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PHOTOGRAPHY

AVP: ALIEN VS. PREDATOR The Unrated Edition

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 108 min/100mins, two audio commentaries, optional added footage marker, various featurettes, deleted scenes, Concept Art gallery, Storyboard Gallery, AVP HBO special, and theatrical trailers.

STUDIO: FOX

RELEASE DATE: 11-22-2005

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR sounded like a great idea for a movie for so many years. It's just that director Paul W. S. Anderson got it wrong (I love Resident Evil and Event Horizon). The first hour is good except for a couple of problems before AVP turns into a live action video game more and more as the film nears the 12 minutes of credits. The added footage even improves the first hour, but AVP fails to live up to the Alien and Predator films once the nasty aliens start their killing spree. We do get a couple of good smackdown fights between the Predator and aliens, but it isn't good enough to save AVP from being a big disappointment. Only if Paul W.S. Anderson wrote a much better second half, AVP wouldn't be the creative bomb it turned out to be (even Resident Evil: Apocalypse delivers more). I wish the scenes with the Alien Queen in the first hour would have been cut out and left on the cutting room floor as deleted scenes. The first hour would be stronger for it.

The plot of AvP boils down to a research team (funded by cancer ridden Weyland) to go investigate a temple buried 2,000 feet under the ice at Antarctica. Weyland (Lance Henrikson) wants to make history. The safety of the team is in the hands of an expert climber (Sanna Lathan). It just happens they come at the time of another hunt that goes on every 100 years and let loose some chaos that brings forth alien eggs which lead to Aliens that kill humans and Predators alike.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Yes, it is the same transfer as the single disc edition.

Colors and blacks are good. Image detail is sharp, but the movie has lots of grain in the second half.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital. English 5.1 DTS, French 2.0 Dolby surround, Spanish 2.0 DS

Subtitles: English, Spanish (special features not subtitled)

Also the audio sounds the same as the single disc. Dialogue is sharp and clear. Music is loud and booming. Nice surround action.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

DISC 1- The two audio commentaries from the single disc version are on this disc too. The new additions are an optional added footage marker and six deleted scenes (the alternate opening was on the previous single disc edition and the three deleted scenes on the first release are a part of the movie) which are in the unrated cut in addition to added dialogue and added gore. The only thing that doesn't come to this two disc edition is the DVD-ROM content from the single disc release.

The first audio commentary for the theatrical cut is with director Paul W.S. Anderson, and actors Lance Henrikson and Sanna Lathan. All of them talk about the production of the movie and what shots they loved. Lance talks about watching screenings of ALIENS and THE ABYSS with James Cameron. Paul mentions the KY Jelly coming into Prague would get seized because the authorities thought the AVP production was with the porn industry. Lance phone goes off during the commentary (during the death scene of a character). It is Lance's wife. The story about the Germans blowing up the set is hilarious

The second audio commentary features Visual effects Supervisor John Bruno and Creature Effects Designers/Creators Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. They talk about the effects and creatures in the movie. They mention someone actually wrote a Predator dictionary!

DISC 2- Various Making-Of featurettes (a much expanded look at the making of AVP that what was shown in the Making of AVP featurette on the single disc edition), a storyboard gallery, a concept art gallery, three deleted scenes (The Sister, Miller Gets Caught, Love Scene) with optional commentary by director Paul W.S. Anderson, and actor Lance Henrikson that didn't make it into any version of AVP, a featurette on how the Aliens Vs. Predator comic book was born, and Tood McFarlane blowing his horn for a toy featurette (MONSTERS IN MINIATURE). AVP: THE BEGINNING (Pre-Production featurette) is an extended version (of what was featured in the Making of AVP featurette on the single disc) of how the project came together from writing to casting. The best featruette of the second disc. There is a branching option where you can go watch the ADI Workshop featurette, the Storyboard Galleries (from three storyboard artists with the art of Phil Norwood and Richard Bennett being the coolest to look at), or the Concept Art Gallery (by Richard Bennett) when an icon appears during the featurette.

The AVP Production Documentary is about an hour long. It does feature tons of behind-the-scenes video and interviews, but I think they could have edited it down by at least 20 minutes. Again a Branching option is available to featurettes you can play separately with the best (TROUBLE AT THE MOUTH OF THE TUNNEL) being the problems they had when filming at the mouth of the tunnel which caused one camera to be destroyed and the set to catch fire at a different time. Other production featurettes are on the Miniature Whaling Station and Facehuggers & Eggs.

The Visual Effects Breakdowns goes into all the different work that went into creating the aliens from the animatronic alien for close-ups to the CGI aliens in addition to the other CGI and other effects work. The ALIENS VS. PREDATOR COMIC BOOK featurette is also one of the good featurettes while the HBO special which is promo fluff. It is great to have the three theatrical trailers for AVP on the disc.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Despite added scenes that improve the first half of AVP, it still doesn't fix the problems the movie has. The two disc Unrated Edition has plenty of interesting extras that give a detailed look at the making of AVP. It is a revealing look at how a disappointing movie gets made.

this DVD Review is (c)11-13-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com