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AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)
AvP review from a hardcore Alien and Predator fan
As a huge fan of the Predator and Alien films *hugs alien quadrilogy box set* I've been waiting for this movie a long time. As a kid (age 8 I believe) Predator was my favorite movie, and it still is to this day. I loved the Predator and Alien films and I had my first orgasm when I saw the Alien skull in the Predator ship in Predator 2 (I kid about the orgasm, but it was awe stricken). The possibilities swarmed in my head, Aliens and Predators fighting
a dream come true. My two favorite film franchises were tied together.
As a kid, this was most exciting I already read all the Alien comics and the Predator books, but now Dark Horse comics brought something new to the table, Alien vs. Predator comics. I ate those babies up. I've been a huge fan all my life. Hell, the first video game I ever beat was a Final Fight style Alien vs. Predator game at the movie theater arcade (I got third place high score too). So you can tell I have had high expectations for this film ever since they started writing drafts for it in 96.
So time passes as I get older and although I don't read the books or comics anymore, I'm still an avid fan of both franchises. AvP2 happens to be my favorite First Person Shooter and I play it quite often so I haven't deviated from my love of the franchises completely. And once I heard about this movie I hopped outta my chair and jumped for joy, once I heard who was writing and directing it I mellowed out and shook my head in disbelief/shame.
But having said this, you know I'm hard to please. I'm a hardcore fan who wanted the best movie in the world, but found out one of Hollywood's worst well known directors was at the helm. I just saw AvP and what can I say? It was written and directed by Paul Anderson of Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil and Event Horizon fame. Who better to direct a film with the two biggest sci-fi franchises than the king of mediocre action films? But in all seriousness, it wasn't that bad. If you're a casual fan and liked any of the other Alien or Predator films you'll find something to like. As far as summer movies go, if you turn your brain off after walking in the theater you'll be able to enjoy the film for what it is. A popcorn flick made to show off alien species killing each other.
But for the hardcore Alien and Predator fans, there is a rich bit of research that was put into the making of this film. I would have to say this is director Paul Anderson's finest piece of cinema and you can tell he had a huge love for both series (he has stated in interviews Alien is his all-time favorite movie and he used to read the comics). The movie actually uses parts/ideas of the original Alien script (pyramid in Antarctica) and many elements of the Predator novels and comics. Anderson even goes as far into delving into the Predator comic-mythos as to show the young Predators blooding themselves (a ritual of smearing Alien acid blood over the forehead as a right of passage that originated in the Predator novels).
*Spoiler* He even barrowed a concept in a Predator novel I read a while ago where a woman proved herself when fighting a Predator and got blooded by the clan, then fought along side the Predator warriors. As a hardcore fan all these little nods to us franchise faithfuls made me smile as I watched the action blaze on screen. *End Spoiler*
So in many ways, Paul Anderson created an enjoyable film with a depth that I thought the film would be lacking. However there are many disappointing parts as well. While the story was plausible, it needed more time to fully develop on screen. The characters were as could be expected, a few good actors and a bunch of untalented fodder that were hired for their ability on how well they screamed for their death scene. The special effects however were in my opinion brilliant. I'm so glad Anderson went with the classic man in monster-suit instead of making everything in CGI. It just looks so much more real using real effects and not relying on computer animations. Not one time when I looked at an Alien or Predator did I question weather the creature was real or not, the costumes were truly convincing.
However my main complaints are these few things: They changed the Predator's mouth for some unknown reason and I think it looked much better before. They slimed the chin down making the mouth smaller so when the tusks spread the mouth wasn't as wide and appeared small. Another beef I have with this film is the matrix bullet time effect was used on several occasions. Nothing pisses me off more than the bullet time effect. However this travesty can be overlooked, but my head still shakes in shame when I see it. And of course you cant have a Paul Anderson film without cheesy dialog and an awkward moment .. This film had both. Cheesy lines were spouted off by many of the 'fodder' and thanks to Andersons 'brilliant' directing skills he managed to turn an awesomely badass scene of a Predator blooding a human into a quasi-romantic scene between the 2 creatures I half expected them to make-out on screen. However the idea of a human being blooded is still cool. I just think the scene was paced wrong, and it fell though because of that.
Lastly what bothers me is that the film needed another 30 to 40 minutes to have fully been a great film. The most likely reason why the film was cut though was to make it into theaters for those ADD kids with short attention spans. Because I know Anderson said in an interview he was going for an R rating so he could add in more fun stuff, but then Fox stepped in and said he had to cut it down to make a PG-13 rating (so they could get more revenue in box-office sales) and said he needed to shorten the film to better suit 'movie goers'. Here's to the hope of a director's cut with 30 minutes of added footage, and hopefully a little more gore (there weren't enough human slaughters shown on screen and I think that Fox and the MPAA made them cut it out to get a PG-13 rating for a broader audience).
*Spoilers* My last complain comes in the fact that 2 of the 3 Predators are offed in the first 20 minutes of their appearance, by only 1 Alien no less. In the comics it took at least 4 Aliens to take down 1 Predator. However that same Alien was the main antagonist through the remainder of the film, and was a major badass of an alien, if that makes up for it. Also the fact that they made a Predailen at the end of the film was rather silly in my opinion, but at least a clever nod to the Alien Vs Predator videogames on the computer. *End Spoilers*
But overall as a hardcore fan of both franchises I can confidently say this is Paul Anderson's best effort in cinema and an agreeable Alien/Predator film, while also being a monster movie that can be enjoyed by anyone .. That is, if they don't have a stick up their ass when walking into this film. I can only hope that the DVD will have a director's cut with a bit more gore.
Gone Fishin' (1997)
Ok, why's this film get a bad rap? I saw it and enjoyed it thoroughly. Not very often in these days do you get a film like this. It's a comedy without poop jokes, sexual innuendo or foul language. And you know what? It's truly funny. The innocents Joe Pesci and Danny Glover project, mixed with the wacky situations they get mixed up in, is truly hilarious. Not only did I find this film a laugh filled feel-good comedy, but its one of the few comedies of the 90's that I would feel OK about my little brother watching it with me.
There is nothing bad about this film. Sure; the script is silly, and the plot is inane, but the movie itself projects an innocent fun that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Sure, if you're looking for a comedy akin to American Pie or Something About Marry, you won't find anything to your liking here. However, if you want a clean fun comedy with wacky antics and a good fun plot, this will work great.