back to article Aliens Blu-ray disc set

James Cameron is often credited with turning science fiction from a cult or B-movie genre into a one that earned not just big money but critical success too. The breakthrough film was Aliens and the year was 1986. Aliens theatrical release and special edition Blu-ray disc set Aliens on Blu-ray: Two films for the price of one …


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  1. Graham Bartlett

    No making-of docu?!

    Dunno about the full set, but I got the Aliens DVD (not Blu-Ray) a couple of years back, and it had some great "making-of" stuff on there. Essential viewing in these days of green-screen and CGI, when the powerlifter-vs-queen fight is *really* being staged between 10-foot-tall constructions, with Sigourney Weaver inside, and all controlled by a couple of dozen experts with hydraulics, control lines and sheer brute force. Also for the sets, particularly the loading bay, which again these days would be inserted in CGI but back then were actually built. The actors' training segment was also pretty fun, talking about the guy playing Apone (an ex-sergeant) basically putting them through boot camp so they'd look and behave like actual soldiers.

    If they've deleted that from the Blu-Ray, I recommend not buying it.

    1. Malcolm 1

      Re: No making-of docu?!

      Clearly that version will be along in time for Christmas when they've finished drip feeding the basic versions of all the movies on blu-ray. After that will be the box set with all the films in it. Then the 3D version in time for the 40th Anniversary in 2019. Which is when Blade Runner is set if I recall correctly - I look forward to collecting it in my flying car.

      1. BlinkenLights

        Re: No making-of docu?!

        FFS, you can buy the four films and more extras than you can ever watch for £17.49. Available since October 2010.

        There's a newer re-issue with less extras for £10.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Indeed you can! I have it on my shelf just a few metres away. I'm a bit puzzled by this review as I got Aliens on Blu-ray last year. Yes - you buy it as part of the Quadrilogy, but as it's under £20 for all four, then it doesn't make much sense to buy the single. Maybe they charge you extra for not giving you the third one - har har!

          But the extras on the Quadrilogy are endless. Six discs! Good film, made better with Blu-ray (reviewer is right to single out the soundtrack. With good speaker set up, it adds a lot). Don't know why you'd buy the single rather than the full set with all the extras for about a fiver more.

  2. JDX Gold badge

    I love Aliens

    Waits for "Alien was the classic, Aliens was popular mass-market crap"...

    1. Norman Hartnell

      Re: I love Aliens

      Aliens was the cl....damn.

    2. NogginTheNog

      Re: I love Aliens

      Me, I just love 'em both 'cos they're very different movies, and both great in their own ways.

      Thanks Reg for quoting the one bad part of Aliens though - NEWT! :-D

  3. Paul Harrap

    Close ...

    I'd put it to you that Close Encounters of the Third Kind was a commercial and critical success of a sci-fi film. And so was ET.

    Or are you limiting the list of "breakthrough" films to sci-fi action movies?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Close ...

      Except that neither of them were SF films.

      Close Encounters was a meandering, turgid pile of poo with added flashing lights and ET was a Lassie film with a cuddly alien replacing the cuddly dog.

      I have never understood the "commercial and critical success" of CE. Best I've ever been able to get out of it is the feeling of Herculean triumph generated by managing to stay awake 'til the end.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Close ...

        In my times, UFOs were still of interest and infused with a sense of wonder and revelation.

        These days, people are so used to flashing signs everywhere, not to mention bleeping noises, levitating cats and similar ADHD shit that they would not recognize a honest-to-god ufological spectacle if their sanity depended on it and would probably not even look up from their PSP if it transformed the golden retriever in their manicured suburban garden into microwaved steak, its pitiful cries muted by the sound of the latest ultraviolent, amphetamine-fueled TV serial.

      2. Some Beggar

        Re: Close ...

        By the same (utterly facile) token, Aliens is just Zulu with aliens replacing the zulus. And Alien is Jaws with an alien replacing the shark.

        Next you'll be valiantly arguing that the Magnificent Seven isn't a cowboy film because herp derp kurosawa derpity derp samurai derp.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Close ...

          Close Encounters was pretty good. One of the rare Stephen Spielberg films I can actually watch without insulin. But Alien and Aliens are in a different class when it comes to depth - of characters, of motif, of subtext.There is an excellent essay by the late academic Janice Hocker Rushing about male-female subtexts in science fiction films (focusing on the first two Aliens films). The aliens are suggestively female in numerous ways and the fact that Ripley is usually the sole strong female lead in an environment of men adds a counter-point to that. The motherhood themes in the second film are very strong and tie into this. Sigourney Weaver was apparently very annoyed that they cut the part about her having lost her daughter (grew old and died) whilst she was in hypersleep after the first film's end. I'm not doing the essay justice here. It's available in a book called Screening the Sacred, about relgious ideology and imagery in popular film. It's a very interesting book for anyone who wants to delve a wee bit deeper into American film:

          Though you don't need to be Freud to think about those Alien's secondary mouths or all those "secreted resin" tunnels.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. N13L5
      Thumb Down

      Re: Close ...

      Spielberg... sneer

      The guy who makes you watch the same freaking scene from 5 different angles to stretch 'suspense'.

      How much more annoying does it get?

      1. Adam T

        Re: How much more annoying does it get?

        How about putting yourself in your own movies?

        M Night Shyamalan, you're fired. (although all the more amusing because he gave himself a front role in his crappest movie, The Last Careerbender)

  4. Admiral Grace Hopper
    Thumb Up

    Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

    This movie has provided more usuable quotes with a direct application to my day job than is healthy.

    "Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away? ".

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper


      Freudian slip. Nearly the weekend.

      1. Aaron Em

        Re: "disappint"

        What happens to pints left in the presence of Reg commentards for any length of time. "What happened to your drink?" "Oh, it disappint. Best get another then!"

    2. I'm Brian and so's my wife

      Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

      Other applicable day-to-day quotes...

      "I say we take off and nuke the entire database from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

      1. Lee Dowling

        Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

        Game over, man! Game over!

    3. Steve Ives

      Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

      "Marines! WE...ARE...LEAVING!"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

        What do you expect us to use man, harsh language?

    4. Gordon 6

      Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

      That's a great one. Hopefully won't have to say it when I get back to work on Tuesday after a holiday. But I *did* have to repeatedly use "How do I get out of this chickensh*t outfit" repeatedly before and after being outsourced to HP some years ago...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.

      Apone: Any questions?

      Hicks: How do I get out of this chickensh*t outfit

      (I've actually used that one on a "team building" day at work)

      1. Graham Bartlett

        Re: Well, I'm happy to disappint you.


        Actually Hudson...

    6. Daniel B.

      Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  5. Si 1
    Thumb Up

    Still my favourite film ever

    It's been my favourite film since I saw it on VHS back in the '80s. I'm not sure how old I was, but I definitely wasn't 18!

    I'm really looking forward to Prometheus, the only thing that could get me more excited than Ridley Scott making a new Aliens film is James Cameron making a new Aliens film.

  6. Lamont Cranston

    So, this is a lot like the DVD I already own,

    but HD shows up the flaws in the filmstock, makes the visual effects look a bit ropey? Blu-ray players sound like a great investment.

  7. Mr Young

    Alien was a great film for it's time

    I guess it's always going to be hard work trying to make a sequel any good and I think this lot is pretty crap tbh!

  8. Saint Sound


    You can buy the box set for that! Or is this some super version?

  9. BoldMan

    I got the Special Edition DVD from CEX for £1 and its bloody awesome, especailly as I'm currently building a model of the Dropship and APC!

    The 3 hour "Making of Aliens" doc is on YouTube and is also great - James Cameron getting pissed off at British workmen taking tea breaks haha

  10. Me-eyes


    Can't you get the Alien Anthology Blu Ray box set for a similar price to this? IIRC it includes the special Edition of Aliens, which let's face it, is only slightly better than the theatrical release... If you don't like the extra 20 mins just FFWD FFS!

    1. I'm Brian and so's my wife

      Re: Errrmmmm....

      The extra footage included (IIRC):

      - the family going out to investigate the co-ordinates Burke provided (and the resulting chaos)

      - more on the autopsies done on the face-huggers

      - moar splosions & gunfire from the robot sentries

      A bloody brilliant top 10 film, particularly the director's cut!

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Errrmmmm....

        Yep, and a scene set in a holodeck-style rest area where Ripley is told her daughter has died of old age.

        Also, speculation with Bishop that something must being laying the eggs, explaining why Ripley wasn't as shocked as you'd expect at meeting the queen bitch alien.


        I watched the extended 'Assembely' cut of Alien3 (not a director's cut, but the next best thing) recently, and though still flawed, at least hangs together more coherently than the theatrical release, and is well worth a watch IMHO. Refreshing not to see CGI sets and the actors are good. Still, an object lesson in how a studio can molest a franchise and leave it damaged for life.

        Still pining for what could have been - google 'William Gibson Alien 3 Script' and you'll see what I mean!

        1. Scott 26
          Thumb Up

          Re: Errrmmmm....

          "Still pining for what could have been - google 'William Gibson Alien 3 Script' and you'll see what I mean!"

          this is what I tell people - Alien 3 could/should have been just as scary as Alien and just as actiony as Aliens

  11. Citizen Kaned

    as said..

    the full BR box set it around £15 and features all theatrical and directors versions.

    im redoing my home cinema at the minute and cant wait to watch them as i got them for xmas.

    so, vhs, dvd and now BR versions :)

  12. john.w
    Thumb Up

    Freesat the forgotten bigger brother of Freeview

    Or wait until it is on Freesat HD and get 5.1 digital audio

    1. Joseph Lord

      Re: Freesat the forgotten bigger brother of Freeview

      Freeview HD supports 5.1 audio too. However neither of them support lossless "HD" audio like Blu-ray does. On Freeview Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3) and HE-AAC are the supported codecs which are more efficient than old Dolby Digital which is commonly used on Freesat (from memory).

      As to bigger brother, well it is older than Freeview HD although it still doesn't have any extra HD content compared to Freeview HD. You do get more trashy SD channels but the picture used to be terrible along with almost of the content when you got past BBC, ITV, Channel 4 & Five offerings. I don't feel that I miss anything have Freeview HD rather than Freesat.

  13. Tom Melly
    Thumb Down

    Hmm... apart from the sound (and I'm partially deaf) I can't think of any particular reason to buy this.

    So... moving on, is it just me or does the special edition suck? (as in "adds nothing, takes away a lot")

    The main crimes:

    1. The scenes with the colonists

    2. Boring shooting gallery scene with the automatic guns in the corridor

    1. Some Beggar

      Almost all special editions suck. There's generally a good reason that scenes are deleted or shortened. If you have the misfortune to watch the 'repaired' version of Metropolis, you essentially get an extra twenty minutes of proles running away from a big wave screaming and waving their arms. Whoohoo.

      (cue exploding Bladerunner fans)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Boring gun scene?!

      What!? wash your mouth out with soap, thats a gun nuts wet dream! :) and apart from some trully terrible acting the colonists scenes did add a tiny bit of background, i think having that one pulled was the right thing, there were too many inconsistancies and stupid moments for it to make a final cut

      however the extras do explain a big one for people that take notice, her Daughter which was never explained,

      Actually whilst im on that subject, can anyone remember years ago a scene on the first film where you actually see her daughter and it was her birthday or something, possibly some video message, i have this vague memory of this taking place on a version i watched, probably on TV but havent seen it since,,,,,,

      1. Michael Xion

        Re: Boring gun scene?!

        I think you'll find that was in 2001 a space odyssey.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Boring gun scene?!

          ha, that'll explain it! thanks!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "How could they cut the power, man? They're animals!"

      I fully agree with Tom Melly. The 'shooting gallery' scene turned the Aliens into dumb cannon fodder, whereas in the original cut they appeared intelligent (e.g. by-passing the marines barricades by coming through the ceiling space, and cutting the base power).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "How could they cut the power, man? They're animals!"

        i disagree, it showed that the aliens had a much better ability to learn and adapt then animals today, it also added to the "numbers game" there was hundreds of the things but we only ever saw 5 i think, having them lap up against the wall of lead showed the relentless side to them the never ending side. after that they learnt to find another way.

        now i dare say, thats better then most AI you get in cutting edge games today :)

        Infact the whole ceiling space thing is a bit of an oops error in my opinion, Hudson was asked to find all access points including ceiling space and floor spaces, bit of a large frigging oversight that one me thinks!

    4. Graham Bartlett

      Yeah, just you.

      Colonists part wasn't strictly necessary, but it was good scene-setting. We got to see a base which *wasn't* just bullet-scarred dark tunnels, which made how it looked when the marines got there more significant.

      More time with Ripley after she's revived, adjusting to a world where her daughter has grown old and died without her, and where everything she knows (she's a pilot and a techie, remember?) is obsolete.

      The automatic guns scene worked for me. Always wondered why the aliens didn't just come in the front door. Now I know.

      Significantly extended final battle with the alien queen. The part where the two break apart and circle round each other looking for weaknesses is superb. It shows the alien *is* smart, not just a shark with legs. And that makes it a duel, not just a brawl.

      More chat with the marines and Ripley, hence more character. The marines had a lot of shooting and dying to do, but precious little character. Even the most vocal ones (Hicks, Hudson, Vasquez) were fairly 2D.

      Newt isn't just an annoying little kid, she's clearly traumatised *and* she's a survivor with important intel for the marines. She gets more to do than just run away and scream. And she's important for Ripley, who's only recently "lost" her actual daughter.

      And Bishop gets more time too. The original didn't make much out of Bishop's android-ness. The extended version does.

      So yeah, fraid it's probably you. ;)

  14. mark 63 Silver badge


    well I never knew Cameron did Terminator!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: termionmatror


      The Terminator


      The Abyss

      Terminator 2 Judgement Day

      And all with no CGI (except for fluids; water or liquid metal, done on an Amiga Video Toaster)

      nuff said

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: termionmatror

        "Terminator 2 Judgement Day

        And all with no CGI (except for fluids; water or liquid metal, done on an Amiga Video Toaster)"

        Ok, I'll bite. Terminator 2 used an incredible amount of CGI for its time. Around 25 man years of effort went into the CGI in ILM, and they used SGIs for most of the heavy lifting (not an Amiga). Admittedly there were only 5 minutes of CGI footage in the theatrical release.

        My Masters project was in Computer Graphics in 94/95, and I remember a lot of the early CG films like T2 and Jurassic Park, not least of which because I used some of the models in my research.

  15. mike cupcake

    Please consider not promoting Amazon in the future, for many reasons but most recently this:

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      And this is a problem why?

      Seems like you want to pay more tax? Well, you know how.

      1. John Gamble

        Re: And this is a problem why?

        Want to? No.

        Prefer to not give special treatment to a large corporation so that it can extend its monopolist practices? Yes.

        Sheesh. We need a new acronym. DMDA: Decry Microsoft, Defend Amazon.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And this is a problem why?

        Buying from Amazon you pay all the tax you should. However Amazon doesn't pay the same rate as you do.

        Perhaps if amazon paid a higher rate the price might go up a fraction or perhaps it wouldn't.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      re:Please consider not promoting Amazon

      Please consider not using a tech site's forum for pushing your personal beef. Write your MP.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BR Boxset

    i got the BR box set of them all and apart from watching only the first two films the extras were really good on them so i wonder why it got omitted in this one.... curious.

    I still cant bring myself to watch the others, the third id watch if especially bord but the 4th? no amount of HD an extras will ever make up for that mess :) id sooner watch attack of the killer tomatos in HD

  17. Bad Beaver

    Yay for proper smoke and guys in rubber suits

    The downfall of visual quality due to CGI is perfectly illustrated by the later movies of the franchise, including the rotten AvP ones. ALIENS looks and feels as intensely visceral it does exactly because stuff is real and tangible. The last version I bought was the SE Laserdisc, so give me high resolution smoke any day. (but I'd rather get the full box. With extras, you know)

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Have watched the first two on Blu-Ray this week and they are indeed terribly grainy. If it's how the original film stock is then that's fine. Just a shock after having seen the remastering of For Your Eyes Only the week before which looks unbelievably mint for it's vintage.

    Also amusing watching Alien and spotting some of the corridor sets that the BBC later purchased for use in Doctor Who and eventually Red Dwarf.

    1. Lee Dowling

      Re: Remastering

      If you have the special edition, the base commander on LV-426 was "bought" by the BBC too to be the ship's captain on Red Dwarf.

    2. Arnie

      Re: Remastering

      A lot to do with film stock apparently, which is why all but a few technicolour prints of star wars are still viable today. Did they have access to the negative master or was the scan from one of the many master copies i wonder?

      Reminds me of my days mastering audio. We would have to bake certain 1/4" vintage reels overnight as the magnetic surface oxidises over time and then dumps itself onto the tape heads when you try to do a copy.

  19. Eduard Coli

    George Lucus pudu

    Nothing personal against George as he has more money so that makes him more right, right?

    Star Wars while an entertaining movie and a good earner is really space opera and not science fiction. All George did was dressed old flesh on new bones. The studios appreaciated it so much that they tapped Dino for the sequal. George had to buy his way back in and personally I'm not sure it was for the better.

    Real sci-fi often gets panned by critics, but what do they know?

    The Alien franchise has benefited from it's ability to mutate like the monster that the series is based around. It even made James Cameron look good.

  20. thomas newton

    @ c hill

    Alien, grainy how? the BR release is crystal clear. Aliens yes, but I was under the impression that Cameron had to go with a grainy stock because the vast majority of the film is very dimly lit. and yes to everyone else, when the full BR set of all 4 is less than twenty quid, why bother getting this? I bought it for my brother for his birthday the other month and got it for £12 posted new, still shrinkwrapped.

    1. Anonymous Hero

      @thomas - I agree, I got the BR Anthology for xmas and was amazed at how good Alien looks. There is still "grain" but it's that atmospheric grain that may be intentional. Also you can appreciate better the way the film is lit as well. When you see the BR version you realise how much VHS and DVD just never did the lighting and hue any justice. I found this with the BR release of 2001 as well.

      Having owned Alien on VHS and DVD (a one-off and in the DVD quadrology, both of which are quite flat even with DVD upscaling to 1080p) the BR version in that Anthology box really does "pop".

      I got the feeling they really did put a lot of work into making it look good and they did a top job. The Anthology BR set is also a bargain to boot as well, there's tons of stuff on there which are of reasonable substance - not those crappy 2-3 minute extras.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What made Aliens great...

    The suspension and the make-belief.

    Only a few months ago I think my gf and me were watching Aliens (DVD) on the TV and it was frightening as ever. And then it struck me... "we're watching a frickin' counter with some (shooting) sound effects". Yet it was TENSE.

    That is so cool about these movies. Its like they mentioned in the making off's (I had the full DVD box with all 4 movies) when it came to Alien. Many people thought that the Alien (in its mature form) grew in size and praised the movie over that. But it didn't; the same model was used every time.

    Make belief.. That is IMO cool.

    Don't care about the blu ray disks though; why would I want blu ray when I have the DVD's? Esp. for movies which were shot in a time where the resolution itself was limited from the start?

  22. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Alien and Aliens

    Love them

    Sci-fi with balls and a female hero!

  23. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse
    Thumb Up

    We're on an express elevator to hell... going down!

    Putting aside all the other comments made on this thread, my opinion is that when looked at for what it is, the extended version is one of the best sci-fi movies ever made...

    ... and possibly the most quotable.

  24. John Munyard

    As a bit of great value priced media it's great, but as a exhibit of blue-ray quality it is a long way from where it needs to be in my opinion.

    The comment about the early films being grainy may be true, but what is unacceptable is that these movies have clearly been stuffed through some processing to sharpen and brighten the contrast (no doubt so on first viewing you coo "isn't that bright & bluray") but it also introduces a lot of noticeable picture noise. It's especially bad on Aliens and Alien Resurrection.

    £12 is great value, but frankly that's about all the product is worth for what is supposed to be premium quality media.

  25. thomas newton

    @ shelluser - this is the best you've ever seen them. I've had at least 2 copies on both vhs and dvd of the first two films, and with both of them I was notincing colours and textures I'd never seen previously. for the prices you can pick up the 'full' box set with all the extras it's worth every penny IMHO if you're at all a fan.

  26. Danny 14

    oh well

    Not going to bother with the HD stuff, the DVDs are good enough for me. The wife bought me the quadrilogy (two are still in shrink wrap and will remain that way). Alien and Aliens are fantastic films, I doubt HD will have been kind to them.

  27. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Any number of quotable lines

    Including my favourite "Nuke the site from orbit" heh

    Actually I prefer the directors cut with the sentry guns, the first one uses all its ammo up and the aliens break through only to be mown down by the 2nd. And you're watching that ammo counter fall and fall with as much tension as the marines are until the aliens give up and find another way... with 12 rounds left in the gun

    Brilliant flick

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The building of tension even beforehand is immense:

    Pvt. Hudson: "We're on an express elevator to hell, going down!"

  29. thomas newton

    @ mike

    you know the guardian offshore all of their financial affairs they can to minimise their tax hit?

    not like a bunch of left wingers to be a load of 'do as I say, not as I do' hypocrites now is it?

  30. P. Lee

    What has the Alien franchise ever done for us?

    #1 Doom mod. "Check those corners, check those corners!"

  31. fuggedaboutit

    Big mistake

    They should have never made a third Alien. The second was better than the first, but both were are well worth watching. The third is a piece of crap. Sort of like the Godfather trilogy. They should have stopped at two.

    1. John Sanders

      Re: Big mistake

      The Godfather III had some good moments, Alien 3 only had many moments that I wanted to leave the cinema...

      The opening when they reveal that everybody but Ripley is dead for no good reason was one of the biggest disappointments in movie history.

      The whole thing was an epic failing, it truly was an awful experience, It is one of my most hated movies, Resurrection is a masterpiece in comparison.

  32. Stevie


    Is the dialogue still mixed so low you get DEAFENED BY THE MUSIC and SFX?

    All this tech and I *still* can't opt to hear what the f*** is going on without waking the neighbours or puncturing a drum.

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