Aliens Vs. Predator… A Waste?

Posted: December 26, 2007 in Movies

Growing up in the mid 80’s to early 90’s there where no cooler “monsters” in film than Xenomorphs and Predators, at least as far as I was concerned.  I a lot like many other fans of both creatures got excited during the finale of Predator 2 when we saw a Xenomorph skull hanging in the Predator’s trophy room.  That was way back in 1990 and I never imagined they’d ever get around to making an Alien Vs. Predator movie but they did.  As I followed the production of the first AVP film for about a year and a half I had really high hopes and was expecting the suspense of Alien and Aliens (the best of that series) to somehow be mixed up with the action and gore of the Predator films.  I was also looking forward to a really good plot and story telling.  Little did I know until I saw the first film that I’d get none of that but instead a watered down, bastardized version of both the creatures and in overall quality.  When I first read that there would be a followup film to 2004’s AVP I was pretty apprehensive, that is until I found that the new film would be rated R and I saw the trailer over at IGN as well as the TV spots.  As my anticipation for the new film, Aliens Vs. Predator – Requiem grew I began to think  that this movie would deliver the best of both franchises.

I have yet to see this movie and will despite the god awful reviews its getting both from professional critics and fanboys because well I love both of these creatures and want to see them brawl again.  I felt the need to blog to share some (or maybe alot) of my frustrations with these types of films…well mainly the AVP franchise and Hollywood.

Why?

Why would any director, actor, studio executive, producer, etc. even agree to take these creatures and make the movies they have?  Don’t get me wrong I would love to see both Aliens and Predators thrive in films for years but somehow, someone, somewhere is allowing their theatrical toilets to back up thus spewing shit all over fans of the genre and these creatures as well.  I’ll admit that while I think AVP is a poor movie, I can sit back and enjoy watching it just because of the the two monsters in it.  Looking back at pre-production on AVP why in the hell would anyone think that the movie would actually do well with a PG-13 rating?  Right from the get go I could have told any producer, writer or idiotic executive that this was going to send up a big red flag to fans of both series and would unlikely bring in enough “family” viewers to make up for the amount of fans you pissed off.  Both the Predator and Alien franchises have always delivered plenty of gore and blood so I’m still unsure why anyone at Fox or anyone else involved with the production of that movie thought that would be acceptable. 

I also wonder why anyone hired or allowed Paul W.S. Anderson to handle the first movie.  His track record is horrific and his movies never do well.  Say what you will about Alien 3 and Resurrection, they still carried the proverbial torch for that franchise which is more than most still say about the original AVP outing.  Ridley Scott, James Cameron, and even John McTiernan all got it right.  I don’t remember who directed Predator 2 and while not as strong as the original it’s still a good sci-fi movie.  These directors took time and care with their movies and gave us something suspenseful and intriguing, not to mention original.  So again reading over the list of previous franchise directors who the hell thought it would be a good idea to hire this film school drop out to pen and direct AVP?  Was there someone who really believed he could handle it or that he had the capacity to capture the magic of the previous installments?  You know before I hire somebody to do a job for me, I look at their work history and check references doesn’t Fox?  Sure Paul W.S. Anderson gets a lot of jobs but he sucks at every single one he’s had so I am still scratching my head over this decision.

Of course my thoughts may all be for not and Fox may have instructed those involved with the first movie to make a slasher type film or to dummy it down, and even to make it more “family friendly” in a lame attempt to increase viewership.  So now I have to ask why any studio, or human being would believe that changing the nature of these creatures and including a shitty (at best) script and shallow characters would pass for a good movie?  Where Fox and the powers that be just out to make a quick buck and capitalize on fan boys of the two franchises or where they just completely clueless on how to handle this movie?  Sometimes I believe that they never really cared in the first place and where hoping that the AVP franchise would appeal to the teenage crowd.Don't F**K With Me

Even though I was never scared by anything that happened in any Alien or Predator film, I always found the creatures, characters, stories, and atmosphere very compelling, interesting and suspenseful, not to mention imaginative.  AVP is the bastard child of a movie studio and a careless and dare I say, out of touch, incompetent director.  AVP comics work well and those stories are far more interesting and fun than anything they’ve come up with in the AVP film franchise.  Humans now seem to serve no other purpose than to be bait and fodder for one creature or the other so why are they still here?  Sure in any of the Alien and Predator movies you know that there’s going to be a massive slaughter of humans but they all seemed to serve a purpose or drive the story while human deaths in recent efforts seem to server only as a cliches.  Being a fan of the Nightmare on Elmstreet and Friday the 13th movies I watch those movies looking forward to stupid human demise and is actually part of the draw for me.  In those movies it’s expected and in most cases funny.  When I first saw Aliens in 1986 at age 13 I expected most if not all of the marines to meet their end but I grew attached to the characters and felt like I had something invested in them and when they died I remember thinking “Awwww man that sucks, he/she was cool”.  When I watched AVP I again expected just one person to survive the ordeal but I couldn’t have cared less about who died.  It was more akin to watching Freddy and Jason hack someone up, I was just trying to guess when and how they’d die and in some cases enjoyed seeing stupid shallow characters meet thier demise.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that, as much as I love both Predators and Aliens I used to route for the people caught in the middle because they where cool, had personalities, weren’t cliches, or added something to the story.  Now I’m routing for one monster or the other and this started with AVP.

So now here we are.  Alien Vs. Predator – Requiem was released today to horrid reviews for both long time fans and even more so with movie critics.  I’ve never been a fan of most movie critics as they generally don’t give good reviews to many of the films I enjoy but when both critics and fans agree on something, somethings either very good or very bad.  I am still looking forward to seeing AVP – R and am actually excited despite the rancid reviews its getting.  After Anderson’s AVP debauchery back in 2004 you’d think that studio’s would have learned thier lesson right? Well if learning your lesson means hiring special effects artists to direct your next film then hey, we have a winner.  If it means anything else we as film fans are in trouble.  I had never heard of the Strause brothers prior to October of this year.  I wasn’t to worried about them directing the film especially after seeing the red band trailer for AVP – R.  The trailer fooled me and apparently a lot of other fans but it looks as though my fears came to be as the movie is all blood, guts, and gore and nothing else.

Every review I’ve seen so far has made note of horrible acting, bad lighting, corny and cliched dialogue, and bad or lack of any story at all.  So again I’m going to ask why?  Why when the first film was panned by fans and critics alike would you make all the same mistakes you made the first time?  I’m really starting to wonder if Fox is indeed just trying to make a quick buck of the name Aliens and Predator.  It sure seems that way given thier treatment of these two films.  Wait a minute though…wouldn’t it be smarter business to make a really good classic Sci-Fi movie so that word of mouth draws more people to the theatres and to the store when the DVD is released?  Wouldn’t this also open up the oppertunity for sequals?  I would think that this quick dollar approach would cost them more than it makes but hey what do I know…I’m a writer by profession and a Sci-Fi fan by leisure so what do I know right?

I’ll never figure out how anyone could take  Sci-Fi horror/action/suspense franchises and turn them into steaming piles of trash.  I am also unsure of where the blame lies.  Is it with heavy handed studio executives?  Is it with the writers, directors, or someone else?  Why was Alien Vs. Predator turned into a teenage slasher franchise and not allowed to remain gritty, scary, and sometimes surreal?  I enjoy Sci-Fi movies with loads of blood and gore, even in the extreme but in AVP – R’s case it looks like the good people who are responsible for this movie believe that’s all it’ll take to sell tickets.  It’ll sell the first weekend but it takes more than gore and guts to retain or even pull in new crowds.  Even casual movie goers will see through the gimmick and realize that the movie sucks.

Though it’s very clear and likely now that this will be the last AVP movie and quite possibly the last Alien or Predator movie anyone’s going to see for a long time its really sad.  Many who have seen this movie hate the Predalien.  One individual referred to the Predalien as “jumping the shark” and while my opinion is biased as I’m a hardcore fan don’t blame the creatures, blame the idiots who green light production, green light horrible scripts, and the general mishandling of both franchises.  It’s painfully clear now too that the first AVP as well as AVP – R aren’t targeted at adults that grew up with the original greats but instead are catering to the teen crowd looking for cheap scares and un-purposeful violence. 

At 34 years old I expect a lot from my entertainment and not only does that come with age but I think I have that right especially when I’m paying ten dollars or more to see a movie.  Even when I first saw Alien in 79 at six years old I knew it was a good movie.  I love my Sci-Fi but these days I like my Sci-Fi to contain elements of the fantastic but still find ways to deliver a meaningful story that’s grounded and reality based.  I think of Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactic when I think of how to deliver a great Science Fiction story with a mature approach, and who knows maybe someday someone will step up and make another great Alien or Predator film but as for the AVP franchise, I think it’ll soon come to a crashing halt.  It’s a shame too as AVP was very promising and someone could have done so much more with it to make it a legitimate classic franchise.  The idea of the two creatures sharing the screen isn’t a bad one, but the decisions based around how the movies where made and handled has been

I love this thing!I expect to see AVP – R on December 27.  I’ll give a review of it shortly after.

Comments
  1. spicerj says:

    Alien vs… looks lame…lets hope its better than the last one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s