Alien vs. PredatorReviewed By Collin Souter
Posted 08/13/04 23:19:33
Alien vs. Predator…Catwoman vs. Garfield…A Cinderella Story vs. Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement…King Arthur vs. Troy…White Chicks vs. Soul Plane…New York Minute vs. Sleepover…Van Helsing vs. Chronicles of Riddick…Bush vs. Kerry…The Heart and Soul of America vs. Stateside…I, Robot vs. Day After Tomorrow…Alien vs. Predator…Finally, it’s here, appropriately arriving in August to help close out the summer of 2004. Just like the poster says: “Whoever Wins, We Lose!” O, the irony! O, the prophecy! O, the truth in advertising!O, how I hate the letter ‘h’. You’ll notice there is no letter ‘h’ in the title. There was also no advanced screening for the critics (have I mastered the art of the segue or what?). I don’t know why. The title suggests nothing more than a conflict between two entities, which if I’m not mistaken, represents the single most primary literary device known to man. Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Self…Alien vs. Predator. What’s the big deal? Do they think we’ve never seen stories before? Do they think we haven’t grown up with these tried and true storytelling traditions?
Well, in any case, thanks for being honest with the tagline. Because of last year’s successful “Freddy vs. Jason,” we can look forward to more summertime cage matches, which I suppose can be a good thing. Rather than tie up our nation’s screens with both a new “Alien” movie and a new “Predator” movie, why not just kill two sequels with one stone? I’m fine with that, except that when they turn out to be as camp-less, action-less and senseless as “Alien vs. Predator.” We still lose in spite of the best intentions.
Yeah, it’s not very good. Taking place in the present day, it tells the story of a ragtag group of drillers, miners, shouters and historians who get recruited by the fun-loving Lance Henrickson. He asks them to drill a hole thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface to look at pyramids and they say ‘okay.’ The characters represent a variety of nationalities. In fact, these African-English-American-Scot-rish types really know their stuff when it comes to hiking, sailing, drilling, falling, showing off their baby pictures and shining their flashlights straight into your retinas. They’re the best! The best of the best!
Basically, the first 40 minutes of AVP consists of these human host-bodies walking through falling snow with their flashlights, hooking up cables, shouting orders and opening doors, all of which culminates in Lance Henrickson almost having a heart attack. “Too much excitement,” he says. As these space taker-uppers walk through the corridors, one of the Scot-rish guys drops in little tidbits of history. He seems to know every nook and cranny of this place. He knows all the puzzles, all the folklore and all the hieroglyphics, yet he has no idea how to get out of these trap corridors, much less find the men’s room.
The last hour of AVP consists of the rumble you shamefully paid to see. The predators have come back to earth and the aliens have been hibernating for the past who-knows-how-many billions of years. Whence the two franchises finally meet, it is neither a moment nor an event. It just results in endless noise. Writer/director Paul W.B.P.G.1.3 Andersen cuts the ordeal into a sequence about as exciting as one of the restaurant scenes in “Le Divorce.” You just sit there and realize that you don’t know what you’re watching or why you’re watching it. Of course, the Scot-rish Professor Historian Guy will be more than happy to enlighten you with everything you need to know about these pre-historic aliens and predators…whether you like it or not.
Frankly, I don’t like it. In fact, I find it silly. Once the characters realize they must pick their own battle in this war between the slimy guys and the prickly guys, the movie achieves a level of silliness best suited to movies like “Megaforce” or “Yor: Hunter From The Future.” I swear, at one point I thought I heard the guy in the Predator mask say, “I am…and will always be…your friend.” It’s bad enough the gore content got castrated down to PG-13 standards, but now I have to sit through a variation of “Mac & Me”? Where’s the blood and guts? Where are the shredded bodies? Where’s the love?So, yes, we lose. Nobody wins here. It’s just 102 depressing minutes of Riddick-esque sci-fi dreariness. No charm. No wit. No style. Nothing to make you happy. Nothing worth remembering. We lose. Oh, sure, we could fight back by not paying to see it, but judging from the packed house at the midnight show I attended, the battle will be an uphill one. Fox has won. The MPAA has won. Paul ''Resident Evil' guy, not the other one” Andersen has won. This movie, in its current form, has been released to a salivating video game worshipping, sequel hungry public who will file in without suspicion. Let’s say it again: Whoever Wins…We Lose.
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