Aliens: Special Edition (1986)
Movie Grade: 3 ½ stars
Disc Grade: 3 stars
Only James Cameron would dare to make a sequel to Ridley Scott's seminal sci-fi/horror effort Alien and succeed (just ask David Fincher and Jean-Pierre Jeunet). Terminator's Michael Biehn joins Sigourney Weaver's Ripley against the title creatures, with Cameron taking the franchise for a decidedly action/war film spin. The disc features the Director's Cut with 17 minutes of restored footage, as well as most of the material originally found on the Laserdisc box set, but as usual there is no Cameron audio commentary.
The Abyss: Special Edition (1989)
Movie Grade: 3 stars
Disc Grade: 3 ½ stars
Cameron presses the technical limitations of his craft with this deep-sea epic, exploring and improving the possibilities of underwater photography while advancing the still-in-their-infancy CGI effects that have since become routine. The film itself is a thrilling underwater rescue caper that benefits from strong performances by Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, with Michael Biehn back again, this time standing in as a psycho military type. The disc features the original theatrical version as well as a Special Edition that runs about 30 minutes longer. Loaded with extras, this DVD would be perfect if not for its lack of... an audio commentary.