The Blu-ray [rating:5]
Alien has never looked or sounded as good as it does on the Blu-ray. I know it’s a little cliche, but it is really like watching this movie for the first time again. The amount of detail you can see in the interior of the Nostromo and alien ship is really astounding. You can easily make out items in darker scenes that you couldn’t in the past, and the faces are so clear that you can easily see the pores on the faces of the actors.
The biggest benefit of the Blu-ray clarity for me is in seeing the creature design. As mentioned above, most people don’t realize that under the dome shaped front of the creature’s head is a somewhat visible skull. It was really difficult to see in previous versions, but the Blu-ray clean-up has allowed the creature to be much more visible and you can more easily see the skull underneath.
There are a decent amount of extras on the disc, including the previously released director’s cut that includes a number of new scenes. If you’ve seen Alien, but missed the director’s cut on the previous DVD release, the major item is the inclusion of a scene near the end of the film where Ripley encounters a cocooned Dallas and Bret before abandoning the Nostromo.
This scene is important for fans of the franchise to watch, because if you didn’t know already, you’ll see that the cocoon idea didn’t start with James Cameron in Aliens. Like many of the ideas in Aliens, Cameron expanded on what was already laid out by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett.
As a piece of film history, this scene is interesting to watch, but I can’t recommend it as the definitive version of the film (and neither does Ridley Scott), because the scene isn’t polished and doesn’t fit in with Alien/Aliens/Alien 3 canon.
If you are a fan of all of the Alien films or even a couple of them, picking up the anthology on Blu-ray is well worth the money. Fox has put extra time and attention into turning these into definitive editions of the film and it is a real treat for Alien fans to watch. Obviously, most people purchasing the film will be doing so to see the first film, so I highly recommend this.
If you’ve never seen the original Alien, you owe it to yourself to watch this film. Even 30+ years later, Alien is a very effective science fiction and horror film. Coupled with a fantastic Blu-ray edition, you’ll be able to see Alien in the best quality possible and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.