Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Aliens DVD (1986)

Ripley's run of bad luck continues in this combat hungry all-action sequel to Alien, as she leads a commando assault on not one but hordes of aliens. Directed by James Cameron, this is hailed as one of his finest movies but what you might not have realised without this kick ass two-disc set (available as part of the nine disc Quadrilogy release) is that Cameron was doing some very clever commitment juggling. Added to that, a Brit revolt nearly killed the movie stone dead.

Hug Me

Choose the director's cut over the original theatrical version and you get 17-minutes worth of extra scenes. Both cuts look and sound the same, though the surprise is that the picture quality is not as good as Alien. The difference is small but Cameron was happy with the last transfer done for DVD. That said, the image is clearer than on the old DVD thanks to some clean-up work. Highlights of the new material include the facehugger being found in the derelict ship and introduced to the colony with none too pleasant results. As James Cameron informs us on a fact-stuffed commentary, it turns out that while writing Aliens, he was also committed to re-working The Terminator and penning the script for Rambo: First Blood Part II at the same time!

Pre-Production

If you ever wondered why this sequel didn't come along sooner, you'll find the answer in 57 Years Later, a documentary which also reveals how important the success of The Terminator was to the movie being made. The look of Aliens is comprehensively dealt with in Building Better Worlds, while Lance Henriksen once again proves himself to be quite the method man as he discusses splitting his fingers while practising the knife trick for a whole month!

Production

Effects maestro Stan Winston has an interesting take on Jim Cameron, describing him in the This Time It's War featurette as being "cursed with a vision". The feature also reveals the problems between Cameron and his British crew: at one point, Jim threatened to shut production down. Gasp more as The Risk Always Lives featurette uncovers three near disasters that almost cost lives on what was a torturous shoot for all involved.

Post-Production

Fans of miniature effects will love The Power Of Real Tech documentary, which contains fascinating footage of the two sound stages that were entirely taken up with miniatures for the movie. Old-fashioned effects like stop-motion were still in use, and the ingenuity of Robert and Dennis Skotak really is something to marvel at.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Audio commentary with James Cameron, producer Gale Anne Hurd, alien effects creator Stan Winston, visual effects supervisors Robert and Dennis Skotak, miniature effects supervisor Pat McCluny, and actors Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Carrie and Christopher Henn
  • 57 Years Later development featurette
  • Original Treatment by James Cameron text feature
  • Building Better Worlds conceptual art featurette
  • The Art Of Aliens conceptual art portfolio
  • Previsualisations multi-angle videomatics
  • Preparing For Battle casting featurette
  • Cast Portrait Gallery photo archive
  • This Time It's War 'making of' documentary
  • Production Gallery photo archive
  • Continuity Polaroids
  • The Risk Always Lives weapons and action featurette
  • The Sets Of Alien photo archive
  • Weapons and vehicles photo archive
  • Bug Hunt creature design featurette
  • Beauty And The Bitch alien queen design documentary
  • The Final Countdown music editing and sound featurette
  • The Power Of Real Tech visual effects documentary
  • Visual Effects Gallery photo archive
  • Aliens Unleashed critical reaction featurette
  • Film Finish And Release photo archive
  • This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-N5 DVD player.

    Technical Information

    REGION SOUND MENUS RATIO
    2 Dolby Digital 5.1 Animated, with spooky music 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
    CHAPTERS SUBTITLES AUDIO TRACKS
    42 None English
    CAPTIONS EXTRAS SUBTITLES CERTIFICATE
    English All of the special features come with subtitles 18

    End Credits

    Director: James Cameron

    Writer: James Cameron

    Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser, Bill Paxton

    Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Thriller

    Length: 131 minutes

    Cinema: 1986

    DVD: 08 December 2003

    Country: USA