One word sums up this amazing nine disc box set Definitive that's right, it's nearly impossible to think of anything else that could have been crammed into this loving tribute to one of the most popular film series ever.
Each film features two different versions, the standard theatrical release and a specially extended version, both on the same disc. Alien, unleashed upon an unsuspecting world in 1979, introduces us to the Aliens and to their long running foil, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver). Directed by Ridley Scott, Alien was unlike anything seen before, a high budget, artistic, B Movie which knew it's job; dazzle you, than scare the life out of you. The new Director's Cut actually swims against the tide of recent re-edits and runs shorter than the original theatrical version. Scott has added several new sequences including Ripley discovering Dallas': cocooned body and also taken out existing footage, such as Dallas visiting Mother to see what his chances of survival are. This new edit plays just as fast and tight as the original, but also gives you the luxury of re-viewing one of the all time great genres movies with a fresh pair of eyes again.
Aliens found James Cameron take over the reigns as director, and for once the tag line really did say it all This time it's war. Eschewing the tense horror of its predecessor, Aliens was all about thrills and adrenalin. It's a great example of how to do a sequel, Cameron's story opens up the story and adds to the world of the Alien's and Ripley, whilst also proving the audience with what they want, plenty of violent and thrilling Alien action. The special edition version included on the disc has been around for several years now and has come to replace the original version as the definitive one to watch. The restored sub plot of Ripley discovering she'd out lived her daughter adds a great deal of poignancy to her relationship with Newt, whilst the sentry gun sequence quite simply rocks.
Alien 3 had a long and protracted slog to get to the screen, with many different scripts floating around and several different directors attached, it finally came down to director David Fincher, helming his first film, to bring the world of the Alien's back to the big screen. Picking up straight where Aliens stopped Ripley now finds herself stranded on an isolated prison planet with only a handful of prisoners to help her fight off the Alien. The new special edition is probably the most radically changed of the four films and sticks much closer to Fincher's original cut of the film. The entire opening sequence is completely different and sets up the story and characters perfectly. The long lost beach opening sees Charles Dance discovering Ripley washed up on the shore, also the changed is the Aliens arrival, now it births from an Ox instead of the previously seen dog. Loads of sub plots have been reinstated and the ending has been subtly changed and extended. All of the alterations add to the story and help to produce a far more satisfying and well-rounded film, a version that could well become the definitive cut of Alien 3.
Alien Resurrection had the unenviable task of re-starting a story that had previously been brought to a satisfying and definitive ending. Jean-Pierre Jeunet directs from a script by Buffy creator Joss Wheadon, and brings with him several regulars form his other films as well as a great eye for visuals. Ripley now finds herself cloned an onboard a military spaceship, where a group of scientist are attempting to extract the Alien that was originally in her. In an introduction to the new cut Jeunet explains that the theatrical version was the directors cut and that this new version is more of a special edition to let the fans seen an alternative view of the film. This is the least radical of the different cuts and the main highlights are an alternative opening credits sequence and an alternative ending which sees the survivors actually making it to Earth.