Movie Review: ALIEN 40th Anniversary (4K UHD Combo Pack)

ALIEN was directed by Ridley Scott from a screenplay by Dan O’Bannon that was based on a story by O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The film stars Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto.

In the film that birthed the wildly successful ALIEN franchise, the crew of the deep space tug Nostromo awaken from stasis during a voyage home to Earth when their ship’s computer detects what is believed to be an alien distress signal coming from the desolate nearby moon, LV-426. While investigating, one of the crew, Kane (John Hurt), is attacked by an alien creature that latches to his face and he is rushed back to the Nostromo to receive medical treatment. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the ship’s warrant officer, advises against Kane’s return due to quarantine regulations – but her orders are ignored by Ash (Ian Holm), bringing the Nostromo under threat from a mysterious, extraterrestrial apex predator with violent and lethal survival instincts.

This 1979 sci-fi horror classic takes place in the year 2122 and follows Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt); Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver); Executive Officer Kane (John Hurt); Navigator Lambert (Veronica Cartwright); Engineer Brett (Harry Dean Stanton); Engineer Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and Science Officer Ash (Ian Holm), the crew of the Nostromo, a commercial towing ship that receives what appears to be a distress signal where “Mother,” the ship’s computer awakens the crew from sleep stasis. They quickly decide to investigate the moon where the signal originated from where one of the crew member’s stumbles upon some eggs and when one hatches, the “Facehugger” emerges from it and latches on to him.

What happens is, the crew takes their injured team mate back to the Nostromo and after they get back to the ship it cuts lose from its host that has unknowingly been left altered. The crew thinks they’ve dodged a major disaster but it doesn’t take long for another terrifying discovery to present itself. The crew member has been impregnated and the alien bursts from his chest and quickly runs away. This leaves the crew in shock as they try to come up with a plan to locate and capture the little alien. To make matters worse, they also find out they have a malfunctioning android on board. As time passes, this mysterious creature is rapidly growing until it fully matures as the adult-size “Xenomorph,” an extraterrestrial killing machine. This creature begins to hunt down and kill each crew member one by one until it comes down to Ellen Ripley, the soul survivor who finally finds a way to outsmart the creature and exterminate it.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. These Ultra HD movies all come in black keep cases which helps them easily standout from the popular blue cases that have been around since day one. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The UHD disc is black and features the movie logo and the Blu-ray disc features matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this 4K upgrade were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio for this release.

Bottom line is, Alien is the perfect mixture of science fiction and horror and it’s a trendsetter in many ways. The story is interesting and the movie features an impressive cast plus it launched the career of Sigourney Weaver who went on to reprise her role as Ellen Ripley in many of the sequels. Alien features an unforgettable creature design by H. R. Giger that has definitely stood the test of time. The sets, suits, ships and creatures all have an amazing design to them. This terrifying sci-fi horror classic has spawned countless sequels over the years, all staying true to the original concept of the “Facehugger” and “Xenomorph,” with a few tweaks here and there, considering the host’s DNA makeup. There’s also the score by Jerry Goldsmith that fits Alien perfectly and helps make this movie what it is – a cinematic masterpiece. Ridley Scott is a great storyteller and has directed so many unforgettable movies over the years but to me this is his best movie. Alien has received a number of home video releases over the years, from DVD to Blu-ray, and now it’s finally making its 4K debut and the movie looks and sounds amazing. Alien is celebrating its 40th anniversary and will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital) on April 23rd.

Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Run Time: 1979 Theatrical Cut – 116 Minutes / 2003 Director’s Cut – 116 Minutes

Rated: R

4K UHD Video: 2160p Ultra High-Definition Widescreen (2.40:1)

4K UHD Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 / English DTS-HD Master Audio 4.1 (Theatrical Version Only), English Surround DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 / Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 / French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 / English Dolby Digital 4.1 (Theatrical Version Only), English Surround Dolby Digital / Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 / French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Special Features: Unfortunately there’s nothing new on this 4K release. The extras have been imported over from previous home video releases and include two cuts of the movie, two audio commentary tracks, director’s introduction, two isolated score tracks, seven deleted scenes and a digital copy of the movie.

  • Theatrical Cut and Director’s Cut
  • 2003 Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott and the Cast & Crew
  • 1999 Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott (Theatrical Version Only)
  • Introduction by Ridley Scott (Director’s Cut Only, Blu-ray Only)
  • Final Theatrical Isolated Score (Theatrical Version Only)
  • Composer’s Original Isolated Score (Theatrical Version Only)
  • Deleted Scenes with Footage Marker (06:39)
  • Digital Copy
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