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TheAlien Quadrilogyis a nine-disc boxed set devoted to the fourAlienfilms. Although previously available on DVD as theAlien Legacy, here they have been repackaged with vastly more extras and with upgraded sound and picture. For anyone who hasn't been in hypersleep for the last 25 years, this series needs no introduction, though for the first time each film now comes in both original and "special edition" form.

Alien (1979) was so perfect it didn't need fixing, and Ridley Scott's 2003 director's cut is fiddling for the sake of fiddling. Watch it once, then return to the majestic, perfectly paced original. Conversely, the special edition of James Cameron's Aliens (1986) is the definitive version, though it's nice to finally have the theatrical cut on DVD for comparison. Most interesting is the alternative Alien 3 (1992). This isn't a "director's cut"--David Fincher refused to have any involvement with this release--but a 1991 work-print that runs 29 minutes longer than the theatrical version, and has now been restored, remastered, and finished off with (unfortunately) cheap new CGI. Still, it's truly fascinating, offering a different insight into a flawed masterpiece. The expanded opening is visually breathtaking, the central firestorm is much longer, and a subplot involving Paul McGann's character adds considerable depth to story. The ending is also subtly but significantly different. Alien: Resurrection (1997) always was a mess with a handful of brilliant scenes, and the special edition just makes it eight minutes longer.

The Alien Quadrilogy offers the first and fourth films with DTS soundtracks, the others having still fine Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. All four films sound fantastic, with much low-level detail revealed for the first time. Each is anamorphically enhanced at the correct original aspect ratio, and the prints and transfers are superlative. Every film offers a commentary track that lends insight into the creative process--though the Scott-only commentary and isolated music score from the first Alien DVD release are missing here.

Each movie is complemented by a separate disc packed with hours of seriously detailed documentaries (all presented in full-screen with clips letterboxed), thousands of photos, production stills, and storyboards, giving a level of inside information for the dedicated buff only surpassed by the Lord of the Rings extended DVD sets. A ninth DVD compiles miscellaneous material, including an hourlong documentary and even all the extras from the old Alien laserdisc. "Exhaustive" hardly beings to describe the Alien Quadrilogy, a set that establishes the new DVD benchmark for retrospective releases and looks unlikely to be surpassed for some time. --Gary S. Dalkin

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CastJohn Hurt, Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Michael Biehn
DirectorJames Cameron, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Ridley Scott
Genre:  Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Fantasy
Screen WriterJames Cameron, Dan O'Bannon, David Giler, Joss Whedon
DVD Release Date:  December 2, 2003
Runtime:  145 minutes
Studio:  20th Century Fox
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3 Ratings: +4.7
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review by . September 10, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Well, maybe the best except for the LOTR collector's sets, but I had to buy each of them individually. Do your favorite Alien fan a favor and get them the Quadrilogy for Christmas or their next birthday, they'll love you forever. Having all four movies in two formats, the theatrical releases and extended versions, along with an astounding assortment of extras for all the extras lovers, is enough to put a movie lover in movie heaven for several days. The +5 rating is for the Quadrilogy, not …
review by . December 21, 2003
I'm not gonna go into the whole rundown of the movies. Others here have already done a fine, fine job. I just need to vent about two things.1) I just got the darn 4-DVD box set about six months ago on ebay, and I thought I was in hog heaven then. Extra scenes, some added footage, small documentaries. I thought I had the definitive DVD set! Imagine if next year, they come out with a 7-DVD set for THE GODFATHER after we've all bought the 5-DVD set, thinking we had the definitive version! I just hope …
Alien Quadrilogy (Alien/ Aliens /Alien 3 /Alien
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