James Cameron's Aliens has always been a tricky proposition on home video formats, from VHS to laserdisc and dvd the film has always been problematic. Today I watched the blu ray from the Alien anthology box set and the results are nothing less than staggering.
I can't imagine the film looked as good as it does on this blu ray when it was shown theatrically in 1986. The restoration work performed on Aliens is of such a high quality that it's like a gauntlet has been thrown down to any competitors in the field, it simply looks incredible. When the Aliens blu ray was announced, like many people I was worried about talk of grain reduction, fearing a horrible DNR'd mess especially considering how grainy Aliens had always been. I still have the Aliens CAV laserdisc box set, that at the time was pretty much a new benchmark for AV quality, but was still extremely grainy. The blu ray disc is much less grainy but without the loss of fine detail normally associated with grain reduction. The colour timing has also been corrected and the results are stunning, the image is so film like it's hard to believe you are watching a digital format.
Seeing this presentation of Aliens was like seeing it for the first time again. If anyone still needs to be sold on the quality of blu ray see this transfer and compare it to any other version you can, the difference is night and day.