Saturday, February 26, 2005

AVP -- Way better than you'd think

One of the movies I watched during the weekend of six movies was Alien vs. Predator, which got pretty much universally panned when it was released last August. It had all the hallmarks of a bad sci-fi flick--over reliance on not one, but two proven characters, no-name actors and a late summer release date. I never made it to the movie in the theaters when it was in wide release (I think it was in theaters all of a few minutes) and entertained thoughts of going when it came to the dollar theater here in Ames (figured I wouldn't pay 8.75 to see Alien vs. Predator, but I would pay $1.50) but never managed to squeeze it into my schedule.

So finally, it comes out on DVD and I Netflix that sucker faster than you can say "chestburster." And you know what? It wasn't half bad and was probably the best movie of all the movies I watched that weekend. It had a plausible (for sci-fi) set-up and, while it wasn't very respectful of the history of either creature, especially the alien, it understood that it was playing with characters that are pretty much beloved by sci-fi fans. Personally, I never got all that into the Predator movies--I did see Predator 2 in the theater when I was in high school, but I remember not being incredibly impressed with it. But the Alien movies are pretty near and dear to my heart. So there were several times during the movie that I got frustrated with the lack of continuity with the rest of the alien timeline. But when I was able to forget about that, it was a heck of a lot of fun.

The basic plot (without giving anything away): Aliens and Predators fight it out in an underground pyramid in Antarctica. Said pyramid is stumbled across by the Weyland-Yutani corporation ("The Company" in the Alien movies) and a team is sent down to investigate. Much carnage ensues. Surprisingly, there was relatively little blood, unless you count the fluorescent green blood of the Predators or the acid blood of the Alien. And dang, if those CG aliens didn't look good. I remember how crappy they looked in Alien: Resurrection and when I heard that the lion's share of the aliens in this movie were CG, I was prepared to be disappointed. But their movement was very natural and they were able to do things that you wouldn't have been able to do with that man in the alien suit. And of course, the queen alien makes an appearance (who do you think was laying the eggs?) which is quite cool. Some scenes with the queen alien reminded me a lot of the T. rex scene in Jurassic Park, but all in all it was just so darn cool.

My dad said he would have liked to have seen a little romance in the movie, and I'm like "Dad, the movie is called Alien vs. Predator!!! There's no room for romance!" And I'd say something similar to all those damn critics that apparently went into a film called Alien vs. Predator expecting fine cinema--no wonder they were disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the movie's not going to win any Oscars, but it was good escapist fun and definitely a keeper.

P.S. Trying really hard to figure out why this picture came up when I did a Google search for "Alien vs. Predator."
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