Alien is iconic for so many reasons. The creepy ambiance starts immediately as the title credit itself creeps onto the screen… The brilliant Jerry Goldsmith score… The arrival of a screen icon in Sigourney Weaver… The seen but not seen titular Alien… There is so much to savor with this film. Even after multiple viewings, the tension, scares, drama, and look are all stunning, as if seeing the film for the first time. This wonderful edition, though, is a stunning presentation that deserves much praise heaped upon it!
Beyond my own wishes for this package, as it is released and as it is priced, purchasing this edition of Alien is a chest busting must!
Purchase the movie here: Alien 40th Anniversary [UHD Blu-ray]
If you do not want the movie SPOILED for you, stop reading now. Usually, we don’t post story reviews here on That AV Dude, but since Alien is now a 40-year-old classic film, we figured it wouldn’t hurt this once. Enjoy!
A Brief Moment About The Story…
For those who haven’t seen Alien, the story is a relatively simple one. The crew of the Nostromo is returning home to Earth following a mission, and all are in stasis (asleep) when they are awakened by Mother, the ship’s computer that detects a transmission that seems to be a distress signal. The travel-wary crew, made up of Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Kane (John Hurt), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Ash (Ian Holm), Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) wake from their artificial hibernation hungry and ready to get back to work as they make their way back home.
While checking over the ship and making small repairs as needed, the crew stumbles upon a “hidden” chamber where they discover hundreds of eggs. When Kane touches one of the eggs and a creature attacks and attaches, things take a massive turn from what was expected at wake up time. The next moments and beyond are all an exercise in fright and tension that still resonate with vigor even 40 years later.
To tell more would give a lot away, and hopefully, those of you reading this know what a classic this is. For me personally, I can remember watching this on VHS on a small TV and being terrified as a teenager. I remember being blown away by Ellen Ripley, at one point being a quiet but confident Warrant Officer, who becomes the ultimate survivalist. The strong woman character is one I’ve much admired watching movies my whole life. To see Sigourney Weaver portray Ripley in such a way, along with every single actor alongside her giving their all as well, we as film fans are so lucky to have this film to savor forever. If you haven’t seen this before, please don’t hesitate to see it!!
Equipment used to review Alien (40th Anniversary Edition) on UHD Blu-Ray:
- Samsung QN65Q6FNA 65″ Q6FN QLED Smart 4K UHD TV (2018 Model)
- Panasonic UB-200 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player (2017 Model)
- Marantz AV Audio & Video Component Receiver Black (NR1608), Works with Alexa
- Bose Jewel Cube Speakers (Pair) (Left/Right Channels)
- Acoustic Audio AA321B Speakers (Surround and Height Surround Speakers)
- Mitsubishi M-CTR-5 Center Channel Speaker (Vintage 1996)
- Mitsubishi M-SUB-10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Vintage 1996)
Please note that this TV has been calibrated by reviewer over several months, dialing in levels for TV to be viewable in a dark or lightroom. Black levels are never grey, and if the day comes when he can afford a professional calibration, he shall get one.
Vital Disc Stats for Alien (40th Anniversary Edition)
- 4K Digital Intermediate of 35mm Negative
- 2:39.1 Aspect Ratio
- Codec: HEVC/H265
- HDR Format: HDR10+ (defaults to HDR10 for those without HDR10+ capabilities)
- 2010 English DTS-HD 5.1 Audio ( This version is from the 2010 blu-ray release)
- Original English DTS-HD 4.1 Audio (This version is presented as a recreation of the original theatrical presentation)
- English DTS-HD 2.0 Audio
- French, Spanish, German, Italian and Japanese DTS 5.1 Surround
- Czech and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio
- Japanese Dolby Digital Mono
- Subtitles are available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Thai.
Picture Quality Review of Alien (40th Anniversary Edition)
Picture Quality Score: 9.5/10
Alien has genuinely invaded the 4K market with a beautiful new transfer. We are treated to a gorgeously realized new master with a ton of new and noticeable details throughout. The Nostromo has always been dense with detail, but here with the unique depth and clarity, we see so much deeper than we were ever able to before.
The dirty and dingy ship is now even more pronounced with dark blacks and bright light highlights provided by fluorescents. When we meet the ill-fated crew at the beginning, the pod sequence has an almost golden beige hue to it now. We are treated to a subtle light show with our first moments with Dallas and Mother. And when we get to the parts of the film where all hell breaks loose, we are immersed in a din of dark and sudden light, drawn into the movie as if we are there with the crew.
The light layer of grain we see is natural, adding texture and treating film lovers to a great filmic feel that is sometimes missed in newer films. Make no mistake, this is not a new looking master by any means. It is, however, all improved, and truly gorgeous. Beyond the interiors of the ship and the exteriors of space, our characters have a great many details about them now as well. Besides the textures of clothing or strands of hair being more apparent, we see many more facial details — blemishes, scars, and more are instantly noticeable. Beads of sweat, blood, and liquid from the Alien are also on full display with the enhanced resolution.
HDR Usage is another highlight. The HDR10+ color grading has made that color palette look amazing. Warmer in the scenes where warmth might have been underwhelming in the past, and intensely dark in those dominant scenes of darkness. What a treat!!
In short — This is a top-notch video upgrade, and the presentation is pristine. Fox has truly outdone themselves in the video department. This one is a reference-grade most certainly.
Audio Quality Review is Alien (40th Anniversary Edition)
Sound Quality Score: 7/10
Audio for Alien has been pretty consistent during its many incarnations of home media. This time we get the same mixes that were included in the 2010 Blu-Ray edition. The 5.1 and 4.1 lossless mixes don’t differ too much to my ears, and altogether, they get the job done.
Dialogue remains clear, and the score is produced beautifully. Surrounds are used for ambiance and off-screen sound effects. Music at times will show up in the background too. The LFE in this movie is to be expected of a 40-year-old film. We get more grumble than a rumble, but if you ask me, that’s a part of the experience. This will be the best the movie will sound, and there’s nothing here to gripe about whatsoever!
Volume levels are also nice and strong. There won’t be a need to keep your finger in your volume buttons to adjust the sound from moment to moment. Overall the main mixes are consistent and of excellent quality.
Special Features Review for Alien (40th Anniversary Edition)
Special Features for Alien are all ported over from the 2010 Blu-ray. We get:
- Director’s Commentary
- A Cast and Crew Commentary
- 2 isolated score tracks for the iconic Jerry Goldsmith score (one of which differs quite a bit from the theatrical release)
- The director’s cut version with seamless branching
The quality of this cut varies from the theatrical release and is of noticeably lesser quality than the theatrical cut from a visual standpoint.
That’s a Wrap!
Alien has received an outstanding new visual presentation in this 4K Blu-Ray edition. The film has never looked this amazingly good. If you’re a fan of Alien in any way, this is the way to own the film! While I wish there were an immersive sound mix here, I am still excited by how good Alien sounds, especially with its older audio mixes. I’m happy to see those kinds of legacy features included. As a lover of making-of documentaries, I only wish we had that as an option as well.
Beyond my own wishes for this package, purchasing this edition of Alien is a chest busting must!