Tag Archives: Ridley Scott

iReview | ALIEN 40th Anniversary in 4K Ultra HD

Ridley Scott’s original masterpiece gets a 4K overhaul in this special 40th Anniversary edition that is certain to please fans of the sci-fi franchise that proved in space…no one can hear you scream.

While the world’s fandom reeled from the advent success of George Lucas’ Star Wars space opera, director Ridley Scott was far more focused on taking us from a galaxy far, far away into the deeper and darker realms of the unexplored regions of the galaxy. In the newly minted Alien 40the Anniversary reissue, the sci-fi horror classic gets a proper redux now presented in 4K Ultra HD. With 4K resolution Alien appears more vibrant, sharper and more lifelike — which is as terrifying as you can imagine!

Ridley Scott promised that in space “no one can hear you scream” and undoubtedly Alien remains the most terrifying of the franchise. The film released in theaters in 1979 turned Sigourney Weaver into a star and would inspire a series of three follow-ups featuring her heroic character at the center of a dangerous mission to repel the alien xenomorph, whose origins were further explored Ridley’s two prequel chapters Prometheus and the more recent Alien: Covenant also available in 4K Ultra HD.

4K Up-Rez

With 4K presentation becoming the regular means by which home viewing is enjoyed, films like Alien which is four decades old appear to settle in nicely alongside their contemporary counterparts. Ridley Scott has directed two features in the last decade that serve as prequels to his 1979 feature, and even went back and released a 2003 Director’s Cut of the film, but the resolution in home video offerings has never been closer to the theatrical until now. The high-dynamic range offered from 4K Ultra HD takes Alien to an entirely new level.

The detail is astounding which reinforces the idea that Blu-ray HD presentation, although the most mainstream, is still somewhat lacking in capturing the cinematic experience that many home audiences are pushing to bring into their living rooms. The blacks are far more evident and apply a depth that has been lost even in the most recent Blu-ray releases of Alien. The disc includes both the Theatrical release and the 2003 Director’s Cut, both in 4K Ultra HD as well as several bonus features, most of which have been previously released.

Shorts

In celebration of the original theatrical release of Alien 20th Century Fox commissioned aspiring filmmakers to contribute to the mythology and selected to accompany this reissue are six of the best Short Films that take a fresh perspective on the franchise. The shorts were released as a series on IGN and were all set in the Alien universe. 20th Century selected from over 500 submissions and supported what they felt were the “biggest fans” able to deliver stories that best served the fan enthusiasm for the 40th Anniversary.

Alien 40th Anniversary directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver the reissue is available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital HD from all major retailers. 

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I Survived ALIEN DAY 2018!

Every year fans celebrate the little xenomorph in all of us! Oh no…that came out all wrong! The horror franchise continues to inspire still today, as the ALIEN legacy continues to grow.

If only the crew of the USCSS Nostromo had never intercepted that distress beacon; if only every other interplanetary space traveler had done the same, Alien Day would never have been a thing, but 20th Century Fox the studio behind the film franchise couldn’t resist capitalizing on the fandom. It’s hard to imagine that it’ll soon have been four decades since the release of director Ridley Scott’s original horror classic Alien. The film delivered on the premise that in space no one can hear you screen, though at the multiplex it’s another story.

With the advent increasing popularity of the science-fiction film genre in large thanks to the success of George Lucas’ Star Wars all the studios were in search of their own lightning to capture in a bottle. Scott was more than happy to oblige, though perhaps his decision to blend several types of film archetypes, stealing a bit of the realism from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and incorporating the emerging tropes of slasher films, Scott turned audiences onto something completely different with Alien.

The film also introduced an entirely unexpected lead with Sigourney Weaver taking on the big bad and turning Ellen Ripley into the cinema’s most prolific centrifugal heroines. Ripley’s legacy would extend into four chapters of the Alien film franchise, and would influence the evolution of the mythology with the prequel episodes. Both Prometheus and Alien: Covenant would also position very strong female leads taking on the threats of an alien conspiracy, an emerging new life meant to eradicate and eliminate an entire civilization. Alien is the ultimate in extinction scenarios.

The movie poster to the original horror film classic is still a striking masterpiece.

Gets You In The Chest

The star of the franchise, with perhaps the exception of Prometheus is the “alien” itself. Popularly known as the xenomorph, the creature is first introduced as another equally frightening form, that of a “facehugger” that emerges from an egg (an ovomorph) that film audiences will later learn is laid by a Queen. The xenomorph itself is a dragon-like beast and the stuff of haunting nightmares, was inspired by the designs of surrealist artist H. R. Giger. It’s no accident, the artist has admitted, that the design is meant to evoke a deliberate sexuality and is neither male of female.

It’s vicious ferocity is unparalleled as it decimates the crew of the Nostromo in an hour, but if not for Ellen Ripley’s own cunning would have perhaps achieved its instinctual survival, but if one proved so difficult to kill, imagine the horror of facing a colony of these creatures! That’s what happens in the follow-up feature Aliens directed by James Cameron in 1986. Together these films achieved blockbuster film status, and the Alien storyline continues still today, most recently in the prequel installment Alien: Covenant promised as the second part of a trilogy.

Alien has joined the ranks of the films in a genre that have themselves achieved an iconic status that was neither expected or imagined by the originating film makers, but nonetheless welcomed. With one more film expected from Ridley Scott meant to more closely connect the origin story with the events from the 1979 original film, audiences anxiously anticipate a return to the coldness of space, and return of one of the modern era’s most beloved and bedeviled screen monsters. On Alien Day celebrated every year on April 26 we can all thrill this enduring film favorite.

In space, after all, no one can hear you hit the “repeat” button on your Blu-ray player!

iReview :: ALIEN: COVENANT

Director Ridley Scott takes us back into deep space and proves without a shadow of a doubt that no one can hear you scream with the latest episode of the sci-fi/horror franchise Alien: Covenant.

When film director Ridley Scott first ventured to take audiences to the outer limits of terror with his space monster movie Alien the ticket price was just a little under $3.00 in 1979. Little did he imagine then that some 40 years later his creation would take on a life of its own, but given the advent popularity of the genre thanks to the success of George Lucas’ Star Wars a new franchise was born. Although it would be almost a decade before James Cameron followed up Scott’s masterpiece with his own blockbuster Aliens, the originating filmmaker would take a little longer to revisit the depths of the final frontier and mine the limitless possibilities.

In the summer of 2012, Scott delivered on his promise to revisit the franchise. Prometheus wasn’t exactly the creature feature that audiences were hungrily anticipating. Scott much more deeper and theoretical exploration of the origins of his creature, inspired a desire to examine the origins of man from the very perspective of the primordial soup. The connection between man’s early evolutions and the horror that chases a taunt Sigourney Weaver through the murky depth of an exploratory mining platform, didn’t entirely resonate with movie goers, especially those now tainted by the consumer-piracy of prequels and reboots to satisfy a numb palette.

The story so far…

Although Scott had conceived of his original 1979 film as little more than a B-movie horror flick, a very well made and impressively budgeted B-movie to say the least, it still captured the imagination as much as it appealed to our most primal fears. When the filmmaker returned to the world he was determined if not resolute to create a thoroughly new experience, and with Prometheus Scott fleshed out a narrative component of the mythology that did go beyond filling in blank spaces. Venturing to provide more answers to the purpose of his perfectly predatory Xenomorph a creature designed to ignite a genocide, Scott raised even greater speculation.

At the conclusion of the monolithic Prometheus the expedition ends in tragedy when the exploratory vessel chasing a cryptic message into uncharted space discover a derelict ship, abandoned by a race of super-humans called “Engineers” who appeared to have been on a trajectory to deliver their payload — an annihilating virus — with our very own planet Earth on their list of stops. It’s theorized that these “Engineers” are the progenitors of all humanoid life across the cosmos, spreading their seed on all life sustaining planets and standing back and allow for evolution to take its course, but something’s amiss.

It would seem that these same life-givers have also developed a means to take it away — a genetic mutation; a weapon — that gestates within and consumes everything in its path, and results in a by product life form. Whether the Engineers ever intended for the evolution of the xenomorph or not, is indeterminate — what is known is that the final result is a predator unlike anything that anyone has ever seen! A creature so perfectly attuned for killing, it is practically unstoppable. A horror so insatiably merciless that in it there is an inescapably seductive quality all consuming in its veracious appetite.

That may be the most dangerously flattering way to describe Ridley Scott’s creation which is still the star of the film and is especially a headliner of its latest installment. Alien: Covenant is a return to genre proper after Scott’s more cerebral sojourn in Prometheus, but we couldn’t have gotten here without having first gone there, and as it has proven before — although it’s worth revisiting it’s only a matter of time before everyone is running and screaming through the dimly lit corridors and we’re reminded that in space no one can here you scream.

Just ignore the distress call!

Leave it to intrepid travelers to make the same mistake, but this is now (perhaps) the fifth incident where a distress call or other type of message leads a crew right into the very tight grip of a face-hugger. The human exploratory crew of the colony ship Covenant are on a mission to settle a far-off planet Origea 6 and are transporting about 2000 cryogenically frozen pioneers to the new promised land. Their vessel is temporarily disabled by an intense neutrino blast, and the crew intercept a message from a planet along their flight path.

Deciding it prudent to investigate the flight crew investigate and before long find themselves under attack by a virus and a rogue homicidal synthetic that is genetically engineering the next generation of xenomorph, and he’s just been handed a ship full of test specimens! Terror ensues, people fight for their lives, bodies burst and aliens get into the weirdest places! The formula is the same, as are the archetypes — Katherine Waterston makes for a decent replacement to the original’s “Ripley”, and Michael Fassbender in a unique duo role, begins to fill in the pieces about the fascination behind these deadly aliens.

Director Ridley Scott has revisited the tempo and feel of his first Alien adventure; the set pieces are bigger, the locations are more exotic and the mythology is filling out to elaborately appeal to the nostalgic among us that are turned on by trying to piece together all of the feature films so far. The question now is, will the quest continue? It appears that there exist as many aimless space rangers as we have space invaders, so exactly how long do we have until audiences get the next — and perhaps final arc of a trilogy — that leads directly to the original film is anyone’s guess, or depends completely on how many fall victim to Alien: Covenant this weekend at the box office.

See the trailer here:

Alien: Covenant directed by Ridley Scott and starring Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston and Billy Crudup is now showing in theaters everywhere and is distributed by 20th Century Fox.