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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - November, 2010

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"Alien 3" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-november-2010-alien-anthology

Synopsis

The story picks up right after Aliens with Ripley crash-landing on distant world in her sleep pod.  The other survivors of LV-426 are dead.  The planet turns out to be a penal colony with 25 extremely brutal criminals in residence.  Ripley is rescued by the medical officer, Clemens (Dance) and brought back to health.  Unfortunately the alien monster has survived yet again and manages to implant itself in a dog (or ox if you watch the special edition version).  The monster that emerges is smaller and faster than before making it even more deadly.  The hapless inmates have no weapons and the body count begins to grow rapidly.  The warden dispatches a message to the company requesting rescue before he is pulled through the ceiling to his death.  Then Ripley discovers she has an alien growing inside her.  She and lead inmate Dillon (Dutton) devise a plan to lure the monster into a lead mold to kill it and her along with the queen she is carrying.  Just as they succeed the company arrives hoping to capture Ripley and bring the queen back to their bio-weapons lab.  She decides instead to make the ultimate sacrifice and jumps into the furnace ending her life and any chance of the alien’s escape.

Specifications

  • 20th Century Fox
  • 1992, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 55 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  AVC @ 20 Mbps
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring:  Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Ralph Brown
  • Directed by David Fincher
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Implied
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

For me, this film starts a decline in the franchise.  Although it is enjoyable, the first two are just really hard to top.  It’s basically a suspenseful story wrapped up in a slasher flick with a heavy dose of grime and nutty prison inmates.  I will say I prefer the special edition version to the original.  Some plot elements were altered slightly and about 30 minutes added to the runtime.  These are positive changes and I think it raises the excitement level a bit which is a good thing as there are sections that drag.  Charles S. Dutton as the lead inmate almost steals the show here with an intense performance.  Charles Dance is equally engaging as the cool-headed doctor.  I was sad to see him munched by the monster.  The shots actually showing the alien look very fake, like most early attempts at CGI.  It’s still a fun movie; just a little weaker than the first two.  Were the Blu-rays available separately, I would still add it to my library.

Technical

The picture quality is equal to the previous two discs.  My previous comment about the crude CGI effects only refer to the film itself, not the Blu-ray transfer.  I doubt this image could look better.  The gritty interior of the prison is wonderfully presented and made me want to grab a mop and bucket.  Color is natural with rich warm hues in the furnace scenes and cold tones during the outdoor sequences.  A horror flick wouldn’t be complete without lots of dark content and it looks fantastic here.  Blacks are nearly infinite and detail is superb no matter what the light level.

Audio is a little better than in Alien and Aliens thanks to better use of the subwoofer.  Explosions had far more depth and slam and music was very dynamic.  I would have given five stars if the surrounds had been used more effectively.  Pans during action sequences were excellent but restricted to the very wide front sound stage.  I really enjoyed the score by composer Elliot Goldenthal.  I had not heard of him before but it turns out he has written for many films and even won an Oscar for the movie Frida in 2002.

Extras

This disc contains both the theatrical cut and the 2003 special edition version of the film.  The bonus features are shared by the entire Alien Anthology set.  To see my comments, please check out my review of Alien a few pages back.