Blu ray screencaps of Alien with BD impressions on the disc quality.
Alien is a classic film from 1979 and really put director Ridley Scott on the Hollywood map, the film also gave us a strong female hero with Sigourney Weaver playing Ripley, ( Ellen ) Alien has a very straight forward approach to it's story which i like a lot and it tells it without talking down to it's audience, the dialogue is natural and not forced, it's how you would imagine real people doing such a job in space would talk, we get blue collar workers in space, it's one of the things which makes Alien work even after all these years, the sense of foreboding is strong and the ending wonderfully played out, the Alien design by H.R. Giger has never been bettered.
Some of the science in Alien such as hyper sleep chambers has really been discussed for long space journeys and adds some authenticity to the film, although Alien has influenced many films over the years it too was influenced by an older film, anyone who has ever seen It! The Terror From Beyond Space will know what i am talking about, that film hails from 1958.
Jerry Goldsmith's music score is fabulous and really adds to the atmosphere, the disc also features an alternate score which is also fabulous but it's a shame it's an isolated track and cannot be heard while watching the film but that would have involved extensive remixing.
Ridley Scott was personally involved in the process to bring Alien to the blu ray format and he oversaw the transfer process, whenever Alien has been transferred to a home format it has undergone changes, the VHS and DVD editions all look different to one another but all have been approved by the director, this version is no different with colour timing changes, brightness and contrast changes and some of the finest grain you will see for a film made in 1979.
Twentieth Century Fox made a 4K scan from the original negatives and the film was given an extensive digital restoration supervised by Mr Scott, the results are impressive, i was a little worried that too much film grain might have been removed but comparing it to the DTheater edition i believe there has been no appreciable loss of detail, if the director is happy then i can't complain too much since there is still a fine grain present and detail is still high, my only worry really is that they have attempted to make the film look more like one shot yesterday.
There is no doubt that this is a fine presentation of Alien but there is also a tiny worrying niggle that i have regarding the fine grain, my concern centres around Lowry who have been known to totally degrain an image and then add artificial grain back in, they did this with the first three Bond movies and the results were mixed, those movies have some edge ringing visible in them, maybe what i perceived as some edge ringing in Alien is there because of this Lowry process.
James Cameron said in a statement that Aliens was totally denoised/degrained and i wonder if he was correct, did they actually totally degrain these first two movies and then add back some artificial grain, even if they did do that i am happy with these releases but it concerns me.
A bit of trivia, Nostromo is a novel by Joseph Conrad and is the mining vessel in Alien, in Aliens the marines transport ship is the Sulaco, thats actually part of a silver mining concession from the same novel, the escape vessel from Alien is called the Narcissus and thats a connection with yet another Conrad novel, obviously the scriptwriters were fans of Joseph Conrad.
Despite my slight reservations regarding what Lowry actually did to the movie i really enjoyed re-visiting the film in high definition with a lossless sound track, nice extra content too.
View some blu ray screencaps of Alien below.