I found myself bouncing back and forth between two people as I watched the newest film from Paul WS Anderson. The person who can watch a film with a critical eye and knows what to look for in a film; and, the big ?ol fanboy who has waited more then a decade to see these icons of films go claw to claw. Instead of trying to find a balance between the two I will simply give in and provide two completely separate reviews. Before I delve deeper, I want to give a big thanks to Scott at Film Fever for the pass.
The Film Critic:
The foundation of Alien vs. Predator is very simple and straight forward. Aliens are used as hunting practice for the Predators. Aliens need hosts to breed and humans work just dandy for that. Ergo, humans get used as stock, Aliens are birthed, Predators get their hunt, big fights, roll credits. And, if Anderson had simply stuck to the above then the film would have been far more enjoyable. I’m not saying the film was terrible, but it wasn’t all that great either. The film was simply…well…bland. There are never any moments when I was impressed, excited, or frightened, I was just an observer. (Note to Paul, tossing someone into frame along with a loud musical BANG just doesn’t cut it for anyone over 14). The dialogue is less then stellar, with rehashed clich?s like “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. I know I shouldn’t expect Aaron Sorkin but if you’re going to have poor lines, go for broke and give me good cheese. (Something the folks behind Freddy vs. Jason understood very well). What little plot exists is given away in a flashback scene by the HFSG (Hunky Foreign Science Guy).
One of the reasons the Alien films are so popular and remain so is because we grow attached to the people in the films. We care about them and are concerned for their safety once the Aliens begin to kill them. The Aliens present the ultimate monster in the closet. The fear they generate within their victims and the audience is primal. Dan O’Bannon (who is really slumming it here) and HR Giger tapped into our deepest nightmares and gave it life. The Aliens are the darkness that threatens to overwhelm us. If Aliens tap our primal fear, Predators tap our primal instincts. Predators give us an escape into that age when the beasts we hunted could just as simply kill us as we killed them. Granted, the Predators have an advantage, but the danger is still there. They are the honorable hunters. They may impale you, rip your head out from the spine, and display your skull; but, they’re going to give you a fighting chance first. Predators face their foe the way many people deep down wish they could. The face to face hunt. The boxing ring. Anderson’s greatest mistake is that he forgot these simple elements and went for the “cool factor” of Aliens fighting Predators. Actually, that isn’t true. Anderson tried to go for the cool factor but tossed in too much exposition for it to matter. As Mr. Miagi says, “Walk on the left or right side of the road. Walk in the middle, squash like grape”.
Can I recommend this movie? Maybe. If you a fan of either of the franchises, take a gander at it, but go to a matinee. If you were never a big fan of either beastie, wait until your geeky friend offers to rent it. Alien vs. Predator isn’t bad, nor is it good; it’s simply bland. Which, in a way, is much much worse…
I give it 2 of out 5 Critical Hits
The Hardcore Fanboy:
What a bunch of crap! Fine, it has Lance Henrikson, but he’s only there to drag my dorky butt into the theater. Sure, he does a cool (SPOILER) Bishop Fingers-Knife trick from Aliens with a pen, but it just felt forced. I could hear Anderson in the background, “Hey Lance, do that thing, the fans will f’ing freak, kewl man, keeeewl”.
Predators are not that stupid. Hello, if they’ve been hunting the Aliens for so many hundreds of centuries, you really shouldn’t be shocked when their acidic blood melts your weapons.
Oh, Paul…Could you please stop ripping off scenes from the comic book! Better still, get someone to flat out adapt the book. It will make for a far better story and won’t make you look like the dirty hack that you are. Not that I should be surprised, but I expect more from O’Bannon! What’s the matter Dan, you still trying to get revenge for being shut out of Alien 3?
And the Aliens. Since when were they able to gestate and grow to full warrior size in 15 minutes? Hell, it took Kane 18 hours to have his chest burst open and another couple of days for the Alien to grow to full size.
It’s all crap, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Everything Anderson touches turns to crap (except Event Horizon, that ROCKS). I’ll just go read the comics, better story…and better effects.
An Alien vs. Predator movie rated PG-13? Yea, ’nuff said!
PS – Please…for the love of all that is holy… Never, ever show me slow-motion, bullet-time, high-flying, face-hugger vaginas! That was enough to make Giger say, “Ehhhh…Isshhh…Gotten Hillem”…