Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Like the rest of the world, we don't agree on which is better. Scoop is an Alien man, Tuna prefers Aliens


I have an old business friend who used to be a pretty big-time Hollywood producer, and he told me that he believes director Ridley Scott to be a brilliant director, maybe the greatest of all time, and absolutely capable of mastering any kind of material in a very short time. Despite his unrestricted admiration for Mr. Scott, my friend also said that he'd never work with the guy again under any circumstances. It's not so much that Scott is difficult, but that he is brutally honest about everybody and everything - a characteristic which makes him great at his job, but not the ideal companion for months on a film set.

Of course, we can leave the negative consequences of Scott's notorious frankness to producers and actors and douchebag journalists who have to deal with him. For us fans, Ridley's honesty, when coupled with his intelligence and outspoken opinionated nature, is actually a major plus. It's pretty damned nice to have a guy who tells the truth about stuff that happened in the process of making the film, and airs his real opinions instead of the usual circumspect weaselling and kow-towing that these great film lords usually offer when discussing one another in front of us humble peasants.

In this case, he completely blew the lid off Twentieth Century Fox's plans to market this DVD and the theatrical re-release. Fox wanted a "director's cut", so they could sell it as a new product. They asked Ridley to go back and add the deleted footage, thus creating an uncut longer version. He did that. He restored several scenes, put in some fully-finished scenes he had deleted at the last minute, and got a new version. Only one problem. It completely sucked. The movie was deliberately paced to begin with, and Scott felt that the balance between build-up and delivery was correct in the original theatrical cut. When he added in more "tension building" scenes, he ended up with too much building and too little payoff. Eventually, he compromised. He added in some of the scenes, but left others out, to be exiled to the "deleted footage" ghetto. (He was right, by the way. The deleted footage is unbearably dull.) He also agreed to allow Fox to call the compromised version a "director's cut", but under two conditions: (1) he got to tell his version of the story - in which he stated that the real "director's cut" was actually the theatrical version (2) the studio has to include the original theatrical version in the DVD set, because it was still the best version, in Ridley's opinion.

His notes are called "a director's cut redefined", and an excerpt follows:

Upon viewing the proposed expanded version of the film, I felt that the cut was simply too long and the pacing completely thrown off. I cut those extra scenes for a reason back in 1979. However, in the interest of giving the fans a new experience with ALIEN, I figured there had to be an appropriate middle ground. I chose to go in and recut the proposed long version into a more streamlined and polished alternate version of the film. For marketing purposes, this version is being called "The Director's Cut". (Underscores added by Scoop.)

To film purists everywhere, rest easy. The original 1979 version isn't going anywhere. It remains my version of choice, and is presented fully restored and remastered under my personal supervision alongside the new Director's Cut in this DVD set.

In other words, the DVD box is not really lying when it says that the set includes the director's cut. Not really. Because, you see, Ridley's preferred cut is on the disks - but it's the original version, not the new one!!


Alien is often given as the answer to a film buff discussion question: "Are there any films where the sequel is actually better than the original?" Many people prefer James Cameron's Aliens to Ridley Scott's Alien. (Including Tuna.) I don't think either one is a better film than the other, but they are very different films. Although they are both S/F classics, Alien is basically a deliberate, slowly-building horror movie set in space, heavy on atmosphere and set design. Aliens is a kick-ass Hollywood action movie, with firepower and comic relief, basically a Bruce Willis movie without Bruce Willis. Which one you prefer depends on which genre you prefer. I'm an Alien guy.


Although Alien does not actually have any nudity, I find the final confrontation, the one-on-one battle between Sigourney and the alien, to be both arousing and terrifying. In its own way, it is one of the sexiest scenes ever filmed.

Tuna's comments in yellow:

Although this is decidedly not my kind of film, there is no denying its popularity. Fans of the series will be pleased with the transfer and special features of this, and the other three films in the series. This is a the rare case where I do not personally enjoy the film, but have to award a B, as I am in the minority on this one.


There is no nudity in either film, but Sigourney Weaver wears a t-shirt and minimal underpants in Alien. The top of her butt isn't covered. In the sequel, she was upgraded to sports underwear.


Tuna's comments in yellow:

Aliens (1986), for me at least, is one of those rare sequels that is better than the original. They replaced a lot of the atmosphere this time with action, action and more action. Sigourney is back, and kicks major Alien ass. The film won Oscars for both sound and visual effects, and Nearly all the Saturn awards from Academy of Fantasy, Science Fiction & Horror Films.

Sigourney returns to earth and finds herself on trial for destroying company property. They change their mind about her when they lose contact with the colonists from the planet with the Aliens. She accompanies a bunch of Marines and a company executive on a fact finding mission. That is nearly it for plot, and the rest is action. They introduce a young girl survivor, and have one android (this time a good one) in the mix, and a lot more aliens.

DVD info from Amazon, Alien

  • Commentary by Ridley Scott and technical crew

  • Theatrical version (117 min.)

  • Extended cut (seamlessly branched) (137 min.)

  • Preproduction: Star Beast (developing the story), First Draft of Screenplay by Dan O'Bannon, The Visualists (direction and design)

  • Ridleygrams (original thumbnails & notes), storyboard archive, Art of Alien (Cobb, Foss, Giger, Moebius), Truckers in Space (casting), Sigourney Weaver's screen test with optional commentary by Ridley Scott, cast portrait gallery

  • Production: Fear of the Unknown (Shepperton Studios, 1978), production gallery, The Darkest Reaches (Nostromo and alien planet), The Sets of Alien, The Eighth Passenger (creature design), The Chestburster (creature design)

  • Post-Production: Future Tense (music and editing), 8 deleted scenes, visual effects gallery (photo archive), A Nightmare Fulfilled (reaction to the film), poster explorations, special shoot, premiere

  • Widescreen anamorphic format, 2.35:1

  • Number of discs: 2

DVD info from Amazon, Aliens

  • Commentary by Michael Biehn, Jenette Goldstein, Carrie Henn, Terry Henn, Lance Henriksen, Gale Anne Hurd, Pat McClung, Bill Paxton, Dennis Skotak, Robert Skotak and Stan Winston

  • Theatrical version (137 min.)

  • Extended version (154 min.)

  • Pre-Production: 57 Years Later (continuing the story), Original Treatment: by James Cameron, Building Better Worlds (from concept to construction), The Art of Aliens (conceptual art portfolio), Pre-Vis Anamatics,

  • Preparing for Battle (casting & characterization), Cast Portait (still gallery)

  • Production: This Time It's War (Pinewood Studios, 1985),

  • Production Gallery (photo archive), Continuity Polaroids, The Risk Always Lives (weapons and action), Weapons and Vehicles (photo archive), Bug Hunt (creature design), Beauty and the Bitch (Power Loader vs. Queen Alien), Stan Winston's Workshop (photo archive), Two Orphans (Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn)

  • Post-Production: The Final Countdown (music, editing and sound), The Power of Real Tech (visual effects), Visual Effects Gallery (photo archive), Aliens Unleashed (reaction to the film), Film Finish & Release, Easter egg (A Boy and His Power Loader)

  • Widescreen anamorphic format

  • Number of discs: 2

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, these movies are B's. Multiple genre classics. Alien is a S/F film which has great appeal to film buffs and horror fans, and is part of the general public consciousness of movies despite its artiness. Aliens is a great action film set in space.

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