In space no one can hear you scream. The terrifying sci-fi adventure, ALIEN, celebrates 40 years with an all-new 4K Ultra HD™ master. Check out Ralph Potts’ Ultra HD Blu-ray review.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
20th Century Fox - 1979
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English DTS-HD 4.1 (Theatrical version), DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1
English SDH, Spanish, French
Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartright, Tom Skeritt, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, John Hurt, Ian Holm
April 23, 2019
"In Space No One Can Hear You Scream"
“The terror begins when the crew of the spaceship Nostromo investigates a transmission from a desolate planet and makes a horrifying discovery - a life-form that breeds within a human host. Now the crew must fight not only for its own survival, but for the survival of all.” – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
I reviewed Alien when it was released on Blu-ray in 2010 as part of the Alien Anthology set. This review will include my comments from that review. The rating for the film, bonus material and soundtrack are identical to that release. A new rating for the Ultra HD video can be found below.
The following is taken from the first page in the Alien Anthology keep case; When Alien was unleashed in theaters in 1979, the world as introduced to one of the most terrifying monsters in motion picture history and one of the most popular movie franchises of all time. Equal parts horror, sci-fi and psychological thriller, the Alien movies raised all three genres to a bold new level.
I think that is a fairly true statement that correctly reflects my feelings on [/i]Alien[/i]. I will never forget the first time I saw Alien
. I was 15 years old and went to see it at the movies after a friend raved about it. Not since seeing Jaws had I felt such gut-wrenching fear although with Alien it was magnified by the visceral depiction, high level suspense and (at the time) amazing special effects. In my opinion the boogeyman had been given a new face. Of all the Alien films the chest bursting scene in the original is still the one that I find has the most effect.
I guess that is a testament to John Hurts terrific performance but also because of the setting in which it occurs. The script is strong and the characters are well developed which helps to draw the audience into the film’s conglomeration of fear which is built upon a homogeneous element that would prove to be one of the best big screen monsters ever. Alien
successfully traversed genre boundary lines, making for a truly thrilling sci-fi/horror experience that would go on to spawn a series of sequels that would make actress Sigourney Weaver a household name. I am thrilled that it has come to Ultra HD Blu-ray. Read on to see the results.
The rating is for sci-fi violence/gore and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
UHD Presentation: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
Alien comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound.
- HDR: Dark Highlights:
- HDR: Bright Highlights:
- HDR: Expanded Color:
- Visual Impact:
In 2018 20th Century Fox fully, under the supervision of Ridley Scott and Pam Dery, restored Alien
(both the theatrical and Director’s cut) from the original 35mm negative, and Its presentation in Ultra HD is derived from the 4K Digital Intermediate. It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like Alien has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won't result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.
This is a rather dark film that strives to recreate the look and feel of Ridley Scott’s vision. The restored video quality in Ultra High Definition is something to behold. Alien is not an overtly bright film, although there are bright elements. The terrific cinematography benefits from the enhanced resolution and emboldened contrast. The opening sequences aboard the Nostromo look stunning, providing a glimpse of what lies in store.
Copious amounts of detail can be seen, both in wide-angle and close-up perspectives, imparting a discernible increase in depth/dimension. Shot on 35mm film, using anamorphic lenses, film grain and some innate softening are present. Neither are compromising, even during special effects shots, or those laden with minutia, such as falling water, smoky, light filled backgrounds or drab interiors lit only by incandescent bulbs.
The use of HDR is spot on, driving the story’s use of moody visual cues that can be offset by gleams of brilliant light. The arcing sparks on the control panels during the shuttle landing of Dallas’ flame thrower stands out in stark contrast to the gradational blacks, grays and sepia, that make up the interior of the ship. Primary colors are beautifully rendered. Things such as the multi-colored bandana worn by Parker or Lambert’s ice blue eyes, sparkle. The film’s plethora of shadow laden environs offer increased resolve in terms of interstitial details that promote depth of field. Blacks are inky without compromise to fidelity.
The finale featuring the final three brings all of the presentation’s best elements together and looks terrific. I found that this Ultra HD presentation took this film visuals to the next level, allowing its attributes to be fully realized in a way that it hadn’t been before.
There are several lossless audio options included here. I utilized the 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track during my evaluation. Alien retains a front oriented presentation with low level ambience bled to the rear channels. This isn’t a bad thing as the mix conveys the film’s originally recorded elements without an ostentatious and unnatural display. The soundstage across the front of the room is wide and exhibits discernible channel separation. The rendering of dialogue and the clarity of the sounds/effects is quite good. The clarity of the dangling chains and dripping water in the large utility room during Brett’s search is notable. Dynamic range is limited by the age of the soundtrack however my subwoofer occasionally rumbled in response to the ships engines/thrusters.
For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:
Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
- Disc 1: Alien Ultra HD Blu-ray
- Disc 2: Alien Blu-ray
• 1979 Theatrical Version
• 2003 Director’s Cut
• 2003 Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott and the Cast & Crew
• 1999 Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott (1979 Theatrical Version Only)
• Final Theatrical Isolated Score – Dolby Digital 5.1 (1979 Theatrical Version Only)
• Composer’s Original Isolated Score – Dolby Digital 5.1 (1979 Theatrical Version Only)
• Deleted Scenes
- Digital Copy
is considered by many to be a classic and groundbreaking genre film. Some fans favor Director Ridley Scott’s Cut and some prefer the Theatrical version, regardless there is no denying its significance and place in American Cinema. This Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, which includes the original 35th Anniversary Blu-ray release, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, sees the film looking its best. Included are previously released supplements. Alien
on Ultra HD Blu-ray is simply a must have for fans that are set up for Ultra HD Blu-ray. Enjoy!
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems