Alien Anthology 6 disc Blu-ray Set

Alien Anthology (1979-1997)
Brace yourself for a whole new breed of Blu-ray: Four powerful films…eight thrilling versions…in dazzling, terrifying, high-def clarity with the purest digital sound on the planet. Two bonus discs and over 65 hours of archival and never-before-seen content, including the totally immersive MU-TH-UR mode feature, makes this definitive Alien collection!

Get ready for the most thorough, encyclopedic, exhaustive collection of Alien-related supplements imaginable. If you’re familiar with the Alien Quadrilogy DVD release, you’ll find all of that material ported over here—Easter eggs, too—along with brand-new “Enhancement Pods” that feature almost five hours of additional material exclusive to this new Blu-ray set, including more behind-the-scenes footage, raw dailies, and interviews. The LaserDisc supplements are here as well, and—David Fincher fans take note—Wreckage and Rage: The Making of Alien 3 has been restored to its original run time. (For the 2003 DVD release, 20th Century Fox controversially cut out sections about Fincher’s struggles with studio intervention.) All told, there are over 60 hours of special features and an unbelievable 12,000 images, from storyboards and sketches to production stills and cast portrait galleries. The sheer amount of material is overwhelming—literally, it would take days to view it all—but Fox has put together an easy-to-navigate menu system that makes accessing the bonus features a breeze. Which brings us to the following:



MU-TH-UR Mode is the Alien Anthology’s interactive BD-Java-powered “experience.” If you turn the mode on while watching the films, an interface appears, partially covering the left side of the frame. From here, you can switch between audio stream content (commentaries and isolated scores) and view the “Weyland-Yutani Datastream,” a glorified trivia track of compiled production notes, anecdotes, and film facts. The main purpose of MU-TH-UR Mode, however, is the “data tags.” I’ll explain. As you view the films, you’ll see a list of special features—pertaining to the specific scene you’re watching—appear on the MU-TH-UR interface. Clicking on a feature creates a “data tag,” which can be recalled when you boot up discs five or six, where most of the supplementary materials or stored. Basically, it’s a way of personalizing and keeping track of what special features you want to watch. While the interface is indeed slick, there are two problems here: 1.) If you’re like me, when you watch a film you like to, you know, watch the fim, not keep track of a list of bonus materials, and 2.) Most fans will want to hit up all of the supplementary materials eventually, making MU-TH-UR Mode seem a bit redundant. The menu system for discs five and six is extremely intuitive, and viewers will have no trouble casually browsing or looking for something specific. There’s even an alphabetical “Datasearch” option, which lets you look up bonus material by topic and then choose from detailed sublists describing all available content. Still, MU-TH-UR Mode is there for those interested. Now, let’s get on to the real show, what’s on the discs themselves:



Disc One: Alien

1979 Theatrical Version
2003 Director’s Cut with Ridley Scott Introduction
2003 Audio Commentary with Director Ridley Scott, Writer Dan O’Bannon, Executive Producer Ronald Shusett, Editor Terry Rawlings, and Actors Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skeritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, and John Hurt
Audio Commentary (for Theatrical Cut only) by Ridley Scott
Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Composer’s Original Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Deleted and Extended Scenes (1080p, 6:39)
Deleted Scene Footage Marker: By activating this option during the Director’s Cut, an on-screen prompt will appear to identify footage not present in the Theatrical release.


Disc Two: Aliens
1986 Theatrical Version
1991 Special Edition with James Cameron Introduction
Audio Commentary with Director James Cameron, Producer Gale Anne Hurd, Alien Effects Creator Stan Winston, Visual Effects Supervisors Robert Skotak and Dennis Skotak, Miniature Effects Supervisor Pat McClung, Actors Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Carrie Henn, and Christopher Henn.
Final Theatrical Isolated Score by James Horner (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Composer’s Original Isolated Score by James Horner (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Deleted and Extended Scenes (1080p, 19:57)


Disc Three: Alien 3
1992 Theatrical Version
2003 Special Edition (Restored Workprint Version)
Audio Commentary (Theatrical Version) by Cinematographer Alex Thomson, Editor Terry Rawlings, Alien Effects Designers Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., Visual Effects Producer Richard Edlund, Actors Paul McGann and Lance Henriksen.
Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Elliot Goldenthal (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Deleted and Extended Scenes (1080p, 49:28): A whopping 31 deleted scenes, many of which are included in the 2003 Special Edition.

Disc Four: Alien Resurrection
1997 Theatrical Version
2003 Special Edition with Jean-Pierre Jeunet Introduction
Audio Commentary by Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Editor Herve Schneid, Alien Effects Creators Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., Visual Effects Supervisor Pitof, Conceptual Artist Sylvain Despretz, Actors Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon, and Leland Orser.
Final Theatrical Isolated Score by John Frizzell (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Deleted and Extended Scenes (1080p, 11:54)


Disc Five: Making the Anthology

The Beast Within: Making Alien (SD)
Star Beast: Developing the Story (18:14)
The Visualists: Direction and Design (14:54)
Truckers in Space: Casting (14:54)
Fear of the Unknown: Shepperton Studios, 1978 (24:03)
The Darkest Reaches: Nostromo and Alien Planet (17:28)
The Eight Passenger: Creature Design (31:35)
Future Tense: Editing and Music (16:28)
Outward Bound: Visual Effects (18:52)
A Nightmare Fulfilled: Reaction to the Film (19:22)

Alien Enhancement Pods (SD, 1:19:43)
Conceiving the Alien Lifecycle
The Influence of Jodorowsky’s Dune
O’Bannon Working with Shusett
Ridley Scott’s Epiphany
Jon Finch Sets the Record Straight
Finding the Right Ripley
Actors as Props
Sigourney Weaver Learns the Ropes
The Functional Art of Ron Cobb
Dailies: Parker and Brett Ad-Lib
That Used Future Look
Bolaji Badejo Alien Movement Tests
Discovering Bolaji Badejo
Giger on Giger
The Distrubing Brilliance of H.R. Giger
James Cameron Dissects Alien
Cocoon of Love
Jerry Goldsmith Recalls Alien
Goldsmith on Silence
The Pros and Cons of Temp Tracks
Same-Sex Relationships in Space
Toy Birds of Destruction
Oscar Night Memories
Test Footage: Nostromo on Forklift
End of a Genre
First Impressions
O’Bannon’s Fight for Credit

Superior Firepower: Making Aliens (SD)
57 Years Later: Continuing the Story (11:05)
Building Better Worlds: From Concept to Construction (13:29)
Preparing for Battle: Casting and Characterization (17:00)
This Time It’s War: Pinewood Studios, 1985 (19:39)
The Risk Always Lives: Weapons and Action (15:12)
Bug Hunt: Creature Design (16:23)
Beauty and the Bitch: Power Loader vs. Queen Alien (22:25)
Two Orphans: Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn (13:48)
The Final Countdown: Music, Editing, and Sound (15:31)
The Power of Real Tech: Visual Effects (27:47)
Aliens Unleashed: Reaction to the Film (12:33)

Aliens Enhancement Pods (SD, 58:31)
Without Sigourney Weaver
Origins of Acheron
Building Hadley’s Hope
Cameron’s Design Philosophy
Finding an Unused Power Plant
Cameron’s Military Interests
Working with Sigourney Weaver
The Importance of Being Bishop
Paul Reiser on Carter Burke
The Paxton/Cameron Connection
Becoming Vasquez
On Set: Infiltrating the Colony
Props: Personal Light Unit
Simon Atherton Talks Weapons
Prasing Stan Winston
Test Footage: Chestburster
Fighting the Facehugger
Test Footage: Facehugger
Stan Winston’s Challenge
Test Footage: Queen Alien
Stan Winston’s Legacy
Cameron’s Cutting Edge
Sigourney Weaver’s Triumph
Re-Enlisting with Cameron
From Producer to Stunt Double

Wreckage and Rage: Making Alien 3 (SD)
Development Hell: Concluding the Story (17:42)
Tales of the Wooden Planet: Vincent Ward’s Vision (13:11)
Stasis Interrupted: David Fincher’s Vision (14:13)
Xeno-Erotic: H.R. Giger’s Redesign (10:20)
The Color of Blood: Pinewood Studios, 1991 (23:42)
Adaptive Organism: Creature Design (20:58)
The Downward Spiral: Creative Differences (14:55)
Where the Sun Burns Cold: Fox Studios, L.A. 1992 (17:33)
Optical Fury: Visual Effects (24:04)
Requiem for a Scream: Music, Editing, and Sound (14:53)
Post-Mortem: Reaction to the Film (8:25)

Alien 3 Enhancement Pods (SD, 1:14:03)
Renny Harlin Quits
Explaining the Wooden Planet
Ezra Swerdlow’s Concerns
Intimidating Baldies
Roaming the Fury 161 Set
The Art of Storyboarding
Hicks’ Alternative Future
Costuming for Character
On Set: Filming the Alien’s POV
Head Casting with Charles Dutton
On Set: Filming the Oxburster
Sausage-Motivated Alien Whippet
Fincher’s Alienation
Lance Henriksen Returns in Style
Sucking Up to Fincher
Detailing the EEV Miniature
Matte Painting Memories
How to Make Alien Acid Saliva
The Sulaco’s Cameo
The Weaver Wagger
Bald Cap Blues
Bragging Rights
Stealing Sigourney’s Top
Creating Alien Sounds from Scratch
Dangerous Location Recording
Painful Low End Frequencies
The Power of Silence
Ripley’s Evolution
Mixed Reactions

One Step Beyond: Making Alien Resurrection (SD)
From the Ashes: Reviving the Story (10:10)
French Twist: Direction and Design (26:09)
Under the Skin: Casting and Characterization (12:45)
Death from Below: Fox Studios, Los Angeles, 1996 (31:36)
In the Zone: The Basketball Scene (6:43)
Unnatural Mutation: Creature Design (26:21)
Genetic Composition: Music (13:10)
Virtual Aliens: Computer Generated Imagery (9:53)
A Matter of Scale: Miniature Photography (22:50)
Critical Juncture: Reaction to the Film (14:28)

Alien Resurrection Enhancement Pods (SD, 1:15:17)
Costuming the Betty Crew
Intentionally Uncomfortable Costumes
Creating Ripley’s New Look
Downsizing the Design
Dueling Design Sensibilities
Breaking the Language Barrier
The Storyboard Bible
Preparing for Action
Winona Ryder Answers the Call
Surviving the Shoot
Swimming with Aliens
The Art of Slime
The Cloning Process
Considering Giger’s Legacy
Newborn Dick Removal
The Evolution of the Alien
Designing the Newborn
Becoming a Film Composer
The Burden of Temp Music
Animating Underwater Aliens
VFX: Knifing Ripley’s Hand
VFX: Shooting Miniature
Abandoning the Bug Opening
Ending After Ending After Ending
Remembering the Premiere
Future Franchise Directions


Disc Six: The Anthology Archives

Alien Pre-Production
First Draft Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon (1080p, text only)
Ridleygrams: Original Thumbnails and Notes (1080p, windowboxed)
Storyboard Archive (1080p, windowboxed)
The Art of Alien: Conceptual Art Portfolio (1080p, windowboxed)
Sigourney Weaver Screen Tests with Select Director Commentary (SD)
Cast Portrait Gallery (1080p, windowboxed)
Alien Production
The Chestbuster: Multi-Angle Sequence with Commentary (SD, 5:28)
Video Graphics Gallery (SD, 5:31)
Production Image Galleries (1080p, windowboxed)
Continuity Polaroids (1080p, windowboxed)
The Sets of Alien (1080p, windowboxed)
H.R. Giger’s Workshop Gallery (1080p, windowboxed
Alien Post-Production and Aftermath
Additional Deleted Scenes (SD, 16:33): Includes seven deleted scenes that were not restored to the Director’s Cut.
Image & Poster Galleries (1080p, windowboxed)
Experience in Terror (SD, 7:10) – Vintage EPK promo.
Special Collector’s Edition LaserDisc Archive (1080p, windowboxed): Replicates the LaserDisc special features in their entirety!
The Alien Legacy (SD, 1:06:53): Yet another making-of documentary.
American Cinematheque: Ridley Scott Q&A (SD, 15:40)
Trailers and TV Spots (SD): Includes two trailers (2:06) and two TV spots (1:02).
Aliens Pre-Production
Original Treatment by James Cameron (1080p, text only)
Pre-Visualizations: Multi-Angle Videomatics with Commentary (SD, 3:13)
Storyboard Archives (1080p, windowboxed)
The Art of Aliens: Image Galleries (1080p, windowboxed)
Cast Portrait Gallery (1080p, windowboxed) Aliens Production
Production Image Galleries (1080p, windowboxed)
Continuity Polaroids (1080p, windowboxed)
Weapons and Vehicles (1080p, windowboxed)
Stan Winston’s Workshop (1080p, windowboxed)
Colonial Marine Helmet Cameras (SD, 5:01)
Video Graphics Gallery (SD, 4:04)
Weyland-Yutani Inquest: Nostromo Dossiers (SD, 3:35)
Aliens Post-Producton and Aftermath
Deleted Scene: Burke Cocooned (SD, 1:31): Carter Burke’s fate revealed!
Deleted Scene Montage (SD, 4:07)
Image Galleries (1080p, windowboxed)
Special Collector’s Edition LaserDisc Archive (1080p, windowboxed)
Main Title Exploration (SD, 2:55)
Aliens: Ride at the Speed of Fright (SD, 8:16): Video footage from the iWerks Entertainment attraction at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
Trailers & TV Spots (SD): Includes four trailers (4:15) and a TV spot (00:32)
Alien 3 Pre-Production
Storyboard Archive (1080p, windowboxed)
The Art of Arceon (1080p, windowboxed)
The Art of Fiorina (1080p, windowboxed)
Alien 3 Prodction
Furnace Construction: Time-Lapse Sequence (SD, 4:35)
EEV Bioscan: Multi-Angle Vignette with Commentary (SD, 2:02)
Production Image Galleries (1080p, windowboxed)
A.D.I.’s Workshop (1080p, windowboxed)
Alien 3 Post-Production and Aftermath
Visual Effects Gallery (1080p, windowboxed)
Special Shoot: Promotional Photo Archive (1080p, windowboxed)
Alien 3 Advance Featurette (SD, 2:56)
The Making of Alien 3 Promotional Featurette (SD, 23:24)
Trailers & TV Spots (SD): Includes five trailers (6:07) and seven TV spots (2:15).
Alien Resurrection Pre-Production
First Draft Screenplay by Joss Whedon (1080p, text only)
Test Footage: A.D.I. Creature Shop with Commentary (SD, 9:51)
Test Footage: Costumes, Hair, and Makeup (SD, 4:40)
Pre-Visualizations: Multi-Angle Rehearsals (SD, 2:52)
Storyboard Archive (1080p, windowboxed)
The Marc Caro Portfolio: Character Designs (1080p, windowboxed)
The Art of Resurrection: Image Galleries (1080p, windowboxed)
Alien Resurrection Production
Production Image Galleries (1080p, windowboxed)
A.D.I.’s Workshop (1080p, windowboxed)
Alien Resurrection Post-Production and Aftermath
Visual Effects Gallery (1080p, windowboxed)
Special Shoot: Promotional Photo Archive (1080p, windowboxed)
HBO First Look: The Making of Alien Resurrection (SD, 25:40)
Alien Resurrection Promotional Featurette (SD, 3:56)
Trailers and TV Spots (SD): Includes two trailers (3:39) and four TV spots (1:24).
Two Versions of Alien Evolution (SD, 48:58 and 1:04:33): A TV retrospective from the U.K. that looks back at the four Alien films.
The Alien Saga (SD, 1:49:02): Another made-for-TV documentary about the four films, narrated by John Hurt.
Aliens 3D Attraction Scripts and Gallery (1080p, windowboxed)
Aliens in the Basement: The Bob Burns Collection (SD, 16:54): An interview with Bob Burns, an obsessive collector of Alien memorabilia.
Parodies (SD): Brief clips from Family Guy (00:32) and Spaceballs (1:47).
Dark Horse Comics Still Gallery (1080p, windowboxed)
Patches and Logos Gallery (1080p, windowboxed)


A Note on the Packaging
The packaging is exceptionally sturdy and very sleek, starting with the thick cardboard slipcover that holds the set together. Inside, you’ll find what I can only describe as a dense cardboard book, with a heavy duty cover and 11 pages made from 2-3 mm cardboard stock. Each disc slides into a semi-circular slit in its respective page; the fit is snug, but the discs are easy to remove and replace, so I don’t foresee any damage from accidental scratching. The pages between each film are adorned with artwork and the back page has a folder for the “MU-TH-UR Mode Viewer’s Guide.” Fingerprints show up easily on the glossy black slipcover, but otherwise, I have no complaints. The discs are safely housed, the case has a satisfying heft, and the art design is simple and iconic. Overall, this is one of the most well-constructed multi-film Blu-ray box sets.

Disc Unbound
If you’re having an Alien Anthology marathon, you’ll definitely appreciate this feature, as it drastically cuts down on the load time between discs. Here’s what the included leaflet says:

“Navigating the multi-disc experience of the Alien Anthology is made even faster with a revolutionary, seamless “unbound” experience that bridges your viewing between discs. Upon ejecting any disc in the anthology, a Weyland-Yutani corporate logo will appear if your player supports this feature. You may then insert another Alien Anthology disc in the set to continue your experience right away. You will bypass the standard logos and disclaimers and jump right back into the action with the Alien Anthology disc you’ve just inserted. To terminate your Alien Anthology experience, just press STOP on your remote to clear the screen and return to the player’s menu, or you may choose to shut down your player.”


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