Alien 40th Anniversary (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Alien 4K ReviewAlien is a title I have been waiting for on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format for some time now.  Ever since we got Prometheus and Alien: Covenant last year I felt we got shortchanged with no Alien release.  But alas, they were strategizing.  It’s the 40th Anniversary of the film.  There was um a purpose for the film’s delay on the 4K disc format.  Alright, I’ll let that fly then.  What it really all boils down to is the fact that I’m ecstatic not only to have this movie in 4K now, but also to be among the first in the US with an advance review.  I’ll do my best to do this one justice and give it some love, but truth be told it really doesn’t need much TLC from me.  It’s a science fiction masterpiece after all.  I could just easily give the feature a 5-doggie score and move along to the audio and video sections, which you’re all here for anyway.  However, I won’t be that reviewer who simply does an unboxing or says the movie is good.  I’ll give you a little bit of expose.  If you’re not interested, well then scroll down 2 screenshots below and check out how things look.  So without further ado…

Alien 4K Review


Circa nine years ago I was among the elite reviewers out there haven been given an opportunity to tackle that massive Alien Anthology Blu-ray boxset in 2010.  My complete review of it all can be found archived HERE.  To this day it’s one of my favorite sets and I have watched that Alien Blu-ray Disc every April 26th since.  With the release of this movie now on 4K Disc that’s all going to change.  The Blu-ray will be replaced with this product and April 26th’s annual viewing of Alien will be in 4K Ultra HD evermore (or until they release an upscale 8K version or something).  Like my fellow A/V peers and geeks out there we always tend to re-purchase our favorite films in their finest presentations available.  For now, this 4K disc set is that.  However, I digress.  We have to talk about the feature some next.  It’s obligation!

Unless your parents kept you in a cage in the basement your whole life (it does happen more than you know in Cleveland, OH), you probably have an inkling of an idea of what the Alien creature sort of looks like.  Heck, I remember having a huge 15” toy of one as a kid so there’s really no excuse for you to not know what one looks like if my parents bought me one.  All kidding aside, an Alien is something you definitely don’t want to mess with.  Even if you are lucky enough to impale one you have to watch out for the highly pressurized acid serving as blood conduit within their systems.  If the creature doesn’t get you, their blood spill will!  That’s almost guaranteed!  Like the Predator species, an Alien is a rapidly adaptable hunter, with the ability to move quickly to take down their prey.

The Ridley Scott directed film, Alien, stars Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, John Hurt and Gandalf’s Ian Holm.  Like it or not, Alienset the precedence for the sci-fi genre.  Sure the effects are outdated, but there’s no denying that in 1979, this film completely revolutionized the sci-fi film community.  In 2002, the movie was inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for historical preservation and was ranked by the American Film Institute in 2008 as the seventh-best film in the sci-fi genre.  Not too shabby, huh?  But you don’t need me to remind you of all this.  You’re not here reading this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review because you’re unsure if you love this film or not (at least I hope not).

Alien tells the tale of the crew of the starship Nostromo and their exploration of the planet LV-426 they stopped by unexpectedly on their way back home to Earth.  Talk about a rude awakening.  Ouch!  Acting upon orders from their corporate employers, the small crew explores an alien wreckage found on LV-426.  After discovering a bizarre cocoon-like egg structures in one room, Executive Officer Kane (John Hurt) falls prey to a creature that latches onto his face (also known as a facehugger).  Once back in the starship, that’s where the real fun begins.  You see that creature was literally using Kane as incubator to spawn a young Alien creature.  And in classic Alien franchise lore, that newborn Alien always violently explodes through the unsuspecting carrier’s chest.  

Needless to say, the Alien hatchling grows up very quick and ends up going on a rampage killing off crew members one-by-one who relentless try to hunt and exterminate the creature with no luck.  That’s where Sigourney Weaver’s character, Ripley, comes in.  Can she singlehandedly save the day?  Even if you already know the outcome, we don’t want to spoil it for the others whose first time experiencing this film may be on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format, do we?  LOL.  Those people do exist.  I had one 50-plus-year-old sitting right beside me during my viewing of this.  Oh okay…alright…SPOILER ALERT…Ripley blasts that beast out into the deepest regions of outer space, never to be seen again.  Um, yeah right.  We’ll get to that never to be seen again thing whenever they release Aliens on 4K disc.  Until then…let’s talk about the real reason you’re all here…this 4K presentation’s audio and video!

Alien 4K Review


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Fox’s Alien.  FYI…The film was restored in 4K in 2018 by 20th Century Fox at Company 3/Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, supervised by Ridley Scott and Pam Dery, with the 4K scans were done at EFilm.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 2160p
  • Dolby Vision: No
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: If I just said here that things look stunning throughout, would that be enough? Please?! Ha ha. Things absolutely look exceptional in this 4K remaster title of this famous science fiction feature. Textures in shirts, fur on Jones (the cat) and rubber alien skin are all in check. Closeups reveals pores, moles, stubble and wrinkles. However, the two most impressive things to me here involve the beads of sweat seen on our actors and the very impressive sets within these Nostromo vessel. Once we see down one of the hallways here you can’t turn that sense of awe off. Also the intricacies within the crashed alien craft is quite exquisite as well.  I know I’ll get blasted for this next statement, but it has to be said.  When you watch films of this age you have an appreciation of the source material, but one can’t feel amazed at how far VFX has come since.  All I wanted to do watch Prometheus and Covenant after watching this one.  Is that wrong?  Probably!  Ha!
  • Depth: Depth in the overall image is absolutely amazing and in complete abundance here throughout. In fact I can’t think of a single moment in the 4K presentation where things weren’t three-dimensional and deep. Plenty of examples come to mind like the endless halls and corridors within the Nostromo ship, inside the crashed alien ship, air shafts and so much more.
  • Black Levels: The black levels are all great looking throughout. There are many moments where they’re deep and inky, but mostly they are very natural and pleasing throughout. Nothing ever gets lost in them and I absolutely heart the way the orange flame from the flamethrower pops in contrast to the dark.
  • Color Reproduction: The colors throughout here are also amaze balls with a very natural, realistic palette to behold. I have nothing but great things to say about things here.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones all look natural and authentic throughout too.
  • Noise/Artifacts: Minus some very minus source noise I have zero complaints here. It sometimes is heavier than some sequences than others, but as a whole it’s great to see grain here and gives it that rich, cinematic look we film enthusiasts all crave in our catalog 4K disc releases.

Alien 4K Review


Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of Fox’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Alien.  I do want you to know that this is the same exceptional DTS-HD MA track from the 2010 release. I guess Ridley had no interest in supervising an Atmos mix.

  • Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 4.1 (Theatrical Version only), English Surround DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 and French DTS 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French
  • Dynamics: The dynamics are they same as they were in 2010. Ha ha. That’s not a slam or anything to this release. It just would have been nice to have seen a new object oriented surround source to go with all the pretty new looking 4K visuals. Now for the most part, and I say that because much of the film is spent building suspense, things sound great with a wide soundscape full of nothing but vast space. Microphone shrieks remind you that you’re contained, but when you’re blasting off in the middle of a countdown you kind of forget about the constrained space you’re in and it’s all about the wide parameters all around you. There’s a lot of heft in the LFE throughout, but thankfully there’s not many moments where things like spoken words get lost in the mix.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer is all about the heft and hull of things here. This is mostly apparent whenever there are scenes of the exterior or even interior of the Nostromo whether its boosters are blasting off or through space, landing and more. Of course other moments too bring the boom like blowing wind on the alien planet or the use of a flame thrower. You get the picture!
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Equally impressive is the immersion throughout here thanks to the rears serving you endless ambiance such as the score, sirens, wind, t-minus ten moments, voices, detonation sequences, air vents, ticking timers and so much more. It’s not the most immersive track ever, but when it wants to be it’s quite engulfing.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue levels are mostly clear and intelligible throughout, but there are moments where vocals are low and/or lost in the shuffle. That’s the trade off here we have with the age of things, way things were recorded and probably because it wasn’t remixed for optimization here. However, it truly isn’t that bad as it sounds. Not at all.

Alien 4K Review


There’s a lot of the same here with this 4K Disc release of Alien. There’s nothing new or truly “extra.” It’s like if you took the movie only disc from the last Blu-ray release and pressed it on 4K Disc, that’s what you have here. The cool thing though is they do give you both options of the film in 4K, theatrical and the 2003 Director’s Cut. So there’s that! Everything is really just audio commentaries intact throughout here. There’s also a Digital HD file too, which you can redeem within Movies Anywhere.  However, for sake of a thorough review let’s take a closer look down below what supplemental features are housed on the 4K Ultra HD Disc.

  • 2003 Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott, Cast & Crew
  • 1999 Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott (1979 Theatrical Version)
  • Final Theatrical Isolated Score (Dolby Digital 5.1, 1979 Theatrical Version)
  • Composer’s Original Isolated Score (Dolby Digital 5.1, 1979 Theatrical Version)
  • Deleted Scenes Footage Marker (Director’s Cut) – Helps you identify footage originally deleted from the theatrical release while watching this.

Alien 4K Review


Your mileage is definitely going to vary with Alien.  For me as a lifelong fan of the film a double dip here on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format is a no-brainer. However, I’ll go a little further than that when I exclaim like my peers on all the Facebook groups do that you really want to own this legendary science fiction in its finest presentation available. Until something newer and better comes out that’s this version.  Therefore, I do dub this Alien release on 4K Disc a NO-BRAINER purchase (that’s why the summary score is so high here).  And look at that $14 pre-order price down below.  It’s priced right and priced to move. Get it while it’s hot!


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.  The images used above within the review are not actual 4K screenshots.  They are for illustrative purposes only.  



Solidifies It’s Sci-Fi Legacy on

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

April 23rd…




Alien 4K Review


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

3 Responses to “Alien 40th Anniversary (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Gregg

    Best box art ever! I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this movie being 40 years old.

  2. I_Am_Not_Gandalf

    Gandalf’s Ian Holm? Hmm…

  3. Brian White

    Ha ha. Small innocent typo 🙂