Aliens: 30th Anniversary Edition
Written and Directed by James Cameron.
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Carrie Henn, Bill Paxton, William Hope, Ricco Ross, Al Matthews, Jenette Goldstein.
Aliens sees its forty-second release on home video (I’m only exaggerating a little) with this edition, which is a repackage of the Blu-ray movie disc from Alien Anthology with some collectibles tossed in. You also get codes for a digital copy of the theatrical version of the movie and a new featurette, The Inspiration of Aliens.
How many times have you bought the Alien movies on home media? I had the first two on VHS way back when (yes, pan-and-scan, but to be fair, letterboxed VHS movies weren’t easy to find), and of course I scored Alien Quadrilogy several years ago. I later picked up Alien Anthology on Blu-ray. I know, I’m probably a slacker compared to some of you.
So do you really need to buy these movies again? Well, Fox hopes you want to, which is why they put out the Alien: 35th Anniversary Edition last year and they’ve now released Aliens: 30th Anniversary Edition. (No word on Anniversary Editions of the other two movies. I may also differ from some of you because I like Alien 3, particularly the alternate cut.)
Like its predecessor, Aliens: 30th Anniversary Edition is a repackage of the Blu-ray from the Anthology collection with some nice collectibles: a set of cards showing concept art from the movie and a booklet put together by Dark Horse Comics with artwork from some well-known creators, including Mike Mignola. There’s also a code to get a digital copy of the movie, although it’s the theatrical version.
The disc contains the same stuff as before, starting with the theatrical version of the movie, along with the 1991 Special Edition, which has an introduction from director James Cameron. (I definitely prefer the Special Edition, which gives Ripley more depth, among other things.) Also included are the final theatrical and original isolated scores by James Horner, the ability to watch the extra footage from the Special Edition by itself, and an audio commentary with Cameron, producer Gale Anne Hurd, and several members of the cast and crew. It’s a discussion worth listening to for any fan of the film, although I assume most fans have already heard it since it has been around on home video for a while.
The only other new thing is a featurette, The Inspiration of Aliens, which is only available to stream online with the included code. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my code to work despite repeated attempts over a few days. As of the writing of this review, Fox Customer Care hadn’t gotten back to me, so I can’t give any thoughts on the new featurette. (I’ll update this review if I can get it to work.)
Update: I was able to get The Inspiration of Aliens to work. It features Cameron looking back at the making of the film, focusing on his design choices and other technical subjects. While some of the information repeats well-known bits of trivia, such as Cameron’s love of the original Alien and how he ended up with the assignment, there were some interesting nuggets, including how he made the power lifter work and his approach to using stunt people in the alien suits. It runs about 31 minutes and is worth watching. I’m not a fan of supplements that are only available online, but I suppose that’s the cloud-based entertainment world that will be here sooner rather than later.
I’m probably not going too far out on a limb, though, when I hazard a guess and say there’s probably nothing earth-shattering in this featurette. If you already have Alien Anthology, you’re not missing much, since this release has the same movie disc from that set. And if you don’t have it but you’re a fan of the series, you’re probably better off buying Anthology, since it has all the bonus features found in Quadrilogy plus some new stuff. (It has a treasure trove of documentary materials.)
However, if you’re a completist, you might want this set, since it has attractive packaging and the art cards and booklet are nice collectibles. The new featurette is just a little extra icing on a cake that’s already well frosted.
SEE ALSO: Buy Aliens: 30th Anniversary Edition on Amazon UK or Amazon US
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★