Alien PAL Laserdisc

Dom Robinson reviews

Distributed by
Encore Entertainment

    • : EE 1088
    • Cert : 18
    • Running time : 116 mins plus trailers
    • Sides 2 (CLV)
    • Year : 1979
    • Pressing : UK, 1995
    • Chapters : 33 (18/12+3)
    • Sound : Dolby Surround
    • Widescreen : 2.35:1
    • Price : £21.99
    • Extras : Trailers for all 3 films


      Ridley Scott

    (Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, White Squall)


    Glenn Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill


    Dan O’Bannon


    Jerry Goldsmith


    Ripley : Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters, Gorillas in the Mist)
    Dallas : Tom Skerritt (Picket Fences, M*A*S*H, Top Gun)
    Kane : John Hurt (The Elephant Man, Rob Roy, “1984”)
    Ash : Ian Holm (The Madness of King George, Naked Lunch)
    Lambert : Veronica Cartwright (The Right Stuff, Witches of Eastwick)
    Brett : Harry Dean Stanton (Wild at Heart, Paris Texas)
    Parker : Yaphet Kotto (Live and Let Die, Midnight Run)

Alien:The Nostromo is a commercial towing vehicle carrying 20 million tons ofmineral ore, a crew of seven people, and is on a course heading back to Earth…
…that is until they are awoken from suspended animation several monthsbefore their arrival to answer a space distress call.

When they land on the once-inhabited planet and go exploring, the unluckyJohn Hurt is attacked by something strange which attaches itself to his face,causes him more than an ounce of trouble, and escapes to another part of theship.

One by one the crew are picked off by the alien as they attempt to track itdown and destroy it, leading to an incredibly tense finale.

The alien creature was designed by H.R. Giger, who also worked on the designsfor the spaceship and the creature’s lair, and was handpicked by directorRidley Scott himself.

“Alien” is one of the perfect examples of how to make a suspense-filled film,without resorting to unnecessary violence and bad language.

I was fortunate enough to catch a double-bill of “Alien” and “Aliens” atmy local cinema two years ago, and they are an absolute knockout on thebig screen. The suspense is in no way diminished on the smaller screen, thewidescreen ratio giving you the full composition of the picture so it makesfor a fantastic home cinema experience.

Colours are sharp and vibrant, and it’s worth pointing out that the widescreenvideo which came as part of the VHS ‘facehugger’ boxset a few years ago hadthe film in a slightly less-wide ratio.Thankfully, Encore have used the same master as the original single-tapewidescreen release which retains the exact 2.35:1 ratio.

The surround sound is used to excellent effect as the sound of the ship’scomputers and controls hum from all around; computers bleep from theirrespective screen positions and when the ship is set to self-destruct,your speakers had better watch out… and the sound of the alien attackingits victims makes your flesh crawl right off!

The side-break is well placed coming after the scene where Ripley, Parker andLambert think they’ve found the alien, but it turns out to be Brett’s cat,Jones, which is followed on side 2 by the scene where Brett goes “Looking forJones”.

Chapters are sensibly placed at each key scene change, with chapter titleshelping to find your chosen favourite moment with ease such as”Something he ate?”, “Ash’s True Colours” and “Looking for Jones”.

The price of the disc is a key factor in making it a smash hit, and you passthis one up, you’ll kick yourself for not entering into one of the bestfilm trilogies in movie history, especially as it won Oscars for Best SoundEffects Editing, and Best Visual Effects.

The disc is made complete with trailers for : Alien, Aliens, and Alien 3…

…and if you skip straight to exactly 53 minutes in on side 1, John Hurtseems to be having a little trouble keeping his lunch down….

Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 1996.

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