ALIEN vs. PREDATOR
THUMBS DOWN FILM REVIEW RATING (1 out of 5 Rating)!
Alien vs. Predator director Paul W.S. Anderson may lead many to believe the idea of combining these two movie monsters into a film was his idea some 10 years ago. Given the criticism many a fan had of Anderson’s attachment to this film, it was expected that despite what he lead the masses to beleive in pre-release interviews, Anderson had a better concept than anyone. Unfortunately, this film neither pleases fans hoping for some fun sci-fi entertainment nor does it do justice to the much better comic books which spawned the idea much earlier than a decade ago.
The film Alien vs. Predator (or AVP as the film’s marketting posse love to spray on posters and teaser trailers) combines two alien speices from two of the more successful modern monster movie franchises into a single film (from Ridley Scott’s “Alien” in 1979 and John McTiernan’s “Predator” in 1987). The two species meet on Earth in the Antartic, with contact being initiated by a group of human explorers who have discovered a pyramid beneath the ice. The pyramid is actually a hunting ground of sorts, used by the Predators to hunt the Aliens as their species’ right-of-passage. The humans, being caught in the middle of this fight between the two, are unprepared and struggle to survive the clash of these interstellar creatures.
The fruition of the concept to showcase these two alien monsters can no doubt be credited to the financial success of the 2003 horror bout “Freddy vs. Jason”. The idea for AVP however first saw public release via a company called Dark Horse, who published an Aliens vs. Predator comic book series in 1989. The success of the series spawned more comics and eventually a market for merchandise including models, statues, computer/console/arcade games, and novels. What is felt by any fan of the franchise watching AVP can only be both disappoinment and relief that the film has very little to do with the science fiction legacy off-screen. Instead, director Paul W.S. Anderson chose to tell his own tale of how these two species meet and the results are anything but exciting. The errors in the plot are so glaring that one cannot help but be distracted, especially since the dull action can’t occupy the audience. The pacing is jumbled by a mere token of character development in the opening only to be carelessly thrown away without notice in the latter half. The Predators and Aliens have lost any presence of terror in the film because the story depicts most Predators as easily dispatched amateurs while the Aliens are slimey eye-candy just as easily boned by the few, smarter Predators.
The worst tragedy by far can only be AVP’s total failure as either a fun, summer sci-fi flick or a cult favorite. Despite the film’s focus on two superstars of the monster movie genre, there is surprisingly little actual conflict between the two. What alien action there is for the audience amounts to recycled battles from better films and pro-wrestling style brawls. The special effects offer little innovation over the tried-and-true concepts that made Alien and Predator successful genre films nor is there any satisfaction to be found in the dry human characters. The entire film is just going through the motions of what we all expect from a tired hollywood film and the finale is as stale as the morose musical score.
Most fans of the off-screen franchise or aficionados of the films will be quick to reference the entertaining comics or the better movies as examples of the two alien spieces done right. While the comic book stories or computer game plots may have fared much better than the Anderson/O’Bannon script for AVP, no pre-existing story could freshen this film from poor execution. Whether one criticizes the special effects, plot, or characters, it is obvious to everyone except the most diehard fan that AVP doesn’t deliver anything worth watching.
A good idea for a fun sci-fi film is wasted by a bland script, boring special effects, and a forgettable story.