I'm sure everybody's seen these movies. This is a great set, great picture, great sound, lots of commentaries on each of the 4 films. The best part of this set is just to watch the 2nd disc of each movie, back to back and see the whole "making-of" saga unfold. Ridley Scott's "Alien" seemed easy-to-make, compared to the struggles of Cameron and Fincher. Of course, Ridley always makes the 'near-impossible' seem easy. He's so well-prepared and has such great, inventive, pre-CGI ideas that save so much money and keep the studio happy. Yes, those are really his hands, inside those washing-up gloves, fluttering inside the plexiglas egg that Kane is about to stick his foolish face into.
Cameron's "Aliens" was a fight from day one. James is a perfectionist who knows everyone's job, on the set, and can do it better than them all. His movie sets would run smoothly if there were simply 100 Jimmy Camerons surrounding him. Cameron has a hard enough time with crews in America, but plunking him down into a typical British crew in Shepperton who have their tea break at 11 and a liquid lunch later on and stop for the day at 5... well, you can just imagine the conflicts. "Let the sackings begin!"
David Fincher's first film, the 'trial-by-fire', "Alien 3" was a fight between him and the studio all the way. This is a typical Hollywood story (like the story of Coppola and The Godfather). The clever studio hires the brilliant young director to basically do as he's told and save a bunch of money for them... but, the reason he's brilliant is that he has a definite artistic vision and he sees the project a certain way and he is extremely stubborn about doing it his way and not listening to the studio, no matter how many suits are standing around on the set watching him and wagging their fingers everytime he wants to take that one extra shot to get it just right. This 'making-of' was the most interesting of all of them because of what Fincher was up against coming into this film and the studio pulling the plug on him later and him washing his hands of the whole thing, once it was done. He's the only director who's missing from the extensive commentaries and interviews, which is a shame. But, at least, the 'director's cut' of the film has the restored beautiful exterior scenes which show how the doctor finds the barely-alive Ripley washed up on the shore.
Monsieur Jeunet's "Alien Resurrection" seemed to be a piece of cake for everyone involved. In his commentary he implied that he felt privileged to be shooting a huge Hollywood movie, he loves the 'Alien' series and he was there to give the studio what it wants. His attitude made for a smooth-running set. A lot of people dismiss "Alien 4" but I like his visual style. His D.P., Darius Khondji, brings that beautiful "City of Lost Children" look to this film. I even like most of his humor and sense of parody. I don't really like the ending or the new creature he came up with, but the story of the making-of this film is fascinating.
The Bonus 9th disc is one of those "let's amaze them by giving them 9 discs instead of just 8" sort of things. A truly archival disc containing a lot of written extras from the laser discs of the first 2 'Alien' films then just endless trailers from all of them. They did stick in some photos, drawings and video clips to break up the mountain of reading in the laser disc information, but it mostly seems like more work than it's worth.
On the whole, as a movie fanatic and collector, I'd say I'm happy with this set. After going through the whole thing I feel that I won't want to see another face-hugger or chest-burster for as long as I live... or at least not until next year when I go through the whole box again.