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Quadrilogy

I'm adding this section to cover reviews of the Alien Quadrilogy. I wrote the following review of Alien 3 to get the ball rolling :-)

 

Alien 3: The Special Edition: Overview:

Out of the four alternate versions contained within the Alien Quadrilogy, the Special Edition of Alien 3 diverges most sharply from its 1992 theatrical release.  For years, rumors had circulated that an ultimate directors cut existed somewhere in the shadowy basements of Twentieth Century Fox. It had been long assumed by many fans of the Alien series that this version would never see the light of day.  Though Twentieth Century Fox explicitly states that Alien 3 Special Edition is not the long lost directors cut, this revised film reaches the ideal envisioned by fans in many respects.

          The entire plot and dynamic of the Alien 3 has been altered (but not necessarily restored) to a vision that creates a deeper, more realistic, and darker gothic feel. I was again astounded at the directing skill of David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club), and I now hold this movie in much higher esteem than I once did. The starkest difference between Alien 3 and the subsequent special edition lies in the creation of the Alien. Originally, a facehugger attacked prisoner Murphys Rottweiler, precipitating an Alien that mirrored the physical characteristics and general demeanor of the notoriously violent K9. Interestingly in the Special Edition, the Alien derives from the deceased body of an OX (one of many that the prisoners used to drag the crashed EEV from the ocean). This differentiation fundamentally changes the essence of the Alien, and of the feel of the movie.

 

Sound:

The ultimate composition and ambiance of Alien 3 is created in large part through the use of vivid sounds, audio effects, and a dark nightmarish musical score. Elliot Goldenthal, (the composer of the musical score) spent a year working in concert with David Fincher to compose the 3 primary orchestral tracks of Alien 3. The opening sequence on the Sulaco is set against shrill yet elegant vocals echoing like icicles falling through a hollow cavern. Later into the film, Goldenthal also utilized Gregorian chant styled timings throughout his orchestral tracks. Thus further reflecting the religious dispositions of the prisoners on Fury-161 and consequently enhancing the gothic texture of the film.

 

The sound editors (Gary and Gregory Gerlich) reinforced Elliot Goldenthals orchestral score with cavernous vocal effects and razor-sharp sounds. Ive often listened to Alien 3 with headphones while falling asleep. It is incredible to experience this movie undistracted by the bombardment of visual imagery. A viewer may not initially notice the faint swinging of chains or a solitary drop of water hidden deep in the background of Alien 3. Yet each musical note and sound added in post-production weaves a thick multi-layered fabric that ultimately draws each viewer into the dark hostile labyrinth of Planet Fury-161.

 

Picture:

The Alien 3 DVD of the Quadrilogy contains both the Theatrical Release and the Special Edition of the film. Each film is presented in wide screen format without a full-screen option. The feature film disk also includes options allowing the viewer to select scenes, hear audio commentaries from the creators/ actors, customize viewing with THX optimization, and utilize both English and Spanish languages and subtitles.

 

Bonus DVD Options:

Each feature film in the Alien Quadrilogy is accompanied by an extra DVD containing incredibly diverse special features. Disk # 6, (the compliment to Alien 3,) provides the viewer with a comprehensive behind-the-scenes vision into the multifaceted processes of development and production. With a stroke of organizational genius, the creators of each bonus disk allow for an interesting section aptly titled, Navigation Options. The viewer can access information not only on the basis of production (pre, post), but also by choosing to view all of the live action featurettes back to back without interruption. In addition, the viewer can manually search through image archives in a central location under Navigation Options. This setup reflects the unbounded attention focused on empowering the viewer with tools to experience the special features in a customized setting. The sharp graphics and subtle foreboding audio loops used in each screen menu are a searing first glimpse into the terror caged within the special features of Alien 3.