Alien Quadrilogy

Alien Quadrilogy
The Alien series (more specifically, Alien and Aliens) has always rightfully been viewed as one of the most terrifying and original blendings of horror, sci-fi, action and suspense, giving rise to some of modern film's best directors (Cameron, Scott, Fincher), creating some of the most disturbing visuals of all-time and the mould for the action heroine. But after wading through the exhaustive features on this humongous nine-disc box-set, they can add drama, because the amount of turmoil, politicking, backstabbing and near-disastrous decisions littered throughout the extras in relation to the films and their creation is the stuff that makes film geeks wet themselves. It's common knowledge that director David Fincher had his battles with Fox, swearing off any involvement with Alien 3 after its completion, but less known are the troubles James Cameron and producer/then wife Gale Anne Hurd had filming Aliens in England, culture-clashing with the crew, who walked on Cameron at one point, fighting with the composer and recasting Hicks after filming had begun. Or the inconceivable fact that Alien 3 was basically shot without a finished script, after the green-lighting of a wooden world filled with monks was just as quickly red-lighted, bringing on then first-time director Fincher to salvage Fox's box-office franchise, placing him in an impossible situation. Or the fact that it's implied that Sigourney Weaver didn't want to do Alien 3 with the Hicks or Newt characters, which is possibly why they were killed, despite Cameron's desire to have the third feature the three. Still, it would all be so much dirt-dishing and revisionist history clashing amongst the constant accolades of how great everyone is who worked on the series if the films weren't so good (again, Alien and Aliens), the Alien so viscerally drawn from a sexual psychotic's nightmare, the legacy so established in both pop culture and cinema, and the effort put forth into compiling the Quadrilogy so dauntingly impressive. Assembled here are both the theatrical and special editions of Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection, complete with commentaries from its director (save Fincher), cast, crew and writers, an impossible amount of featurettes covering almost every angle, original scripts, documentaries, and more for Alien-philes. The meat is the special editions, with Ridley Scott's recently released special edition of Alien (complete with added nest scene) and the approximation of Alien 3 to Fincher's original cut being the standouts (as Cameron's extended Aliens cut has been available for years and the new Resurrection footage is not earth-shattering). Alien in particular still stands as the scariest and best of the series, with its combination of artistry and terror, while 3, which illustrates Fincher's strikingly under-lit style, makes more sense, and its interchangeable prison characters gain more distinction. And considering the lack of script and studio struggles revealed here, it's remarkable it came out as good as it did. The commentaries are fine but aim to include too many voices, as a number of tracks are edited together for each movie; the highlights are usually the directors (Cameron, Scott) while the cast is usually good for some humour, but they may have been better served giving the directors their own separate tracks. Although light on Sigourney Weaver (the anchor of the series) and Cameron, and featuring a lot of Scott (a good thing), the set is so overwhelming in its scope that it makes Quadrilogy one of the most definitive sets on a series ever released. (Fox)