Click here to learn more about anamorphic widescreen!
Go to the Home Page
Go to The Rumor Mill
Go to Todd Doogan's weekly column
Go to the Reviews Page
Go to the Trivia Contest Page
Go to the Upcoming DVD Artwork Page
Go to the DVD FAQ & Article Archives
Go to our DVD Links Section
Go to the Home Theater Forum for great DVD discussion
Find out how to advertise on The Digital Bits

Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 10/1/03

The Alien Saga
2001 (2003) - 20th Century Fox/AMC (Image Entertainment)

review by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits

The Alien Saga Program Rating: B

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B/C

Specs and Features
109 mins, NR, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, dual-layered, keep case packaging, original screen test footage, Alien featurette, Aliens: Behind the Scenes featurette, Grunts in Space: Aliens featurette, profiles of Sigourney Weaver and James Cameron, 4 theatrical trailers (for Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection), Easter egg, animated program-themed menus with sound effects and music, scene access (22 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: none

With a nine-disc boxed set of the Alien films soon to be announced by 20th Century Fox, a set which will include many, many hours of newly produced and vintage supplemental materials, fans of the franchise are in for a real treat. In fact, about the only two things that won't be on the new Alien Quadrilogy set are a pair of previously created documentaries. The first is The Alien Legacy, which was released through a mail-in offer with the previous DVD set. The second is The Alien Saga, which was originally seen on AMC. Both documentaries were omitted from the Quadrilogy for disc space reasons, and for the fact that much of their content is included in far more detail elsewhere on the set. But The Alien Saga, in particular, is still much appreciated by fans. Narrated by actor John Hurt, the documentary looks in depth at the making of the original Alien, from the genesis of the project through to its unexpected box office success. It then moves on to look at each of the other films of the series in turn, and the Alien franchise as a whole, which extends to comic books and even videogames. It's a very good documentary and, thankfully, it's now available on disc from Image Entertainment.

The picture and sound quality on this disc is exactly what you would expect of a documentary produced for cable TV. The video is largely clean and clear, but varies in quality due to the variety of source material used, from original behind the scenes footage and actual film footage to new video interviews, photographs and more. The audio is a plain but solid Dolby Digital 2.0. This isn't the kind of program where you're really concerned about reference quality picture and sound, but you'll be happy to know that this is plenty solid. Fans will be very pleased.

Surprisingly, the disc has a few extras as well. This DVD includes twenty minutes of original screen test footage of Sigourney Weaver and Giger's original alien costume design, a trio of original production featurettes covering the first two films (which run about fifteen minutes in all), short video profiles of Weaver and Aliens director James Cameron, and an original theatrical trailer for each of the four films in the series. All of this is in full frame and it's all vintage material, so it's generally of lower quality, but it's fun to see anyway. There's also a two-second Easter egg. Cute, but don't expect much.

For those of you waiting to slam your cash down on the barrel head when the Alien Quadrilogy arrives in stores, The Alien Saga is worth a look as well. It doesn't compete with the Quadrilogy and isn't meant to. Instead, it makes a nice complement to the forthcoming set. Think of it as the snack before dinner, at a bargain-bin price. If you're a serious Alien fan, it's definitely worth having on your video shelf.

Bill Hunt

Buy this DVD now at Amazon!

E-mail the Bits!

Don't #!@$ with the Monkey! Site designed for 800 x 600 resolution, using 16M colors and .gif 89a animation.
© 1997-2015 The Digital Bits, Inc., All Rights Reserved.