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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 61:34)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Portuguese, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • 8 Behind the scenes footage
  • Interviews - With director James Cameron

Aliens: SE

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 148 mins . M . PAL

  Feature
Contract

It is 57 years since the horrifying events took place on the ship Nostromo. The life-boat that the sole survivor of the ordeal, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), is on is discovered by a deep space salvage crew, and she is taken back to a medical station to recover. Ripley is shocked to learn that the planet that the Alien was found on has since been colonised, and is not surprised to hear that all contact with the colonists has been lost. Due to her unique knowledge of the threat, she is sent with a company of marines to investigate the problem. Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), a representative of the company concerned, is also along for the journey. The marines are supremely confident and cocky, but are soon put in their place when they are introduced to the Aliens.

"That's it man, game over man, game over, man! Game over!"

The suspense generated by the second instalment of the Aliens legacy is extreme. This is James Cameronís finest hour, and the tripe he has done in recent years absolutely pales in comparison to the thrills generated here. I found myself literally leaping out of my seat when I first watched this years ago. The action scenes are nothing short of brilliant. The film has a distinctly blue tinge throughout, giving a murky feel to the colony. The intensity never lets up. The special effects have stood up amazingly well, and they seem to be ahead of their time.

The performances are in general very convincing, particularly from Weaver, Reiser and Michael Biehn who nails his role as a hard ass Corporal. Lance Henrikson has a difficult role as an android, but executes it to perfection. Bill Paxton is also great as a highly strung marine, who starts out cocky but very quickly becomes unnerved and almost loses control. Aliens was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Actress (Weaver), Best Editing and Best Musical Score, and walked away with two (Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Effects and Editing).

  Video
Contract

This transfer is presented in its original cinematic aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

The video transfer is of tremendous quality. The film was released in 1986, and if I didnít know that and was shown this transfer, I would assume it was at least ten years more recent. Shadow detail is superb, there are no problems picking out details in the murkiness. The colours are fantastic, with only a very small indication of over saturation in a small number of scenes, and flesh tones are spot on.

Film artefacts are almost completely absent, which is a tremendous effort. There is no evidence of any MPEG artefacts, nor is there any grain. Overall, the picture is crystal clear and very sharp. This film has never looked so good.

The disc is single sided and dual layered, with the layer change occurring at 61:34. The placement is good, but the pause seems slightly longer than standard. There are plenty of subtitles offered on the transfer.

  Audio
Contract

There is one soundtrack available on this disc, and it is in English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. The packaging states that it is a 5.0 mix, but it is most definitely 5.1.

The soundtrack is quite awesome. The subwoofer thumps away belligerently and without reservation, and adds to the atmosphere brilliantly. You feel every burst of gunfire and every body being slammed to the ground. Audio synch is spot on, and the dialogue mix is superb. There are never at any stage any problems with understanding what is being said.

The surrounds are put to good use, particularly in the suspense and action sequences. The score by James Horner is fantastic, and captures the mood of the film very successfully.

Like the video, the audio transfer belies the age of the source material.

  Extras
Contract

Along with a very animated menu, the disc contains quite a decent set of extras:

Interview with James Cameron: This contains some interesting facts and trivia from the director, but nothing to get into raptures over.

Behind the Scenes: A selection of eight short clips on the making of the film.

Theatrical Trailer: Presented in a full frame aspect, and unfortunately only in Dolby Digital mono.

Photo Gallery: Many, many photos are on offer, plus cast and crew biographies which donít have their own section for some odd reason.

  Overall  
Contract

Aliens is one of the most fantastic horror/sci-fi films ever to grace the screen. Its combination of hardcore action and spine-tingling suspense is almost unmatched. The atmosphere it creates is thick. The transfer is of superb quality overall, and the video in particular is almost of reference quality for a film of this age. It stands up well when compared to its predecessor, and is worthy of being in even the most discerning film criticís collection.


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      And I quote...
    "The sequel to one of the scariest movies of all time, Aliens delivers more suspense and action on a grand scale."
    - Robert Mack
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS300
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DE475
    • Speakers:
          Sony
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony
    • Surrounds:
          Sony
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony Active Superwoofer
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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