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The Alien Quadrilogy

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Sigourney Weaver, Alien: Resurrection
Alien Resurrection: Suzanne Tenner

”Alien Resurrection” still isn’t very good. Fortunately, that’s one of only two pieces of bad news about The Alien Quadrilogy, an impressively exhaustive head trip through perhaps the most fascinating of all big-screen sci-fi series.

There are tons of chest-bursting extras to savor — including solidly informative documentaries tracing the evolution of a franchise — but the set’s most welcome feature is its treatment of each film’s alternate version (a director’s cut here, a special edition there). In each case, the theatrical release and extended cut are available on a single disc, and, even better, you can choose to watch the alternate version with on-screen prompts that identify additional footage when it appears.

The ”Alien” saga is, of course, known for attracting top-shelf directorial talent, tapping visionary helmers prior to their defining career moments. It’s a treat, then, to hear Ridley Scott (”Alien”), James Cameron (”Aliens”), and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (”Resurrection”) ruminate on how to make a space-monster movie in the late ’70s, mid-’80s, and late ’90s, respectively.

This brings us, however, to the second downside of the collection, which is the missing voice of David Fincher. Well, okay, you overhear the director of the underrated ”Alien3” during production documentaries, and the cast and crew do offer refreshingly candid opinions on the trials he faced with the project. But to get Fincher’s own take (via a commentary track) on an ultimately flawed but worthy entry, and his less than ideal experience making it, would really have been something. As it stands, this intergalactic journey — to paraphrase Ripley’s young sidekick, Newt, in ”Aliens” — is mostly complete. Mostly.