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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Aliens
Aliens
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 4, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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Director James Cameron's take for the sequel may have been different than original film director Ridley Scott's, but it's no less exciting and actually, a much more intense action ride than the original, choosing to go the route of solid visual thrills rather than the intensely spooky tone of the original. It may have a slightly slow start, but there's no denying that once this film gets started it barely stops for a moment to take a breath.

This film centers around Ripley(Sigorney Weaver)'s return to the planet where the original film took place to save a band of colonists on that same planet who have not been heard from. She goes back with a small army to investigate and find that the aliens have risen again.

Performances are strong, especially Weaver as Ripley and Bill Paxton. The only performance that annoyed me is Paul Reiser(thankfully "Mad About You" is now off the air- started off great, ended badly.). Overall, it's an incredibly thrilling film that starts really going halfway into the film and never stops the intense pace.

THE DVD:
VIDEO QUALITY: A stunningly "film-like" transfer that is from a high-definition master of the film. The digitally mastered film-to-tape transfer is letterboxed at 1.85:1 and doesn't display many problems at all: there are a few scenes that look rather grainy, but other than that, I wasn't able to find much not to like here. There are a few instances of small artifacts, but nothing that would be distracting from the viewing experience. This is supposedly a large improvement over the previously released director's cut laserdisc. I can't imagine a format where this film has possibly looked better than this: images are for the most part quite pleasingly crisp and the attention to detail is, like the disc for the first film, quite impressive. Color saturation and contrast are quite good and colors are accurately rendered throughout. Flesh tones are natural and realistic, as well. The layer change is at 1:04:10. It's not a perfect transfer, but I think it's a serious improvement over any previous edition of this film and it is certainly quite excellent at times. Like the edition for the first film, I think fans will be very pleased with the strength and definition of the image on this DVD transfer. For a film that is about 13 years old, this transfer still looks excellent and when it really looks good, it's thrillingly presented; sharp and clear with accurate and excellent detail.

SOUND: Certainly different than the first disc in terms of the tone of the film, this film is more of an action film and the sound reflects that. Deeper and more forceful, surrounds are more frequently used and active, bringing forth a really terrifying experience strongly. Bass is rich and deep, adding a solid punch to the proceedings. Dialogue is pretty strong; full and natural sounding throughout.

MENUS: Ultra-cool menus that I liked just as much as the menus from the first film; these take you down the hallways of the ship and have all of the little "sensors" animated. When you make a selection, it transforms into a different "area" with the same set-up .

EXTRAS: Not quite as packed as the first disc, there still are quite a few nice extra features here.

Director's Cut 17 minutes of additional footage has been added back into the film itself.

Behind The Scenes There are eight pretty short behind-the-scenes looks at the making of certain parts of the film. These clips are fairly short, only at the most a couple of minutes in length. Still, it's pretty cool to see how these creatures were tested and made. Like most of the other menus on the first film's disc, on the "behind-the-scenes" clips here, when you select a clip, you get a picture on the other side of the screen from the clip and a description of what you are about to watch.

Trailers: This disc has trailers for Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien:Resurrection.

Photo Gallery: Again, like the first disc, this disc has a rather giant photo gallery that contains images of the cast, crew, production designs and a whole lot more. I liked that here, the pictures were seperated into more categories so that viewers can browse them easier. Again on this disc, there are an absolutely incredible amount of images to look through and I'm sure fans will enjoy spending hours looking through the various designs, pictures and artwork.

James Cameron Interview: A slightly interesting interview with James Cameron from 1986, this 12 minute interview is nice to have, but it would've been nice to hear from Cameron now.

Overview: With a few slight exceptions, a fantastic looking transfer of James Cameron's thrill-fest. Fox has done a really nice job with this film as well and hopefully, they can start having all discs as anamorphic. I think that this is a really strong disc and well worth the price. Highly recommended.

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