Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

https://i1.wp.com/media.comicvine.com/uploads/4/41615/871003-blairmonster_super.jpgAs an rabid fan of John Carpenter’s early 80’s sci-fi horror classic, Universal’s prequel has my interest piqued.  While I remain hopeful that the cast and crew find someway of delivering an experience just half as good as Carpenter’s, I have my doubts…to put it lightly and delicately.  Over the last decade or so Hollywood has shied away from niche audience experiences and generally speaking  has produced movies that are safe, sanitized, shallow, and hollow enough as to appeal the broadest possible audience. Finding a movie with any emotional or character depth is a very rare thing these days and that fact alone makes me appreciate Carpenter’s nearly 30 year old effort all the more.

In addition to the production of childish, campy, and disappointing new films over the last decade, Hollywood has also produced a large number of remakes, reboots, and re-imaginings. Most of the criticisms aimed at these”remakes” by critics and fans are well deserved and spotting or predicting another stinkfest is becoming easier by the year and by release. While I agree with the majority of criticisms I do not share with these people the opinion that well enough should be left alone. The Thing was/is such a great story and presented so well that I’d love nothing more than to see more of it, albeit from capable hands.  It’s popular these days to be anti-computer graphics as well but I’m not one of those individuals either. While there’s some merit to leaving well enough alone and to approaching special effects from a more “natural” standpoint, I have no problem with either being done/used so long as they’re not gimmicks and are warranted or help enhance a story.

When it comes to Carpenter’s film the characters and story are the focus.  There’s no camp to be found and the actors and screenplay succeed at taking extraordinary events and presenting them as real world events.  The Thing feels more like you’re watching something horrific and real unfold than it does a movie. Carpenter found or perhaps knew right from the get go the correct pacing for the story.  The Thing is listed as a sci-fi horror film and make no mistake it is, but it’s more a character drama than it is anything else, even if it’s not listed as such.

Unless you’re the casual once a month or so movie goer than you know that character driven stories and drama no longer exist. At least not in the purest sense of those words.  Drama these days is either omitted from movies completely or is accompanied by light humor or distractions that take a lot away from central plot points. Character development in modern cinema has been retarded by things like camp, useless romance, or by a complete lack of back story during preproduction and writing.  While Carpenter’s movie didn’t ignore or even downplay the sci-fi and horror elements of the story it instead put character and drama at the forefront of his story.  I don’t care what genre you’re talking about but when there’s good character development and character driven plots it almost always produces a fantastic experience.

In addition to The Thing I’m also an avid fan of Ron Moore’s re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. Battlestar delivered drama and character driven plots just as The Thing does and so when I read that Moore would be penning the script for The Thing’s prequel, well needless to say I was excited.  If there’s anyone out there who can delivery on storytelling the way John Carpenter did with The Thing it’s Ron Moore. Unfortunately however there’s much more to a movie than just its writers.  Producers, directors, actors, etc are all part of the movie making process and when there’s a weakness in any one of those areas or jobs you can be sure a movie will suffer for it.  Ron Moore may have written the greatest screen play in the history of cinema for next years prequel but unless there’s a capable director, cast, and producer it’s possible that this “unbelievable” script could turn into a laughable yet infuriating movie. Moore really isn’t the concern for me however when it comes to the crew responsible for this movie.  First there’s Eric Heisserer one of the scribes responsible for the abysmal A Nightmare On Elm Street remake.  Was that movie pretentious and terrible because of his involvement?  I don’t believe so but like they so often say, “no single raindrop believes it’s responsible for the flood” so he likely played a part in that movie’s torridness.  There’s then the case of director Matthijs Van Heijningen’s involvement.  I have to be fair and admit I’ve never seen one of his movies but from what I was able to dig up on him online, he’s a terribly inexperienced director. Some of the casting choices too make me feel as though this prequel will fit in quite nicely with movies like the Nightmare remake, Transformers, etc.  I tend to think of these movies and others like them as “90210 meets such and such”.  Aesthetically pleasing flavor of the month actors put into a movie for no other reason than to give the film popular appeal.

Movie studios of today are after the quick buck and are rarely if ever interested in building a franchise or a huge following.  They’re also no longer in the business of producing mature movies that take themselves seriously.  There are so many obstacles in the way of this being a great movie it’s hard to imagine it as anything but “90210 meets The Thing”.  Personally I’m remaining cautiously optimistic though I’m not expecting anything but crap from this movie. I believe that in order for it to be a success, it at the very least must deliver a story much in the same manner as did Carpenter’s film.  The moods, atmospheres, acting, and score in that film must be somehow mimicked (not copied) if not improved upon and I don’t think the cast and crew involved with this movie are capable of that.  Hell, that kind of movie many not even be what Universal wants otherwise they might have tasked more capable people with the job.  1982’s The Thing is a movie and story filled with dread, ominousness,  and a bleak outlook whereas I believe the new film will be more akin to a modern slasher film with plenty of gratuitous, meaningless gore for no other reason than to earn itself a R rating. The females in the cast also make me believe there will be some type of romance in the film.  This is the last thing a movie like this needs nor does it deserve it. I believe there’s talented people in Hollywood and other parts of the world who are capable of delivering the type of experience that the first movie gave us but I don’t believe they’re working on this film.

At any rate, I’m looking forward to the trailer so that I can either begin looking forward to the film or loathing it.

Update: I have just read on a number of different websites that Eric Heisserer was brought in to rework or rewrite Ron Moore’s script.  If this is true, no trailer needed, I can begin loathing the film now.  This film is being handled and made by untested, untalented hacks.  I’d be willing to bet my left arm that Moore’s script was to smart and far to serious for both Universal and for those heading the project up so they brought in Heisserer to dummy it down, make it more “fun”.  Shame…..a real shame.

Grade: C+

When a fan is forced to wait 19 years for the next installment of his/her favorite movie, game, television show, etc, anticipation is always going to be high as are expectations.  Expectations ride even higher when the previous three entries into a Tetralogy are considered to be very good movies.

Prior to seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull I viewed the saga as two great movies and one very good movie.  After leaving the theatre Sunday night I added one decent movie to that list.  Mind you, Indy’s latest adventure isn’t a bad one but the magic that drew so many of us to the first three films is nearly absent for most of this film.

I usually don’t agree with professional movie critics but in Crystal Skull’s case I thought most of them were right on the money.  Where I do differ from many of them however is that I don’t believe the movie’s shortcomings can be attributed to Ford’s or Indy’s age.  With the exception of a few small moments Indy acted like a 58 year old man should and I thought the older and wiser Jones was just as entertaining as his younger counterpart, albeit in a different fashion.  Sure he’s not as energetic as he once was but had they pushed the character in such a direction, the movie would have been awful.  While a 58 year old man is well past his prime, most men who keep themselves up are more than capable as was Indy. Ford as well as the other actors here give fine performances, it was the material they were given to work with in many instances that kept this film from being great.

Take for instance the scene involving Mutt and Irina Spalko.  During this scene the two engage in a fencing matching while Mutt has one leg on his jeep and another on comrade Spalko’s.  This scene would have worked had it not been for the over the top corny “Lucas” dialogue.  During the fight Marion, who is driving one of the jeeps begins giving Mutt fencing instructions to which Mutt replies “Mom this isn’t a match”.  This particular minute or so of the film made me cringe as if I was watching The Phantom Menace. While there were more than a few but thankfully short awkward moments none bothered me more perhaps than the scene in which Mutt begins swinging from vine to vine in the tree tops.  Not only did this feel outlandish but I cringed because it felt like the film was screaming to the audience “hey look this is Indiana’s son, isn’t he just like him!”  While Indiana Jones films have always been somewhat over the top, I felt these two scenes were both out of step with the saga and somewhat embarrassing.

There are several instances in the film where the actors look uncomfortable in their roles and with the script.   There are a few scenes in particular that stand out in my mind where this can be witnessed.  When Marion first makes her appearance on screen Indiana stands in front of the camera like a lost child and sort of shakes his arms, legs, and head as if he’s a lost dog looking for food.  Marion then walks right by him as he continues to poorly convey befuddlement.  At first it looks like bad acting on Ford’s part but don’t be fooled by this.  It’s not the acting, its the direction he’s given that keeps this scene from being both funny and having any kind of impact.   It’s not difficult to see the type of joke they were shooting for here but it fell short due to it’s corniness and overacting.  I found myself sinking in my seat once again a bit later in the film when Marion makes puppy dog eyes at Indiana after he makes the comment “none of them where you”.  Not only was this way out of character for Marion Ravenwood but I can’t recall the last time I witnessed something like this coming from a 48 year old woman.

As an Indiana Jones super fan it would be easy to nitpick this film to death.  Unfortunately Crystal Skull contains many elements that just don’t mesh well with the first three films.  Aside from some of the “cutsie” and corny scenes the film has an excellent concept and each actor does his/her best with the material and direction they where given.  For the most part the action scenes work well and are on par with previous Indy films.  Having Karen Allen reprise her role as Marion Ravenwood was great and Shia LaBeouf is an excellent addition to the Indiana Jones family, not just figuratively but literally as well. As usual the score by John William’s is excellent and adds much to some of the more shallow scenes, though I would have liked to have heard some darker selections.

A few of the more embarrassing scenes not withstanding Crystal Skull is a film that Indana Jones fans will appreciate, even if to a much less degree than its predecessors.  Many have stated that Spielberg and Lucas should have “left well enough alone” and that Indiana Jones no longer works because the character and the actor are to old.  Make no mistake about it, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull  does deliver this time around though to a much lesser degree than it did in years past.  Does this film fail where others in the saga succeeded because of Indy’s age?  My consensus is that it has nothing to do with age and everything to do with the delivery of the story.  I’ve said many times that Crystal Skull is a great concept and that I’m not opposed to aliens in an Indy story.  The manner in which the story is told however, at least this time around is shallow, to fast, and lacks a lot of emotion.  Skull feels contrived and had George Lucas written all over it.  From the “cute” little Caddyshack style gophers at the opening of the film to some of the more awkward scenes and dialogue it’s clear Lucas had a lot of influence in the film.  Lucas has great concepts but should stay away from writing screenplays and scripts.  There was a very Star Wars Prequel-esque feeling to this film, but surprisingly enough it works, even if in limited capacity.

If there is ever going to be another Indiana Jones film and it’s obvious there might be, Lucas needs to hand his concepts over to writers who can create meaningful and purposefull dialogue.  Spielberg on the other hand needs to tell his friend “sorry George, that doesn’t work here, that doesn’t belong in a Jones film.  Any future installments should return to the series darker and more enigmatic roots.  Danger, wonder, action, and humor make Indiana Jones films great, and I’d like to see more of that please.

Spielberg claimed that this film was being made for fans of the saga but it felt more like they tried either too hard or not hard enough in their attempt to recapture the magic of the past.  Instead of approaching this film saying “we’re going to film it the old fashioned way, and it’s drawing its inspiration from B movies of the 50’s, both Steven and George should have done nothing other than to try and make a good movie.  Foregoing modern technology didn’t make the film fit in or seem similar to other entries in the saga, it made it stick out like a sore thumb.

Summing things up, if you enjoyed the first three Indiana Jones movies you’re most likely going to enjoy this one and will enjoy watching it more than once.  Think of Crystal Skull as you would a diet soda.  Sure diet soda is ok when there’s nothing better avaliable, and while it tastes similar to regular soda you’ll find yourself missing the sugar and caffeine rather quickly and you’ll wish you had a regular soda to wash that bland taste from your tongue.  At any rate its good to see Henry Jones Jr. back in action.

As most know I tend to write extensively about things like Lost, movies, and games.  Today is going to be quite different as I have once again taken ill and don’t feel much like writing (that and I work almost ever day).  So why blog you ask?  Well I’ve had a combined 10 hours of sleep over the past three nights (i can’t sleep when I get sick) so I figured while I’m up I’ll do a quick review of the season premiere of Lost and Cloverfield. Ok, here goes.

Cloverfield

In short….amazing.  Cloverfield had me on the edge of my seat, made it easy to suspend disbelief and was just all around fun.  I thought the Monster was pretty original and the fact that the whole film was basically somebody playing this recovered video made the movie creepy.  Many will disagree but I found this realistic, down to earth approach to a monster movie refreshing.  Now that I know this Monster was just a baby and had separation anxiety, I can’t wait for the DVD and the sequel to see what else is coming!  If I had one complaint it would be that the movie is not long enough.  This movie is going to be a classic for me down the road.  Best monster movie I’ve ever seen.  Oh and the “Roar” theme was great too…very monster movie-ish.

Lost Season 4 Premiere

The season premiere of Lost blew me away!  Sure I was disappointed that ABC opted to run an idiotic recap show for the first hour instead of giving us a full two hour season premiere but the one hour we did get was fantastic.  Flash forwards put a fresh twist on things and raises all kinds of new questions true to Lost fashion.  Hopefully the strike ends soon and we get a full 16 episodes this season.  This season is already shaping up to be a great one and I can’t wait to see what’s coming.  Will my wish for a Monster appearance this season come true?……

Alright, time to go veg out on the couch and try to convince myself that my throat isn’t really infected with something straight out of hell.

Alien Vs. Predator Requiem Review

Posted: December 27, 2007 in Movies

I was planning on seeing this movie with a very close friend of mine on the 27th.  When I found out that he had become ill I convinced my wife to come see it with me tonight instead of tomorrow.  Now that I’ve seen this film I realize I should have stayed home and committed suicide.  That would have made for a far more interesting and entertaining evening.

I went into this movie having already read several negative and very negative reviews by both fans and critics alike.  Now mind you, I’m the kind of fan that could enjoy watching a movie about either one of these characters just taking a stroll down the street and find some good in that but this film was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.  I know that there are likely far worse out there but I’ve yet to seen any such films.  As I walked into the theater I had low expectations while as a fan of both franchises hoped for the best.

I’ll state right off the bat that Paul W.S. Anderson’s previous AVP effort is a perfect 10 when compared to this waste of film.  I’m really hoping that someone loses their job over this and I’d be willing to bet that the Strause Brothers won’t ever get another shot at directing anything!  Right off the bat you can tell that this film was made to try and apologize for the lack of gore in 2004’s AVP and to appeal to a hardcore audience.  Watching this film I have to believe that everyone involved in its production, from start to finish was literally asleep both on the set and in their offices because it doesn’t appeal to hardcore fans of either franchise or even fans of AVP comics and games.  It’s a jumbled, effortless, unfocused, unmitigated, amateurish, half-assed approached to film making.  This film should appeal to no one.  Though I’ve yet to find a single positive review of the film someone, somewhere is bound to enjoy it though they may been the recipients of lobotomies at some point in the past.

Lets start with the obvious first.  There wasn’t a single Alien or Predator movie that was rated anything but R and after the backlash agaist AVP’s PG-13 rating and watching this film, it is extremely clear to me that the goal of this movie is to shock and disturb you.  Sadly the film wouldn’t scare my six year old daughter and she’s terrified of both monsters.  It becomes painfully obvious not more than a few minutes into the film that the gore, blood, and kills are in the movie for no other reason than to say “HEY, LOOK THIS ISN’T A PG-13 MOVIE”.  I’ve stated in the past that I love gore in my movies even when the gore is at an extreme level however gore without purpose always falls flat with an audience. I think what I really found disturbing was not the attempt to shock or add some “gross out” elements to the movie but rather by the fact that this movie got an R rating.  I’ve seen more shocking imagery and suspenseful moments in episodes of Goosebumps.  98% of the kills in this movie are cut away’s and then suddenly red liquid is thrown against a window or wall.  There are a couple of kills that where decent but none of them warrant anything greater than a PG-13 rating.  In addition to that we get to see a handful of corpses and chest bursting scenes but these too are all shot at angles that don’t really let you see much of anything.  Again you see more here than in the original AVP but not much. So what constitutes an R rating you ask?  Watching 3/4’s of Jesse Ventura’s chest being blow out with a full frontal view is what does.  Seeing a man getting his head and spinal column pulled out of his body does as well.  I’m sorry but the implication that babies where killed by Aliens or the one scene where a pregnant mother spawns multiple chest bursters is hardly hard core let alone enough to justify an R rating.  Kind of makes you wonder who paid who on the ratings board to get this rating doesn’t it?

The next big downfall this movie has is its horrid plot and pacing.  The first ten minutes of this film had me and the rest of the audience pumped.  After the opening action scenes and being introduced to the new Predator the movie slows down as we’re introduced to a handful of characters that serve no purpose other than to scream and become bait.  The original AVP had this same problem only to a much lesser extent.  We are forced to watch their boring and sophomoric stories for the remainder of the movie save for the last 5 minutes.  The movie is roughly an hour and thirty minutes long and after being forced to watch a rather sored attempt at character building for the entire thing I found myself angry at the characters and wanted them all to die.  In the end all but a few die in what has to be one of the worst anticlimactic finales I’ve ever witnessed.  The ending is worse than the “its all a dream” scenario and an hour and a few handful of minutes of a sad attempt at establishing characters is thrown all out the window when out of nowhere a bomb is dropped on the town this movie takes place in, thus killing three quarters of the people they wanted us to become attached to.

The pacing of this film is equally as appalling as it’s story telling, or lack there of.  What a waste of an opportunity here.  While the majority of the film is spent telling us the story of shallow characters the action (so to speak) is broken up ever couple of minutes by a quick scene involving the Predator looking through his visor at Xenomorphs crawling on buildings, dissolving evidence, and jumping from rafter to rafter.  When those scenes conclude the audience is taken to another scenario involving one of the movies useless human characters.  This process repeats throughout the movie and with the exception of a very brief sewer sequence and a would be brawl near the end of the film, there is little action or killing or anything else going on here.  This leads me to the next problem both I and apparently many other viewers have with the film.  The few fight scenes, as short as they are, are barley visible.  I heard the Strause brothers say that seeing these monsters in full light isn’t scary.  Maybe not but seeing them fight in the dark isn’t any better…in fact it’s worse.  The one thing I looked forward to this time around was the Predalien.  You’ll get to see her head plenty in this film but it’ll be dark and quick so pay close attention.  The one time you do get to see this full bodied badass is during the finale when she and the Predator almost engage in a fight.  This was one of the more disappointing aspects of the film in my opinion.  I came to see scenarios that would pit these two creatures against each other and just when you think something will erupt between them what happens?  They start to fight, she pulls the whip out of his hands, they then stab each other and are then wiped out by a government plane that drops a bomb on the entire town thus ending the Alien and Predator threats.  This is the last we see of any Aliens or Predators in this film though it’s not the end of the picture.

The next inadequate aspect of this film is the total waste of both the Aliens and the coolest Predator I’d seen thus far.  This predator is a bad ass.  The film gives the impression that he’s not a normal hunter nor does he belong to a clan.  This guy whom they call “Wolf” is some sort of bounty hunter or part of a “clean up” crew that leaps into action when things go bad for fellow hunters.  Wolf has some of the coolest weapons in his arsenal that we’ve seen in any Predator movie to date but the film doesn’t provide any scenarios for this Predator to make use of them.  Some weapons we’ve seen before and some not but it seemed like every time he was given the opportunity to use a weapon he didn’t  These opportunities where few and far between to boot.  Most of Wolf’s time instead is spent searching for Xenomorphs and scouting the territory and when he finally does catch up with one or gets ambushed the resulting action is well….action-less and so brief that if you blink you may miss it.  The Aliens in this film, especially the Predalien don’t receive much better treatment either.  I think back to James Cameron’s Aliens and how Colonial Marines with a bad ass arsenal of weaponry and gear far in the future have trouble taking down swarms of Aliens.  In this film everyday citizens with guns seem to have no problem wiping out incoming hordes of Xenomorphs with modern machine guns whether they’ve used a gun before and had combat training or not.  I found this very hard to swallow.  Sure humans can take out Aliens but with ease and in total fear?  This film softens and cheapens both creatures for reasons unknown.

Another irritant this film will lay on you is it’s outlandish and poorly delivered dialogue.  There are those jokes you find in Alien and Predator movies that either relieve tension or help to build a character but in this film those jokes just don’t work and no one was laughing at them.  When the audience did laugh it wasn’t during parts of the film that where supposed to elicit such a response.  During several scenes with poor dialogue both my wife and I overheard other viewers commenting on how boring and intrepid the movie was.  I’ve been present at other bad movies but the audience was silent during those bombs.  When an audience begins engaging in conversations about “how this movie blows” you know you’ve got a real winner on your hands.  The dialogue like the characters in this movie serve no other purpose than to act as filler as no studio or individual has the balls, the imagination, or the talent to create an Alien Vs. Predator movie that involves no humans.

At the conclusion of the movie a large group of people stood up and began clapping (sarcastically) and cheering.  The studio was filled with hardcore fans as well as casual movie goers and I overheard many conversations before, during, and after the movie that told me who was who.  Most who see this movie will be disappointed while the hardcore fans of either or both franchises will likely be angry, let down, disappointed, and disheartened as I was.  As a hardcore fan I went to see this movie out of curiosity and in the vane hope that “they” had finally done AVP justice.  Boy was I wrong.  To be honest I will not be buying this DVD and this movie probably should have been a straight to DVD release because yes, it really is that bad.  This film should have never been released in my opinion and someone should have stepped in and stopped production at some point.  I’m certain that someone may have wanted to but the decision was made to proceed in hopes that the opening weekend would help capture a few quick million dollars before the movie disappears.  What’s happened now though is far worse for any studio that may have been interested in or might be interested in producing an Alien, Predator, or AVP movie at some point down the line.  The AVP franchise has been ruined but worse yet the individual franchises and creatures have become parodies of themselves which is more damning than anything else I can think of at the moment.

Others who have seen and reviewed this film lay blame on the premise of the film and its creatures engaging in battle for any reason.  I don’t believe its fair to lay blame on the idea of these two monsters duking it out, blame instead those foolish enough to green light a script such as this one, or those indivduals who appoint producers and directors.  Blame individuals who’ve seen the best movies these franchises have to offer yet still lack the knowlege and skill to make a film that fits within that universe.  Bad writing, directing, editing, pacing, producing, and bad studio executives are to blame.  Aliens Vs. Predator is a great imaginative concept and one that many wanted to see come to the big screen for a long time.  If such a concept where given the same care, respect, and treatment that say “Aliens” and even “Predator” where given we’d have another set of films to call classic Sci-Fi at some point in the future.  Sadly enough these same people who looked forward to these films now just want them to go away.

In closing I’d like to add that while it’s obvious this is the proverbial nail in the coffin for both Aliens and Predators I will hold onto the foolish hope that someday somebody will take an expireinced, knowledgable, and mature approach to the franchise and give us a story that includes deep characters as well as a well thought out story.  If after reading this and any other review for Alien Vs. Predator Requiem you still have a desire to see this movie, go watch the red band trailer.  It contains literally all of the best moments in the film.  The trailer is free, you don’t have to leave your house to view it and you won’t be left feeling as though Fox just picked your pocket and took you for a fool.

Alien 5 by James Cameron May 23rd, 2017 here we come!

Score: 1 star (out of ten)

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.