Alien vs. Predator : 2 Disc Extreme Edition DVD Review
PictureWith most of the movie set at night, predominantly in dimly lit underground corridors, any problems with this film's transfer would show up very quickly. Fortunately, the big budget nature of this movie shows up in the quality of the presentation. There is very little in the way of mpeg artefacts and the picture is sharp. All throughout the contrast is very good, and the shadows retain their depth and detail. Edge enghancement also seems minimal. Even during a night sequence completely lit by red flares the picture remains clean with no bleeding. Colours are very muted, but the skin tones seem right. According to the commentary the film had its colours desaturated as an effect. The process works well and enhances the film's atmosphere. The deleted scenes have not been treated, so it's interesting to see what the colours looked like originally. However, the picture is not immaculate. Sometimes a shot in a scene can be crystal clear, while its immediate cutaway or reverse angle has grain. I did notice was that the picture dropped in quality for a moment about an hour in when the lead actress was wandering about alone. The scene had barely any lighting at all, and the picture suddenly got rather noisy. Then it went away and the quality was high again. Curious. Anyway, apart from minor blemishes it's a very good picture.
SoundThe sound quality is first class, with excellent use of surround sound and panning effects. The sub woofer gets a real workout with ominous beefy drones and explosive rumbles shaking the floor as violence erupts. During stalking and fight sequences the use of surround sound comes into its own. The rattling growl of a predator moving from side to side above you. Hissing aliens scuttling to the rear. Gunfire smashing masonry to the front, pieces whirling past your ears. Bullet casings clinking on the stone floor below. Oh yes, this is a dynamic mix! All sounds are clearly spacially separated with the dialogue coming from the centre channel in a distinct manner. The quality of the DTS track is slightly better than the Dolby Digital one, with the channels being a tad clearer, but there's not much in it. All in all, everything is top notch.
ExtrasApart from the 'extended' cut the main extra on the first disc is a lively commentary by Paul WS Anderson and Lance Henriksen, with Sanaa Lathan chipping in a little here and there. It's well worth listening to. The two men in particular give an informative insight into the AVP story and tell some pleasing anecdotes. And it's funny to hear Anderson go very quiet when Lathan complains that she was not allowed to negotiate a fresh deal by Fox should a sequel be made. He doesn't comment, obviously not wanting to upset his paymasters! The second commentary is by the visual effects people and it's rather dull and full of long pauses. A short puff piece on some upcoming films rounds up the first disc.The second disc is an extras disc and it's crammed with featurettes and a couple of documentaries on the making of AVP. There's nothing here that you won't have seen in every other 'making of' feature about a big budget film. Most of the featurettes will be perused once and never again. They're not particularly bad, they're just the usual gushing baloney about how great everyone was. The features are wisely split up into the different areas of the production and the menu is clear and easy to navigate. Pre-production, Production, Post-production, Licensing the Franchise, and Marketing are the areas covered, and show features related to that aspect of filmmaking. I enjoyed a piece about the AVP comics and it's very obvious that they were the primary catalyst for this film. There are approximately eight minutes of deleted scenes. They're nothing special, nearly all just extended scenes already in the film. It gives the impression that the completed film is exactly how the director intended it to be. Hmm...
VerdictWith the weight of expectation from the fans of two successful franchises Aliens vs Predator had a lot to live up to. For many it was a huge disappointment. It's fair to say it got a critical savaging on it's cinema run. And as a horror movie it is poor, but seen as purely an action film it's actually a lot of fun. It doesn't lag and doesn't outstay it's welcome. It's a good romp and a pleasant way to spend an hour and a half. A film like this has a natural home on DVD and for Sci-Fi and comic book aficionados this is definitely a good addition to the collection. It's difficult to recommend this two disc package over the single disc though, unless you're a big fan, as the extras on the second disc really aren't that remarkable. And there's nothing 'extreme' about it!
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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