Thursday, June 07, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) **

PG-13, 101 min.
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writers: Paul W.S. Anderson, Dan O’Bannon (also “Alien” characters), Ronald Shusett (also “Alien” characters), Jim Thomas (“Predator” characters), John Thomas (“Predator” characters)
Starring: Sanaa Latham, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner, Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan, Tom Woodruff Jr., Ian Whyte

Hrumm. That’s my frustration. What’d they go and do this for? They went and ruined two perfectly good franchises in one movie. Well, they didn’t completely destroy them until the next one. But, they took a pretty big chunk of love away with this one.

I’m surprised that “Alien” creators Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett even agreed to have their names used for story credit. Of course, if they hadn’t, they wouldn’t get paid. But, I can’t imagine their story resembled the one assembled here by writer director Paul W.S. Anderson. Anderson is the man responsible for the cinematic magnum opus (he says with a heavy lilt of sarcasm in his voice) “Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D”. Oh, but how could I forget he directed every film in the “Resident Evil” franchise and “Mortal Kombat” and “Soldier” and “Death Race” and the recently insignificant “The Three Musketeers 3D”. His “Event Horizon” does have its fair share of defenders, but I’m not one of them; and that’s about the best I have to say about anything he’s ever made.

But, I’m willing to give any director a chance. I didn’t hate this movie because Anderson made it. I hate this movie because he thinks that Alien slime is the reason “Alien” is considered a classic. I hate it because he thinks that Predators hunting something, anything is all an audience needs to remain interested in them. I hate it because it has no understanding of the themes that made either of these franchises worth watching. The Alien themes are too deep for Anderson, but I’d have thought that even the simple themes about the predator becoming the prey could find a place within Anderson’s simplistic sci-fi ideals. No. There’s no sense he understands this at all. There are certainly moments where he could build and exploit such ideas, but he’s too interested in showing us all the neat—yes, ‘neat’ is the best word to describe Anderson’s thought process in a positive light—things you can do with the acidic blood of your victims. And, why is there not even a reference to the heat the Predators thrived on in the previous films while this one takes place in Antarctica?

However, I don’t totally hate this movie. There is an attempt at least to reference “Alien” mythology with the character of Charles Bishop Weylan. Of course, since the character is first killed then vaporized, this reference makes no sense in the context of the “Alien” mythology. I don’t know. Now, I think my star rating isn’t harsh enough. I won’t change it though, because I do get just the slightest bit of joy from watching this for some reason. I liked the introduction scene that got cut out of the theatrical version.

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