Editor: Ian Nathan
I approached this volume with slight hesitance. It had a great word of mouth and was being ushered as the ultimate companion book to the original Alien film. So why put on the brakes? Well I have seen the film many times, heard at least two official commentaries on the film, watches a coupel of different versions and watched countless documentaries that have appeared on various DVD and Blu-ray box sets. How much more am I honestly going to learn on the subject?
Well most of the knowledge is covered here as well as the author’s own personal incite and feedback from the interviews he has conducted – but the great news is that this book reminded me again how much of a fan of the film I am. It reminded me of many of the details I was familiar with, and presented them to me in a way that was very pleasing to the eye. And to this end Ian Nathan needs to be commended for laying out background information on a well known Sci-fi classic in a way that takes you through the production of the film with many asides to the vast talent and workmanship that went into the making of the film.
You may find many familiar images from many familiar scenes, but there is so many more production stills and text to support it that you won’t have seen that make this a real gem of a volume.
The documentaries on DVD and Blu-ray are perhaps the best documentaries I have seen, the commentaries are the best commentaries I have heard, and now the Alien Vault is the best book on the subject.
As with the title “Vault” you expect a long rectangular box with an assortment of pull outs. This Vault is actually fairly small compared to other Vault companions, but as a result is easier to handle. There are also a variety of pullout works including Ridleygrams (which to many is the Ridley Scott version of a storyboard panel), Posters, Design art for the technology, creature, blueprints all in full colour detail with a proper hands on approach to learning about the craft of one of cinema’s most visceral films.
This companion should be held up high as a benchmark for how to report on a classic film and we hope it is the first in a series that could follow and become highly successful given the right editor to put it all together. A strong thumbs up for something that should be treasured.