Alien 4K Blu-ray Disc Review

Back-to-back Written Reviews for you on two horror classics. We dive into Ridley Scott’s Alien and let you know the in’s and out’s of this film. Movie reviews and disc quality reviews are color coded for your convenience, BillChete in orange and Lady Phantom in blue.

IMDb Storyline: In the distant future, the crew of the commercial spaceship Nostromo are on their way home when they pick up a distress call from a distant moon. The crew are under obligation to investigate and the spaceship descends on the moon afterwards. After a rough landing, three crew members leave the spaceship to explore the area on the moon. At the same time as they discover a hive colony of some unknown creature, the ship’s computer deciphers the message to be a warning, not a distress call. When one of the eggs is disturbed, the crew realizes that they are not alone on the spaceship and they must deal with the consequences.

Movie Review:
BillChete did an in-depth review on Planet Macabre way back on January 30th of 2011. He was joined by 3 other co-hosts including GregaMortis, HellHunter and Dr. Shock. You are free to DOWNLOAD the audio and navigate to timestamp 0:11:47 where the discussion starts. Alien overview and ratings end at 0:42:28.

This movie is a classic, and for good reason. It’s scary and it’s raw. Ian Holm’s acting is excellent. It’s amazing to observe him throughout his time in the movie. The little movements, the wink -or lackthereof- of the eyes. You just know he has an agenda. How no one else is able to see that in the film, is beyond me. That is actually a writing flaw, in my opinion. Sigourney Weaver is fine; she only shines toward the end of the movie, when you believe she’s scared out of her mind. As for the others, they are all very good, but not outstanding. I’m divided about the alien. Sure, it’s terrifying… but also a bit too mechanical. I’m not crazy about the mouth effects; they just don’t look organic enough to me. But all that slime makes up for it. It’s truly disgusting. Another great thing is that, apart from the computer scenes, this film is timeless. I totally believe it happens in space, in the future. You should own this movie. It’s the mother (no pun intended) of horror/sci-fi, and not many measure up to it. 

4K Disc Quality:
Oh boy where to begin. Let me start by saying I was “hoping” for a 2001: A Space Odyssey conversion to the 4K format but I was ultimately let down hugely. For a space movie with many scenes in darkness and black, I wanted those velvety, inky blacks but got none of that. Instead the contrast ratio is muted and the whole film looks stable and uniform with zero popping effects. I was perturbed with some computer text screens in a blurry show, while most were fine. If I had to put a positive slant on something it would be the final 20 minutes of the movie, where detail was more crisp and was an enjoyable finale. On the audio front I was surprised with the surround channels having much work producing the ambience that was never there on the original. The DTS 5.1 track was iffy in parts with some tinny sound with no depth, but when the excitement rises the sound was good. Overall, again, I must say that this appears to be another money grab from the studios. The 40th Anniversary edition should have been grandiose on a film of this stature, but once again it fails. Keep your Blu-ray and save your moolah as this is a downer.

I will say one thing about this presentation: the black levels are good. Whenever there’s a very dark scene, full of blacks, there’s great gradation. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all that I can say for the 4K. It’s grainy; although not noticeable in all scenes, it’s obvious in others. Nothing pops. Not even the closeups, and that’s saying something. Some even look a bit blurry. The sound is also not great, except for the little sounds the doors make when being opened. As for special features, it does have commentaries and isolated scores, but no featurettes, documentaries, or things of the sort. In conclusion, I’m disappointed.

Breakdown of “Alien (1979)

Movie Rating  
BillChete:  8 (Buy) Lady Phantom:  8.5 (Buy)

4K Blu-ray Disc Grade  
BillChete:  D+ (Unworthy) Lady Phantom:  D+ (Unworthy)

Average 4K Disc Grade