I'm not entirely sure how to begin a review of the highly-anticipated (at least for me) fourth installment of the Alien series except to say... what a letdown.
Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley died in Alien3, the movie that was supposed to put the nail in the Alien coffin, but thanks to the miracles of next-millennium cloning, she's back, and full of alien DNA to boot (thus making her invincible, giving her acid for blood, and generally a pretty creepy chick). This new twist has great potential, as Ripley's alien side gives her a strange kinship with the creatures... creatures that once again are loosed by idiot scientists trying to tame them.
But in the end, the desire to spill more Blood! Blood! Blood! (and alien goo) wins out over plot and thematics. Instead, the picture progresses like a sorry rehash of the first three movies. Two hours later, I left depressed.
Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who made the masterful Delicatessen, has plenty of fun with creepy set design, creatures galore, clever photography, and propelled mucous, but other than that, Alien 4 has little to recommend. Even Winona Ryder as a reluctant comrade is a real disappointment.
In a crowded theater, everyone can hear you groan.
The special edition version of the film adds little more than a few minutes of extra footage to the film. The original script by Joss Whedon (before he was big!) is one of the notable extras on the DVD, which includes making-of featurettes and rehearsal footage.
The Alien Quadrilogy includes a total of nine disks: all four Alien films, each with a separate disk of extras, and an additional bonus disk complete with a Q&A with Ridley Scott, a UK documentary on Alien, original theatrical trailers to all four films, a DVD-ROM "script to screen" comparison feature, an anthology of 11 issues of the Dark Horse Alien comics, and more. These materials will give you a whole new appreciation for the Alien films.