Archive for the ‘Alien versus Predator’ Category

190 – Alien versus Predator

February 2, 2005

Finally, the two sci-fi franchises meet, as was prophesied in Predator 2., when the head of an Alien was seen in the Predator’s trophy room. This was in 1990. For fanboys, it’s been a long 14 years.

Having seen one other crossover movie (Freddy versus Jason!), I wasn’t too stoked for this one. When you take two movies that have their own histories and mush them together into the same movie, there are going to be some inconsistencies.

I’m not a fanboy of either series, so I can’t speak to the movie’s accuracy in that sense. All I know is that Alien = bad (i.e., attacks humans) and Predator = bad (i.e., attacks humans).

The basic story here is that a group of scientists discovers an ancient pyramid in Antarctica, and when they explore it they find themselves in a battle between the Aliens and the Predators. Place your bets, kids! The over/under on bloodshed is forty gallons; the Predators are favored by 19 vats of slime.

As with all disparate casts, the expedition is composed of scientists from varying backgrounds: a mechanical engineer, a couple of archaeologists, a mountain climber/guide, and do forth. Oh, and men with guns. Their mission is to get to the pyramid and see what’s what. Leading them is Lex Woods (Sanaa Lathan); she’s a tough, strong leader. You know right away she’ll make it through this ordeal alive, because much of the pre-expedition focus is on her. You know, to endear her to the audience. Other characters are given short shrift by comparison.

Neat little trivium: Lance Henriksen, who was in a couple of the Alien movies, here plays industrial billionaire Charles Weyland, whose company found the pyramid and is financing the expedition. Lance looks pretty haggard. I mean, he always did, but now he looks like Clint Eastwood before Clint got his Botox injections. But I digress.

Anyway, long story short – they get there, find Aliens have attacked the previous expedition (from 1904!), and then all hell breaks loose as everyone has to fight to survive. There are plenty of good things to say about this movie. For one thing, the set design and special effects are fantastic, making the viewer forget the pedestrian plot and the shallow characters. Come to think of it, though, the characters really aren’t all that shallow, compared with other recent sci-fis. Take Supernova or Event Horizon. No, seriously, take them. Same idea – heterogeneous crew, Something Evil afoot – and yet the effects weren’t good enough to distract us from the crappy dialogue. In AvP, there aren’t many memorable lines (if any), but it didn’t matter.

And here’s why. By now, we all know what the Predator looks like (seen near the end of P2). And we’ve always known what the Aliens looked like. So there was no sense in keeping either hidden from view. This is Alien versus Predator, so let’s see ’em fight! And fight they did, with our feckless humans stuck in the middle. This time, since we’ve seen some of what either species can do, some human characteristics are attributed to them, particularly the Predators (yes, Predators plural), such as war paint, honor, and rituals.

AvP is a very diverting, action-packed movie – there aren’t any slow moments, and it follows through on its own premise.

Alien versus Predator: ***