Movie Review: "Alien vs. Predator" (2004)
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.
An "Alien vs. Predator" movie had been in development hell for over a decade before it was finally released. Was the movie a bad idea? Not necessarily, all you have to do is combine what was done with "Aliens" and what was done with "Predator" then there you have it. Was it executed poorly? Absolutely. All the wrong people were involved, including the director of "Event Horizon", another turd of a movie.
Let's flashback a little bit to the closing of 1997. "Alien: Resurrection" is performing poorly at the box office, various rumors of a fifth 'Alien' film are running rampant across the media and the internet. Jump to the early 2000's, James Cameron and Ridley Scott were, at one point during this time period, considering doing "Alien 5" together. When they approached 20th Century Fox, they said no, we want "Alien vs. Predator".
Hence, the movie was released in 2004 and talk of a fifth 'Alien' film had drifted into the farthest corners of space (that is, until Ridley Scott started on "Prometheus" in 2011). The story of "Alien vs. Predator" is set in present day on Earth. An ancient pyramid is discovered 2000 feet below the ice in Antarctica. It turns out that this is a hunting ground for the predator race and they happen to be keeping an alien queen imprisoned in one of its chambers.
What follows is a series of hide-and-seek games between the humans and the two different races of aliens; and plenty of kiddy wrestling matches between the predators and aliens. This movie is not scary whatsoever and makes zero attempt to reach the level of greatness that had been attained in the previous films of both franchises (minus "Alien: Resurrection" though).
Now, to give credit to "Alien vs. Predator" where it is due, there were some positive things about this movie:
- The opening sequence, in which we are shown something that looks like the shape of the crown on the alien queen's head but it turns out to be a satellite floating in space, was a very nice touch.
- I liked the fact that he alien queen was put to good use after the godawful "Alien: Resurrection" where she just sat on her rear-end and gave birth to that stupid hybrid.
- The acid grid alien was also a nice touch that I didn't mind.
- Overall, the film has some very good production value as opposed to its sequel where you can't see a goddamn thing that's happening on screen.
And that's about it. There's nothing else that's good about this movie. With Paul W.S. Anderson at the helm and a PG-13 rating, "Alien vs. Predator" was doomed from the get-go. How can you possibly give this kind of movie a PG-13 rating? Even the crap-fest that was "Alien: Resurrection" was rated R. All the blood and gore here is mostly hidden from the camera, thanks to clever cut-away shots and the like.
On Earth... Everyone Can Hear You Scream
Here's where the story just sticks up the middle finger to the 'Alien' films. See, "Alien vs. Predator" tries to make itself apart of both the 'Alien' and 'Predator' timelines by taking place after "Predator 2" and before "Alien".
So, in "Alien vs. Predator", we learn that the aliens were already on Earth to begin with (thanks to the predators). This alone defeats the purpose behind Ripley's conflict to stop them from getting to Earth in the 'Alien' movies.
I guess Ellen Ripley died for nothing...
When it comes down the actual fight scenes between the aliens and the predators, it's almost like they were trying to get everything else out of the way so they could focus on this garbage. These fights are nothing short of childish wrestling matches, something you might see in a 'Power Rangers' film perhaps.
They do nothing but de-edify the individually fearful monsters that once were the alien and the predator.
Batman & Robin... Again
At one point towards the end of the film, one of the predators and Alexa Woods (the female heroine) team up after she saves his life from one of the aliens. The predator makes her a spear and a shield out of an alien's tail and head, then the two of them run off into the distance like Batman & Robin.
This has to be one of the dumbest moments in "Alien vs. Predator". Furthermore, I can't help but wonder what's the point of those alien ornaments that the predator made for her if she was only going to take it off a few moments later and not really use it that much. I also don't get why the predator would give her so much weight to carry like that, it's not she's Arnold Schwarzenegger, you know.
Get a Cue
An film with aliens and predators fighting each other and no memorable music score whatsoever? Where's James Horner or Alan Silvestri when you need them? Why am I seeing so much of this nowadays? Long-running franchises being revived after years of absence and zero effort goes into conducting a worthwhile soundtrack? Laziness really is a killer.
Random Things That Make No Sense
- Why did Alexa and her team bring weapons to a place that is practically uninhabited?
- For a bunch of scientists, these characters never really do any real scientist work at all. They just walk around the stupid pyramid, gawking at everything like a bunch of tourists. By any chance did they find these actors roaming the streets of Times Square?
- In the 'Alien' films, the time period between when the face hugger plants the embryo in the victim and when the chestburster finally bursts through the rib-cage seemed like it took hours. But in "Alien vs. Predator", it appears as if it happens in minutes. Yeah, gotta get those aliens popping out and killing people before the stupid running time is up.
- So, an alien is able to break through the predator's net/grid trap but a human's knife (which can plow right through an alien) just breaks in half?
- Lance Henriksen plays Charles Bishop Weyland. So, he's the first Bishop, right? Like the actual human one? Are they trying to tell us that the second Bishop from "Alien 3" was also an android? I don't get it.
Remedies for "Alien vs. Predator"
- A better writer and director who is not Paul W.S. Anderson or Michael Bay.
- An R rating.
- Not showing the predators as the good guys, this includes the stupid team-up between the female protagonist and the lead predator.
- Setting it anywhere but Earth, please.
- Not using "Power Rangers" or "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" as a source of inspiration for the alien/predator fight scenes.
- Give us characters we actually care about.
- Get someone credible working on the musical score.
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