20th Century Fox's Alien Quadrilogy DVD collection isn't quite a box set as much as an archive. It's also a dream come true for anyone who's been waiting for the vaults to be opened on this horrific series. In a nutshell, what you get is all four films in their theatrical and alternate cuts, almost 12 hours of featurettes, exhaustive photographic and conceptual-drawing still galleries, and insightful audio commentary tracks for each film. As a bonus, the set comes with a ninth disc featuring extra documentaries and trailers not available on each film's stand-alone, two-disc editions (sold separately). Taken as a whole, it's an unbelievable look at the series' 20+ years of production. Each film is presented in a widescreen edition with aspect ratios ranging from 2.35:1 to 1.85:1. The overall picture quality is superb, given the films' varying degrees of grain in their stock (see Aliens for an example). The audio ranges from both a 5.1 Dolby Digital and 5.1 DTS track for the first and fourth films to a singular 5.1 Dolby track for the second and third entries with all tracks mastered in THX sound with additional Spanish mono tracks. Each film's alternate cut can be viewed optionally, with additional Special Edition markers that can be activated to let you know when the added footage is onscreen. Ridley Scott's original Alien has been packaged with the 2003 Director's Cut, which, even though it includes additional footage, is one minute shorter due to the director's reworking and splicing of some scenes. Aliens comes with both the 137-minute theatrical cut and 154-minute Special Edition, long available from various editions. Alien 3's 114-minute theatrical cut has been beefed up to a 144-minute Special Edition, which lets audiences finally view the first cut of the film that was cut by the studio. Alien Resurrection has also been given additional treatment, with the original 109-minute theatrical print supplied alongside the 116-minute 2003 Special Edition cut. The most anticipated of the four films would be the alternate version of David Fincher's third installment of the series -- a production long known to have been hindered by money-grubbing corporate suits throughout filming. Sadly, Fincher declined a revisit to the film, so that the extra footage now acts as a template for what could have been, rather than a true Director's Cut. Still, the footage is quite remarkable, with excised acts of the plot and a slightly alternate ending now being re-inserted, along with key atmospheric and character beats which benefit the overall vision of the film. Spliced-together commentaries can also be found on each disc, with snippets by filmmakers, actors, and technicians making up the tracks. Highlights include James Cameron's first recorded track about the sequel along with some hilarious banter from Bill Paxton and company in the space marine reunion sections of the Aliens commentary. Supplemental discs for all four films provide far greater detail into the series. Each disc is split up into three different sections covering pre-production, production, and post-production. Featuring various featurettes, galleries, time-lapse photography, multi-angle options, and much more (including continuity polaroids -- wow!), these sections get to the heart of each film's production. Also supplied is a very handy Navigation Options area that lets you view all the featurettes, artwork, and photography in their own sections. Through here, you can access the full documentaries that are at the heart of this collection. With three full hours each given to Alien, Aliens, and Alien Resurrection, these featurettes are the fullest and most accomplished behind-the-scenes work seen since the Lord of the Rings: Expanded Editions. Sadly, although the most awaited of the bunch, Alien 3's documentary was cut at the last second from three to two-and-a-half hours before release. While still eye-opening, one can only guess at how good the work was before they excised some of the more scathing scenes between the director and the producers. Still, there's plenty to gleam from all this thorough work. From the controversy surrounding each film's score to the constant heated budget demands from the studio, it's amazing that the series achieved what it did. The final disc could be called the capper to the whole set. Found here are vintage promotional featurettes, the hour-long documentary Alien Evolution, trailers, TV spots, Q & As, and the first two films' archive from their long out-of-print laserdisc special editions (which are immense in their own right). Apart from each film's separate sections, there's also quite an amazing featurette on the biggest Alien collector out there, Bob Burns -- infamous for his haunted house attractions at his California home. Rounding out the disc is an extensive Dark Horse Cover Gallery, featuring credits, synopses, and covers for every Alien-related comic the publisher ever released, along with a script-to-screen comparison for DVD-ROM users. There are even more goodies awaiting you on each of these discs, including unparalleled stories of craftsmanship and creativity for those brave enough to dig in. Menu designs are a home run, as well, with packaging that ranks lower only because of the set's almost five-foot span. (Note: The Region 2 version has a more user-friendly design, with library-style cases for the discs.) Still, for any hardcore fan of the Alien series, it'll be quite hard to beat this daunting archival set.