Aliens: Special Edition PAL Laserdisc

Dom Robinson reviews

Aliens: Special Edition
Distributed by
Encore Entertainment

    • : EE 1089
    • Cert : 18
    • Running time : 148 mins plus trailers
    • Sides 3 (CLV)
    • Year : 1986
    • Pressing : UK, 1996
    • Chapters : 51 (17/19/12+3)
    • Sound : Dolby Surround
    • Widescreen : 1.85:1
    • Price : £42.99
    • Extras : Trailers for all 3 films


      James Cameron

    (True Lies, Terminator 1 and 2, The Abyss, Titanic)


    Gale Anne Hurd


    James Cameron


    James Horner


    Ripley : Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters, Gorillas in the Mist)
    Newt : Carrie Henn
    Burke : Paul Reiser (Bye Bye Love, Too Hot To Handle)
    Hicks : Michael Biehn (The Terminator, The Abyss)
    Hudson : Bill Paxton (True Lies, Trespass)
    Bishop : Lance Henriksen (Hard Target, No Escape)
    Gorman : William Hope
    Vasquez : Jenette Goldstein

Aliens: Special Edition:Ward Officer Ellen Ripley, NOC14472, is back in this sequel to the originalfilm, “Alien” for 148 minutes of sci-fi action and fantasy, which is theextended director’s cut of James Cameron’s classic film.

Upon learning that she has spent 57 years in hypersleep, Ellen Ripleyenquires about her daughter who was due to reach her eleventh birthday bythe time she returned, but learns the sad truth that she died two years agoat the age of 66.

At a court hearing to determine exactly what happened, none of the executivesunderstand, the judge decides that Ripley “acted with questionable judgement”when blowing the Nostromo apart at the end of the first film, and rules thatshe should be suspended from all duties indefinitely.

After all, none of the analysis team who looked over her lifeboat found anytrace of the creature… but the audience knows that these bureaucrats arewrong, and the trouble is due to start again, when Burke tells Ripley that theCompany has lost contact with the people on Colony LV426, and they want herto investigate along with a group of Colonial Marines.

Should she stick with her new job as a cargo loader, or accept and on returnbe reinstated as a Flight Officer…?

This Special Edition contains an extra 17 minutes cut from the theatricalrelease which fills in some of the gaps in the plot left out of the originalversion, and further establishes Ripley’s relationship with the young girl,Newt.

For a lot of the film, action replaces the suspense that the first film had,although it still has its share, and great comic relief is provided by BillPaxton.

The picture quality is not as good as the other two films for some of the time,but the surround sound kicks major ass as the alien creatures are blastedinto next week with hundreds of rounds of firepower. Their screams, as theydie, echo out of the speakers, and after one of them is pulled away fromRipley’s neck, its tail flicks around the front two speakers with ease.

The film comes as two discs in a beautiful gatefold sleeve with informationregarding various aspects of the film from scripting to shooting.

It would have been nice if one side had been in CAV, but the two side-breaksare the best they could have been. Side 2 ends at around 50 minutes into thedisc, but upon playing side 3, if that side had begun a further ten minutesin, the action would have been interrupted.

This was James Cameron’s last film to be shot at hard-matte 1.85:1. All ofhis films made since then have been shot in Super-35 where non-SFX scenesare filmed at around 1.60:1 and then matted for cinematic release, and allSFX scenes are shot at a 2.35:1 widescreen ratio.

Hence, for a fullscreen version of such films, non-SFX scenes can have thematte opened up, so more can be seen top and bottom, but SFX scenes are panand scanned.

Fans of the Bruce Willis film “Die Hard” may be interested to know that musicplaying at the end of the film as Sgt. Al Powell offs the final terroristwas actually written for “Aliens”, but never used, and held over for “Die Hard”.

Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 1996.

[Up to the top of this page]