Alien: Resurrection / Special Edition

WSR Score3
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20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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109 / 116
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Not Indicated
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Jean-Pierre Jeunet
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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"Alien: Resurrection" is the fourth in the landmark "Alien" motion picture series. An unholy combination of human and alien genetics is discovered, made possible by an uneasy alliance between a renegade band of smugglers and a zealous cadre of scientists and officials. One subject is familiar, a woman horrifically linked to the alien species that now elicits so much scrutiny. Ripley is back and all is not what it seems. To combat the alien menace, Ripley must join forces with the smugglers, including an enigmatic mechanic named Annalee Call (Ryder), who may be the instrument of Ripley's resurrection—or the weapon of her destruction. (Gary Reber)

Housed inside the Alien Anthology Six-Disc Ultimate Collection box, and slipped part way inside a picture book, "Alien Resurrection" is available to view either as the 1997 theatrical version (01:48:48) or the 2003 Special Edition (01:56:08). Special features include the 2003 commentary by Ridley Scott and The Cast And Crew; the theatrical isolated score (1997 version only); 11 deleted scenes; 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 "One Step Beyond: Making Alien Resurrection" (SD 10:10) and "Enhancement Pods" (SD 01:15:17) for "Alien Resurrection." Disc Six is "The Alien Anthology Archives," and it includes Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production And Aftermath for the film "Alien Resurrection." 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.

The DVD reviewed in Issue 33 exhibited considerably less noise and artifacts than the previously reviewed "Alien: Resurrection" in Issue 29. Issue 33's anamorphically enhanced, THX® digitally mastered DVD exhibited increased vertical and horizontal resolution, and contrast and shadow delineation were refined with superior visual information in the darkest scenes. Color fidelity was excellent, with rich and vibrant hues and deep, pure blacks. All aspects of visual quality were excellent, and there were no distracting artifacts of any kind. Most notably was the lack of irritating moiré patterns apparent on the "Alien: Resurrection" LaserDisc. The anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1-framed DVD reviewed in Issue 81 exhibited a picture that was very similar to the previously released DVD (Issue 33), though, an effort was made to clean up the picture a bit. Flecks of dirt apparent on the previous edition were all but absent on this DVD. Color fidelity was virtually the same, with lots of browns and golds, blown-out whites, and blacks that dropped off with little delineation. It was a harshly stylized picture that was often extremely dark, at times, appearing a bit pasty. There was some edge enhancement noticed at times, but nothing that was too obtrusive. Pixelization and loss of finer details were also occasionally noticed. This all-new 4K master and 1080p AVC Blu-ray Disc version, unlike the previous three films, appears harshly edgy, with enhanced grain, resulting is a less-resolved picture. While resolution at times does exhibit fine rendering, the clarity is limited to detail revealed in close-ups of facial features and object textures. Blacks, at times, appear crushed, with poor detail. The same is true for shadow delineation, which is inconsistent. At times shadows are nicely defined and revealing, but at other times detail is veiled. As with the previous films, the imagery is cast in dark environments, though, here a tad crushed in clarity. The interiors of the USM Auriga Medical Research Vessel are hued in brownish tones, with filtered lighting effects, for a stylized look. The color palette is limited to subdued hues, though, at times colors can be vivid and bold. Fleshtones are sepia-toned rather than naturally hued. Blacks are solid and deep but often lack detail. The picture often appears soft. Still, dimensionality can be good. Overall, this is a darkly lit presentation that suppresses resolution. But still, at times, effectively engaging. (Gary Reber)

Issue 33's DVD "Alien Resurrection" soundtrack intensified all 5.1 discrete channels at very high SPL levels. Surround envelopment was directionalized with effective use of split surrounds. The Dolby® Digital 5.1 soundtrack reviewed in Issue 81 sounded the same as the audio for the previous DVD. The DTS® Digital Surround™ audio (new to that release) exhibited slight refinements in terms of spatial articulation and deep bass content. This was the best soundtrack of the "Alien" series in some respects, with very good fidelity as well as the expected standout attributes of aggressive spatial engagement and clean, powerful low-end impact. There was prominent split surround activity throughout and remarkably wide dynamic range. 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" and "Aliens 3," 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, with gunfire punchuating the rear-channel surround loudspeakers, and massive brutal explosions filling the soundfield. The sound is dynamic as well, with remarkable low-level resolution of atmospheric sounds and Foley. The John Frizzell music score is familiarly eerie and haunting, providing an intense mysterious presence, with a wide and deep soundstage presence that extends into the surrounds. Dialogue is integrated spatially, with bleed from the center channel to the left and right front channels, but the sound is a bit muffled at times. Fidelity is excellent overall. This is a powerfully dynamic soundtrack that effectively delivers a sense of enveloping immersion and dimensionality and thrilling excitement and terror. (Gary Reber)