A review from someone who liked it!
Tue, 15 March 2005
I know that I will be howled down by many people for this â€“ but I thought this was a great film. I think it is a good example of what a fan can do if he has an original idea, and is given the resources to bring that idea to life. Director Paul Anderson is a self confessed fan of the Alien and Predator franchises, and blends the mythology of both films beautifully, as well as supplying some great action.
Set after the original Predator films, and centuries before Ridley Scottâ€™s classic Alien, this film has its origins in the Dark Horse Comic Book series Alien versus Predator. The premise of the film is that the Predators (Yautja) practice their coming-of-age ceremonies in an underground pyramid in Antarctica â€“ and have been doing so in various parts of the world for millennia. The ceremony consists of keeping a Queen Alien (Xenomorph) as an egg factory, using human sacrifices to create warrior aliens â€“ and then the hunt is on! This time there is a problem however, when a small bunch of explorers from Weyland Industries accidentally get in the way and take the Predatorâ€™s guns, giving the Alien horde the upper hand.
Like the original films, this movie doesnâ€™t just drop you in the middle of a bloodbath. Anderson takes his time building the story, utilising the strong ensemble cast and not playing the monster card too early. We have to wait nearly an hour before we get to the main event, an alien and predator slug-fest, but boy it is worth the wait.
Anderson constructed a beautiful and claustrophobic set that fits well with the atmosphere of the previous Alien films. There are plenty of nooks and crannies for an alien or predator to hide in, as well as dark corridors for doomed humans to wander down.
Like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, this is another example of how a blend of miniatures and CGI will give you the most realistic looking results (listen well George Lucas!). Much of the Alien and Predator shots are guys in suits, but unlike Sammael in Hellboy these creatures look real â€“ they move and carry their weight like you would expect, and this make a much more believable scene.
Like many sci-fi films these days, the set was built in Prague rather than Los Angeles and according to the director this meant the sets could be built for $2 million as opposed to $20 million. In an era where studios are cautious about giving sci-fi films big budgets (due to the high chance of a flop), the low value of the Czech Republic currency has been a life saver for directors who want to set their films in alien or futuristic environments. Oh yeah, and Czech Beer tastes fantastic too!
As for DVD special features, there is a short â€śmaking ofâ€ť documentary that is pretty interesting but that is about it. The Directorâ€™s commentary suffers for the fact that only the director has anything interesting to say (Lance Henriksen and Sanaa Lathan just spend one and a half hours saying â€śOh, he was nice to work withâ€ť and â€śGee, I look silly in that shotâ€ť). As usual the Deleted Scenes should have stayed deleted, and the gallery of comic book covers is displayed too small for you to get a good look at them. The alternate introduction to the film looks good, but I can see why they dropped it as it gives too much away at the beginning of the film.
AvP has plenty of references and in-jokes to keep the nerds happy (look for the shot of Charles â€śBishopâ€ť Weyland playing with the pen) and treats these much loved characters with the respect they need to come alive on the screen.
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. A worthy addition to both franchises.