Alien 3 on PAL Laserdisc – The DVDfever Review

Dom Robinson reviews

Distributed by
Encore Entertainment

    • : EE 1090
    • Cert : 18
    • Running time : 110 mins plus trailers
    • Sides 2 (CLV)
    • Year : 1992
    • Pressing : UK, 1995
    • Chapters : 36 (21/12+3)
    • Sound : Dolby Surround
    • Widescreen : 2.35:1
    • Price : £26.99
    • Extras : Trailers for all 3 films


      David Fincher

    (Fight Club, Seven)


    Glenn Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill


    David Giler, Walter Hill and Larry Ferguson


    Elliot Goldenthal


    Ripley : Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters, Gorillas in the Mist)
    Dillon : Charles S Dutton (No Mercy, Crocodile Dundee II)
    Clemens : Charles Dance (White Mischief, TV’s “Jewel in the Crown”)
    Golic : Paul McGann (Doctor Who)
    Andrews : Brian Glover (Leon the Pig Farmer)
    Bishop : Lance Henriksen (Aliens, No Escape)
    David : Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father)
    William : Clive Mantle (Holby City, Casualty)

Alien 3:What can be said of Officer Ellen Ripley? She hasn’t had an easy time of it.Her space flights in the first two films resulted in being followed by an evilcreature who wiped out everyone but herself, and she managed to escape intact,almost…

At the start of this third film, problems begin again, and part of her escapepod is jettisoned out and into the orbit of Florina “Fury” 161, and Outer-VeilMineral Ore refinery, populated by all-male prisoners of a maximum securitycorrectional facility.

With the rest of her crew all gone, she is again on her own, and the alienstill hasn’t finished its duty, as it works its way through the excellentcast, mostly made up of British actors including Charles Dance, Brian Glover,and the new Doctor Who, Paul McGann.

As the cinema trailer says, “The bitch is back!”

To cap it all, there’s a major head lice problem and Ripley will have to shaveher head. Sigourney Weaver joked at the time that she did the movie for free,but was paid $5.5 million just to go bald!

The picture quality of the disc is excellent and definitely on a par with thatof the “Alien” disc. The surround sound is a knock-out and worth the pricealone. Scenes worth checking out include the opening Fox fanfare which startsin the front two speakers, and towards its climax, spills out into the rearsas a crescendo builds up. You won’t want to miss the autopsy scene when CharlesDance cracks the breastplate of “Newt”, and the speakers will have plenty ofaction all around towards the end of the film as they try to box the alien in.Mighty stuff indeed.

The disc is well-chaptered and the side break is perfect, coming right afterBrian Glover’s demise at the hands of you-know-who, and one prisoner’s perfectfour-letter expression of his thoughts. Perhaps the alien took an aversion toGlover’s advertisements for a certain brand of tea-bag from years gone by…

I once saw a trailer for the film on a German pay-TV channel, ending withexactly the same scene. You certainly wouldn’t find that on UK TV at 5 o’clockin the afternoon, but it was spot-on.

“Alien 3” was unfairly slated upon its cinematic release, which was a shame asalthough it’s not the best of the trilogy, it certainly deserves to be judgedon its own merits, and stands up as a good film all on its own. It’s a filmworth seeing again now that the director David Fincher has been brought tothe fore with the worldwide success of his Brad Pitt-starrer “Seven”.

David Fincher has done a lot of work on music videos and in this, his firstfeature film, such style is prevalent from the opening credits with its quickcutting between white text on black-space background and what is happeningwith the ship containing Ripley, Newt, Hicks and Bishop who set sail at theend of “Aliens”, onwards with the dark interoirs of the colony made up ofvarying shades of brown.

For anyone who saw the pan-and-scan video, you’ll know that it was practicallyunwatchable, since David Fincher is one of the few directors who uses a2.35:1 image to its full capacity.

Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 1996.

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