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Featured Blu-ray Review: Aliens: 30th Anniversary

October 17th, 2016

Aliens: 30th Anniversary - Buy from Amazon: Blu-ray
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Aliens: 30th Anniversary

The original Alien movie can be described as a haunted house movie set in space, only with an alien instead of a supernatural entity attacking the cast. Aliens, on the other hand, loses nearly all of its tension and instead goes for an action-oriented approach. Does it work? Oh hell yeah. This is one of the best films from the 1980s and it is a must have. Is this 30th Anniversary Blu-ray worth picking up if you have the box set? That’s an interesting question.

The Movie

Before we start, the plot summary is for the extended edition, not the theatrical one. I prefer this edition, but others might disagree.

The film begins with the end of the Alien, i.e. with Ripley floating in a stasis pod, with her cat, in her escape pod. She’s picked up by a salvage crew, who are disappointed she’s alive, as that means they can’t salvage her craft, and is taken to a station to recover. There, she’s greeted by Carter Burke, who works for the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. He accidentally lets slip that Ripley has been in hypersleep for a long time, 57 years. Maybe. It’s actually a nightmare she’s having where she’s been impregnated by an alien. It is a recurring nightmare she’s been having and for good reason.

When she’s feeling better, she learns her daughter died two years ago. At the Weyland-Yutani Corporation debriefing, the company heads, insurance agents, licensing agencies, etc. don’t believe her story and they think she’s no longer right in the head so suspend her license. Afterward, she asks the head why they don’t just go to the planet where they found the alien and check. He says there is already a terraforming colony on that planet, Hadleys Hope, with hundreds of people, including families. It’s been there for 20 years. They’re fine.

We then look in on the colony. They are not going to be fine for long. A family run-scout expedition runs across the ship the crew of the Nostromo found in the first movie. The one that contained thousands of eggs.

Back on Earth, Ripley gets a visit from Carter Burke. It seems they lost contact with the colony and are sending in the Marines. They want Ripley there as an advisor. At first she says no. Then she says no again. Then Carter offers her her license back if she goes and she says no yet again. It isn’t until she has more recurring nightmares that she’s compelled to go, but she only goes if the mission is to kill them all. Not study them, not capture them, but kill all of them. Carter says that’s the plan.

We next see the crew as they are waking up from hypersleep. We’re introduced to a few of the marines: Corporal Dwayne Hicks, Bishop, Private Hudson, Sergeant Apone, and Private Vasquez, as well as others. We quickly learn that Bishop is a synthetic, or artificial person as he prefers to be called. After what happened with with the synthetic on her last mission, Ripley is is understandably upset and tells Bishop to stay away.

At the first mission briefing, Ripley explains what she knows about the aliens to the marines. However, the marines are too arrogant and don’t think they need to know what they are getting into. They think they just need to be pointed in the right direction. You can probably guess where this arrogance gets them, but that gets us into spoiler territory.

Like I said with my previous review, this is is a classic. It is not as tense as the original was, but it makes up for that in action. If you don't own it yet, you really need own it, even if you are usually not a fan of the genre.

The Extras

There are not a ton of extras on the Blu-ray, and very little that’s new. The only 2003 DVD audio commentary is here. You can watch the theatrical version, or the extended version, or the 20 minutes of scenes deleted from the theatrical version that were put back into the extended version. The theatrical version has an isolated score by James Horner, while the extended version has a short intro by James Cameron. Finally, there’s an interactive MU-TH-UR Mode.

The only thing really new to this set is a booklet of comic book art and a collection of concept art from the movie. If you like physical extras, then this is a nice bonus.

The Verdict

There’s not a lot new here, but the Blu-ray costs only $10. If you really like Alien and Aliens, but don’t like the other two movies in the franchise, then the 30th Anniversary Blu-ray is worth picking up.

Filed under: Alien, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, James Cameron, Jenette Goldstein, Lance Henriksen, Al Matthews, Bill Paxton, Paul Reiser, James Horner