Review: Alien (4K)

Twentieth Century Fox are officially celebrating the 40th anniversary of director Ridley Scott’s classic film Alien (1979) with a brand new 4K release. It has a true-4K restoration of the film supervised by Ridley Scott and Pam Dery. This is one of those films that’s long overdue for this treatment, so it’s great to finally have the chance to view it at this level.

Plot: In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.

Director:  Ridley Scott

Aspect Ratio: 2.35.1

Runtime: 116 min

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: A modern classic, Alien blends science fiction, horror and bleak poetry into a seamless whole.

Online Ratings:

  1. Rotten Tomatoes 97%
  2. IMDB 8.5
  3. Metacritic 89

“A must own for Alien fans.”

Review:

This movie was originally shot on film and for the 40th Anniversary it has been given true 4K treatment with scans finished as a 4k Digital Intermediate. As per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in HDR10+.

There is a constant level of grain seen throughout this film, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a rather significant upgrade across the board; especially in the detail, shadow and black level departments. As you already know, a lot of this movie takes place in harsh-dark environments, so the added resolution enhances all of it, across the board. This movie doesn’t have that 4K sharpness seen in more recent films, but this was shot in 1979 — there will be some softness and while it won’t pop with color — the HDR brings out the various textures seen on the instruments, walls and interior of the ship.

Some highlights I jotted down include Chapter 17’s “Here, Jonsey.” Here you will get great detail down to the sweat and pores on Brett’s face with the blacks all around him looking crisp. It’s the little things like more detail and black levels that add contrast and dimension in various scenes throughout the movie. You will see that again when Ripley is running through hallways in Chapter 26. The HDR and black levels really add another dimension to the ship and that eerie like feeling is even stronger. Don’t get me wrong, the score does that on it’s own, but this new scan brings more to the table.

Finally, I just wanted to pinpoint the fact that this is the best way to date you can watch Alien. All the little things HDR and 4K detail bring to the movie make it something new to experience again. Alien has severed as a major stepping stone into the sci-fi genre since 1979, and it still plays a big role today. With that in mind, this is an absolute must own for anyone that’s fan of this movie and franchise. This comes highly recommended.

As a side not (even though it has nothing to do with Alien) I need another classic like Jaws remastered in 4K immediately. Spielberg has already released Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park in 4K. Can we get Jaws next? Next year marks the 45th Anniversary!

Cheers,

Matt