Alien Vs. Predator (2004) - The Unrated Edition

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Horror / Science Fiction / Thriller
Fox || Unrated - 108 minutes - $26.98 || November 22nd, 2005
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-11-26


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer(s): Paul W.S. Anderson (story, screenplay), Dan O'Bannon (characters) & Ronald Shusett (characters), Jim Thomas (characters) & John Thomas (characters)
Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner, Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan, Joseph Rye


Theatrical Release Date: August 13th, 2004


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:

    Disc 1:
  • Unrated Director's Cut
  • Theatrical Cut
  • Director & Actors Commentary
  • Visual Effects Commentary
  • Optional Added Footage Marker


  • Disc 2:
  • "AVP: The Beginning" Pre-production Featurette
  • ADI Workshop Featurette
  • Storyboard Gallery
  • Concept Art Gallery
  • AVP Production Documentary
  • "Making-Of" Production Featurettes
  • Visual Effects Breakdown
  • Deleted Scenes
  • "Aliens vs. Predator: The Comic Book" Featurette
  • "Monsters in Miniature by Todd McFarlane" Featurette
  • AVP HBO Special
  • Theatrical Trailers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Surround), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

So I don't repeat myself, I have reproduced my original Alien Vs. Predator DVD review. I have appended some additional thoughts about the film, and more specifically the unrated version.

Original Review:
The Alien franchise was vry interesting (even with Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection) and the Predator movies were, well to be honest I've only seen the first one. However, throw away those movies because there is little logic in Alien Vs. Predator, just same old story where you throw in several poorly written characters whose sole purpose is to be killed in a "gruesome" manner.

I'll admit right now, Alien Vs. Predator was not made for people like me. Although I enjoyed the first two Alien movies, I cannot say that I'm all that interested in them in general; ditto for Predator. No, AVP was a film for the die-hard fans of these franchises and for the Dark Horse Comics they are based upon. If I had seen this in the theater, I'm sure people were hooting and hollaring when we got to see these two monsters battle each other. But, I did not. In fact, the entire film (if you want to call it that) had very little entertainment value for me and to make matters worse, I could care less who "wins" this fight. Now, at this point in the game, you already know which side you're on. You either can sit back and enjoy this or not, it's that simple. I for one, though, didn't find much to enjoy in this drivel.

There is also an extended version with around 10 minutes of extra footage including a new opening (it chronicles what happened in Antartica back in 1904). This isn't anything special and does not add anything to the film.

The first disc contains the theatrical version and the unrated version which, as far as I remember, does have some of the extended footage (the new opening and a couple other scenes) plus some deleted footage added back in (I believe all three on the original release were reintroduced here). Since the movie itself isn't very good, these extra scenes did not help in the least. There is some more gore for your hard core horror/Alien/Predator fans, but it certainly doesn't make the movie better.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Also on the first disc, for the theatrical version only, are the two commentary tracks which I talked about before. I wish director Anderson (or one of the producers/other cast members) would've recorded a new one for the unrated version, but the features on disc two make up for it. Also included is an added footage marker which is useful as some scenes might only last a minute or so while others longer and more noticeable.

Original Review:
Commentary with director Anderson, actors Henriksen & Lathan: The funner of the two tracks has the trio just having a good time and recounting their experience on the film. There was the usual what scenes was shot first and all that, but I had a fun time listening to it (though admittingly, Henriksen seemed too complimentary about how the film looked, but it wasn't too annoying). On this track, I found out that director Paul W.S. Anderson is a huge fan of Aliens and has watched it hundreds of times. On an interesting note, director Michael Mann was recording his commentary for Collateral (according to Anderson as they were wrapping up).

Commentary with Alien effects creators and visual effects supervisor: If you're one who likes the nitty gritty of behind the scenes, then you'll probably enjoy listening to this track. These trio gives some little tid bits about how things were done, what scenes or shots are matte paintings and what is or is not CGI, etc. This track does become a bit boring, but it's still not bad.

AVP: The Beginning - This featurette, running at nearly 30-minutes, covers everything leading up to filming, the pre-production. Not only are there storyboards, make-up/costume tests and the origins of getting AVP off the ground, but this also talks about the two franchises and what time frame it belongs (it comes after Predator but 105 years before Alien). There's also some character background to Bishop and how they incorporated him into this spin-off/prequel/sequel (or whatever you want to call it). You also have the option to view the featurette with (via branching) with other videos pertaining to the topic at hand. Next are those individual featurette and galleries.

ADI Workshop - This featurette shows costume fittings for the Predator including lighting tests and how the Predator's hair would move or how it looks slicing the Alien creature. More interesting, though, is the test for a mechanical face hugger walking on the floor or onto a chest. Although this isn't anything outstanding (let alone new), it is cool to see the advancements of how the filmmaker puts them on screen. Other aspects handled include set designs, Alien creature parts and the weapontry. There are no interviews contained here, just good 'ol behind-the-scenes footage.

Storyboard and Concept Art Galleries - Because the gallery is one of the least fascinating features on a DVD, I decided to combine the two. I guess for one look it's interesting to see how a drawing goes from paper to film. In regards to the storyboard, specifically, we get an interview with the storyboard artist back in '03 which, at the time, even he wasn't sure if there would be a film or not.

AVP Production - This one starts out with comments from director Anderson talking about the choice of setting the film in Antartica and making it in Prague (because the city has a huge abandoned sugar cane factory). However, the jist of the entire featurette (the backcover calls it a documentary) is a sweeping overview of the nuts and bolts of making AvP. Even though the final product wasn't very good, this one seems worthy for those interested in how a movie is made. Even though it's not the best making-of featurette I've seen (it does contain some butt kissing from cast members), it's still quite good overall. My only complaint (and this goes for "The Beginning" featurette) is it would've been nice to have some chapter stops.

"Making-Of" Production Featurettes - Pretty standard fare includes short segments showcasing the "miniature Whaling Station" where Anderson explains why he wanted to use miniatures versus CGI. We get to see some of the testing as the miniature gets taken over a cliff and, finally, them shooting the final thing. "Facehuggers and Eggs", like its Alien predecessors, shows making the slimy creatures and filming one of the scenes. There are no interviews or talk, more choregraphy for which order the eggs would open and the facehuggers appear. Lastly is "Trouble at the Mouth of the Tunnel" in which a real fire erupts causing firemen to scramble to douse the flames as Anderson looks on hoping his 'B' camera survives. In total, each segment lasts anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes so although short, they are good additions to the "Production" part of the DVD.

Visual Effects Breakdown - Fairly extensive look at the post-production CGI work done on several key scenes in the movie. Outside of a couple soundbites from Anderson, we get some interviews/comments with the visual effects supervisors as they explain the process of taking a live action scene and blending the CGI elements into it. Although not as great as other featurettes in the Fox Collector's Edition line, it's still enlightening.

Deleted Scenes - There are three more deleted scenes offered this time around, each fairly worthless and very short (put together, they run under two minutes). The scenes include: "The Sister" where Lex explains her family history to include her sister; "Miller Gets Caught" has the character getting captured by the Aliens later after coming upon Weyland's body; the third scene, "Love Scene" is merely a glance between Alexa and Sebastian... that's it, so the title of that scene is very misleading and given the short time of the scene, I'm not sure why he didn't just include it.

"Alien Vs. Predator: The Comic Book" - Gives the history behind Dark Horse Comics' development of the AvP comic book battle and how the separate comic books held against the big boys. Not exactly an engaging featurette, but certainly shows off where the movie came from.

And then there's the other stuff: Fluff promotional material in the HBO Special and 3 AVP theatrical trailers plus 2 trailers for the Alien Quadrilogy and Planet of the Apes 35th Anniversary Edition.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

From what I could tell, there was virtually no difference between the releases (which is no surprise, of course). All in all, though, the picture this time wasn't too bad, although it's still a dark movie. Admittedly, I might've been a little "harsh" on my score of the picture and sound so I did raise it up a bit.

Original Review:
Thankfully, this disc has a DTS audio mix which sounds very good but, unfortunately, never really was impressive. Also available is the standard (and sub-par) Dolby Digital, which will be fine for most people.

For the picture, because this is a darkly-lit film, the skin tones seemed to be off. Some of the character's skin were a little too pink(ish) on their cheeks while the rest of them are just pale. This was a problem that I noticed with The Grudge as well.



.::OVERALL::.

Although the DVD, as a whole, is good, the movie is so mediocre (at best) that owning this DVD is only for the hard core fan out there. The special features makes a purchase (at discount) more worthwhile but even then many DVD collector's might find it to be a space waster. The features are fine but I do wish there was a new commentary track with Paul W.S. Anderson explaining why he added scenes back in and why this cut is better than the original.