The Alien Anthology is the most complete collection of the Alien films, two versions of each film included, and enough bonus content that this is actually an encyclopedia on a six disc set.
Film making 20/25
Bonus Features 25/25
The Alien Anthology has the most bonus features and extra content you could ever want for a series of movies, this is the most bonus content in any film I have heard of so far. I usually start my reviews with a breakdown of the film but the bonus features make this set a real winner but the films are also great.
I have literally never seen so many extra features and such a great well made set of films turned into one complete package. The set includes two editions of each film, Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection along with two discs of bonus content and a new way to watch the films.
Two great features of this set are the MU-TH-ER mode and the back to back ability of watching the films with as little interruption between them. When you first start watching the first film or any of the others and you pop the next one in it will jump to the editions menu instead of going through all the FBI warnings and other intro garbage.
Now on to a brief intro, Alien is the start of it all and an icon in science fiction horror, the Nostromo is towing an ore refinery and millions of tons of ore back to earth. The computer, MU-TH-ER, awakens the crew from cryogenic sleep early because it has detected a distress signal and they have to check it out.
On a wrecked alien vessel three members of the crew searching for some clue about the signal find an old alien set of bones. While searching one of the crew climbs on top of some structure and finds a nest of alien eggs, a small crab like creature jumps at him and attaches itself to his helmet.
The other two crew members rush him back to their ship and they argue about bringing him back in with those inside because of quarantine procedures. One of their crew lets them in against Ripley’s objections and the cut the helmet of the poor crew member with the alien stuck to his face.
The alien seems to just fall of the man’s face after they unsuccessfully tried to remove it and were deciding what to do about the situation. The alien inside him bursts through his chest in that classic alien way and the crew spend the rest of the film chasing down an ever changing and growing alien.
Ripley, Sigourney Weaver, is the recurring star of the series of films but others have also gotten their chance against the alien creatures throughout the four films. She was the pilot of the Nostromo and only her and the ships cat survives the first encounter.
Aliens starts with Ripley waking from her cryogenic sleep after dumping the alien out the hatch of her escape pod and being rescued by the company, Weyland-Yutani. The company blames her for blowing up the Nostromo, the refinery and the billions of dollars worth of ore.
After questioning her the company sends her to work on the docks instead of being a pilot, but not for long, they need her for a consulting job. A colony is terraforming the planet that the alien ship crash landed and are no longer in contact.
The marines are on their way to deal with the situation but a company man has his own orders, the outpost that is terraforming the planet is expensive. The alien would also make a great experimental subject for the company as a weapon or whatever.
The marines land with Ripley and company man Burke in tow to find all the colonists missing expert for one little girl who has been hiding from the monsters. The group does find the personal locators of the colonists deep inside the power plant and go to rescue them or at least find out what has happened to them.
Aliens attack, marines go down and eventually Ripley, one marine named Hicks and the little girl, Newt, escape the planet with parts of an android that was also with the group of marines. Aliens was a great action horror flick and was in my opinion the best of the Alien films, not only great but with iconic moments that are still popular in culture.
Both Alien and Aliens made movie history and started several different cinema trends and catch phrases, “They can just bill me.” and “Game over man, game over.” come to mind. The best one and probably the one most often heard is “Get away from her, you bitch.” but just words are not the only things that made it big with these films.
Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection are not the best of the series but they still do have their moments and are worthy of being included with this series, aside from being about the same Alien species. Alien 3 occurs directly following second film when Ripley kills the queen and Newt, Ripley and sergeant Hicks go to cryogenic sleep for the trip home.
A fire on board the Sulaco starts the escape sequence where the cryogenic tubes are loaded onto an escape pod and the survivors are jettisoned from the marines craft. The escape pod crashes onto a prison refinery planet that only has a caretaker crew on the planet and a couple of managers.
The prisoners who remained chose to because they found a new religion and wanted to stay as a group instead of move elsewhere. During the crash landing the girl Newt and Hicks die and the android that the queen alien ripped in half at the end of Aliens is in even worse shape.
Ripley wonders about how the Sulaco caught on fire and if she has an alien inside her while one egg on board the escape pod does get a hold of a dog and turns out an alien. This one is a bit different than the previous alien versions but bad enough to kill one after another of the 25 prisoners and start the fun all over again.
Ripley does find out she has a little bun in the oven but not the kind you can be proud of, she has little time to help the prisoners deal with their alien problem. The two company men on the planet have called in the company to rescue Ripley and think that is all they are after.
The company sends a rescue crew but they only want what Ripley has in her guts and not her, they want the aliens for study and the possibility of a new weapon. The last few guys on the planet do wind up killing the alien and Ripley jumps into the furnace so she kills the alien that bursts out of her chest as she is falling.
Alien Resurrection happens some 200 years later with a military scientist group cloning Ripley and using her as an incubator for an alien queen. They breed several aliens using people they buy from kidnappers who find ships traveling the vast voids of space with people in cryogenic sleep.
The group of mercenary kidnappers has an android among them who is also trying to find Ripley but not to help her, she wants Ripley dead. When some of the aliens escape their confinement mayhem again ensues with Ripley along with the mercenaries and the android killing the aliens and the queen.
They do find out that the military scientists have also bred an alien human hybrid and they need to deal with this soon. The ship they are onboard has an automatic system that returns the ship to earth if anything malfunctions so they need to kill the new queen before it gets to earth.
The last two films rate about average, somewhere around a 50 out of 100 while the first two films are way better, Alien is about a 95 while Aliens is a perfect film. From ratings on the internet it is not hard to see that the first two films and especially Aliens will go down in cinematic history.
The four films in one set, and being able to watch them in a marathon session with the minimum interruption between is fantastic. A cinematic thrill ride that makes the bonus content that much better, just kidding, you could not have one without the other.
There is really no way to fully describe the bonus features other than over the top and then some, the films even with credits all run under two hours. Just rounding upwards to six hours of film, the bonus films included are longer than the originals, the bonus content is at least 10 times the amount of film.
There are over 60 hours of bonus content included in the six discs of the set, two full discs extra plus content on all four movie discs. Audio commentary, picture in picture, making of features from all four films and new material to round out any you may have possibly seen with other editions released earlier.
There is so much here that you need a menu system and an index to get around the various discs with all the content so they made one up for you. Not only do you have a six disc spanning menu system in the MU-TH-ER mode but an index for the last two discs.
This is the most complete collection of Alien everything and they even included specials on how they made this collection and set, you could not ask for more. The Alien Anthology is fantastic and you could not get any better, I am not going to bother with the basics of video or audio as the four films are about as good as you could expect for Blu-ray.
All four films with regards to audio and video are great to almost perfect and have the usual great DTS-HD Master Audio along with all the bells and whistles you would expect. Audio and video are great and in working on this whole project they also took the time to make sure that all the films looked and sounded as good as they could.
The Alien Anthology costs about $75 to $90 depending on where you buy it or any sales you can find, not a bad price for two versions of four films. The bonus content alone makes this set a fantastic bargain and if you have never bought any of the movies on Blu-ray this is a fantastic set.
This is the first film series of its kind and is something I can easily see studios working toward in the future, a new type of cinematic set that includes way more bonus content than the films. The Alien Anthology is here and totally worth the price if you want the set of films in one package and if you’re at all interested in how they made any of the films.