In space, no one can hear you scream with joy: The "Alien" movies are bursting out on Blu-ray in 2010.
As part of a major DVD and Blu-ray release schedule keyed to the studio's 75th anniversary, an "Alien Anthology" of the four original feature films is set for the third or fourth quarter of the year.
The six-disc set will be "packed with extras," Fox promises. No details so far, but perhaps a few clues can be found here:
The new set emerges in the long shadow of Fox's "Alien Quadrilogy," a 2003 DVD set that became the stuff of home video history. It contained alternate versions of the four films, most dramatically the major renovation of David Fincher's "Alien 3."
"Alien Quadrilogy" stretched across nine discs, with 45 hours of bonus material and 530 minutes of commentary. There was a quarter century's worth of "Alien" matter -- outtakes, production clips, art elements, promo materials, etc. The set's backbone was what amounted to a 12-hour documentary, carved up into digestible segments of about three hours.
That massive DVD set came after the theatrical rerelease of an upgraded version of Ridley Scott's "Alien," which Fox marketed as a director's cut -- even though Scott popped up to say that the original was in fact the director's cut. Scott quickened the movie's pace and wove in outtakes that'll be familiar to fans. On DVD, it was a significant upgrade in audio and video presentation over previous versions.And so, here's hoping Fox's "Alien Anthology" at least contains the upgraded "Alien" and expanded "Alien 3."
Here's a trick I learned at the time: "Quadrilogy" owners had the option of watching the expanded versions of all four films sequentially, as if they were turned into a TV miniseries.
The linear, more leisurely presentation took some of the heat off the weaker third and fourth films and emphasized the series' real strength: the continuing story of Ellen Ripley, sole survivor of the Nostromo. Can't wait to do it again, this time in HD.
Other interesting titles in the Fox 75th anniversary program; release dates and detail due "in the coming weeks":
- "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (35th anniversary), a Blu-ray debut.
- "Moulin Rouge" with BD Live material.
- Some kind of mega-DVD set that shows off Fox's old and new tentpole films, such as "All About Eve," "Minority Report," "Patton," "Wall Street," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "Avatar."
- A DVD series of Fox classics in single, double-feature, triple-feature and quadruple-feature presentations.