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Alien, Back to the Future Embrace Blu-ray

Blu-ray got a big shot to the arm this week with the debuts of THE ALIEN ANTHOLOGY (Fox Home Ent.) and Robert Zemeckis' BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy (Universal Home Ent.).

Blu-ray got a big shot to the arm this week with the debuts of THE ALIEN ANTHOLOGY (Fox Home Ent.) and Robert Zemeckis' BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy (Universal Home Ent.). Both sets are stunning examples of how vintage films can benefit from more dynamic, immersive HD presentations. While the ALIEN QUADRILOGY was pretty spectacular in SD, the upgrade is noteworthy for richer color and better clarity and shadow detail, especially in Ridley Scott's seminal ALIEN and James Cameron's sequel on steroids, ALIENS (1986). There's just no denying how much more you can see in 1080p and hear in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 -- and how much for frightening the 1979 shocker is in your home entertainment theater.

There's quite a lot to dig into, with four films and eight versions -- plus 65 hours of archival and never before seen bonus features (including "Outward Bound: Visual Effects for ALIEN,""The Power of Real Tech: Visual Effects for ALIENS," "Visual Effects Gallery" for David Fincher's ALIEN 3 from '92). In addition, there's a Blu-ray exclusive called MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream, which allows you to tag and bookmark.

As for the Capraesque BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985) and its two sequels ('89 and '90), they look and sound much better in 1080p and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, especially the original, which looks a lot more robust despite the grain and extensive use of optical effects by ILM. Blu-ray exclusive bonus features include Universal's patented pocket Blu app to seamlessly work through features with a network-connected player; and a new six-part doc, "Tales from the Future."

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