Blast From The Past … Genesis of a Calibrator … Part 3

ALIEN3                                                         Fox

A069

7.0

2.35 16×9

5.1

Extras

RSDL

Category: Science Fiction / Documentary / Drama / Comedy / TV / OAV

I didn’t really want this one, but it will complete the set.  There will not be any type of special edition in this collection.  Too bad the only interesting stuff is during the opening credits.  It’s downhill from there and the beginning still does not make any sense in terms of continuity.  There were no eggs in the cryochambers … period.  The queen could have had the eggs on her when she got aboard the ship, but no way they get into that chamber.  They should have been in the launch bay and that would have made sense.  A closer examination seems to indicate that the eggs were indeed in the hangar bay area.  There are also a few more continuity goofs regarding the sets and special effects.  I hope that they, at least, reinsert the sequence where they trap the creature in the disposal area.  I am fully expecting Ripley to simply wake up again clutching her chest and sweating.  This was all a bad dream … thank god!  It’s actually not Alien3, but Alien 2.3: Ripley’s Dream.  Well, it arrived somewhat earlier than I expected (Mid December) and the real horror story here is that I cannot tell where the disc was pressed.  It has the date of pressing stamped on both sides as well as the title so I wager that it is a Technidisc pressing.  Seems like they took off their logo to avoid some type of back lash.  The film is presented with an aspect ratio short of the 2.35:1 that is correct.  I think it is closer to 2.25:1.  The soundtrack is very odd as the volume seems to emphasize the background more than the dialogue.  The audio is quite good as well as the picture quality although the color values are off a tad more because of the material than the transfer process.  It was rather painful to watch the first side, but I will pull through.  There are sprinklings of the white rolling dots typical of Technidisc pressings.  The end of side two is loaded with speckles … so much so that I’ve marked it for eventual replacement.  A recent adjustment to the Toshiba television means that the computer graphics at the beginning are no longer chopped off.  In the theater, the audience groaned when it came time for the autopsy on Newt.  Seems that there might be an Alien 4 in the works for the near future with the dream motif a likely possibility.  Hooray!!!  Imagine an Alien 4 with Sigourney Weaver back at the helm with no dream motif being employed.  They are talking about clones now, but what sense does that make.  You should not be able to clone and keep the same memories.  The technology does not work that way.  And why make clones of Ripley?  Just give us more butt kicking marines and facehuggers.  Alien 4: Resurrection … for the summer of ’97 … send in the clones.  Technidisc has closed its doors for good so no more discs from that place again.  By default, this one may actually find its way back into the collection.  I may have added the film back into the collection, but that does not mean that I will want to watch this one any time soon.  It came as part of the Alien Legacy box set and was a necessary evil to be able to get the coupon for the fifth DVD via the mail.  The disc is 16:9 enhanced and includes a trailer and a featurette.  The disc is transferred on a dual layered disc.  Quite a few extras on this particular disc.  All the trailers are here as are a few funny items like the trailer for the Video Game.

 

ALIEN RESURRECTION                                 Fox

A070

7.0

2.35

5.1/DPL

Mitsubishi Japan

A071

7.5

2.35 16×9

5.1

Extras

RSDL

Category: Science Fiction / TV / Documentary

I realize that it may indeed be a little early to talk about this film, but it is expected to hit theaters in 1997.  Wynona Ryder also stars as an android whom the cloned Ripley believes might or might not be her daughter.  Does this make sense to you?  It does not to me, but I will give it the benefit and wait for the film to see how they deal with the many questions that need to be asked.  The trailers have hit the theater and David saw it in Calgary.  He says that it seems to show an emphasis on marines and gunplay in an attempt to get back into the areas that worked in this series.  I finally caught the trailer for the film when I was watching Air Force One.  It looks interesting, but there is that same bug hunt motif again.  Ripley is portrayed quite differently this time and there seems to be a streak of evil in her and she may have a connection with the Alien.  The trailer does not skip a beat by beginning with an image of Ripley floating in a cloning tank.  There are also apparently many Ripleys this time around and the story takes place some 200 years after the third film.  This Ripley has acid for blood.  This one has been announced for release on Laserdisc in May.  FOX is still not very keen on doing DVD so it is best to stick with the Laserdisc for now.  I got the film for two whole days before having to send it back.  The entire first side of the feature was contaminated with speckles.  In a way, it looked like a Technidisc pressing.  So I had to send it back to Ken Cranes for a replacement.  The film looked sharp and had wonderfully saturated colours.  There was no evidence of colour bleeding and chroma noise appeared to be at a minimum.  The AC-3 audio was nicely done as the sound placement was indeed all over the room.  The story was a little bit different from what I had heard, but the consensus was that the film was generally well done except for the last act which bordered on being silly and ridiculous.  The production design had many nice touches that were nods to the original design of the Nostromo ship.  It was not quite clear whether the characters still used bullets or the weapons had progressed to being energy based.  As I continue along … there are quite a few aspects about the films internal logic that I had problems with.  There was a mention of how the medical ship was conducting research outside of earth jurisdiction … and yet the next thing that happens is the ship is on its way home past Jupiter.  Given the interplanetary travel has been solved in this universe,  Earth controlled space is well beyond just our solar system.  In Aliens, it took 17 days to send a rescue ship to LV426 … the distances do not add up.  It’s a given that Weyland Yutani no longer exists as a governing body … but still.  The aliens turned out to be boogie men … showing up out of nowhere.  They also were not shown moving to any extent like in Aliens.  I cannot recall one instance.  There was the ladder scene and the water scene.  Everything else was done in close up.  Why were the pirates reluctant to shoot the creatures?  They had quite the fire power.  Also noticed the sniper from Clear and Present Danger was here as well.  He buys it in the end.  I’m still not convinced about the genetic hybrid thing with Ripley and the Alien.  That species is supposed to be a perfect organism and the Alien should not have taken on characteristics of the human.  The alien nature of Ripley was well done and spooky.  Ripley’s instinctive behavior was well done as was the straight jacket sequence.  Definitely a very different portrayal than all the previous efforts.  Ripley remembers her previous life because of the genetic memory characteristic of the aliens.  I buy that.  That’s three films that used the blowing the alien into the vacuum motif.  What is the purpose of the Analise Call character and why has robot technology not advanced significantly in 200 years.  The Call character seems contrived as there is no real reason why she should be there and the reason she gives also does not hold any water.  She is almost present as a plot device to provide exposition when it is necessary.  I gave this one a solid 6/10 for a quality rating.  Jeff, being slightly more critical, gave it a 5/10.  Still much better than the third entry.  The DVD was added as part of a box set of the four films.  All films were 16:9 enhanced which is a first for FOX and hopefully means more good things to come from that company.  Surprisingly, all films were also done on the dual layer format to increase the bitrate for better images.

 

THE ALIEN LEGACY:                                     Fox

A072

7.0

1.33

2.0

Single Layer

Category: Science Fiction / TV / Documentary

This is the fifth DVD in the Alien Legacy box set.  It was mailed to me following the coupon being sent in.  Eight weeks later the DVD arrived in a cheap paper sleeve much like the free CD-ROMs  on finds in magazines.  There is no menu in this 68 minute program and the audio is two channel stereo.  The disc is strictly a retrospective documentary about the genesis of the original Alien film with interviews from all the principal film makers like Scott, O’Bannon, Giger, Cobb, Giler, Shusett, and the like.  Image quality isn’t really an issue for this program, but the colours are nicely saturated and solid.  The program is interspersed with deleted alternate angle footage and other minor scene extensions.  The distribution of this disc by Fox is best described as being messy.  Apparently they simply under estimated the demand and ran out of the discs.  This snafu resulted in a lot of bad press by the many who sent their money in only to get a letter saying that they would not be receiving the disc.

Michael Chen

Michael Chen is the only THX Video Systems Instructor in Canada, and beyond these borders, is one of just two THX Video Instructors in the entire world.  He has actively consulted with Spectracal and ChromaPure and has created numerous education videos on the calibration process with still more to come.  His Video Calibration Training Series has quickly become the most comprehensive and simple to understand learning tool on the market today.  He has also taught classes for both the ISF and Spectracal as well and is now spearheading his all new TLVEXP calibration training program. Let Michael teach you Video Calibration and add that additional income stream to your installation and integration business

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