Sunday, July 10, 2011

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR (2004) - Making aliens boring.

I remember the first time that I was genuinely scared out of my wits by a movie. As a 12 year old, I'd already seen all sorts of scary movies, but there's only so many times you can see a masked guy slashing teenagers before it loses its shock value. Then I saw Alien one night on cable TV and even with my dad sitting alongside, Ridley Scott's masterful horror flick scared me shitless. I also remember the first time I saw Predator, and as a 4th grader, seeing Arnold and the Predator beating the crap out of each other blew me away. Both of these were classic movies with great creatures, and it's no wonder that they've spawned several sequels. It's too bad that aside from Aliens, none of the sequels even came close to matching the greatness of the original movies.

Nothing is sacred anymore.
The imaginatively named Alien vs. Predator opens with  millionaire industrialist Charles Weyland (Lance Henriksen) putting together a team of scientists to investigate a subterranean pyramid structure detected under the ice on an Arctic island by one of his satellites. Weyland hires Woods (Sanaa Lathan) to serve as guide for the team, who reluctantly accepts the offer. They arrive at the location and find a bunch of abandoned buildings, and to their amazement, a huge shaft drilled into the ice at a perfect 30 degree angle. Unknown to them, the hole was blasted into the ice by a Predator space ship orbiting around the Earth, as the creatures get suited up to join the party.

Where's Ripley or Dutch when you need them?
The humans soon realize that the pyramid is in fact an ancient temple used for a Predator hunting ritual. Every so often, the Predators would visit Earth and hunt aliens and whoever else was stupid enough to go inside the temple. They must try and make their way out of the pyramid and ensure that none of the aliens reach the surface, while at the same time avoiding the Predators. If the story sounds supremely retarded, well... that's because it is. Directed and written by Paul W.S. Anderson, the guy who butchered the Resident Evil franchise and made maybe one good movie, means that AvP was doomed from the beginning. It's plagued with bad dialogue and worst of all, weak action. There are a few good parts, but unfortunately most of them are lines or ideas lifted right out of the original flicks.

At least the Predators are still badass...
If you're going to make a movie with forgettable characters that nobody cares about, then it better have some great action to make up for it. In AvP, every action scene was apparently filmed on days when the guys who set up the lighting were off drinking at the pub. They're dark, muddled, and it's just about impossible to see the action clearly. All those neat, well-detailed creature designs and the expensive sets are wasted thanks to the shitty camera work, with shots that are either too dark, too close up, or cut too quickly. That being said, the aliens and the Predators are very well done, with smooth CGI and the always cool Predator heat vision being used to good effect. There's obvious production value in these areas. As cool as the creatures are, there really are no scares in the entire movie except for some cheap jump scares. The attempts at creating tension are laughable, most of the acting (aside from the great Lance Henriksen) is piss poor, and the ending left me wondering if I should laugh or cry at its cheesiness.

...never mind.
Alien vs. Predator has accomplished something very difficult in the world of movies. It's not that it managed to kill not one, but two great franchises with its ridiculously stupid premise and crap execution. Oh no. Even worse. It made two of science fiction's most exciting series seem boring and dull. The film's only saving grace is that it runs a merciful 100 or so minutes and that we get to see Predators killing off nearly the entire cast of dimwitted characters. From now on, I'll pretend these stupid versus movies were never made, and just watch the originals instead. Spare yourself the time and forget this movie.

TL;DR -Boring, inane mash-up that will ruin your childhood memories - 3/10


  1. Eh, it wasn't that bad. Far from good but I still somewhat enjoyed it.

  2. @ Timmy: you're right, it could've been a lot worse. I at least enjoyed the Predator scenes and loved seeing Lance Henriksen back on the screen.

  3. So whatever happened to that predator/alien hybrid thing?

  4. ^ The Predalien or whatever it's called is in the sequel. It actually looks pretty badass.

  5. I saw this crap in theaters with my die hard Alien/Predator geek buddy. It was a angry car ride home. ha

  6. My brain hurt so much after seeing that in theaters. It was just......bad.

  7. You know, I just finished playing the new AVP and I sorta want to watch this again to see if it's as terrible as I remember. I remember absolutely detesting this movie for changing so much of the background for the story, but who knows, maybe my tastes changed 7 years later.