Alien Vs. Predator appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The visuals usually seemed fine, but a few concerns knocked my grade down to “B” territory.
Sharpness didn’t present any significant issues. Most of the movie came across as nicely detailed and distinctive. However, some shots looked just a little soft; these weren’t dominant, but they meant the movie sometimes lacked the detail I expect from Blu-ray. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, though, and the movie lacked any form of source defects.
With its preponderance of snow and ice, AvP didn’t offer a very broad color scheme. Nonetheless, its hues came across smoothly. The film displayed its chilly bluish tint well, and the occasional brighter tones looked concise and vivid. The most challenging elements stemmed from some colored lighting, and those shots seemed clearly rendered.
Blacks were positive. They showed nice depth and tightness, and shadows provided good clarity as well. This was a dark movie, but the low-light shots remained satisfactory in terms of visibility and delineation. The occasional soft shot made this a “B” transfer, but it was still quite appealing most of the time.
Greater pleasures came from the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Alien Vs. Predator.
The soundfield appeared very broad and engaging throughout the movie. All five speakers got a strong workout as they displayed a lot of discrete audio. This made for a convincing environment as we heard plenty of atmosphere and objects swirl actively and appropriately about us. Segments like the chases and fights stood out as particularly dynamic, but a mix of action sequences kicked things into high gear. All these elements created excellent feelings of place and brought the material to life well.
Sound quality also appeared very good. Dialogue was crisp and distinct. Speech showed no signs of edginess or any problems related to intelligibility. Effects were always clear and dynamic, plus they displayed virtually no signs of distortion even when the volume level jumped fairly high; throughout explosions, blast, and various elements, the track stayed clean. Music sounded appropriately bright and accurate and portrayed the score appropriately. The mix featured some pretty solid bass at times, and the entire affair seemed nicely deep. Overall, the audio provided the expected levels of involvement and activity.
How did the picture and audio of this Blu-ray differ from the prior DVD? I felt audio appeared pretty similar between the two. The lossless DTS-HD mix was a bit punchier, but the tracks on the DVD were nearly as good.
As usual, the Blu-ray boasted standard visual upgrades. Even with the light softness, the Blu-ray appeared tighter and more concise. It also provided deeper blacks and clearer low-light elements. This was a nice step up in quality.
This Blu-ray release of Alien Vs. Predator comes with a mix of supplements but it fails to include everything from the two-disc DVD. I’ll cover what we get here and then review the omissions.
I already mentioned one “extra” in the body of my review: the unrated edition of the film. This lasts an additional eight minutes and includes 12 snippets not found in the theatrical edition:
0:24-1:48: 1904 prologue;
3:14-3:48: More of the discovery of the Antarctic find;
8:50-10:04: Interactions between the scientists before Weyland first speaks;
34:13-34:16: More graphic killing;
34:24-34:35: More graphic killing;
37:12-38:56: More in the tomb, including the discovery of a dead facehugger;
53:52-54:44: Weyland’s legacy;
58:55-59:08: More gore;
1:00:07-1:00:08: Insanely quick shot of Sebastian;
1:04:39-1:05:21: Weyland’s death;
1:07:57-1:08:41: Theorizing about predators;
1:19:53-1:20:17: Predator cuts up an alien.
For my qualitative remarks about the added footage, refer back to the body of my review. I added this listing to give the extra material a quantitative summary.
Note that if you select the theatrical cut of the film, you can find much of this material on its own in a section called “Added Unrated Footage”. Taken together, these clips run a total of 10 minutes and 53 seconds. Since the unrated cut lasts only about an extra eight minutes, this makes little sense on the surface. I gather that the individual segments also include some bits found in the theatrical version, so not all of that 10:53 is new.
We get two audio commentaries. Both also appeared on the prior release, and they only accompany the theatrical cut of the film. The first one presents director Paul WS Anderson and actors Sanaa Lathan and Lance Henriksen, all of whom sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. As one might expect, they cover a pretty wide variety of subjects. We learn a little about the cast and how they got the roles, and we also get notes connected to the story and influences from the prior flicks. The discussion includes information about locations and sets as well as the film’s visual design, character development, and general shooting anecdotes.
This is the very definition of a listenable but unexceptional commentary. On one hand, it maintains a decent energy and offers a fair number of nice details. In the other hand, it suffers from too much happy talk and general praise. It’s one of the many tracks that’s good enough to screen but not terribly memorable.
For the second commentary, we hear from visual effects supervisor John Bruno and creature effects designers/Creators Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr.. All three chat together in this running, screen-specific track. As one might expect, effects elements dominate this discussion. We learn about the practical and computer elements as well as the flick’s overall look. At times, the commentary gets a little dry, and a few dead spots occur. In general, though, the guys keep the tone light and jocular, and they help make this a reasonably informative and likable piece.
A new addition to the set, the film includes a trivia track. Rather than discuss the film, this subtitle commentary offers lore about aliens and predators. We get “transmissions” with facts about the various species. These notes appear somewhat infrequently, but they’re fun when we see them.
Finally, the disc throws out some trailers. We find ads for AvP, Behind Enemy Lines, Phone Booth, Planet of the Apes (2001) and The Transporter.
So what do we lose from the two-disc SE? Quite a lot, as the Blu-ray replicates that release’s first disc – plus the new trivia track – but doesn’t bring any of the second platter’s components along for the ride.
This means we fail to get additional deleted scenes as well as extensive materials that look at all aspects of the production. I liked the SE’s extras quite a lot, so it’s a drag those components fail to show up here.
Fans waited many years for Alien Vs. Predator - and then got a major disappointment from this unfocused and bland flick. It occasionally mustered some good action but usually kept things dull and without much excitement. The Blu-ray presents fairly good picture with excellent audio and a few interesting extras.
Unfortunately, the Blu-ray drops tons of supplements from the two-disc SE, so fans will have to hold onto that release if they want to keep all that AvP-related info. For those who only care about the movie, though, the Blu-ray is the way to go.
To rate this film visit the original review of ALIEN VS PREDATOR