Alien: The Director's Cut

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Alien: The Director's Cut
Review (9/10)
(By Alex Riviello)

What can I write about Alien that hasn't been said a million times? The very definition of a classic horror film (and yes, I'll fight to the death on the fact that this is straight up horror), it combines amazing visuals, one of the most memorable screen creatures of all time, and an utterly terrifying score, to make what is truly one of the scariest movies of all time. It still holds up today, despite some dated effects. Now it's being re-released, in a brand-spanking new Director's Cut, with added scenes. This Halloween a whole generation of movie fans who were either too young or not born yet during its 1979 release can finally experience the movie in the best quality you've ever seen. But how does the Director's Cut stack up to the original?

You all know the story. If you don't, what are you waiting for? Go out and buy this one immediately - there's a reason this movie made Sigourney Weaver a star and spawned 3 sequels. The setting - the future. A mining ship lands on a planet to investigate a distress beacon. The crew isn't equipped for a rescue mission, but they're under obligation to investigate it. On the planet - one of them some strange creature. The crew soon learns that things are a lot worse than they seem, and pretty soon they're all fighting for their lives. This one started it all, and set off a million imitators. The infamous "chest bursting" scene has been spoofed and featured in movies countless times, in everything from Spaceballs to Toy Story. It doesn't get much better than this.

So what's new in this Director's Cut? Well, it's a brand new transfer, for one- which is utterly beautiful - even the DVD doesn't look this good. The music has been upgraded too, with a brand new six-track digital stereo mix ready to blast your eardrums to smithereens. The theater that screened this had the volume at the perfect level - earth-shattering. The bass shook every seat in the place, and as for the jump scares - well let's just say that everyone spent a few minutes in the air. The score really uses silence to the fullest, and creeps you out in just the perfect way. Seeing Alien in theaters is worth it just for the improved sound and video alone, but Ridley Scott had to go and drag up some new footage for this edition. This is where people will conflict on the movie.

The new footage fits in perfectly, as far as matching with what else was shot. The only problem is that most of it just adds more build-up to a few scare scenes...and it seems like overkill at some points. The movie was already slow paced and moody, but there are points now where it drags a little too much. The original cut was near flawless, with the suspense building and building until the inevitable scare. Now there's a little too much waiting for things to happen. It only happens in a few instances, but it detracts from the film. Near the end of the film there's a deleted scene I was not expecting at all - and while it was cool to see, it didn't really add anything to the movie. As for what it was, let's just say they definitely implemented this idea in Aliens...

So, even with the pacing problems with this new cut, it's a must-see. It'll be the perfect movie to go out and see on Halloween night and have some fun with. There's nothing like seeing this masterpiece in its intended setting - the complete darkness of a theater. Hopefully this will do well and they'll re-release that Aliens director's cut in theaters next!

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