Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from director Ridley Scott is the 1979 alien horror film that put everyone in fright mode with the 40th Anniversary of ALIEN.
Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), along with crew Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), Parker (Yaphet Kotto), Ash (Ian Holm) and Kane (John Hurt) are on the commercial space ship Nostromo. Awaken from hyper-sleep by Mother, they are told that a transmission of unknown origin needs to be investigated.
On LV-426 Dallas, Lambert and Kane land and discovers odd surroundings that make no sense. Kane is lowered down to a place he believes is some kind of hatchery and what happens next scares the crew beyond belief. Returning to the ship, Dallas explains to Ripley that something has attached itself to Kane’s helmet and she refuses to let them aboard citing possible contamination.
Ash overrides Ripley opening the door allowing Kane in who is brought to the infirmary. The process then begins to remove what ever it is on Kane’s face causing what could only be considered as acid to break through the metal of the ship. Surprising everyone, the organism falls off Kane’s face and he seems fine. That is until a creature emerges from Kane that hides in the ship.
Now the survivors must go inch by inch through the ship to find the creature. Realizing it can hide in the smallest of spaces they must find a way to track and keep it from taking the entire crew.
Sometimes the scariest things come from inside!
Weaver as Ripley took 1979 by storm as a woman who is smart, inventive and questions everything around her. She took this role and made it iconic in showing another characteristic, that of true fear. Weaver made an impact that has reverberated for years (at least 40 of them with this film) and with her return in ALIENS in 1986, ALIENS 3 in 1992 and ALIEN: Resurrection in 1997, it has become clear she is Ellen Ripley and we will accept no other.
Skerritt as Dallas is a Captain who does what he is told by the computer Mother. Once he realizes that what was brought on board is nothing short of a holy terror, he is always the first one in much to his detriment. Cartwright as Lambert knows that what is now aboard is coming for them all and she has to do her part. Trust when I say that Cartwright’s characters fear is palatable and frightening.
Stanton as Brett is a man with a plan and that plan is to make sure he gets more money for all the work he thinks he’s done. Joining him in that chorus is Kotto as Parker because he too believes he is worth more than the company thinks he is. These two together bring a few chuckles but when things start to turn, so do their survival instincts.
Hurt as Kane has the most impactful performance because it is that moment on the table during dinner that let us all know our film world would never be the same. Hurt has spent years being a part of the ALIEN franchise because of that scene. I’ve even seen a comedy skit that he did which shows he not only took his role in stride but had a great sense of humor about it.
Holm as Ash would also be a character that would continue on through the franchise in ways we could never have imagined. Ash is a cold (and not just because he lacked blood) individual who only sees how magnificent the alien is holding no animosity for what it is capable of doing.
Of course we can not forget to give credit where terror credit is due and that is the alien itself. Acid for blood, a long narrow head, a whipping tale and a double set of jaws that show no mercy. If it wasn’t for any of those things being put together in a terrifying package, the ALIEN franchise wouldn’t have worked. To our pure enjoyment – it did and to this day still does.
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The Special Features of the 4K Ultra HD and Bluray include The 1979 Theatrical Version and the 2003 Director’s Cut of ALIEN, Audio Commentary by Director Ridley Scott, Cast and Crew, Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott (Theatrical Version Only), Introduction by Ridley Scott (Directors Cut Only and Bluray Only), Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith, Composer’s Original Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith and Deleted and Extended Scenes.
ALIEN: The 40th Anniversary is just as magnificent today as it was in 1979. There isn’t anything about this film that needs to be critiqued nor should anyone really try except to say that this film is a work of art. It has done what films that excel were meant to do – not withstand the test of time but not be affected by time.
Experiencing ALIEN now, every aspect of space, the ship, the surroundings, the technology feel as if it could have been film today. Each of the films does that actually and I am a huge fan of ALIEN binge watching several times a year. Only good filmmaking can bring that about for me.
Ridley Scott opens the film speaking about the 1979 film version saying he is really proud of it and now with DVD there have been adjustment and changes he felt were needed. He is reintroducing footage in the 2003 version making “minor adjustments because after 25 years you see little things you like to adjust. I hope you agree with me and enjoy it”.
What 4K Ultra HD/Bluray and Digital copy of ALIEN brings is the original 1979 theatrical version of the film and the 2003 Director’s Cut. The 4K Ultra is absolutely clear and stunning in its color and presentation, just thought I’d through that personal observation in again. Having them both known as the best of both outer worlds!
In the end – in space no one can hear you scream.