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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

An Alien and a Predator walk into a bar. The human ducks.

*rimshot*

Sorry, was that a lame joke? Yeah, well, this was a lame movie. It wasn’t just BAD. Bad I could deal with, bad I more or less expected. The first AVP movie was bad. This one was more disappointing than bad. And that is far worse than it being just another bad movie. When your movie is called Aliens Versus Predator and it isn’t awesome, you’ve done something wrong.

Aliens vs. Predators: Requiem was directed by The Brothers Strause and stars Troubled Loner With A Mysterious Past, His Rebellious Younger Brother, Hot Blond Babe, Her Dumbass Bully Boyfriend, The Well-Meaning Sheriff, and Tough Mother Who Must Protect Her Child (perhaps in a nod to the comparative feminism brought to the Alien films by Sigourney Weaver, Tough Mother Who Must Protect Her Child is a just-returned-home soldier with the necessary knowledge of military equipment to co-lead the main characters as they attempt to survive). Picking up where the first one left off (the internet tells me, since I really don’t remember) a Predator ship carrying Alien Face-Huggers is passing by Earth, and crashes in a mountainous small town somewhere Colorado-ish (?). Aliens escape, breed, kill and a Predator is dispatched to kill them off and clean up the mess by destroying any evidence of the crash, Aliens or their victims using a purple-y acid goo. The humans, of course, are caught in the middle and try to survive it all.

The first AVP movie was bad. It suffered from being set in a remote location underneath the Antarctic. Much was made of the Aliens coming to Earth, but in fact, they may as well have placed it on some alien world for all that the Aliens interacted with humans. When you call a movie Aliens vs. Predators and set it on Earth, you want to see Aliens everywhere, swarms of them, and Predators doing their damnedest to kill them all. You want to see soldiers doing their best to fight back with our primitive human tech, and you want to see some hapless humans caught in the middle. You want big. The first AVP film was decidedly small.

This new film seemed prepared to address the main disappointment of the first (aside from it generally sucking): this time, Aliens and Predators were going to fight in America, in a populated town, and people would be caught in the middle. Not too far off from that vision detailed above. How awesome could that be? Pretty damn awesome. How awesome was it? Not much.

They missed the boat again. There were Aliens, but just one Predator. And they overran a town, but just a small town full of idiots. The military presence pretty much sucked. The stock characters do little more than run around trying to survive. Precious time that could have spent on Aliens fighting Predators was wasted developing these stock characters. Memo to the producers: I didn’t come to this movie for character development. You use stock characters for a reason: so you don’t need to waste time developing them (I cared more about the space marines that were killed off in the beginning of Aliens. Here’s a good point of reference. In action/sci-fi movies, Hard Assed Marine is always a better stock character than Well Meaning Sheriff). When the Aliens and the Predator did fight, it was usually in the dark, with tightly focused camera work and confusing angles, not the clear and straightforward ass-kickery a movie like this demands.

The film also plays a bit fast and loose with some of the established mythology of these characters. To their credit, the filmmakers do address the issue of these events taking place on modern day earth despite humanity’s ignorance of the Aliens in the original films. And there was a nice nod to the previous films at the end. But some smaller details get overlooked (or changed but not properly explained). The Predator’s mission on earth is clearly to cover up the Alien attacks. Yet at one point, after being discovered by a human, he takes to time to leave the body skinned and hung in a tree. Why? Because that’s what the Predators did in their film? But in those movies, they were hunting, and taking the skins as trophies. The Predator in this film is on earth for a different and obvious reason. So why take the time to skin this one victim? They also fudge some of the details of the Aliens reproductive cycle, but I won’t bore you with the details.

So once again, an opportunity to make a thrillingly spectacular film in which one species of kick ass creatures wail on another species of kick ass creatures was wasted; wasted on horror film-esque development of stock characters, wasted on dark and confused fight sequences, wasted on a small setting telling a small story when the premise demanded a big action extravaganza. Not just bad, but disappointing.



Thanos is pretty sure he could take the Aliens AND the Predators...he'd be right.

2 comments:

  1. How do you know if Thanos could take on both Aliens and Predators? What are you? His official biographer?

    ReplyDelete
  2. well crap - i mean, i still have to queue it, but at least now i know how crappy it will be.
    What is wrong with people? Why is it so hard to make a kickass AVP?

    -S

    ReplyDelete

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