the higher contrast scenes, but hardly resembled anything like the annoying halos that were apparent on many DVDs of the period. This all-new 4K master and 1080p AVC Blu-ray Disc version has resulted, as with "Aliens," in a finely grained pristine picture, with exceptional clarity compared to the previous DVD. Resolution is finely rendered throughout, with exceptional detal revealed in close-ups of facial features and object textures. The opening scenes in the slaughter house surrounding the birth scene of the Alien creature are nicely resolved and dimensional. Every thread of clothing is displayed perfectly, as well as complex object textures. The Alien creature is incredibly detailed in texture and density. The color palette is perfectly natural, and the contrast between human hues and the other brownish, grayish, and black hues of the "maximum security institutional" environment and creature is dramatic. Contrast is superb, with revealing shadow delineation, which enhances the darkly lit harsh environments, while naturally portraying the interiors. Outer space vistas are spectacularly rendered and dimensional. Blacks are solid and nicely defined, with satisfying dimensionality. Fleshtone hues are naturally rendered and provide life-infused color, as do the warm, brownish hues depicted in scenes. Colors can be vivid and bold, with rich and warm firey hues. The is a remarkable picture, with impressive resolution and dimensional impact that is the definitive reference for this science fiction classic. (Gary Reber)

The "Alien 3" soundtrack reviewed in Issue 33 outperformed the matrix PCM LaserDisc in spatial dimensionality and dynamic impact. The use of aggressive split surrounds created an exciting soundfield experience, with phantom center back imaging. The Dolby® Digital 5.1 soundtrack reviewed as part of the "Alien Quadrilogy" in Issue 81 was slightly higher in overall level, but otherwise sounded similar to the previous DVD release. Like "Aliens," the soundtrack exceled, with aggressive and energetic soundstage delivery, along with very impressive dynamic range and powerful deep bass content. The difference was that the "Alien 3" audio sounded a bit more up-to-date in terms of fidelity. This was a rather loud soundtrack, and peak sound pressure levels could seem somewhat harsh. This Blu-ray Disc version's sound has been remastered and encoded in the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel format. The enhanced refinement in fidelity, clarity, low-level resolution, and spatiality are evident, and the bass extension in the .1 LFE channel is extended to sub-25 Hz impact. As with "Aliens," surround envelopment is holosonic®, aggressively dimensional, and powerful. At times all channels put out extreme SPL energy. The panning of sound effects is quite effective. The sound is dynamic as well, with remarkable low-level resolution of atmospheric sounds and Foley. The Elliot Goldenthal music score is eerie and haunting, providing an intense mysterious presence, with a wide and deep soundstage presence that extends into the surrounds. Dialogue is impressively integrated spatially, with bleed from the center channel to the left and right front channels. Fidelity is excellent. This is a powerfully dynamic soundtrack, with impressive low-level reprieves and one that effectively delivers a sense of enveloping immersion and dimensionality, for dramatically enhanced excitement and terror. (Gary Reber)