Alien Vs. Predator appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. 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, largely due to a bit of light edge enhancement. 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 adequate but unexceptional. They didn’t seem muddy, but they also failed to demonstrate expected depth. In addition, low-light shots tended to appear slightly thick and foggy. Some of that came from the photographic elements, but I still thought shadows looked a bit too murky. Ultimately, AvP managed a good but unexceptional transfer.
Greater pleasures came from the audio of Alien Vs. Predator. The DVD featured Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. To these ears, the pair sounded identical, as I detected no substantial differences between the mixes.
The soundfields 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 mixes 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.
Though only a single-disc release, this DVD of Alien Vs. Predator comes with a mix of supplements. Of most significance are the two audio commentaries. 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 occasionally occur. In general, though, the guys keep the tone nicely light and jocular, and they help make this a reasonably informative and likable piece.
We can watch either the theatrical rendition of AvP or an extended version. Don’t expect much material, as the longer cut only runs an additional 89 seconds. The added material comes from a prologue set in 1904. It’s not a great scene, but it allows some parts of the movie to make more sense.
Next we get a collection of three Deleted Scenes. Taken together, they run two minutes, 17 seconds. The sequences include “The Other Mexico”, “Connors’ Death”, and “Predator Humor”. The last one’s mildly interesting, but otherwise there’s not much worth watching here.
In addition, we find a Making-Of featurette. It runs 23 minutes and 13 seconds as it presents the usual mix of movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from Anderson, Woodruff, Henriksen, Lathan, Bruno, Dark Horse Comics’ Mike Richardson, producer John Davis, production designer Richard Bridgland, snow effects Lucien Stephenson, and actor Raoul Bova. They go over the origins of the comics and their path to the screen, various story concepts, sets and the film’s visual look, creature design, casting, and visual effects.
Since this program comes with the title “AvP Promo”, I worried it’d offer nothing more than advertising and fluff. I was wrong, as it actually gets into quite a lot of meaty subjects. Very little promotion occurs, and it keeps movie clips to a minimum as well. Instead, it focuses on the relevant elements connected to the film’s creation. It moves briskly and covers the subjects in a tight and informative manner. The parts about the cast slightly degenerate into basic story reiteration, but otherwise we get a lot of good detail here.
A stillframe collection of Dark Horse Comic Covers pops up next. It includes shots of 34 covers along with some information about the various issues. It’s a nice little compilation.
An unrelated ad appears via a Superbowl XXXIX Spot. There’s also a promo for the TV series American Dad. Inside Look offers a trailer for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Also, we get a look at Elektra with remarks from actor Jennifer Garner.
Folks with DVD-ROM drives will get a few additional components. That department presents a complete version of the first Aliens Vs. Predator comic. It’s definitely a fun read, and we also learn a little about the creation of the comics. We also get a “sneak peek” at the next AvP graphic novel and links to the Dark Horse and AvP websites.
Fans waited many years for Alien Vs. Predator. Fans 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 DVD presents fairly good picture with excellent audio and a reasonably interesting set of extras. Fans of either the Alien or Predator franchises probably will want to give this movie a look, but don’t expect it to live up to any of its predecessors.